Poetry Marathon

On Saturday evening, night and Sunday during the day, I participated in The Poetry Marathon. It began at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, 4:00 p.m. Arabia Standard Time. I tried to write at least 24 poems in 24 hours. I inadvertently started cheating by writing my poems early. I had read that you could take a break to sleep, so I began working ahead. However, that is a no-no, so I redid Hours 9-12. As a result, I learned some things about the Poetry Marathon and ended up writing 28 poems in 24 hours.

Here are my rough-draft, sleep-deprived poems.

#24 Tanaga to Close

My journey began and ended with a tanaga.

Home is becoming unstuck
Looking forward to awestruck
Sweet-hope home is through the door
Not “place”, but love we adore

#23 Grandma’s Blessings

Blessings for these things:
the prayers you prayed for me,
the Mad Magazines you bought for me,
the freedom to explore anywhere,
the macaroni and cheese, please, that
had a pound of cheese any kind
a stick of butter
2 cups of bread crumbs
4 cups of milk
a dribble of oil and some flour
all in a package of macaroni
a mess thrown into the oven
a push toward early cardiac death,
but we were drowned in cheesy goodness.

Inspired by cheese and Jay Parini’s “Blessings”

#22 Wake Up

the visible becomes light
Awake, O sleeper,
Arise from the dead
and Christ will shine on you.”

Wake yourself,
you who have drunk from
the hand of the LORD
the bowl
the cup of staggering.

Awake, awake,
put on your strength
for no more shall come in the unclean

Arise, your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD
the sun of righteousness
has risen upon you.
with healing in its wings.

Wake from sleep.
For salvation is nearer to us now
than when we first believed.

A found poem based on these Bible verses: Ephesians 5:14; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 60:1; Malachi 4:2; and Romans 13:11.

#21 An Ode to My Spice Cabinet

My spice cabinet, filled to the brim with sweet and savory magic, you are a wonder.

The grinder and you have taught me to make my own masalas–chai, garam, Arab and Chinese five-spice. You open doors of the possible and make my cooking soar to summits I never knew possible.

You give me confidence to measure by the spoonful. Not the wimpy sprinkling of my past cooking life, the bland life I had before I came to know you.

Occasionally one of your mismatched recycled jars escapes when nudged too far. If it’s plastic it will bounce delighted across the floor; if glass, it goes out with gusto and flair–filling the kitchen with aromatic joy for a day or two.

Thank you, spice cabinet, for filling my world with color, aroma, flavor, and beauty.

Wow, be sure to read this beautiful Ode to Shea Butter by Angel Nafis.

#20 Outside

It’s an oven outside
The air mostly hot, still,
what you might expect
at noon near the summer
solstice on a desert island.
Onions are frying in ghee
for someone’s lunch,
making my mouth water.
I notice the oleander,
nature’s poison,
wondering again why they are
so widely used for landscaping
in family gardens here.

I wanted to sit and observe nature.
Shade was not to be found, though, so
I kept walking and went to school
to pick up a letter of recommendation
our departing principal had readied for me.
I sat outside after, enjoying some welcome
shade–the first I had seen.
I read the letter. Along with a lot of
Denise’s there was also one Angela tucked in,
a stray from a previous letter, cut-and-pasted.
I returned it to the secretary. She’ll get it fixed.

The birds seemed to be enjoying the shade
of the jasmine tree and delighting in the promise
of the fruit-laden palms.

#19 A Self Portrait

After Adam Zagajewski’s Self Portrait – I used a skeleton of his poem.

