PAD 2017 – Day 13

The NaPoWriMo prompt today asked for a ghazal. I’ve never written one before, though I’ve enjoyed reading many. Sometimes I find repetition in forms off-putting, but that’s not usually the case when I read ghazals. I used the Writer’s Digest family prompt to give me my subject, and kind of free wrote from that. This seems so far from done, but I do think (hope) it will be something I come back to.


Ghazal: Sister Memory


Take me there again, with a nose full of home memory,

puff of lemon dish soap, cigarette smoke haze in my memory.


Each of us carries one, sometimes many, clenched in our fist,

moulded by pressure, the certain shape of our memory.


My sister recalls an action scene, shot wide in CinemaScope,

a drama I can’t recall, or one I’ve scrubbed from my memory.


Another moment, snipping wild baby’s breath from a roadside,

holding bouquets too big for our hands, sun bleached memory.


One we both need, smudged like a fingerprint, we try to recover with dust.

Using our own sharpened pencils to colour the edges of the memory.


I tend to write a lot of family poems. Awhile ago I had the extreme pleasure of receiving feedback on some of my writing from Red Deer poet and author Kimmy Beach. I showed her a poem about my Mom, with towels being a sort of symbol for comfort. She said it reminded her of a poem she’d written for a friend, called “Most Trusted Remedy.” The emotion in it is just beautiful, without being too familiar or sentimental. I love this poem.


PAD 2017 – Day 5

So many possibilities for today’s Writer’s Digest prompt to write about an element on the periodic table. The first element I thought of was copper, and it immediately reminded me of my Uncle Leif — a man of small stature and mighty character. I sort of combined that with today’s NaPoWriMo prompt to take inspiration from Mary Oliver, and incorporate some of the world’s natural wonder into your writing. Not sure there’s a lot of Mary in here, but the title is based on her poem “The Uses of Sorrow.”

The Uses of Copper


Arrive at the farm in autumn

when the amber sun sets early

over aurous fields, and stories

fall from his chapped lips

like water from a rusty pump.

You’ll know him by his dusty ball cap,

wind worn skin, and the copper wire,

welded crooked, ever round his wrist.

He’ll swear it shoos the arthritis away,

helps the blood flow, wards off colds.

He’ll show you the verdigris on the wire,

how it’s leached green onto his skin.

Elemental magic that shields him through

frigid winters, keeps him growing, going

like the rolling prairie grass.


Today’s Alberta poet is Edmonton’s Julie C. Robinson. With family and prairie roots on my brain, I thought of her beautiful poem Family Tree.