Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prompt #97 - National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month, established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 begins tomorrow!  This month-long celebration of poetry is held every April “to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.” During April, poets, poetry lovers, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and schools throughout the US celebrate poetry. One of the challenges of NPM is to read and/or write a poem every day. So ... in the spirit of the observance, I offer you an inspiration word or phrase and a related poem for each of April’s thirty days. You may wish to read, write, or do both. Keep in mind that writing a poem a day doesn’t mean that you have to “finish” each poem immediately. You can write a draft each day and set your drafts aside to work on later. As always, your posts are welcome!

Regular weekly posts will resume on April 28th for the first week of May.
In the meantime, I wish you a happy and poetry-filled National Poetry Month!

April 1 – April Rain
“April Rain Song” by Langston Hughes 

April 2 – Waking
“Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver 

April 3 – Parents
“Parents’” by William Meredith 

April 4 – Spring
Spring is like a perhaps hand by e.e. cummings 

April 5 – Memory
“My Earliest Memory” by Ray Gonzalez

April 6 – Change
The Moment I Knew My Life Had Changed by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

April 7 – Footsteps
“Footsteps” by Fanny Howe

April 8 – Easter
“To Him That Was Crucified” By Walt Whitman

April 9 –Magic
“Magic” by Louis Untermeyer

April 10 – Time
“In Time” by W. S. Merwin

April 11 – Motion
“Motion” by Octavio Paz

April 12 – Ego
“Ego” by Denise Duhamel

April 13 – Silence
“The Silence” by Philip Schultz

April 14 – Light
“The Secret of Light” by James Wright

April 15 –Dawn
“Dawn” by Robert Bly

April 16 – Love
“Salvation” by Rumi

April 17 –Words
“Words” by Anne Sexton
April 18 – Self-Portrait
“Self-Portrait” by Adam Zagajewski

 April 19 – Trees
“Lost” by David Wagoner

April 20 – Food
“Linguini” by Diane Lockward

April 21 – Morning
“Morning at the Elizabeth Arch” by Joe Weil

April 22 – Grace
“Grace’ by Linda Pastan

April 23 – Animals
“The Heaven of Animals” by James Dickey

April 24 – Wildlife
“The Bear” by Galway Kinnell

Blogaversary! Today (April 24th) is this blog's second birthday! My sincerest thanks to all of you who have visited, joined, commented, and shared poetry here! 

April 25 – Lightning
“Lightning” by Mary Oliver

April 26 – Dreams
“It Was a Dream” by Lucille Clifton

April 27 – Promises
“A Deep Sworn Vow” by William Butler Yeats

April 28 – Landscapes
“Landscape at the End of the Century” by Stephen Dunn

April 29 – Birds
“Waxwings” by Robert Francis

April 30 – Peace
“Wildpeace” by Yehhuda Amichai

"One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective.
What the poet says has never been said before, but,
once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves."
– W. H. Auden


  1. This is quite a challenge. I'm thinking I'll give it a try.

  2. WONDERFUL, Laura! All the best to you. Please be sure to let me know how it goes!

  3. I was born in April. Fate?

    In poetry, the writing is the thing that comes last. Much time for contemplation is required, which is hard to come by in this world.


    The Work Of No Work

    How this busy world conspires
    Against the simple act
    Of sitting quietly in a chair
    With pen and paper in hand,
    Writing down a thought or two,
    Or not writing at all,
    Doing the work of no work
    That all poets must do.

    1. Thanks once again for sharing a poem with us, Russ! Nice preface to the poem; and a concise to-the-point expression of those lovely moments.


    She will rise and hop
    from her white

    On her way
    she will bounce off the
    evergreens’ needles.

    She will slow her fall and
    muse with the blossoms
    of the dogwood.

    But drop to
    the earth,
    she will.

    No, it is not the cruelest of months
    when rain soaks the earth and
    wakes the seeds that wait.

    © Basil Rouskas

    1. Bravo, Basil! So glad you're "in" for National Poetry Month again this year!

      Love your dismount on this one!

      Thanks so much for participating and sharing!