Between my cell phone, the kitchen, and my love seat
half my day passes. It is well past half a century.
I live in a land where Arabic is the language of
music and the streets.
I listen to the language’s sing song rhythms, even though
I only catch an occasional meaning in the volley around me.
I see two sides battling for my inner life.
I read stories about faith and hope and life and love and I am nurtured.
I like to write poems and letters and blog posts that no one reads.
Beside me is my partner, faithful and true.
I’m no longer able to make my mark here, but I have passed the torch
and I am content and at peace.
I like a listening ear
and spicy milk tea.
Sometimes at the sea, the miniscule waves speak to me and I am comforted.
I love working with children as they learn, create, and find their voices.
Every Friday I eat baked salmon and have a day of rest.
I am not unaware of my privilege.

I’m truly not a child of the moon,
of which Mick Jagger sang,
but a child of the Son,
and not all the plans God has for me
are met in this life that—so far—
still belongs to me.

My country freed itself from one evil. I wish
another liberation would follow.
Could I help in this? I don’t know.

~Adam Zagajewski


#18 Just Be Still, and Listen…

Image by Shloka Shankar

Come, sit here with me awhile.
No need to speak, little one.
No rush. Listen to the hush.
I have stories true to tell.

#17 Safer With Books

He read the whole plan in a book

He intended to ease himself into the water at midnight

No one would have to know or blame themselves

They would spend time looking

but the plan was perfection

marked with science,

enzymes and bacteria

He loved readying the arrangements

His body would never be found

It worked perfectly for the antagonist,

and he’d been planning it for weeks,

There were no missing links from the

author’s description

for this painless goodbye.

He had always assumed he was safer with his books,

But that night, they were waiting for him on the bridge,

And he finally realized it wasn’t true that books

are safer than people.

He let them carry him home.

“Books were safer than other people anyway.”  – Neil Gaiman

#16 The Sound of Tea After a Wakeful Night of Poetry

Glug, glug, glug

the water fills the mug.

Swoosh, splash, plop,

hubby pours it in the top.

Hum, rattle against the metal.

boils the soon-to-be tea in the kettle.

Gurgle, bubble, ease,

Poured gently over the leaves.

“Tea, my queen?”

he says with a bow and caffeine

#15 Yes

Yes, is such a hope-filled word

I wish I had said Yes to Brant

when he was tangled in

the emotions of being an

8-year-old from a broken family.

Yes, to being the kind of teacher

that gave him permission to be

“naughty” (whatever that means)

Yes, to a memory of him not

shaking his head no.

#14 Imaginary Children

I remember
Blossom who kept me company when Dad was angry
she sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” lazily and merrily
and tried not to be scared, so I could be brave

I remember
taking Blossom with me to kindergarten that first day
when I had to leave my twin baby brothers
wondering if anyone would remember to give them bottles

I remember
when Blossom refused to raise her hand for the bathroom
so she wet her pants and I covered for her
embarrassed for a moment that I had a friend like her

I remember
when a new girl at school wet her pants
I asked her if she wanted to play at recess
I think that was Blossom’s last day

#13 Haiku

Rainbow-skinned orange

Slice painted on the cloudy

Canvas, full of hope

#12 Redo

I read of a call for poems about World Food Day with inspiring, forward-looking messages against hunger. You can read more about it on Laura Shoven’s blog if you are interested. I’m drafting a poem here for the Poetry Marathon.

Quivering, savage, ravaging pain
Intolerable, mean, and fierce
Hunger hollowing inside–
But a just full world can
drive off hunger’s pangs
Honest eating
to recharge;

#12 I Am Metaphor Poem

This poem is inspired by one by Stacey Joy on the Ethical ELA Open Write last week. She wrote a lovely I Am poem based on metaphors about herself.

I am the cooing pigeon
Gentle and humble

I am the yip-howling coyote
Stealthy yet bold

I am the full fruit bowl
Sweet and giving

I am secure blue and sequin
Color of sand and sea

I am a door to home
Open and inviting

I am Solomon
Wise and open

I am a member of the upside down kingdom
Where love, justice and forgiveness win

#11 Redo

Image by Gidon Pico from Pixabay

so much depends upon
the rock pile skyscraper
against the
periwinkle sky
spread with
streaks of sourdough
cloud formations
and, of course,
that sunrise,
always a sunrise of good hope

First line taken from William Carlos Williams ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’. Prompt – Use at least five of these words/phrases:  Forest Ranger, Skyscaper, Periwinkle, sourdough, Cloud, needle, gumboots, beat, spread, storefront)

#11 Twenty Questions

This prompt came from one of my favorite teacher-poets, Allison Berryhill. It’s called Twenty Questions.

