More or Less About Time ~ palinode

More or Less About Time

blank, black disc
tells me nothing
until a quick tap
or flip of the wrist
brings it to life
shows its face
chosen by me
to emulate analog
in a digital world
the only gear here

appearance simple
yet detailed
time a primary concern
weather at a glance
health in numbers
pulse, steps
another tap
exercise calories
and another tap
phone texts for eyes
younger than mine
still adjusting to digital

 I’m closing out National/Global Poetry Writing Month by actually being on prompt for
Day Thirty at, where Maureen asks us to write a palinode
– a poem in which you retract a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem.
Compare this to Watching Time, a poem about my heirloom pocket watch
written for an April 2017 challenge.

better late than never

better late than never

moonrise silver and stately
cresting the ridge
beyond my neighbor’s
house, then his roof
as it peers through
branches nearly bare
barely bearing buds
soon to be full-blown
leaves that will block
future moonlight

except that, otherwise
occupied, I miss that
early moonlight, even
as it rises above those
trees that loom over
my deck, their one grace
the shade they offer
as the season warms
though, at times, their leaves
will offer a delicate frame
for the moon in any phase

waking to the realization
of a missed opportunity
I prepare my tripod
add the zoom lens
to my camera, head
to the front porch
– by now fully clothed,
of course – and look
to the western sky
to see a wall of clouds
determined to obscure
the morning’s early light
and a moon just past full

and so, to plan b,
alarm set to remind me
to capture the next moonrise
just before bedtime
later in the night
later than the first
the moon not so full
still filtered by clouds
and trees that try
to steal the show
in a not-so-early light

This is my response to The Twiglet #319: early light.

Shared with Day Seven at (off prompt)

Eagle Nest Moon ~ ekphrastic poem

Eagle Nest Moon

The same moon passed
through here just an hour ago,
as always setting earlier
than predicted with our horizon’s
meager attempt to emulate
the Ozarks to our south
with hills and ridges that do
nothing more than bring
an early moonset and late sunrise.

But even those were obscured
this morning by clouds
as commonplace
as our hills and ridges,
the meeting place of
northern and southern fronts
and no clear mountain air.
So, thank you for sharing your
New Mexico morning moon.

Photo by Mary Berglund, Eagle Nest, NM
Moon setting over Wheeler Peak

Shared with Day Six at (off prompt)

Designated Driver

Designated Driver

stopped car ahead
swerve hard left
hard right, back into lane
front wheel dances
in slow-mo at 50 mph
bike takes forever
to slide to its side
my knee dents the fuel tank
I hit the pavement
in time with the handlebars
head first, headlight first
minor damage there
helmet bounces, grinding
away for a quarter-inch
denim jacket shredded
at the shoulder, hip
introduced to road rash
as my belt is ripped
and jeans are worn through
going down the road
facing that bike, cursing
up a storm on a sunny day
until we come to a stop,
my slightly damaged bike
and my battered and concussed
body waiting for the ambulance
where I tell the EMT
I think I can drive home

This is my response to Day Five at, where Maureen asks us to write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment.

This is a true story that took place forty-four years ago, when right-on-red was so new that trial intersections had signs that read, “Right On Red After Stop.” The young man who pulled out of a side street on to the highway got it wrong. He pulled out, realized he hadn’t stopped to look first, and stopped right in front of me. My motorcycle survived with minor scrapes on the turn signals, my helmet was a total loss, the jacket was a souvenir, I limped for a month while my knee healed, and my road rash left minor scars that I can’t find anymore.

I can’t say this is a fond memory, but it has inspired me in past Aprils.
Roll the Bones
Motorcycle Math in 1979

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

always around me ~ tanka

always around me
mine is the way of water
as it carries me
even as dust I will know
the pure state of beginning

A traditional Japanese death poem is most often written in the form of a tanka. Per Wikipedia: “The writing of a poem at the time of one’s death and reflecting on the nature of death in an impermanent, transitory world is unique to East Asian culture.” An excellent resource can be found in Japanese Death Poems, compiled by Yoel Hoffmann. While I do not dwell on this topic, I have considered it, and I’m sure that I have some in one form or another in my archives. I don’t plan on leaving any time soon, but here’s another.

Shared with Day Five at (off prompt)

Cheeky Taft

Cheeky Taft

If William Howard Taft were here
he’d tell you that seats today
are nowhere near wide enough.
How’s a man supposed to get comfortable
when two-thirds of his butt is hanging
off the side of the chair?

And don’t get me started about car seats.
Okay, so Taft probably sat in the back of
a big wide limo with plenty of room
around his cheeks, but I’ll tell you what.
Car seats are two damned narrow.

This is my response to Calling All Early Birds, the early starter prompt on March 31 from, which is to write a poem inspired by a fun fact.

Image source: Library of Congress via The Amazing Fact Generator at Mental Floss.


Daily Task ~ memento

Daily Task

In hands both worn and never still
a simple watch was held

the daily tasks could be fulfilled
and all life’s worries felled.
And more

than that in times severe and lean,
each day it was resolved
that time

and labor served without machine
would take away the pall,

This is my response to Meeting the Bar: Memento, the prompt from Grace at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem in the memento form or about a memento. I have done both, writing about a daily occurrence (though not a holiday or anniversary) involving a particular object, a pocket watch that was my grandfather’s and handed down to my father (and then to me). My grandfather was a laborer all of his life, one that was mostly consumed by hard times.

Memento: The form was created by Emily Romano and is a poem about a holiday or an anniversary, consisting of two stanzas as follows: the syllable count should be 8 beats for line one; 6 beats for line two; and two beats for line three. This is repeated twice for each stanza. The rhyme scheme is: a/b/c/a/b/c for each of the two stanzas.


orange leaves ~ haiku & kimo

orange leaves
fall on bluff top trail
river view

maple leaves of brilliant orange and yellow
reflect the afternoon sun
in a final farewell

Haiku, a Japanese form, have three lines with a syllable count of 3/5/3, 5/7/5, or short/long/short. A kigo, or seasonal reference, is integral, and there is often a kireji, or “cutting word” at the end of the first or second line to indicate two thoughts half-independent of each other.

There are distinct differences in kimo, an Israeli variant of haiku originally structured to meet the need for more syllables in Hebrew. Like haiku, there is no rhyme, but kimo have a syllable count of 10/7/6, and deal with a single moment in which there is no movement. While my poem is a moment in nature, kimo have no seasonal or natural requirement. Find discussions here and here.

This is my response to Colleen’s #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 296, #Tastetherainbow.