Poetry Friday – Ars Poetica

Last summer I learned about the 2-Day Poem Contest. I wrote an Ars Poetica poem with last April’s words here. Then this month I actually signed up for this April’s 2-Day challenge. On Sunday morning I woke up remembering it was coming up. I realized I had 16/48 hours left to get started and finish, which actually worked better for me. I can’t imagine how many changes I would have made and undone over 48 hours!

I didn’t spend much time finding a story where all the words could live together somehow. Instead I did another Ars Poetica poem.  The words for this year were bog, noctambulant, slink, peachy, broadside, spine, wax, mnemonic, cross, toast.

Ars Poetica

After Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be
Stirring me in small hours
For noctambulant awe,
A stroll to revive my heart,
Even a mnemonic to start
To help me remember

A poem should be
Mother Mary burned on toast
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Heavenly, holy tidings
Hitting me broadside
Shivers to my spine

A poem should be
Absent plugs of wax
And corked up feelings, but
Lift my mind’s fog
As I cross the endless bog
Of misunderstandings

A poem should be
Peachy and creamy
And full of dreamy
Waves of sweetness
But not sappy or jejune
A little sour too for my soul

A poem should be
Not a still slink calf
Aborted too soon
Not silent and dull
But one born fully alive
Fragile yet ready to thrive

A poem should just be

Today is Poetry Friday and the roundup is happening at Jone Rush MacCulloch’s blog today. Head over there for lots of good things this morning.

#Verselove, Week 3

Today is Poetry Friday and time for another roundup of my #Verselove poems from this week. Thank you, all, for the lovely April poetry showers. you’ve been sharing at your blogs. Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche. She is sharing news of the Kidlit Progressive Poem for 2022 and adding her own safe place, mysterious and magical line to the poem.

All Things Cheese with Tammy Belko

Ode to Cheese?

Shakey’s Pizza
Ooey gooey
Stringy, cheesy…
And chop suey

Yes, and dumplings
Plumpy and filled
With spicy veggies,
Brats and corn, grilled

Thick Greek yogurt,
olives, gyros,
so many more
(The Greeks, such pros)

Which brings me to
The Middle East
Savory rice,
Felafel feast,

Cream Kunefe
And all things sweet,
Fine baklava,
Ice cream treats

What was I talking about?
Oh, cheese! But I’m reminded
All foods tend to make me
hungry, meal-minded

When You Need a Break Go to a Place of Comfort with Leilya Pitre

Small Town Walking
Go from here to there in a small town
and you are likely to run into people.
We stopped at the outlet store and
bought an umbrella and a bag for my
crochet projects. We talked a long time
to the clerk we hadn’t seen in five years.
We went across the street and had coffee,
chatted with our friends, proud owners of this
new establishment. We drank chai and
espresso and ate complimentary macarons
because we were back in town.
We chatted about the brokenness in
politics and church politics.
We walked to Ace Hardware to buy
a hairdryer to replace the one I forgot.
We stopped in the entryway there, hugging a
person we knew, but what was her name?
I finally came up with it.
As we talked, I called hello to a passing mom
of a second grader I taught 35 years ago.
How’s he doing?
What’s he up to now?
Then the eye doctor came in and my husband
talked about eyes and how he was
the best eye doctor he’s ever had.
Then we walked to the grocery store and
bought a few things for dinner.
We were gone for four hours.
Grateful our minds didn’t fail us
as we remembered names,
our hearts full of good people.

What I Didn’t Do with Tammy Breitweiser (my poem)

Shadowing efforts
Tested by fire, what remains?
So little is a stone

The last line  of my haiku is taken from Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Burning the Old Year“.

How to Be Poem with Sheri Vasinda

How to Be A Yucca Brevifolia

Embrace those short leaves.
Don’t try to grow anywhere but the Mojave Desert.
Grow just 2 or 3 inches a year.
Tangle your arms and legs into a giant Twister maze.
Enjoy a long 500-year life.
Feed and shelter your animal neighbors.
Show off your springtime flowers and summertime fruits.
Don’t hang your head when others say you are from a Dr. Seuss book.
Stand up as tall as your potential three stories,
And tallest among all yuccas.
Don’t be prickly, but wield your desert dagger with zeal.
Keep breathing.
Treasure your protected status.
Get healthy.
Pray for the humans to stop ruining the world.

Succinct Truth Inspired by Lucille Clifton with Maureen Young Ingram (my poem)

i wish them to have
empathy for the oppressed
i wish them eyesight
to see the truth

i wish them to let go
of their lust for power
i wish them to see behind
the curtain of their wizard

i wish them to
take down their
damn trump-pence sign

Choices We Make with Gayle Sands (my poem)

My Mom
She was born a century too soon
to have the right to an education
without a serious fight for it–
working class and female
worked against her dreams
She wasn’t a scrappy seizer of opportunities
or she may have had a different life, following
her passions–
drafting class in high school,
(she aced it, the only girl)
college and a degree in architecture
(No, how could I?)
She followed culture’s expectations
“I always just wanted to be a wife and mother,”
she said many times,
trying to believe it for herself.