    2. Basil, I read all of your poems last year and enjoyed every one of them! Thanks for posting this one, and I hope you'll continue throughout the month!


    3. Thanks to Russ, too, for sharing another poem! I hope you'll write a poem a day, Russ!


    4. Adele,
      Thanks for your encouragement and for the dismount comment!
      Good to hear from you. I remember your contributions and comments. It is a nice community when people revisit and "break bread" together over a cup of virtual tea and the music from poetry!

    5. Basil,

      What a perfect image: "breaking bread" over a virtual cup of tea! That's so how I feel about this blog! Many thanks to you!

    6. Nice job on the story of spring with its haiku-like ending. It's the season of anticipation.
      Bob Rosenbloom

  5. What a wonderful collection of prompts! Thanks! I'm planning/hoping/fantasizing about writing a poem a day. In fact here's my Day 2 limerick:

    Happy National Poetry Month!
    By Madeleine Begun Kane
    April’s Poetry Month. Say “Hurray,”
    As we vow to write verse ev’ry day.
    But that promise is hard,
    For this limerick-bard.
    Cuz, alas, I have nothing to say.
    Happy National Poetry Month!

    1. Thanks for posting your limerick, Madeleine! Good luck with the rest of the month!

    2. A fun limerick! thanks for posting, Madeleine!


    3. Thanks for your kind words about my limerick!

  6. It is April Poetry Month and Adele's prompt is WAKING


    Spring’s waking
    comes with higher sun angles

    when brown buds
    evolve to green translucence

    and branches block
    the light out of the April sky.

    And I, still alone, block
    memories of you

    every time
    I visit the river.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  7. Oh! Beautiful! Nice "surprise" at the end. Bravo, and keep 'em coming, Basil!

  8. Today's prompt from Adele is PARENTS.


    Dedicated to parents who started families and new lives in foreign lands

    You dozed off on my arm
    comforted as if on a pillow
    of memory-foam;

    "when I was
    a toddler I remembered
    the pillow of your forearm"

    and I pondered our
    fate away from the
    city’s harbor to the grey

    "memory of its
    softness when the tug boats
    pulled our ship to the"

    open sea. Your father
    in thoughts of the
    money he’d need

    "in unprotected waters
    where the steel hull
    cut the waves at an angle"

    to feed himself, the two of us
    and your sister -
    then soon to arrive

    "to make time to New York where
    the ocean voyage ended and
    the search for our new life began."

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    (Because only regular fonts are available for posting, please note this is a dialogue poem in which the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth stanzas are the voice of the child and have been put in quotation marks.)

    1. Lovely, Basil -- such a strong sense of place and an even stronger sense of love! Thanks so much for posting each day (as you did last year)! Happy Poetry Month!

    2. Very nice, Basil! There's a feeling of loss and separation that comes across strongly in your poem. The first and second stanzas are especially beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


  9. Today is April 4th and Adele's prompt is SPRING


    Inspired by e.e. cummings’ poem “Spring”

    I say spring is
    more than the hand
    that draws windows.

    I say spring is
    the pressure of
    life emerging

    at the birth canal,
    vessels that burst
    from roots to buds,

    an unfolding giant
    an idea whose time has come.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Again – THANK YOU, BASIL, for posting your poem. Love the opening stanza especially!

    2. Wonderful, Basil! Thank you! Forgive me if I don't say thank you every day, but please know that your National Poetry Month poems are ALL much appreciated and greatly enjoyed.


    3. Jamie,
      The sense that there are people like you out there who enjoy is more valued by me than anything else. No daily praise is needed.
      Thanks for your comments,

  10. I misquoted the title of e.e. cummings' poem in my posting of today- it should be "Spring is like a perhaps hand!" My apologies.

  11. An incredible wealth of inspiration here (as there always is)! Thank you, Adele, and all who post their poems! Happy Poetry Month!

