Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Last Day of the Challenge

Wherein the prompt was barely a prompt: "the______". Yup a fill in the blank that was basically all blank. I got severely distracted by a linguistic distraction earlier in the day, that had nothing to do with poetry writing, and it took me a while to come up with something workable. I resorted to a brisk walk to get my mind working again. This was the result:

 The New Page

Those last few lines I've finally written.
It was harder than I had hoped.
So many, many easier endings,
I had tried - and tried in vain.

But there are other, kinder stories,
Braver tales to be told.
I turn to an undamaged page,
Sharpen my pen and start again.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Inevitable Piping Poem

Well, I guess waiting until day 29 to finally succumb to a piping poem, is really not too bad at all. The prompt was "metric" and the impression I got from the explanation is that anything goes, so long as it address the concept of meter in some way. So I, of course, fell off the bandwagon, and wrote about piping. We all knew it was coming:

Learning the Pipes

To be a piper you must have
The Tunes by heart, and love them well;
Must wear them, as you wear a poem,
With countless tellings, line by line.
And more than music: you must love
Their bones and shaping. You must dwell
Within the heart beat of their form,
Where song and meter intertwine.
Until you speak the dialect,
Of cuts and gracings, and can tell
The tale written in the notes,
And march their measure, line by line.

Friday, April 28, 2017

What Poetry Contest is Complete Without a Haiku?

Well... most of them probably. And I normally don't write 'em myself. But today was a long day, involving a tedious long day of staff training, that was supposed to be fun, and was mostly just sort of vexing, and unnecessarily long for no reason. And far more interactive than I am comfortable being with anyone. 

Today's prompt was 'smell', and I did not intend to do a serious of haikus on the seasons, but I more or less had the idea for all of them before I got to the meeting (over an hour drive away) and I tinkered on them the rest of the day:

Spring smells of melting
Running water and first green
Of hope and new life.

Summer is heavy,
Incensed by sagebrush and pine.
How I long for rain.

Autumn comes, fragrant,
Aspen bitter, tang of leaves;
restless wandering.

Winter smells of frost,
Of cinnamon and Christmas,
Of comfort and joy.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

There Is No Hiccup in This Poem

 Today the challenge was to write a poem that used at least three of the the six words in this unpromising list of words:

  • pest
  • crack
  • ramble
  • hiccup
  • wince
  • festoon
I tried my level best to get all of them in there.... but seriously, hiccup? I mean, unless one is inspired to write very humourous verse (considerably harder than it sounds) how exactly does one casually slip that word into a poem?

This is what I managed.... and it is not all that bad:

I’m not fond of spiders, though I know
Their point and purpose, and rejoice,
At their harrowing of graver pests.
It is not that I fear or loath,
The little hunters, but that their guise –
All long-leggity and shadow-fast –
Evoke a sense of great unease.

And yet, one morning, thick with frost,
When ice cracked at the touch of sun,
I rambling went in wincing cold
And saw a spiderweb strung across
Two fence-posts, wighted and festooned
With rime that glittered, silver-gold.
And for that joy, the spider blessed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Regrets... I've Had a Few

But then again, too few to mention....

The prompt of the day was regret. The thing is, most of my regrets, I've moved passed. I am sorry about some things and sad about others, but no real regrets anymore, per se. Besides, I've never been great about writing introspective poems. I manage an occasional one, but I don't really enjoy the challenge. So, when I woke up before the birds this morning, (because insomnia we have always with us) and the first couple popped into my head (I have not had port and cake in some considerable time) I decided that I was writing a somewhat humourous poem instead:

The Things an Insomniac Thinks About

I regret that I did not take
That glass of port with chocolate cake.

That I have never had the chance
To learn just how ‘The Swords’ is danced,

Nor have I quite yet got enough
Old English for reading ‘Beowulf’.

And Morse Code I still don’t know
(I started learning years ago.)

That I don’t own a pair of spats,
A swordstick cane, or a quizzing glass,

That my car has died… again,
And I’m running low on Jameson.

That I cannot name that gleeful bird,
Whose reveille song I overheard

(At 5 am – the little creep)
..I most regret my lack sleep…

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Day We Got the Dreaded Love Poem.

Apparently, that is a thing on these challenges. The last Tuesday in April gives us the option of a love or an anti-love poem. This happened last time too.... 

Last time, I think I wrote a cheesy little poem about old people still in love with each other. This time, I am not doing Love - as in the romantic love that would be translated into Latin amo. I am doing a Charity poem. Not a poem about donating to charity, but a poem about Caritas - the sort of Christlike love we're supposed to have for each other. 

It took longer than expected to write - no doubt because I spent a good portion of my day explaining large library fines to people who thought that they shouldn't have them, in answering decidedly odd questions, and in throwing out the cell phone cusser with the aggressive service dog. It is rather difficult to write about Christian Charity, when one is fielding complaints from the guy who thinks that all dogs are out to eat him, and is being vulgarly told off for suggesting that loud, offensive phone calls should not be made inside the library. But hey ho. This is what I managed, anyway:

The Greatest of these is Charity
(Caritas: nom. Latin - from Carus: dear, valued: Christian love)

Love is not a paltry thing,
Soft-edged with niceness and pleasantries,
A fragile thing of glass and warmth.
Nor is it yet merely mingling
Of passion, nor capricious heat - 
A flame to madden, woo or charm.
These are but the panoply.
Love is forged of heart and will
Fierce as fire, iron-hard.
Forebears in face of suffering,
Is kind, in spite of enmity,
Sees Christ in all, and knows the worth
Of little deeds done honourably.
Keeps Faith, when firm is failing,
Hopes, in face of long defeat,
Remains, when nothing else endures.
For Love, in lonely chivalry,
Duels with darkness. It is the Light,
That shines when other lights go out.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Yesterday's prompt was "the last________" and we filled in the blank. I got overly ambitious, wanting to write an epic end of the world poem. It begins, "At the Ending of all Days/ And the World's unravelling" and, after few lines of an apocalyptic nature to set the scene, would go on to list all of the Sleeping Heroes who are supposed to return at the end of the world - you know, Barbarossa, and Arthur, etc - and they would all rise and stand by "The Hero King of the wine-red scars." I worked in it most of the day, and shall continue to work on it. It shall join another overly ambitious poem that I have been plugging away at for a good long while now.... so let it not be said that I got lazy yesterday. I tried to write - and, indeed, managed a good deal - but very little of it struck the right note....

Today's prompt was Faith, and being the complicated little bundle of a person that I am, I ended up writing more about hope than faith. Still, it could have been worse, I think:

The Phoenix

I lost Hope, for it was slain,
A wounded bird, pinned to a tree
That died in fire, blood and pain.

It broke the very heart of me.
Of bitterness I drank my fill.
Yet Hope is a Phoenix, so they say.

That dies in flame, and yet lives still.
To that I hold, in spite of doubt,
Or broken heart, or wavering will.

For Faith remains, though Hope goes out,
And I, in darkness, will Faithful be,
In little things, in deed and thought,

Shall hunt for the holy trinity
Of Faith and Hope and Charity.

I am ever so slightly proud of the rhyme pattern here. It is terza rima, which is what The Divine Comedy is written in. I am attempting (and not managing it too often) to do some of the challenges in a traditional poetic form. 

And on that note, I bid ye all a good night,and hope to see you in this place tomorrow.