PAD 2021 – Day 30

It’s almost over! Do I write this with happiness or regret? Maybe both. Certainly finding the motivation to write some days this month has been a challenge, but it’s also been a kind of comfort to have a routine, and so many other new poems from others to inspire me.

The final NaPoWriMo.net prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.

How to Get to the Back Deck to Drink Your Coffee

Never assume a short journey is an easy one.
Begin by preparing for diversions — a phone call you
don’t want to answer; the broken glass you’ll have to carefully
pick up, when a too-quick pivot to answer a child calling
from another room results in an elbow knocking last night’s
wine glass from the counter. Allow time for a loud expletive,
then a sigh. Embrace exasperations that end in small relief.
When it seems there is quiet — a gifted moment when no one 
remembers you’re there — pour coffee into your favourite mug, 
or your favourite right now, one that knows the shape of your hand.
Take soft steps toward your destination. Watch out for
the squeaky spot between the kitchen and the dining room. 
Keep your hip clear of the metal chair, pushed back from the table 
after someone’s hurried breakfast, now collecting sun 
from the bare window. Casting shadow on an unswept floor.  
Turn the lock on the deck door cautiously, with one foot out to
the side, that experienced stance to block escape artist cats.
Open only as wide as is needed for you to slip through. Don’t 
pause at the threshold, overcome with birdsong or 
the welcome wash of cool air. Just get out there. Sit.
And stay. Even after you’re needed on the inside again.
Stay, sipping hot coffee and staring at clouds.
Let a part of you remain.
Deck Break by Me

PAD 2021 – Day 29

It’s the penultimate day of Poetry Month! I think I say that every year on the 29th, mostly because “penultimate” is a fun word. Today’s #NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for an “in the window” poem. Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on? I decided to look into someplace both completely familiar and always a mystery to me.

Head Windows

I’ve said how I wished
a tiny window existed
just above your right ear,
under a flap of brown hair
that I could part 
to peek inside,
so I could see them
forming and burrowing —
your great and terrible thoughts, 
your swirling spectrum dreams, 
the shy ones that slowly emerge 
from shady corners —
but if you had such
a window, wouldn’t I too?
And however would I justify 
keeping it permanently
shuttered?
Photo by Renato Mu on Pexels.com

PAD 2021 – Day 28

Today’s 30/30 prompt was simply “skyline.” The NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious (“What is the meaning of life?”) and humorous (“What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?”), the interruptive (“Could you repeat that?”) and the conversational (“Are those peanuts? Can I have some?”). I decided, based on my ongoing obsession with the sky and constantly taking photos of it, to combine the two for a super short poem that I could potentially build on later.

5 Questions to Ask The Sky

How does it feel to hold the sun?
Which clouds are the teenagers?
Do you feel less alone after the release of rain?
What’s your favourite song?
Can anything, even blue, really be limitless?
Just the Sky by Me

PAD 2021 – Day 24

Today I used the 30/30 prompt calling for a “Ten Things” poem.

10 things about this morning


There are birds. An entire assembly welcoming the day from the bare lilac bushes outside my bedroom window.

There is sun. Spilling through that window, because some lucky Saturdays it awakens before I do.

There is coffee. No less enjoyed though it’s been made and poured by only me. 

There are dishes. Left drying on a rack after another meal spent with people I’m fortunate to make a home with.

There is a table. Awash in morning light, and shadows cast from the chairs we use to make it a gathering place. 

There are cats. Greeting me with demand, but also affection. Possibly gratitude.

There is a sweater. Once belonging to my mom. Slipped over shoulders that have yet to carry what she did.

There is a message. From a faraway friend offering small but welcome news.

There are seedlings. In need of water and attention. Patient in their want of a whole garden.

There are words. Waiting to be fished from a mysterious stream that reliably flows, even when I’ve wandered far from its banks.
Shadowchair by Me

PAD 2021 – Day 23

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt called for writers to create a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in anothe poem.I have too many favourite poems, so decided instead to open randomly to any page in All Of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver (who is a favourite writer or mine). I happened up on the poem “The Minuet” (photo below) which I had never read before, but which, by some poetic magic, definitely spoke to me at this moment in my life. I didn’t set out to match the poem’s line rhythms and number, but once I started in with the voice of his poem’s dancer, it sort of fell into step.

The Spark

New moon night.
I am awake with want of everything.
This life to move in triple time. Or stop,
when someone comes in.
A person who tiptoes, or could.
Would see the glimmer of light
off the diamond I carry.
How it acts something like a spark.
That ancient igniter.
Of fire. I’ve danced through that
by chance and choice.
Am still asking for more.
The Minuet by Raymond Carver, from All Of Us: The Collected Poems

PAD 2021 – Day 22

Today I went with a poetry prompt from Writer’s Digest asking for a “_______ Me” titled poem. Writing the poem didn’t take long, but after it came out, I couldn’t decided if it was finished, or if it had gone off in the direction I wanted. Is it saying too little? Too much? Most of the time I post what I’ve written, no matter the disheveled state they’re in. But some days words need a little more time under the covers, cuddling or hiding, until they’re ready to, as my Mom was fond of saying, “face the day.”

PAD 2021 – Day 21

In addition to the poem-a-day challenge in April, I’ve been writing a poem a month along with a local group of writers. They are ’21 themed for the year. This month’s called for a 21-line or 21-syllable poem that honours someone important to you. Short on time, but no less inspired by my own daughter, I came up with a micro.

When My Daughter Doodles

Hearts where hands and eyes should go
I draw what I feel, she says
What if the world is still good?
Doodle by My Daughter

PAD 2021 – Day 20

This is my first ever try at at a sijo, the traditional Korean form prompted today by NaPoWriMo.net. Like the haiku, it has three lines, but the lines are much longer. Typically, they are 14-16 syllables, and optimally each line will consist of two parts – like two sentences, or a sentence of two clauses divided by a comma. In terms of overall structure, a sijo functions like an abbreviated sonnet, in that the first line sets up an inquiry or discussion, the second line continues the discussion, and the third line resolves it with a “twist” or surprise. For more on the sijo, check out the primer here and a long list of examples in English, here. I am quite sure I didn’t hit all the criteria here to make it a good sijo, but I like trying new forms, so this was pretty cool.

At The Window In This Room

At sunset we stand too close, fingers grazing, I step aside.
It’s old work, watching for sparks, checking for heat, damping down flames.
But still the fire keeps burning, until there is more smoke than air.
Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on Pexels.com

PAD 2021 – Day 18

Using the 30/30 prompt “susurration” to build on a recent moment with my daughter.

There Will Be Gentle Things

I miss normal
she whispered to me
as I rubbed a circle over
her back, some kind of
dial to move her toward 
sleep, toward an even quieter
place than this darkened bedroom,
where the hard edges and jagged ridges 
of the last year have dissolved into
only soft S sounds, the small swish
of two pages closing against one another.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com