Twenty Questions

What if I would have been a seeker of justice my whole life long?
What if I didn’t punch Sharon S. in the nose?
What if I didn’t chase Mark B. around the playground and call him Hole in the Heart?
What if I would have been the nice girl instead of the scared mean girl?
Would I have had more friends? Less friends?
What if Jesus wouldn’t have saved me from myself?
What if he didn’t forgive me?
What if I never forgive myself?
What if I had said yes the first time Keith asked me to marry him?
Would we be divorced now?
What if I had got that National Geographic internship, instead of the “indeed, you were a finalist” letter? Would Keith have waited for me?
What if I had learned to speak Spanish those few times that I toyed with trying?
What if I didn’t try to make my kids eat?
What if I would have made time when I thought I didn’t have time?
What if I could do things differently? Would I?
What if I could be better? Would I?
Did I already ask that?

#10 Redo

A Blitz About Counting

Count your chickens
Count your eggs
Eggs of potential
Eggs of hope
Hope in the future
Hope to grow a family
Family of freedom
Family of reconciling
Reconciling misunderstandings
Reconciling brokenness
Brokenness of thin skin
Brokenness of pride
Pride in perfection
Pride in knowing
Knowing what it takes
Knowing when to give
Give a bundle of tears
Give a lifetime of change
Change to become better
Change to be new
New not just what I do
New inside–who I am
Am I on the road?
Am I the only one?
One of these days
One of these ways
Ways of growing
Ways to shine
Shine in joy
Shine in the light
Light of His countenance
Light of His grace
Grace to carry on
Grace to be whole
Whole and complete
Whole newness restored
Restored to life
Restored to collaborate
Collaborate for teamwork
Collaborate for justice
Justice to count loss
Justice to count costs
Costs of delaying truth
Cost of sharing pain
Pain of a soured world
Pain of a shrouded grave
Grave that was overcome
Grave now full of life
Egg to chicken life
Hatred overcome

From “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
The Blitz form

#10 Fog

Photo by Jonathan Adams on Unsplash

The fog loves San Francisco.
It comes on tiny parachutes.

Each descends with a pint-sized
paratrooper, not nearly wet
enough to end the drought.
They are wiped away with
an open hand on the window.

Mentor text:


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

~Carl Sandburg

#9 Redo

The Dictionary.com word of the day for Saturday is paucity.

When something is lacking or
needing more
when there is only a bit
of any particular thing
a deficit of dimes for the coin collector,
a scarcity of snakes for the snake lover,
a shortage of shoes for your tired feet
a dearth of earths for the whole wide world–
then we can say there is a paucity of that thing.

Learn more about definito poems here by Heidi Mordhorst.

#9 Parks and Recreation

July is Parks and Recreation Month. Did you know Kwame Alexander is putting together a community poem about Parks and Recreation? Here is my draft:

Everything around you is
a plaything,
at the park
a magical, generous, glorious,
windowful, open stream of joy.

Sitting in the tunnels,
worn smooth from years of
children sliding, crawling, playing,
imagining, creating, resting inside
These concrete cylinders were painted in
bright primary colors–red, blue, yellow–
free, generous, worthwhile, relaxing,
Saved from an inelegant assignment of
stopping floods in a culvert somewhere.
Instead, they merrily, merrily
serve as playthings.
Everything around you is a plaything
at the park.