Tankas with Cara Fortey (my poem)

A step closer and gasp. Each day, new blossoms
welcome the bumblebees and surprise me.
Today fuchsia fireworks call, “Look at me!”

Flowers this morning.jpg

Poetry Friday and Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, and thanks to Anna J. Small Roseboro’s #Verselove prompt today, it made me think to write a Good Friday poem.

Flirty Venus’ namesake day
Relinquishes the work week
Into reassuring rest–
Day of finis. This Friday they call Good
All the more, when
You declared, “It is finished.”

Today is Poetry Friday, as well. Thank you to Matt Forrest for rounding up all the Poetry Friday posts here, with an interview with children’s author and poet, Leslie Bulion.

Image by AlexandruPetre on Pixabay

Poetry Friday – Happy National Poetry Month

2022 NATIONAL POETRY MONTH POSTER from Academy of American Poets

There’s a poem in this place
and a hope for humanity
in the cleaving of brokenness
the loved become whole
in this place of poems

Happy National Poetry Month. This is my first April being in the Poetry Friday community during this special month. I look forward to all the delicious poems being written and shared this month. Heidi Mordhorst, at “my juicy little universe”, is the host for Poetry Friday on this good first Friday of National Poetry Month. She has a wealth of poetry opportunities for your perusing pleasure.

Poetry Friday – three poems

Happy Poetry Friday. Thank you to Amy at The Poem Farm for hosting today. Stop by and read about her Pick-a-Proverb project for April. You can also read a lot of other poetry delights by others.

This past week was Ethical ELA’s Quick Write. Here are the last three days of the five-day March Quick Write, including one ekphrastic dodoitsu, inspired by the Poetry Sisters.

With each swing of the
hammer, I have more respect
for carpenters and

painters and builders.
I would much rather stop and
look up at that sky.

The prompt for the poem above was called “Look Up” by Chiara Hemsley.

The photo below came from Twitter. When I saw this image on Twitter, posted by Kevin Rothrock, a journalist in Russia, I thought of the mosaic of this young person’s life and all the choices that have brought them to this place in life. According to Rothrock and commenters, the translation on the back of the coat says, “This is my grandfather’s coat. During WWII, he starved as a child in occupied territory. Why do the gruesome themes of [those] long-ago stories echo in my time? I feel pain and I’m scared. I don’t want war!”

Grandchild of promise hopes for
a future of peace and gets
remnants of terror, for we
cannot remember.

The prompt for the above was for a Mosaic Poem offered by Wendy Everard.


Generations linger and then go
The years with you flew, Grandma
My mom was young, just 43
When my sister was due. Grandma?
Yes, she was a grandma many times
Over. 25 years later, still a new Grandma
Now her grandchildren are grown
My sister siblings too: grandmas
It’s Denise’s turn soon to join the club
Precious baby, I love you, Grandma

The poem above is an attempt at a Ghazal poem, prompt by Wendy Everard.

During April we will start a month of writing poems at Ethical ELA called #verselove. You are welcome; sign up here.



March #SOL22 Day 18 and Poetry Friday – A Perverse Amusement Park

Day 18 of March #SOL22
Today’s Poetry Friday

Keith prayed for us yesterday morning before we started painting–he prayed for a good and safe day, that we would be productive and live in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.)

He came back from Home Depot saying, “Are you ready for some fun? I got a 3M Hand-Masker, so you can tape up the windows, and I’ll spray.”

After we both tried the tape dispenser a few times, I threw it down and said, “This is a piece of garbage. How much did you pay for this stupid contraption? Why are you being so patient with it. It’s obviously broken or defective. It deserves no patience. Some things in life call for the fruit of the flesh–like a fit of anger over this worthless piece of s*%^!”

Painting a house
is a perverse amusement park,
which is to say there is occasional fun–
like waving around a squirt gun with paint in it
and eating Snickers bars my husband brought home–
but I fear the evil lurking around
all the bone-headed mistakes,
overspray, wasted paint,
and harsh words.
I fear I will never be able to exit.
Yesterday I cried,
fell off a step stool,
cursed my husband,
prayed for mercy,
and lay on the cold tile floor.
Not necessarily in that order.
And we aren’t even
finished with the priming.
There is no departure,
no way to get out.
Every morning, we get up
for another rollicking day
at the amusement park from hell.