  12. Today is April 5th and Adele's prompt is MEMORY:


    One day, years from now,
    you and I may revisit
    this house

    when others own it
    and we will remember
    our now

    as our past.
    We will be
    older then

    and we will remember
    these now mornings
    of low angle sunlight

    and, with the sound of
    Black River in the distance
    we’ll set our breakfast

    table again and the hawks
    will still be flying high over
    the forest and we

    will cry with happiness
    to acknowledge how
    good of a life we’ve had.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Basil,


      ευχαριστώ πολύ!

      Any chance of a poem in your native language -- that would be so interesting to see!

  13. CHANGE is tomorrow's theme.

    Adele suggested I share a poem in modern Greek. I found one I had written back in 1975, when I was writing mostly in Greek. It is about the mind-set of excessive safety that leads to resistance to change and eventually to decay. This theme is explored in the visual of a ship that chose the safety of the pier against the turbulence of the open sea... Here it is in the original and English translation.


    Αυτό το πλοίο
    δεν πρόκειται να φύγει.
    Καιρό τώρα έχει δέσει
    τις άγκυρες
    και στρείδια τρώνε
    τα σίδερα της κοιλιάς του
    στην ύπουλη σιγουριά του μώλου.


    This ship
    is not sailing any time soon.
    For a long time now
    it's dropped
    and barnacles
    eat its steel belly
    in the sneaky
    safety of the pier.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved.

    1. THANK YOU, Basil! How wonderful to see the words in the original Greek as well as in English! (And a poem from 1975!)

  14. A poem by GiuseppeCesaroPoeta ( wonderful name!)


    Presenterò la poesia a un vecchio amico
    che me l 'ha chiesto...
    il tempo è volato via
    e non ce ne siamo nemmeno accorti

    E il mondo di oggi-caro fiume - ci appare estraneo
    o forse mi sono perso
    per cercare quel quarto d'ora di pubblicità
    o tutti siamo finiti in una selva

    con specchi storie
    e solo la pioggia
    può bagnare le lacrime di Marilù.

    I shall present the poem to an old friend
    Asking for it
    Time has flown by
    And we did not even realize

    And today’s world – beloved river - seems strange
    Or maybe I’m lost
    Lookin’ for a quarter of an hour of advertising
    Or we all finished in a forest

    With mirrors stories
    And only the rain
    can wet the tears of Marilù

    1. Yes, a wonderful name! And a very interesting poem! It's great to see the poem in Italian with the English translation. I love the phrase "today's world - beloved river." Thanks so much for posting, Jago!

  15. Basil and Jago - THANK YOU for your wonderful poems! This is what Poetry Month is about - sharing the "gifts." Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  16. Jamie,
    Remember the old story- if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
    If you were not there with your postings, would our poetry be "heard"? Would our virtual tea room be always empty? Would we feel the energy we are now feeling?

    So, thank you!


    1. You're a gentleman and a poet, Basil! It shows in your work and in your comments!


    2. Big ditto to Jamie's Comment! She's spot on!

  17. And Adele's prompt for the 7th of April is FOOTSTEPS....


    Tonight I hear his
    footsteps closer
    to home yet he skips

    my door again.
    I run to check
    on my locks,

    as if that would help.
    But tonight again
    he is after others

    in town.
    He marks them
    discreetly at the library

    among those who borrow
    books on “How to plan
    your estate in 5 steps,”

    or “How to be healthy
    and pain-free
    in your 90’s,” or those

    from bereavement groups
    and those who frequent
    toy stores at the mall.

    All rights reserved
    Basil Rouskas

    1. Ooooh! An eerie tone that works really well! Thanks so much for posting, Basil!

  18. EASTER is our prompt today.

    Writing this from sunny Santa Monica, CA on the first day of our vacation.


    Father would not work this Saturday.
    We’d go to church late evening
    light our candles at midnight
    in open air celebration
    and chant about Christ’s rising.
    And almost each year
    fireworks by amateurs
    singed the hair of the faithful
    and father would get upset.

    “He has risen from the dead”
    we’d sing as we walked home
    at the end of mass.
    We’d form lines of flickering candles
    in the dark April streets
    as we and our neighbors walked home.
    We’d mark a cross on the frame of our doors
    from the smoke of our lit candles.
    Then we brought them into the room
    to light up our dinner table
    and tasted mother’s mageritsa*.

