Post NaPoWriMo 2016

Twenty-five months… the age of this blog. Started April 1, 2014, it was to serve as a way for me to participate in National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and perhaps continue with blogs about things real or imagined. Well, those blogs occurred infrequently, although you could say the poems I write and post are about things real and imagined. Even those were few and far between, once my first NaPoWriMo was over.

But then, a couple of months after my second go around in 2015, I decided that having more poetry in my life would motivate me to write. So, I made the effort to check on the poets I was supposed to be “following,” and I actually started following them on a daily basis. This led me to other poets to follow, and now I find myself fretting when I need to catch up on a day or three, following a trip or other event.

I’ve learned new forms of poetry, even tried some of them through prompts or challenges, and I’ve been inspired by the poems I’ve read. For years I avoided reading the words of “contemporary” poets, out of the fear that I might end up plagiarizing or mimicking others. In the process, I was short-changing myself. A single word from another poet, or the thought behind a poem can take my mind places it might not have otherwise gone. I see that now, and I see that my writing has expanded by recognizing that.

I’ve now completed my third NaPoWriMo, and despite the trepidation I had (again) on entering, it was much easier for me this year. The fact that I have been writing at least three poems a week for the past six months was part of that, especially with the desire to meet prompts and challenges as an incentive. In fact, I also followed the daily prompt from napowrimo.net on six occasions, and I actually posted 41 poems for the month of April. (For the one day on which I posted three poems, two of them were from my archives, going back more than twenty years.) I even included video for two of them. I’ve enjoyed making video poems (especially editing graphics), in the past, but these were the first I’d done for WordPress.

My goal of reading everything tagged “napowrimo” just wasn’t possible this year. After the first two days, it became clear just how unrealistic that goal was, so instead I’ve occasionally checked in on several standouts from those two days, and from comments and pingbacks on the napowrimo.net blog. By the time I’m done reading, I’m sure I’ll be following more poets. Many of the poets I already follow post on a daily basis, but it has been nice to see their responses to the daily prompts. Overall, it’s been a rewarding month for poetry.

Of course (Wait! Is “of course” acceptable?), I don’t expect to write a poem each day, but I can see myself getting there. I will continue my tradition of posting a poem on May 1st, and that will follow shortly.

I’m looking forward to my next year of writing.

Ken G.

A Heart Waiting to Be Loved

A Heart Waiting to Be Loved

No dry well,
this deepest of wells,
but it was many years
of what seemed like drought

And there it waited,
a heart waiting to be loved,
willing to love in return,
when I heard its call

It was no easy stairway,
but I found that heart,
gave it light and love,
found that it could love in return

 

Day Thirty (Take Two) of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
The prompt for today from The Daily Post on WordPress is stairway.
The stairs pictured are in the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse on Lake Ontario, at Somerset, New York.

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Lost in Translation

Native tongue of first generation,
currency of community,
adapted by their children
with bilingual finesse,
is still familiar,
and yet foreign,
to their heirs,
and now
lost

Day Thirty of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
The prompt for today from napowrimo.net is to translate a poem into English.  This poem may be off prompt, but it considers a situation in which that ability is lost.
Nonet ~ a poem of nine lines and a syllable pattern of 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, with rhyme optional

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Curveball

I used to tell myself it was a curveball,
but it was a knuckler,
and it didn’t come out of nowhere.

I saw it from the moment it was pitched,
had seen it in flight for years,
but I froze.

Both of us had our hands on it,
steered it,
but I was the deer-in-headlights.

I couldn’t step out of the box.
Instead,
swing and miss.

Only fitting,
since the end of that game was
long overdue.

Day Twenty-Nine (Take Two) of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
The prompt for today from The Daily Post on WordPress is “curve.”

Roll the Bones

I remember when I was thirty-five,
sliding down the road on my side,
headfirst, at fifty mph,
my motorcycle next to me.

I remember thinking,
“This is not going to end well.”

I remember road rash,
a knee that kept me out of work for a month
and a concussion.
I think.

I remember wearing that denim jacket as a badge,
buying a new helmet
and feeling luckier than hell.

I remember waiting another twenty years
before I broke my first bone.

They say I screamed like a girl when
the forklift ran over,
then stopped on,
my leg.

I don’t remember it quite that way,
but I know I was thinking about that motorcycle
as it happened.

Roll the Bones

Pre-collision (1978), although all damage was on the right side and minor

 

Day Twenty-Nine of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
The prompt from napowrimo.net:
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other.  You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut all the instances of “I remember,” or leave just a few in.  At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue.  Happy writing!

There and Back

 

My kayak against the shore
And I stroke
Paddle slicing the water
Moving upstream, wind in my face
Not one bird calling in the woods
No eagles or hawks to be seen
Not a blue heron in sight
Where are all the birds?
No kingfisher keeping pace

Just ahead of me
A lone woodpecker on a dead sycamore
Turkey vultures searching, circling
A quiet morning on the river
Riding with the current, slight wind at my back
Paddle slicing the water
And I stroke
My kayak against the shore

Day Twenty-Eight (Take Two) of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
The prompt from napowrimo.net is to write a poem as a story told backwards. Forward, backward… it’s all the same.

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With the Grain

With the Grain

engrained randomness
multidimensional growth
map of a lifetime

lines
random
seemingly
interwoven
seasons on
lifetime’s
map

lines immutable
tracing both surfeit and drought
life ever in flux
strength and weakness on display
record irrefutable

Day Twenty-Eight of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
haiku ~ syllable progression 5-7-5
sept ~ syllable progression 1-2-3-4-3-2-1
tanka ~ syllable progression 5-7-5-7-7

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Shadowed Path

Shadowed Path

The path I follow is of no design for any, save for myself.
For who would choose such a worrisome burden, to be always shadowed
With thoughts of wrong turns, misdirection and detours of my own making?
And it has been worrisome, with each step I take falling heavily,
My path winding and circling, past mistakes made again and again.
My only moments of peace come during the walks I take late at night

With clarity under clouded skies, or with just the faintest moonlight,
That shadow lessened, or gone, in the light of a new or crescent moon
.

Day Twenty-Seven of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
This poem meets two prompts, Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge #28: Moonlight and the napowrimo.net Prompt for Day Twenty-Seven.
Jane’s asks us to write a poem using the Edvard Munch painting Moonlight(1893) as inspiration. She adds to the challenge by suggesting the use of five words – winding, moonlight, follow, heavily and path.
The prompt from napowrimo.net is to write a poem with very long lines, suggesting seventeen syllables per line.  My lines are indeed long, and I like to think I’ve channeled Walt Whitman.

Image source: wikipedia.com

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Frozen Tears

Frozen Tears.jpg

No fire could melt
the ice in her eyes.
Heart hardened
to any advance by
convoluted truths and outright lies,

nothing he said could quell the
river of tears
or trip the switch that would

open her heart and
relight the fire they once knew.

Day Twenty-Seven of 2016 NaPoWriMo.
The five word prompts for The Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Prompt #34 are trip, fire, river, eye and melt.
Image source: ©childofloth @ deviantart.com

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