On another note, my husband has been trying to help us keep perspective and awareness of our privilege in having a house to paint. While we were having trouble figuring out the sprayer, he said, “I was just thinking about all the people in Ukraine who don’t even have a house left to go to.”

Those are just a few snippets of yesterday’s painting. Today we took the day off–not a drop of paint involved–we went into Palm Springs for lunch and shopping.

Taylor Mali, creator of metaphor dice, is hosting a contest. He’ll also be collecting poems for an anthology containing poems that have been written using his metaphor dice by adults and students. Have you written a metaphor dice poem before? The one above is my second try. The deadline for submission is April 30. Click to see the simple submission guidelines.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town with a sweet bird-watching moment captured in a haibun. Today is Day 18 of the March #SOL22 challenge.

Poetry Friday – Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle

Day 11 of March #SOL22

I am trying an N+7 poem, a kind of Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle (OULIPO), or Workshop of Potential Literature, which I learned from Linda Mitchell last week. In this poem, you remove nouns (N) from a poem that has already been written. Then using a paper dictionary, you look at the seventh word (+7) from the word you removed. Thus, school becomes scoop in the first line of “Sick” by Shel Silverstein. I mostly left the nouns at the end of the lines unchanged to maintain the rhyme.


“I cannot go to scoop today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the mechanism and the mumps,
A gate, a rate and purple bumps.
My muck is wet, my thrush is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My topcoats are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chigger pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my fact looks green?
My legion is cut–my eyries are blue–
It might be instamatic fluke.
I count and snivel and gauge and choke,
I’m sure that my left legion is broke–
My hiss hurts when I move my chin,
My beach buzzer’s caving in,
My bacon is wrenched, my annual’s sprained,
My ‘pliance pains each time it rains.
My notary is cold, my toilets are numb.
I have a slope inside my thumb.
My nick is stiff, my volleyball is weak,
I hardly white-bait when I speak.
My toot is filling up my mouth,
I think my hake is falling out.
My electrician’s bent, my spiritualism ain’t straight,
My temptation is one-o-eight.
My brandy is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hollyhock inside my ear.
I have a hansom, and my hearth is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Original poem “Sick” by Shel Silverstein

Another try with an Emily Dickinson poem.


“Hornet” is the thirty with federate –
That perches in the source –
And sings the turbojet without the worker –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gallium – is heard –
And sore must be the straggle –
That could abash the little Bishopric
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest lanky –
And on the strangest Secret –
Yet – never – in Eyelet,
It asked a crustacean – of me.
Original poem:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
By Emily Dickinson
Snowball poems are another kind of OULIPO poetry. For instance, the nonet, where each line gets another syllable added, up to line nine, which has nine syllables–like a snowball rolling up bigger and bigger. Snowball poems can also be written adding one word to each line, like the one I wrote on Wednesday for my Slice of Life.
Baked potato
Filet mignon steak
Broccoli with cheese sauce
Root beer floats for dessert
Laughter, conversation, and dogs to pet
With family and friends, heartfuls of love

Here’s another form of a snowball where each word in a line has one letter added:

I am dim, very dingy, opaque, ignored, crumbled.
I am joy, seen, blest, bright, blazing, becoming.

And this unwieldy sentence growing from one letter to 18 letters:

A so far away point etches obvious overlays, broadened explosions expatiating multifaceted entanglements intransitively, representations discombobulating characterizations disproportionately.

Today is Poetry Friday, as well as Day 11 of the March Slice of Life. Our hosts for Poetry Friday are Sylvia and Janet over at Poetry for Children. There is a delicious post there today! Thank you, Sylvia and Janet, and all the best on your delicious new anthology.


Poetry Friday – Cardiologist’s First Pitch

I read an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post this morning. Philip Bump made an interesting comparison after Tucker Carlson micked Kamala Harris’s speaking skills. Tucker while reading his teleprompter (by the way) judged Harris’ occasional gaffes during off-the-cuff remarks. I was struck by Bump’s quote: “It’s like a minor league middle relief pitcher mocking a cardiologist’s first pitch.” ~Philip Bump in “Tucker Carlson says it’s Kamala Harris’s fault he carried Putin’s water

The Cardiologist’s First Pitch

it’s not the most important part of the job,
like the NIAID director’s first pitch.
A bad first pitch has
minor impact–actually absolutely no impact–on
league play and especially no impact on
middle-of-the-night emergency surgery,
relief from an imminent heart attack. The
pitcher who uses jeers and
mocking to judge the doctor’s pitch is
a fearful egomaniac. The
cardiologist’s throw is just a throw, the
first ceremonial lob. The real first
pitch will be fired in by a professional.

Today is Poetry Friday. Kat Apel is hosting us today here all the way from Australia. Thank you, Kat. Stay safe during the storms and congratulations on your release week of What Snail Knows.