PAD 2019 – Day 5

Today I mixed the “stolen” theme of the Poetic Asides prompt with a Stroll of Poets prompt asking for a “roadside attraction” poem. First thing that came to mind was the numerous roadside zoos I used to see when I lived in Ontario.

 

At the Jungle Wildlife Park

 

Small road off the busy road,

a line of cars snaking forward,

packs  of tourists inside,

restless but contained.

 

Dads wearing exhausted faces

as kids come pouring out of backseats

feet stirring up gravel as they sprint

for the sign they’ve been teased by

for the last fifteen clicks — a leopard’s face

inside a giant black paw.

 

Promises beyond the gate:

big cats, big thrills, big fun.

Nature as you’ve never seen it before.

 

parrot sitting on a metal bar

lemur dangling from an old tire

puma batting a basketball

tiger cub sleeping on a rocking chair

 

Step back from the cage

unless you’re here for the photo.

Half-price today for kids ten and under.

Hold a wolf pup or monkey,

don’t forget to smile.

What a steal for the chance to

see something so wild.

 

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PAD 2019 – Day 3

I managed to write two poems today, but one is not ready for public viewing. This one is based on a real-life incident with my daughter yesterday, and fit nicely with the Poetic Asides prompt asking for an “animal” poem.

 

What Animals Do

 

Talking fast like kids do

after a day of keeping quiet and calm

my daughter tells me about the playground discovery

a dead squirrel

encircled by a group of seven year olds

curious to discover meaning

in its still body.

 

There was a bone sticking out

with blood on it,

my daughter reports,

then drops the subject

like her backpack

and forages in the pantry

for a snack.

 

Did the dead squirrel make you upset?

I ask later, and she replies with a shrug.

Then her brow furrows with thought.

It was probably a cat, or a dog,

just doing what animals do.

NaPoWriMo – Day 24

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for an elegy, with a tinge of hope. My daughter’s provided the inspiration.

Elegy for a Ladybug

My daughters come in from the yard,
the younger one kneels by the door
her hands cupping something.
The older one digs in a drawer
for paper, scissors, tape and a marker
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Making something important,” she replies.
They whisper together, then the older one
begins cutting and writing.

“Come here Mom,” they say
and I walk to their crouched figures
expecting a shout of Boo! or a giggle
or to see they’ve been up to something
sneaky but innocent.
Instead, my older daughter says,
“We’re going to say nice things about
this dead ladybug we found outside.”

There, on the floor, a ladybug husk,
its bold red muted to a brownish orange.
She’s taped to a paper, with the words
R.I. P. Ladybug, ? — 2018
scrawled on top in blue.
A plastic case set on top,
keeping her, like Snow White.

“She was pretty, and bright,” my young daughter begins.
“She was good at flying and crawling, and though
we don’t know how long she lived, she probably
had a nice life,” my older daughter says. “Your turn, Mom.”

I find my own mouth empty, at first,
my thoughts too full of gratitude for my girls,
but I meet their sweet and sombre tone,
“We wish we could have known her while she lived.”

My older daughter nods, gently picks up
the paper and the plastic case, sets it
on a cabinet, between a painting she made
and an overgrown spider plant.
“A nice place to rest,” she says.
Nature is safe in these small hands.

NaPoWriMo – Day 22

Melding prompts again today with Poetic Asides suggestion to take the name of a plant, flower or tree and make it the title of your poem, and the NaPoWriMo.net prompt to pick something impossible from a list of statements, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens. The statement I picked was The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky. Because it’s Earth Day, I was also thinking about humanity’s  propensity to shoot ourselves in our own earthbound feet.

 

Datura

 

Some things aren’t supposed to happen.

Stars aren’t supposed to rearrange themselves in the sky.

Flowers aren’t supposed to bloom at midnight.

We’re not supposed to be our own worst enemy.

 

Under the hood of night

Cassiopeia does yoga, corpse pose,

tries the lazy letter I on for size.

 

The datura opens, moonflower

swallowing the dark with her

soft white lips. Seducing

the sphinx moth with her scent.

 

The city’s backyard aglow

with the twinkling

oil refinery, burning 24/7.

Spotlight on

the dark side.