#8 Normal

Normal who throws going out to dinner
around like we never forgot
and asks, how’s it going?
who is ever changing
and wears different gear each season
who sometimes is busy every hour
and sometimes has nothing to do but overeat
until we finally can’t seem to recognize her
whose little eyes are clouded
and acts surprised that we don’t remember
who used to go on day after day
is finished
is she a hug and a handshake
or is she a mask and hand sanitizer?
is she justice and mercy
or is she fear and anger?
Normal is hiding in the closet
and hasn’t talked to me in years
she doesn’t live here now
will she ever move back
or is her time passed?

Inspired by Prompt for Hour 7 and Sandra Cisnero’s “Abuelito Who“.

#7 Elfchen

I learned about an Elfchen poem from Donnetta Norris this past week. Here is one about walking from the last hour’s prompt.

to find
all the hopes
promised in arriving ready

#6 Bathtime

I have a list of poems I wanted to try, so some of these are getting a workout for The Poetry Marathon. Here was a sweet poem from Buffy Silverman called “Rainbow-Colored Springtime.” She wrote this sweet rhythm with each line ending with time. There are six stanzas. Click the link to read the rest:

Red time
Green time
tiny on a tree time

I decided to use one of the photo prompts from earlier to write about taking a bath.

Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

Wet bath
Free bath
Catch the best tunes bath

Rest bath
Calm bath
Soft and pruny toes bath

Soft bath
Peace bath
Lolling, lazy lounge bath

Release bath
Embrace bath
Tensions down the drain bath

#5 Scary Poem

Oh my goodness. It is only 7:00 p.m. here, but I’m already slap happy. I just grabbed a scary book off the shelf and will use the last line. Here goes nothing…

No Witnesses

It was the first time the roof of the
emerald convertible had ever been opened.
They were honeymooners and
borrowed the car from a temperate old uncle.
They wanted the full experience.
The roof folded back with one magical click
of a button on the dash.

They rode carelessly,
happily down Highway 1
toward Big Sur,
feeling the breeze in their hair
Eating their favorite
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and roasted almonds
laughing at each other’s jokes,
like they were the best comedians,
thinking they were each the luckiest
person alive.

They both agreed when
they saw the stranded motorist.
They had time to help.
Maybe he needs a charge.
Yeah, for his phone or his car.
We can enjoy the view over the cliff
while we’re at it.

Hello, can we help?

The man leaning into the VW bus
stood up quickly and said,
Nah. Everything’s fine.

Really, we’ve got all day.
We can help. It’s kind of deserted out here.

Nah, I’m good.

The happy couple
got out of the car
and walked over to the bus.
The man tried to slide the door closed,
but the bloody arm slipped out
just before the door latched.

Oh, sir. I’m sure she needs help.
May we call the doctor?

It didn’t take long to deal with the
naïve and nosy couple.

This time, there would be no witnesses.

My last line was the last line in Lies of Silence by Brian Moore

#4 Zentangle

On Friday, I read a lot of Zentangle poems. A zentangle poem is a blackout or erasure poem, a sort of found poem with designs made on the unused portions, instead of just blacking out the extra words. Read more about it on this post from Kat Apel. I have spent some time each of the first few hours of the Marathon on my first Zentangle poem.

The Poem:


After, write a chapter,
words and lines use summary.
Words describing a story,
a visual, a communicator
ready to ready thinking,
parroting powers of description
in writing.

It doesn’t mean much, haha! It was from a page in a booklet of After Reading Comprehension Activities I put together for my undergrad education students one year.

#3 Pantoum

These hours are flying by
How can we get anything else done?
Will I really stay up all night
Writing poems each hour?

How can we get anything else done?
Cooking, eating, outings–they warned me
Writing poems each hour
Will more than fill my day!

