I have participated in National Poetry Writing Month every year since 2014 and have met the challenge of writing a daily poem in April for each year. Completing the challenge this year seemed harder than in past years – in fact, a couple of my poems were about writer’s block – but inspiration from other poets, as well as following other poetry prompts, helped me complete the challenge.
Writing every day, as well as reading the poems of fellow participants, seemed to consume more time than in previous years, at the expense of time usually spent reading the words of poets I follow on a daily basis. I have some catching up to do, but the sun is out, it’s not raining, and I’m going kayaking.
pausing for fresh air
poet’s mind is exhausted
writing challenge done
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.
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
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 napowrimo.net
is to write a poem describing a bedroom from your past.
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
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.
I may write of the trials imposed by a pandemic
with words that speak of separation and isolation,
the trial of being removed from fellow man,
but there is no disparity for me these days.
My one connection here was carefully chosen.
Since moving to the mid-west, I have not
been a social animal, except through the convenience
of technology, this digital medium connecting
me to others with common interests, remotely.
Do I find safety in a distance I have known all along?
Separation from family is my one trial, a choice I made
when I made this move. There are no others,
and little else, to trouble me by separation.
I am held up by the love that brought me here.
And so, I read, and I write, sometimes about the distance
imposed by an invisible force that keeps people apart.
It may be hard to believe, but love already does that.
Anything else is little more than words.
Today is Day 25 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month. I took one look at the prompt at napowrimo.net and knew there was no way I would even (want) to try meeting it. For one thing, the prompt actually came from a poetry workshop, and it has more in bullet points than my typical poem has in words. Secondly, it’s based on a poem that reads like a book. It includes a reading that takes 34 minutes. Again, that’s more minutes than my typical poem has in words. In addition, it was clear that any response would likely be a narrative, and as I said recently, I’m usually not one for writing narrative poems. (Guess what? I ended up writing one, anyway.)
Instead of following the prompt, I’ve done further edits to a prose poem I’ve been working on for the past two weeks, the current draft being a conversion to stanzas. This is that draft.
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 napowrimo.net is to write a descriptive poem about a fruit.
You can call me sir,
name me what you will,
but why be so serious?
Make it Ken. That’s not so hard.
What’s that, my full name?
A simple Ken G will do.
Ah, but but that’s not so clear
from my signature, is it?
What is it about that letter, G?
In blocks, it’s just a broken circle
with a shelf. What is this curse I’ve placed upon myself? Pen to paper, it’s a scrawl, like it doesn’t know where
it wants to go. How does it
keep from falling over?
Let’s just make this easy.
You can call me Ken.
The prompt for Day 23 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month at napowrimo.net
is to write a poem about a letter of the alphabet.