Private Audience ~ quadrille

Private Audience

Tucked out of sight beneath a rock ledge,
my kayak motionless on water
smooth as glass, I gaze from shadow
into light, spellbound by an aerial ballet
of swallows weaving around each other
as if choreographed in a performance
for an audience of one.

 This is my response to Quadrille #154: Casting a Poetic Spell, the prompt from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word spell in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

Not So Silent Water ~ duplex

Not So Silent Water

Where else would I be
than here, on quiet water?

The water not so quiet,
carries songs of birds.

All around me is a chorus
led by cardinal’s cheerful call.

Calling out much louder,
tufted titmouse responds.

Trilling out its lonely answer,
a kingfisher passes by.

Turtles leave before I pass,
break the water with a splash.

With such sounds to break the silence,
Where else would I be?

This is my response to Day 27 at, where we are asked to write a “duplex,” which is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. Maureen Thorsen describes it this way:

“It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first.

Sweet Damsel

Sweet Damsel

Sweet damsel, light and airy,
as we glide across the water,
may the light of your tiny wings
guide this vessel through
the wonders of your world
and grace us with the beauty
that surrounds you.

This is my response to Day 12 at,
where we are asked to “write a poem about a small thing.”


True Direction ~ soliloquy

True Direction

Where is it that I’m headed
paddling these waters?
Is there any direction?
Do I merely wander?

Although no simple answer,
it is a simple choice.
When I’m upon these waters
I hear my inner voice.

The quiet I encounter,
in spite of gay songbirds,
allows my thoughts to wander,
I have, by this time, learned.

Each time I raise my paddle
upon this placid stream,
I find my true direction
is closer than it seems.

This poem is my response to Meeting the Bar: Soliloquy, the prompt from Victoria at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a soliloquy, giving a glimpse of inner thoughts and feelings, such as emotions, plans, and desires. I’ve tried to include some examples of poetic device as requested, by using rhyme or near-rhyme and loose meter.

Image: Ellicott Creek, Amherst New York
(click image for larger view in new tab)

The Water Meets My Needs ~ mirrored refrain

The Water Meets My Needs

A leaf drifts slowly past me,
going where the current leads.
As my paddle meets the water,
the water meets my needs.

Each time, there’s something new
to experience, discover.
The water meets my needs
as my paddle meets the water.

From heron standing on the shore
to ducks concealed in bankside reeds.
As my paddle meets the water,
the water meets my needs.

Many rewards can be found
in each scene I encounter.
The water meets my needs
as my paddle meets the water.


This poem is my response to Poetry Form: Mirrored Refrain, the prompt from Grace at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. A mirrored refrain is formed by three or more quatrains where two lines within the quatrain are the “mirrored refrain” or alternating refrain.

 The rhyme scheme is as follows: xaBA, xbAB, xaBA, xbAB, etc.. (x represents the only lines that do not rhyme within the poem. A and B represent the refrain.)

The Flight of Swallows

The Flight of Swallows

With no cooling breeze on a hot summer day,
I trail my paddle to direct my kayak
’round the bend to the middle of the narrow river
and a bridge that offers welcome shade
from the sun, now directly overhead.

Sunlight glances from my approaching waves
to shimmer on mud nests crowded together
on the beams beneath the bridge. Swallows fly
in the sunlight ahead as I rest for a moment,
amused by their aerial acrobatics.

Like needles that weave through currents of air,
they pass each other a mere breath apart,
wing never touching wing, a simple matter
for them, while this humble viewer is
content to be carried by the river’s current.

Continuing on, I pass beneath and among them
as they dart back and forth in a feeding frenzy.
A short while later, I turn upstream and watch them
once more before continuing home, hopeful
that I might weave words of their flight onto paper.

This poem is my response to The Sunday Whirl – Wordle #513.


Click images for larger view in new tab.

Where the River Bends ~ ghazal

Five days ago, I wrote two versions of Where the River Bends as a response to MTB: To turn again, about turn again, where we were asked to write a poem using epiphora – repeatedly using the same words to end lines. When a few readers (Merril, Kerfe & Ron.) pointed out how close the first version is to a ghazal I decided to write a third version. I’ve considered internal rhyme within the second line of each stanza of a ghazal to be optional, but this time I have met that requirement. I close here with the original and notes on the ghazal.

How to Paddle Upstream

Where the River Bends

Where the river bends I trail my paddle,
where the river bends yet lends itself to my paddle.

On trees long dead rising from the river,
turtles scatter, water spatters far from my paddle.

Heron on the shore leaps to stately flight
as my kayak nears and it hears my paddle.

I turn for home, thankful for all the gifts
beneath passing oaks, as I stroke my paddle.

A boat passes and a fisherman nods his head.
I ken, as the river bends, and raise my paddle.


Where the River Bends

Where the river bends I trail my paddle,
where the river bends yet meets my paddle.

On trees, submerged yet breaking water,
turtles scatter when they see my paddle.

Heron standing on the shore leaps to stately flight
with broad wing-strokes when it hears my paddle.

I turn for home, thankful for all the gifts
granted today with each stroke of my paddle.

A fisherman waves as his boat passes
where the river bends, and I raise my paddle.

~ five or more couplets, the same length, meter not required
~ first couplet rhymes; 1 to 3 words in 2nd lines repeated;
       rhyme – aA bA cA dA eA
~ (optional) internal rhyme in second lines, preceding repeated rhyme
~ possible naming or reference to author in last couplet
~ traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions,
       ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians

This Fluid Connection

This Fluid Connection

This Fluid Connection

I’ve paddled to the middle of the Niagara River, drifted
along a sandy shore to see a green heron among watery roots,
heard egrets high in a tree call my name.

When I sat on the shore of Lake Ontario sifting pebbles
in search of beach glass, my thoughts echoed
in each wave lapping at my feet.

Even here, far from those blue waters, I sit
on a quiet stream and know all that surrounds me
is speaking to me with my voice.

I talk to the water as if to myself,
learn from my own responses.

This poem is a response to earthweal weekly challenge: THE TEEMING, although I’ve missed the Linky window for that.  Also, I’m off prompt for Day 11 of  On this 11th day of National/Global Poetry Writing Month, this is my 16th poem of the month.

NaPoWriMo 2021

~ Day 11 ~

Alleging Contentment

Alleging Contentment

Turning this way and that, heading
down a stream with no one direction,
leaves streaming by at a leisurely pace,
I arrive at my favorite spot on the river
beneath a limestone ledge that extends
twelve feet from a small bluff.

Caving without going underground,
I sit and enjoy the breeze that flows
beneath the rock ceiling shading me
and become one more rock in the river,
invisible to the world out there in the sun
as I watch a heron fishing on the shore
and turtles sunning themselves on a log.

Timing my stay long just long enough
to head home, I raise my paddle and push
myself out of the shade, startling the heron.
Winging its way downstream, it passes over
the turtles, each one splashing into the water.
Paddling out into the sun, I turn upstream,
kayaking my way back home.

This is my response to Meet the bar, verbing, the prompt from Björn that asks us
to write a poem that uses verbs we have made from nouns. While I have not
created any new verbs, I have used at least twelve words
that already exist as both noun and verb:
turning, heading, streaming, caving, shading, fishing, sunning,
timing, winging, paddling, splashing, & kayaking
(with a play on words in the title)