Cooking, eating, outings–they warned me
No time for these things today
Will more than fill my day
With The Poetry Marathon

No time for these things today
But thank you, Jacob Jans
With The Poetry Marathon
Your gift of love to Caitlin helps me

But thank you, Jacob Jans
For hosting us in this challenge
Your gift of love to Caitlin helps me
Write and persevere today

For hosting us in this challenge
Rhymes, meter, word choice, more
Write and persevere today
Looking forward to success

Rhymes, meter, word choice, more
These hours are flying by
Looking forward to success
Will I really stay up all night?

#2 The Deep

Photo by Luke Thornton on Unsplash

Brilliant reflections
Sunrise on the soul of the Deep
What will protect the sea?
The soul of the Deep
when all that is left
are marine research venues
with beautiful architecture
“the world’s only submarium” the fliers say
The soul of the Deep
is surely more than seven shark types
among the thousands of other sea creatures
More than two and a half million
litres of water and 87 tonnes of salt…
read the reflection in the mirror
Who will protect the sea?

Source: The Deep (aquarium) Wikipedia article

#1 Tanaga to Start

Twenty-four in twenty-four

Can we do it? Wait and see!

Through the lyric diction door

Go trekking each hour! Agree?


Poetry Friday: A Surfeit of Poems, Clunkers, and Manavelins

This week I wrote a lot of poems; I was not a student of meter. In fact, what’s meter? I was just cranking out poems. So, Linda, I’m sure I have lots of bad lines for the clunker exchange. Linda Mitchell is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today, and she has lots of “clunker” lines to exchange. Go on over and visit to join in the fun.

It was time for the June Open Write at Ethical ELA. That was fun! I have five days worth of poems from this lovely community of teacher-poets. Days One, Two, Three, Four and Five, if you are interested. Next Open Write will be July 17-21. You are welcome to join us.

There was also Margaret’s “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem,” where I pulled a couple of clunkers for Linda.

I was on the committee to create a keepsake book for our principal and his family who are leaving next week to go back to the United States. I wrote one for each of the family members. These are the pages from the book that I wrote, after I removed the photographs of family, students, and staff, for the sake of privacy.

Perhaps all my reckless poetry writing this week is getting me ready for The Poetry Marathon coming up on Saturday. Are you participating? Here is a link to my page on the Poetry Marathon site and a link to my follow-up blog post.

I did spend some time thinking about Poetry Friday before I got so busy this week. I wrote a definito poem created by Heidi Mordhorst. In Heidi’s words, a definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. Quite a fun way to learn and write about new vocabulary words. You can read lots of great examples here on her definito post.

This isn’t the first definito I’ve written. I tried a definito a few weeks ago at Margaret Simon’s blog when her post was about Rigmarole. Remember? In the comments, she asked us to try one with the word poignant. I tried, but I wasn’t happy with it and as soon as I submitted, I knew I hadn’t defined poignant. I’m trying again today on a brand-new-to-me word: Manavelins, which was one of Dictionary.com’s words of the day last week.

Merriam-Webster defines “manavelins– odds and ends of food LEFTOVERS


When your family’s had a busy week
and dinner plans look bleak, just bits and
smidges of food left in dishes in the fridge–
tofu tetrazzini, a few pieces of beet,
a tub of butter, stale bread of sprouted wheat
a bowl of Gramma’s pasta, some sticky, gooey treats,
a few peaches and some plums, so cold and sweet,
four hard boiled eggs, and just a shred of meat…
then dinner becomes a rehash of this mishmash.
All those leftovers for dinner are manavelins.

And finally, here is one more poem I wrote to read at a 5C class poetry slam, the only grade 5 class I continued to co-teach throughout the school year. I taped it up near my camera, and everyone thought I had memorized it. I’m developing some bad habits with Zoom! (Or at least habits I’ll miss after this Zoom chapter.)

5 C Poetry Slam Poem by Mrs. Denise


Have you ever used the word manavelins?
Do you think I captured it in my definito of manavelins?

Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise is the host of Poetry Friday today.


