Thirty Long Days

Thirty Long Days

I knew that I had seen the worst
When poetry became a curse
For thirty days preceding May
A poem written every day

The well ran dry too many times
In both free verse and simple rhyme
But now it seems the end is nigh
I can relax and breathe a sigh

It’s back to writing when inspired
No daily written word required
And when at last my head has cleared
I’ll try this once again next year

~ Day 30 ~

Shared with Open Link Night: We are listening at dVerse Poets Pub

Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka

Stone quarried on the grounds is railed
to a bluff. What is not a castle
is named a castle. A man leaves a sign,
a testament to his vanity. Towering
above a lake, imposing on the land,
its wealth succumbs to nature. Flames
that will not eat stone gnaw at the inside,
leaving nothing but stone that is not a castle.

And the land lives on,
preserved for more than one man.

Trails, paved and not, skirt the ruins,
pass above and below them. Berried cedars
cling to the cliff walls, while oak and walnut
line the hillsides, outliving the beams
and woodwork that once graced those ruins.
As heron fish on its shores, the lake is fed
by a spring pouring from the limestone wall.
The naturally hewn walls of the bluff
and its stone arch are the true castle to this land.

The prompt for Take Me With You from Lillian at dVerse Poets Pub
is to write a poem as a travelogue of sorts, with the name of the site in the title.

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The “castle” at Ha Ha Tonka was built in the early 1900s and was consumed by fire in 1942. The estate is now a Missouri State Park that features 3700 acres of forest that include caves, sinkholes and bluffs overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks. Other Ha Ha Tonka posts, including photos, can be found here.

 ~ Day 29 ~

Inner Sanctum ~ list poem

Inner Sanctum

no bigger than a walk in closet
          home to everything important
twin bed tucked into a corner
          meeting place & library chair
dresser, of course
          clothes have to go somewhere
1950s school desk tucked into the open closet
          already too small in 1968
one small record stand
          holding the center of the universe
record player
          one day replaced by a turntable
air filled with the voices of prophets
          Eric Burdon, The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield
one small room
          window on the world

The prompt for Day 28 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month at
is to write a poem describing a bedroom from your past.

One Man’s Heart ~ haibun

One Man’s Heart

There is no sea so wide that I would not cross, nor mountain so high that I would not climb. I would cross the driest desert and brave the wildest jungle, weather any storm of frigid snow and stand against the strongest of gales. All of this I would do so that I could proclaim to all the world my love for you. Not in sonnet nor in flowery verse, but in words so clear that none might question their intent.

one man’s heart
could not be more full
than by your side

This is my response to Haibun Monday 4/27/20: A Portrait of Two Masters,
from Frank Tassone at dVerse Poets Pub, where the prompt is to write a haibun
inspired by William Shakespeare and Matsuo Bashō.

~ Day 27 ~

ever full


ever full

torn paper
the beat of wings
turn of a leaf

a passing shadow
less than before
now a memory

a streak of chrome
a trail of red in the night
the world passing by

this, and more
unspoken thoughts
become a fount

taking shape
in words, colors
seeping across the page

holding everything, and nothing
the reader left to decide
the poet’s intent

empty hands, cupped
hold more than the universe
has to offer, hopes, wishes

left unfulfilled, leaving nothing
from the past but memories,
yet all of the future

This began as two stanzas (the final two),
which were the tangent taken by my thoughts
after reading Kerfe’s Across the Universe.

~ Day 27 ~

Dear Don ~ prose poem

Dear Don,

I know you haven’t heard from me in a while, but I understand you’ve been busy with your daily media briefings, and, well, the less said about those, the better. Okay, just one thing. Congratulations on making them all about you. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that you’ve got those doctors there, backing you up all the way. The country needs to see you up there, being a true leader. Where else are we going to get the truth, if not from you? Whatever you do, keep Mike out of the limelight. You don’t need him taking any credit. With the election just a few months away, you need as much as you can get. Although, this whole pandemic scare is working out pretty well for you. You get the daily briefing exposure, and then there’s that whole stimulus angle. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard out in public saying, “Thank God for the Trump CARES Act,” or “Did you get your Trump money, yet?” If they only new, huh, Don? Maybe this will distract them so much they don’t think about the major corporations that made stock buybacks with their stimulus money. And then there’s the money made with the states starting to stockpile hydroxychloroquine. Wink. Wink. Anyway, I just want to let you know you can remove me from your mailing list. I’m already sold, so you should save the postage for some real campaign literature. I do have to hand it to you though, getting the IRS to send a letter on your letterhead reminding me that I received my Trump money.

All the best,



~ Day 26 ~

Forbidden Fruit ~ with audio

Forbidden Fruit

Nothing like the birch, its slender height
bowing with the wind, its white skin peeling,
even floating delicately, your mother stands firm,
sometimes stout, spreading her arms in a canopy
that bears you, offers your delicacy to the world.

And what a delicious fruit you are. Sweet
or tart as any temptress could be, you cling
to the branch offering you, retaining a stem
that measures the promise you hold
with each twist. Each turn brings a luster
to your skin that seduces even as you blush
at the mere touch, inviting that first kiss.
Whether soft or firm, the flavor of your flesh
does not disappoint, is relished to the very end.

Ah, but then your connection to birch sets in
as you tickle my throat, and then my ears,
until I feel an itch even stronger than that
which tempted me to know your taste,
my tongue and throat swelling, begging
for relief. I resign myself to knowing
my sensitivity means you must feel
a fire inside of you, but isn’t it fitting
that it satisfies my passion for you,
your sweetness even richer as cobbler or pie?

Oral allergy syndrome is a reaction to the proteins in certain foods that mimic those in a pollen that causes allergies. My reaction to certain raw fruits and nuts (walnuts, almonds, apples, cherries, peaches, etc.) indicates that I am allergic to birch pollen.

The prompt for Day 24 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month
at is to write a descriptive poem about a fruit.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Skill and Care, Squared

(Click image for larger view in new tab)

Skill and Care, Squared

More than denim and flannel,
each quilted square tells the story
of a life crafted with skill and care,
pieced from one moment to the next.

No less was the skill and care,
though likely more tender,
that brought these squares to life
to commemorate a life.

Made from flannel shirts and denim jeans
I wore as a truck driver, this handmade quilt was a retirement present.

The prompt for Day 20 of National/Global Poetry Month at
is to write a poem about a homemade or handmade gift you received.

Don’t Forget To… ~ quadrille

Don’t Forget To…

Flush this memory from your mind,
this bomb shelter moment
when anyone at your door could be
a threat, the very air you breathe
the one thing you may not want
to breathe but must, when toilet paper
is the measure of your wealth.

This is my response to Quadrille #102: Don’t Forget To…
the prompt from Mish at dVerse, which is to use the word flush
in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.

Image source: