April 14

#VerseLove Day 14, Tumble Down Poetry

In his introduction to today’s #verselove prompt, Andy Shoenborn states, “I believe a poem rests in wait within each of us.” As a neophyte poet, these are reassuring words. Andy asked us to write a paragraph of prose about a pair of shoes we’d never forget, then to “look for naturally occurring repetition, alliteration, striking images, and moments of emphasis fit for enjambments” and from there to create a poem that tumbles down the page. Here goes.

When I was five years old, my family lived in a remote location in southeast Alaska. Our food, as well as all other merchandise, was delivered in semi-regular fashion by boat, and later by small cargo plane. New clothing was a rare novelty, and something to be treasured. For whatever reason, I had been granted the purchase of a bright red pair of Mary Jane style shoes. I was delighted by this extravagance, and excitedly tried them on. From the get-go, they were tight, a bit pinchy. But, there was no way I was going to return these shoes to wherever they had come from. My mom queried me on whether they were too tight, but I insisted they were fine. Sucking in my breath and stiffening my upper lip, I gleefully went off to skip and play. I have no memory of how long I was able to wear these shoes before I truly outgrew them, but for a moment in time I was as grand as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Magic Slippers

A magical delight
a treasure
the mail delivery
a pair of red shoes
unexpected, yet
longed for

“are they too tight?”
“no! they are fine”
even though
they were not

brave face
no complaints

these red shoes
were the most
precious thing
I’d ever owned

April 13

#VerseLove Day 13, Liberation and Joy

We were asked to create a Gogyohka poem today, a freer form of Tanka. Our theme was Liberation and Joy. The following depicts a memory of the birth of my older son.


reluctant to exit the warm womb
you resisted for two weeks past the due date
and dug in your heels during labor
arriving at last with vigorous wailing
my beautiful long-lashed, copper-haired boy

April 12

#VerseLove Day 12, The News


she stood at stately attention
gowned in pristine white
flanked by her booster-knights,
Diana pursuing her Orion

poised for her “routine launch”
to send soaring seven souls
cradled in her tight embrace,
while mere mortals gawked

“eerie beauty of the orange fireball”
“billowing white trails against the blue”
as she blew into a million bits
and floated back to earth

“officials discounted
speculation that
cold weather”
was to blame

Atë had wrought her work
e’en tho Allan McDonald
brave NASA Engineer
refused to sign off

“freezing overnight temperatures…
could compromise
the booster rocket joints…
could damage…”

as Hades welcomed
them into his cold grasp
President Reagan orated they’d
“slipped the surly bonds of earth”

meanwhile, the mourners,
among them Christa McAuliffe’s
family and students,
remained rooted in shock

April 11

#VerseLove Day 11, #Quirky

I loved the idea of today’s “#quirky” #VerseLove prompt, but had a hard time identifying a topic. This poem talks about something that I certainly love, and that many people who know me best are surprised, nay, stunned to discover is a favorite form of play.

name five things —
that are quirky
elephants –
clams –
poetry –
my friends –
playing this game

once –
upon –
a –
time –
a –
porcupine –
got –
stuck –
under –
his –

I want a ticket to the moon –
yes, and would you like to buy a constellation with that? –
yes, and a guitar to serenade the flight crew, too

improv is
the most
thing I do

April 10

#VerseLove Day 10, Definito

The #VerseLove prompt today challenged us to create a “definito,” a form invented by Heidi Mordhorst and described as “a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.”

I have never heard of the word I tackled, but since I find etymology fascinating, it was worth digging into. I was exceedingly surprised to discover this word has increased in usage over time, as illustrated by this graph created from Google’s Ngram Viewer (thank you, Terry, for introducing me to this tool!)

What are you?

barely weighable, a flocci from the spring sheep
even less knowable, a whiff of an idea

closely followed by nauci
(nada, niks, nunda)
so forgotten it has no descendants

our minds are conditioned to nihili
Friedrich Nietzsche’s declaration
(or was it?)
that nothing has meaning

this morning, I found pili on my hairbrush
floating as nothing, and to no purpose

syllables chained together,
a mouthful at best

pushed along by –fication
along many tracks,
modification, vilification,
certification, gratification
to name just a few

combine these all
and you arrive at

a habit by some to
estimate things (people?)
as worthless

April 8

#VerseLove Day 8, Tell Me without Telling Me

The squabble erupts
nothing about nothing
it escalates
voices raised

mom jumps in
tries to find the culprit
“it wasn’t me,”
each one cries

my stomach clenches
desiring calm
not caring  who
is “right” or “wrong”

even when young
unity is more important
than absolutes

[tell me you’re a peacemaker without telling me you’re a peacemaker]

April 7

#VerseLove Day 6, Cherita


you are in the backyard charging about unsteadily on your pudgy toddler feet

as I bustle about in the kitchen preparing dinner
I suddenly stop, my mommy-sense telling me it is too hushed outside

rushing through the patio door, sprinting through the gate left ajar
I discover you cruising up the street, waddling as fast as you can
To join your big brother and his big-kid friends

April 4

#VerseLove Day 4, Burrows and Seeds

Thank you, Jennifer for guiding us today. The lines “sometimes the old is far better than the new” by Glenda inspired a nostalgic burrowing into the past.

sometimes the old is
far better than the new

the washing machine
that never quit
denim jeans admired
for sturdiness, not holes

typewriters clacking forever
(oops, change the ribbon)
automobiles repaired with
wrenches, not computers

meetings arranged in person
instead of by thumbs flying
store purchases that cost
a dime, not dollars

conversations enjoyed while
looking into another’s eyes
lunch dates in a cozy
spot, not on Zoom

sometimes the old is
far better than the new