“Mandalas with Metaphors” Poetry Prompt with Anna J. Small Roseboro

Today’s prompt comes from Anna J. Small Roseboro. She asked us to choose a flower, an animal, a bird, a color, a place, a person I admire and a line or quote. I found poems I had written about each of these things, and used snippets and ideas from each to write a poem about who I am. The poems that inspired me are linked below.

Mandala about Me

I’m back in the compost pile today,
Not a pile, but a prayer bouquet
Of soil and poems, promises redeemed.
Be fruitful earth and poets, God beamed.

I went back and found the flowers,
The animals, all that fill my hours—
Topics I have written poems about–
Mirrors of life, here each gets a shout

On not being able to make up my mind
The flower that speaks of me are all those that have bloomed, fed, and shriveled to produce ripe sweet fruit. I am a whole fresh fruit atlas.

On knowing when to speak
Coyotes make their mark stealthily, except when they don’t. Then they make their yip-howls fill up the neighborhood, making people take note.

On not being flashy
Pigeons coo, unconcerned that they aren’t showy, but they know they are well-tended.

On finding color
Secure blue and sequins sought out and gathered these bits of nature in this dry and dusty land.

On going home
Through the door from one place to another. But either here or there, whispers from God point to life-drenched promise of home.

On being wise
Dr. Solomon servant of the upside-down realm of Jesus, did not stop his work in the urgent care clinic for poor and sick people. Covid killed him one year ago this week. Now the clinic where he worked has been dedicated to his memory.

On living upside-down
The last will be first, and the first last.
The greatest among you will be your servant.
Sometimes living with upside down values doesn’t seem to make sense, but clawing to the top of the pile makes less.

June Open Write – Monday, 21 June 2021

We are writing poems at Ethical ELA’s Open Write for June, and I have the privilege of leading the prompts for the first three days. Here is Day 3’s prompt.


Today we are going to choose a mentor poem to help us craft. These mentors can come from anywhere you have read them, but I’d like to encourage you to choose a mentor from a writing community you are a part of–with students, peers, colleagues, or someone here in the Ethical ELA community. For those who have been writing poems with Ethical ELA, I know you have been inspired by fellow teacher-poets in this group. Today I chose a poem by Stacey Joy that struck me. Stacey wrote a sweet and beautiful poem called Love…. I was touched with the beauty and simplicity of her lines of similes. 


Your love is tender

Enveloping like a patchwork quilt

Deep love like a poem

Sweet love like butter cookies

Golden love like sunshine

An agape kind of love

© Stacey L. Joy, April 24, 2021
Used with permission by the poet. All rights reserved.


Look back in your memory for poems or poets that have touched you from this or other writing communities. Find a mentor you want to use and be inspired.


  1. Write a poem with your mentor’s poem as a guide. Go back to the prompts and poems from Saturday, Sunday, last April or anytime to find a mentor. Choose your own topic and try using their form. 
  2. Try choosing a poem from today’s offerings that inspires you. You will be writing a third-generation inspired poem!
  3. Instead of a full form mentor, choose just one favorite line from another poem and incorporate that into your own poem. 
  4. Use Stacey’s mentor form on your own topic. Here is a form to use for her “Love…” poem. 
  5. Please share a link or information about the mentor poem/poet you found, so we can enjoy your inspiration too.
  6. As usual, feel free to write anything you need to today. 


Denise’s Original Poem 


Your alcohol is wounding

burying our family 

in a wet shroud

Penetrating alcohol like the coyote’s yip-howl

Bountiful alcohol like a wake of vultures at dusk

Choking alcohol like a heart attack

A ravaging kind of alcohol

©Denise Krebs, April 24, 2021


Your Turn
Come on over to the Ethical ELA site and join us today. Or add a link to your poem in the comments section.

June Open Write, Sunday, 20 June 2021

This weekend we are writing poems at Ethical ELA’s Open Write for June, and I have the privilege of leading the prompts for the first three days. Here is Day 2’s prompt.

