September 18-19 Open Write – Writing Poems in Multiple Languages and a Sestina

On Sunday, I hosted the Ethical ELA poetry prompt again. The prompt was using multiple languages in poetry. You can read more here: Multiple Languaged Poem. My sample poems have already been published here: Mi Cuchara Favorita and Into the Door.

Monday’s prompt comes from Wendy Everard: Sestina (and Semi-Sestina). She gives some good advice for how to choose the topic and words, which I did not know about when I wrote my first sestina last year about racism and the other -isms that divide our nation. Today I wrote about remodeling and life.

Remodeling Life

Our home now is full of sawdust
As my sister and I design novel
Remodeling, finding solutions
From found articles. (So, very few checks
Are needed.) Useful creations custom-
Made with each nail pounded.

Before this, I could barely pound
a nail, and now I have left in the dust
that person who had a custom
of letting others do the work. Novel
idea—that, at my age, I can check
my assumptions and create new solutions

Like cutting a hole through a wall, solutions
Like reusing old materials to pound
Out a new piece of cabinetry. Check.
Satisfied in learning new skills, dusting
Off my old goals of creating. A novel
Way to live and be. A new custom.

Remodeling as metaphor, a customer
Of thinking. How can my new solutions
Inform my living and thinking? A novel
Longing as I reach up and pound
Another nail amidst the flying dust.
Remodeling: House? Life? Check.

After almost a life, time to check
Up and check in–what customs
Do I keep? And which go to dust?
Time is limited, the solution:
To let go of fallacies and pound
Every good word into the novel

Life is like a mostly good novel
Each chapter written, a check
Paid for by Grace, pounds
Of grace and goodness, custom-
Fit for each person. A solution
Of spirit and hope and dust.

So, I want to check the progress of the novel
To live not according to custom, but to pound
Good life into the dust; that is, Grace’s solution

I’m so happy that I found my voice when writing poetry. As Irene and Charles say on today’s word: “Words have power.” I have not always been kind and cautious in my use of words. Today I am practicing realizing the power of words.

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Voice. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

September 17 Open Write – Ode to a Childhood Love

Today the Ethical ELA Open Write begins for September. Five days of writing, reading, and commenting on poems. It’s a five-day period each month that so many of us look forward to.

I had the privilege of leading today’s prompt. Because today is both National Play Doh Day and National Cinnamon Raisin Toast Day, I was inspired by those and other things I loved. I wrote this poem about one of those treasures I loved as a child.

Ode to My Cinderella Watch

You were there for me in first grade.
You kept running on and on,
even with all your facial blemishes and bumps.
Your pale pink hands went round and round,
And I learned to carefully wind you up
at the end of the day. Not too much.
I admired you, even though I had no idea how to tell time.
I begged older siblings to help me
buckle the pink strap on my wrist before school.

And later, when I was too old for you,
My mom bought me a replacement band–
A black patent-leather mod hippie watch band.
I rocked that band until you finally stopped.

Now, you sit in my keepsake drawer–
Fifty years later.


Read more here at the Ethical ELA site: “Ode to a Childhood Love

Tuesday & Wednesday 23 & 24 August – Open Write

23 August 2022

Today’s poetry prompt came from Ann Burg at Ethical ELA. It’s called “Poems of Perspective,” and you can read all the details here. Here is my poem of perspective based on our remodeling activities:

Hang on to Me

You call me your favorite tool.
I don’t believe it–
you can’t keep track of me.
I have no legs, so I’m not going
anywhere you didn’t put me.
Most important tool, you say?
Yeah, right! You say, but
I find myself in
every nook and cranny,
every crook and nanny,
places you’re not likely to find me.
Never where you need me.
How about getting some
bigger pockets?

Your tape measure

Of course, here I am by the coffee
Down here, right where you left me
Oh, yes, you left me on top of the ladder too
Here, on what used to be your desk

Here’s an update on this week’s projects. The electrician has been here, and the wires in the window are not hanging down any longer.


