Poetry Friday, Verselove, Week 1

Today is Poetry Friday and the roundup is being hosted by Janice Scully at Salt City Verse. She has a book review and author interview with David Elliott of At the Pond.

I just remembered about the 2-Day, 10 Words, 1 Poem contest that is coming up soon. The deadline to register is next Friday, 15 April. Last year I wrote a poem using the ten words, but I wrote it in July, after the contest. I’ve signed up for this year’s contest. How about you?

Today I am sharing the first week of Ethical ELA poems I wrote. The links go to the prompt, which are great for classroom or personal use.

Day 7 – (Song) Structures Speak with Chris Goering (my poem)

I’m the supple stick in the mud
That bends and bobs but doesn’t break.
I’m the thorn between two buds
Attempting to keep them awake

I’m the shovel that carried the sand
To plant bright hope rather than hate
I’m the peace promise made by hand
which was hard to keep and came too late

Day 6 – Cherita with Mo Daley (my poem)

My sister came from Arizona to Seattle yesterday.

She can’t stay until the baby shower on Saturday,
so she took us out for dinner. Tears were shed

over the deaths of her husband and eldest son during
Covid. But she laughed y hablaba español with our camerero
and loved us, fully present, full of life and hope.

Day 5 – 4×4 Poems with Denise Krebs

On Day 5, I was busy reading and commenting on poems (and also flying up to Seattle for my daughter’s baby shower on Saturday). Here are some 4×4 poems I have written over the past few months.

Our Baby Boy

Day star dawning
Sunshine beaming
Precious brilliance
Of toasty warmth

Rise in the east
Day star dawning
Warming the earth
With joy and hope

Rising round womb
Growing bundle
Day star dawning
The world awaits

Grandson coming
Family grows
Into sunshine
Day star dawning

Who is Denise?

Denise Reed Krebs
Friend, mother, wife
Teacher, learner
Christian and me

Wasn’t always
Denise Reed Krebs
First Denise Reed
Then married Keith

I added his
Last name to mine
Denise Reed Krebs
Together now

So many years
One united
Keith Lewis Krebs
Denise Reed Krebs

Voting Questions

Ask the questions:
Is voting a
right? Or is it
only for those

we agree with?
Ask the questions:
MAGA members?
Progressives? All?

Do citizens
all get to vote?
Ask the questions:
Or just those who

preserve ballot
box “purity”?
Jim Crow reborn?
Ask the questions.


Resilient, proud
fighting for peace
freedom is sweet

Blooms for Russians?
send Molotov
cocktails instead

Brave president
Averts world war
battle alone

Chaos and dying
as world watches
on Instagram

Day 4 – Burrows and Seeds with Jennifer Guyor-Jowett (my poem)

What was lost is now found
Or a hope God’s not bound

In amaryllis and holey toast
Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Each reflects the image of God
So, is patriarchy a fraud?

Mother, Daughter, Holy Hen
Women in God’s image, not just men

Invisible, yet present
I wait for Your good Advent

Day 3 – Collaboration Poem with Gae Polisner and Lori Landau (my poem)

the doves were active today, the
way they flitted, leaving their twin seeds unattended.
forgiveness lives in the hearts of parents and
arrives each spring because eggs
with cracks too early won’t hatch, but
the fissures of a future bright with
promise mean the fledglings are coming, legacy
of new life, a gift of

Day 2 – Core Memories with Emily Yamasaki 

“Things I Have Memorized”

the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies
the place my head fits on your chest
the way the hummingbirds whip the air as they drink
the sound of the mourning doves in the evening
the smell of the books in the old library in Hollydale
the “indeed you were a finalist” in my rejection letter
the love and mercy and grace God pours out
the scent of plumerias on a hot humid evening
the long limbs of the Joshua trees pointing to hope

Day 1 – Verselove Begins with Bryan Ripley Crandall (my poem)

For sitting and staring
I really can’t think of anything
Remotely as mesmerizing,
Enjoyable, and relaxing as these
Lingering moments around the fire.
It was what kept me this evening.
Good night, welcoming #Verselove.
Here even though it’s late.
Thank you, friends.

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.

Poetry Friday – Thankful

Thankful today for the verdict of this week, but there is work to be done.

Racialized violence–
Time to end this grip on hate
True justice can come
When people like Ahmaud can
Move through the world peacefully

~A found tanka by ACLU’s Instagram post

Today’s round up is by Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town.  What a treasure chest of poetry goodness she has given us today. Do stop by!

Poetry Friday – Justice

“Blah, blah, blah,”
he spoke incessantly,
arms expressive.
As I sat in the doctor’s waiting room,
I wasn’t hearing the audio as
I watched the recorded “highlights”
of the testimony.
I thought tears
would flow anytime as
I began thinking of that
other trial last week,
with those infamous tears.
The chyron below gave me
some of his words:
“Defendant testifies
‘This was a life-or-death situation.'”

I remembered the video evidence,
submitted by one of the murderers–
Three men against one,
three aggressors against one victim,
two vehicles against two shoes,
two guns against none,
three against one,
white against black.

Ahmaud Arbery was an unarmed jogger
just hoping for a country
he could
his right to live.

I wrote about Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers in September 2020 here in “Say His Name–Ahmaud Arbery,” the third poem on that post.

Today is Poetry Friday. Thank you to Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink. Her post today is filled with beautiful autumn verses and photos: “Unveiling of Bedecked in Autumn Gallery“.

Poetry Friday – 2 Percent

Days numbering 2,873
Days of worry and those carefree
Days of full health and sickness
Days of glad joy and sadness
Days of work and fun vacation
Days of overwork and relaxation
Days of dullness and shining jewels
Days of burden and then renewal
Days of dining in and often out
Days of rain (1.5%) and drought
Days of relationships so compelling
Days in our Bahrain dwelling.

While I was here,
I met people from 67% of earth’s countries,
100% of my daughters became married to
100% extraordinary partners.
I lost 25% of my sisters and
8% of my body mass,
I spent 21% of my married life
and 12% of my full life so far.

On 16% of the days I wrote on this blog,
26% of the days refilled water bottles,
18% of my Thursdays edited church
service videos during the pandemic,
44% of my days at Al Raja School,
and 36% of my days at church.

Now there are 56 days to go.
just 2%
of our time remains
How will I make the most of it?

I know this:
100% of my days
are forever a gift of Grace

Do you want to join some of us in writing daily poems of gratitude this month? Post your short poems with #gratitude, #gratiku, #gratitudepoem.

Today’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading. The Inklings wrote poems using percent today, so I had fun thinking of some of the things I had done during the last eight years in Bahrain.