I Dream A World
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

~Langston Hughes


During the spring, a poem of the day on Poet.org was by Margaret Noodin. She was inspired by Langston Hughes to dream for the world. About the process she said, “With all we’ve lost and learned this past year, and all that remains to be repaired, I thought perhaps we should all sit down and dream harder and more often with more clarity and infinite diversity.” She inspired me to stop and dream awhile. That’s where our poem is going today. 

Margaret Noodin wrote her poem in both Ojibwe and English after Langston Hughes’ “I Dream a World.” Here is the first part of her poem. Do click the link to read or listen to her read her whole poem. 

Nimbawaadaan Akiing / I Dream a World
By Margaret Noodin

Nimbawaadaan akiing
I dream a world

atemagag biinaagami
of clean water

ancient trees

gaye gwekaanimad
and changing winds.


Today, let’s dream for the world harder, more often, and with more clarity and diversity. I look forward to reading your dreams today. 


  1. Try a couplet poem in ABCB, like Langston Hughes did. I tried this, using his title phrase and last line of “I Dream a World” for my own poem. 
  2. Use Margaret Noodin’s inspiration by writing in two languages, one line after the other about your dream for the world.
  3. Choose any form you want to experiment with or free verse and write about your infinitely diverse dreams for the world. 
  4. Write whatever is on your heart and mind today.

Original Poem 

I Dream a World
By Denise Krebs
After Langston Hughes

I dream a world where peace
And justice will embrace
A world of hope, a future
Overflowing with grace 
I dream of a world where 
Yielding power prevails
A world where all peoples 
Will prosper, not in travail
A world all gathered with
Flags of peace unfurled
Hope born of love–not hate
Of such I dream, my world!

Your Turn
Come on over to the Ethical ELA site and join us today. Or add a link to your dream poem in the comments section.

June Open Write – Saturday, 19 June 2021

Today begins Ethical ELA’s Open Write for June, and I have the privilege of leading the prompts for the first three days. Here is a link for Day 1’s prompt as well as shared below:

The Hay(na)ku is a 21st century poetic form designed by Eileen R. Tabios, a Filipino-American poet, fiction writer, artist and more. The form, which Tabios first called Filipino Haiku. Eileen describes it in an interesting history of hay(na)ku. Lately I’ve been writing a hay(na)ku each day in my planner after the day, a quick and fun way to recap a memorable event or emotion. I was inspired by Tabios’ Counting Journal described in the history of the hay(na)ku. 


Traditionally, Hay(na)ku have:

  • 3 lines
  • A total of 6 words – 1 in the first, 2 in the second, and 3 in the third
  • No syllable, rhythm, or meter constraints.
  • You can also write reverse hay(na)kus.

Examples of hay(na)ku:
Goes bad
When left forgotten

Clean, brilliant
Entices me in

Entrusted with independence
Children sprout

Think of a topic and write a collection of hay(na)ku to capture the many aspects of your topic. Choose:

  • A season of the year
  • A month of the year
  • A day of the week
  • A holiday or special day in the calendar (Juneteenth, Father’s Day, or whichever day you choose)
  • A family member
  • A pet
  • A particular class at school
  • A favorite book or television series
  • Any topic you would like to explore

As always, feel free to write in any form or topic you need to and want to write today.

My Example

Signs of Friday
By Denise Krebs

Two plates of food with veggies, rice or pasta and salmon.
Two Friday dinners

Jumu’ah Mubarak
Holiest of days

Together again
Only the young

Our treat
Once a week

Ice cream
Usually ice cream

And relaxing
On the loveseat

The neighborhood
If weather’s bearable

Extra sleep
Like Sunday afternoons

poems and
commenting–Poetry Friday!

Your Turn 
Do you want to try hay(na)ku? Come on over to the Ethical ELA site and join us today. Or add your hay(na)ku in the comments section below.