Our window to the kitchen is coming along!

Wednesday’s poetry prompt was by Scott McCloskey called “Today Years Old.”

The hour is late and
I haven’t learned much in a
month of Sundays, but
today I may have learned that
you can hammer one nail
53 times before it goes in.

Monday, 22 August 2022 – Transforming Art into Words

Transforming Art into Words was the prompt today by Margaret Simon. She challenged us to use space as we created our poems today, in the form of Dean Rader, “Did You Walk to Oklahoma” written “After Edgar Heap of Birds, “Ocmulgee” (2005).” I enjoyed the process of trying spaces and turn words over. I will come back to this idea and spend more time on it next time.


Sunday, 21 August 2022 Open Write – This Photo Wants to be a Poem

Margaret Simon has created the prompt on Ethical ELA today. She posts a regular feature on her blog called “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem.” and today we all wrote about this photo on Ethical ELA.

Her regular feature is open to anyone who would like to participate. Check out Reflections on the Teche each Wednesday.

Here is Margaret’s post on Ethical ELA. 

Photo by Margaret Simon

fuzzy, glowing seed pods
readying for the next generation
held by a green nest of elders

Saturday, 20 August 2022, Open Write – Leucocholy

Today’s prompt by Gayle Sands is a wordplay poem. She gave links to Merriam-Webster where there were lots of uncommon words to choose from. Then we went to WordHippo and looked for antonyms, synonyms, rhyming words, and more. Read more about her prompt here at Ethical ELA’s “Wordplay for August.”

Leucocholy – “a state of feeling that accompanies preoccupation with trivial and insipid diversions.”

Doom scrolling, gaming, searching,
YouTubing, following on social media
Time spent dabbling in drivel,
Nonsense, insignificance, trivial
Pursuits and amusements.
Distractions, beguilement,
Frivolity, levity, jejune whoopee
Busyness with characterless
Banality, the bland, ho-hum ordinariness
Of tired and vapid diversions.
Oh, the mind-numbing, eye-blurring,
Wasteful feeling of leucocholy.

March #SOL22 Day 20 – Lament and Celebrate

Day 20 of March #SOL22

We are taking two days off from painting the outside of our home. There are strong wind advisories in our area today and tomorrow. Sand is blowing, creosotes are whipping the air, and we are staying snuggly indoors. However, it is not very comforting to look around my living room and see this mess.

I hate that my living room looks like this,
hijacked by renovation debris:

I love that there is hope for
restoration, relaxation, renewal
And eventual “after” photos

Today’s prompt, “Lament and Celebrate“, is from Andrew Moore at Ethical ELA’s Open Write.

March #SOL22 Day 19 – Living Water

Day 19 of March #SOL22

Thinking of ingredients in my kitchen:
rice, beans, tofu, oil, garlic, onions,
so many.
Which is most important?
None of those.
Perhaps there is only one
we can’t live without–
the unsung, unmentioned
ingredient in most recipes.
I use it in everything, really.
It takes the crunch out of pasta,
puts the porridge in oatmeal, and–
stop a second and imagine with me–
How would tea and coffee be without it?

It covers a multitude of issues,
A stew multiplies into a soup
A thick, globby mess transforms into gravy
A varnished stir fry pan (looking impossible
to clean) magically deglazes into rich broth

Water saves a dehydrated person,
Removes paint* from skin,
And, on and on
Of course, as you know,
the water usage list is endless

Which reminded me today
of you, the Living Water.
Moses hit you in the desert
and you poured out for all
the thirsty rebels

When you were by the well
You asked her
for a drink of water.
Suffering in the heat of the day,
she drew water up
in her leather bucket
and gave some to you–
clear, cool, hydrating.
Then you gave her Living Water
so she’d never thirst again
You saw her, redeemed her.

She learned, as I can,
about living water
the one I can’t live without–
the one I can’t Love without.

*Painting went well today, believe it or not!

This post is from a prompt “Ingredients” by John Noreen at Ethical ELA Open Write. Join us?