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)


Making Their Own Breeze ~ with audio

Making Their Own Breeze

The water of the Moreau River,
as motionless as the leaves of the giant sycamore
half-submerged with roots projecting skyward,
victim of spring’s high waters but determined
to send nourishment to branches willing
those leaves to life, and as still as the air
on this hot August day as my kayak sits
under a stone ledge, too high for me to reach
when volume and current are stolen by the recent
lack of rain, still feels cool to the touch in this shade
I have found, shared by the bank swallows darting
to their nests and back into the sunlight, no breeze
needed for their aerial antics as they skim the water
for a drink, then rocket up, only to turn abruptly
to feed in flights that would make any bat proud,
all of this reflected in that still water of the Moreau.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Flight of Fancy,
the prompt from Laura at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

getting my outdoors

getting my outdoors

highs in the nineties, damn hot
in the sun, past two weeks
same for the next week

even 8am sees high seventies
reading the paper on the porch
at 7am the extent of my outdoors

damn humidity makes it no better
might as well be raining and it does
on and off, with rain tonight

enough is enough
if the rain stops
in the morning I’ll be on the water

hugging the bank
hugging the shade,
getting my outdoors

Image: The gar were splashing last month
(Video screenshot – click for larger view in new tab)