More Meter, Including Maria’s, for Poetry Friday

Thanks to Buffy Silverman for hosting today’s Poetry Friday at her blog. I love the sweet rhythm in her “Rainbow-Colored Springtime” poem. It is so fun to read aloud. I will add it to my mentors, Buffy!

Last week I was working on meter and rhyme, and Linda Baie recommended Renee LaTulippe to me. This week I watched some of Renee LaTulippe’s “Peek and Critique” series on her YouTube channel–Lyrical Language Lab. Very helpful!

As a result, I continued to consider rhythm and rhyme. I tried two more triolets, inspired by Buffy’s rhythmic cicada song poem she wrote last month: “At the Oak’s Brown Skirt.” I also tried a triolet last month, but in that one I just counted eight syllables per line. This time I tried to be intentional and write in a certain meter. First, I tried iambic tetrameter, which is the common meter for English triolets:

No Algorithm for Rhythm

Afraid to write a poem today
I learned too much about the art
But not enough to bloom away
Afraid to write a poem today
Oh, will I ever find my way?
Remember I just need to start
Afraid to write a poem today
I learned too much about the art

I tried another one in trochaic tetrameter with truncated feet at the end of each line (that’s a mouthful, which I had never heard of before!)

Believe in Science

Give us science, real and sound.
Fauci, during novel strain,
Follows facts for virus round.
Give us science, real and sound.
Study will control the crown–
Vaccinate so health will reign.
Give us science, real and sound–
Fauci during novel strain.

I’m not sure how successful I was, but I will keep trying!

On another note, this week I cleaned out all the old drafts on my blog. I happened on one that I wrote in December 2013 about an event that happened in 2002. It seemed somehow appropriate for this Poetry Friday since I’ve been working on meter. Here is the post I wrote, but didn’t publish eight years ago:

I was sorting through my children’s things, scanning and purging after years of saving everything that came home from school. I found poems Maria had written in eighth grade. This paper with two scribbled poems was different from most of the things in her keepsake box. It wasn’t an assignment I had saved, but a scrap of paper that I recovered after she did her homework.

Her class was attempting rhyming with various rhyme schemes and rhythm patterns. She was struggling with the assignment. She didn’t want to write poems, and this was one of her first attempts:

This is a dumb assignment.
It needs some refinement.
You should put it in confinement.
Or sell it on consignment.

I was so excited and said, “I think that’s amazing. I’m going to share it with your teacher.”

She was quiet and continued working. Very quickly she passed her next poem to me:

Do not! I’ll get in trouble.
Don’t burst my bubble.

Sadly, I don’t know what she ended up turning in that next day because this post is all the memory I have of this scene.

Do head over to Buffy Silverman’s blog and you can find Poetry Friday hosting post with links to all the participants.

Dodoitsu for “This Photo”

Today is the day Margaret Simon posts a photo each week for “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem.” Today, I also read Carol Varsalona’s Slice of Life post with flower wreaths and bringing nature inside. She wrote a dodoitsu on that post, as well. I read Donnetta Norris’s Poetry Friday post with two dodoitsu poems. I tried one here with this photo giving me the inspiration:


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A post shared by Bonne Terre 🌎 (@bonneterrela)

I appreciate the beautiful photos Margaret shares–sometimes her own and something from friends with beautiful Instagram accounts to follow. I had never noticed elderflowers before, even though I grew up in southern California, where I read that they grow. Margaret’s poem taught about the medicinal value of the elderflower. I went to do a little more research on these beautiful flowers. I learned that Meghan and Harry had a lemon and elderflower wedding cake. I tried a dodoitsu, which is a four-line poem, no meter or rhyme constraints, with a syllable count of 7-7-7-5, and the poem can be about love or work with a comical twist. (Oops, I hope you don’t think my last line is funny.)

Elderflowers like snowflakes
What will each bud grow to be?
Spirits for a new pastry?
Stem to grace a grave?