    And the men would rise early Sunday
    and light a big fire and make
    a bed of hot charcoals
    and put the lamb of the spit
    and drink wine with the sun’s rising.

    And between turns of the spit
    we ate mezedes**
    and sipped wine
    and told stories until noon
    when neighbors, friends and family
    would join us for the big feast.

    And all these things are now gone.
    But still this Easter Sunday
    the earth has risen from the cold
    and our children have been saved.

    “Christ has risen from the dead!”

    * Special Easter soup
    **Greek appetizers

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  19. Alleluia, Bail! A beautiful remembrance that connects to the present. Happy Easter!

  20. What an incredible poem by Louis Untermeyer, as a prompt for today's theme: MAGIC


    And I walk the path
    along Black River
    as I have most mornings
    for twenty years.

    The river on its flow south feeds
    the skunk cabbage in marsh lands
    or holds on to the birches on the
    steep drops to slow down

    the trip and soften the
    anger of Pottersville Falls
    by the old Norwegian’s
    cabin. And this morning’s walk

    takes a turn I can’t explain-
    No every-day living,
    no cares, no duties,
    no grocery lists.

    I see boulders with new eyes
    This one the size of an old clothing
    trunk ( used by immigrants to bring
    their households to America.)

    This other one is a sharp edged model
    of a math teacher’s cube. Another like
    an ocean liner’s bow. A third like a soldier’s
    tomb stone. Horseback Cherokee Indians

    have now joined me. I walk,
    they hunt deer and
    live their lands before the ships from
    Europe arrive in Plymouth.

    And the river flows -like then-
    and we, all of us,
    work our way to oblivion
    work our way to the open sea.

    And the water defines us all
    and we blend with salt and part
    of us evaporates and becomes clouds
    and then rain and then hillside flow

    that rejoins the river
    until our time runs out
    and we stop looking for
    identity: We are all and all is us.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Again! THANK YOU for posting so loyally each day, Basil! Great last line! I hope you're enjoying this as much as your readers are!

  21. I appreciate your comments, Adele. Let's hear from some other poets - I know (hope) you are there!

  22. April 10, 2012 and Adele's theme is TIME.


    In time we all learn
    to read lips on faces
    before they speak
    to hear silence
    even when music plays
    to see through old ideas
    in new books.

    You were the life of the party again
    last night as you exchanged jokes,
    laughed in carefree stances,
    shared champagne glasses
    from wandering servers’ trays
    but never looked my way.
    And on the way home

    our silence told me
    that I still need
    time to learn how to
    break the spell
    you hold on me.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  23. Thanks, Basil! This one has a haunting quality!


    Summers of my impressionable youth
    in that small seaside town
    still stab my stomach with memories
    of tourist trade, short term rentals,
    foot prints of lovers washed by tides,
    and quick lived love affairs.

    And as I visit now - in my later years -
    I can still I hear the waves
    crash on the craggy shores -
    but I am at peace the water
    will still dance here long after
    you and I are gone.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  25. Nice, Basil! Thanks again for posting!

  26. When I red Denise Duhamel's poem EGO for today's prompt I had a flash back in my early days in first grade. I admit I had to reflect with ambivalence on things that are so complex to balance for both the parents and the children: Building the confidence of a child, emotional intelligence,using the gifts of a child to compensate for injustices, bullying and the damage it can cause, envy, and just growing and learning from mistakes or sheer injustices.


    There was a risk
    in the way she raised me

    to let no social class barriers
    cap her son’s confidence.

    “There’s nothing you can’t do
    if you put your mind to it.”

    I learned to read
    before school and

    was the best in class
    though I didn’t study hard.

    I made no apologies
    and flaunted my brilliance

    to kids who couldn’t stomach
    how easy it all came to me.

    Until, outside our home, a group of them
    took turns to throw stones

    and spit at me running away
    in laughter, with her after them.

    The next day at school
    the world was resized:

    I had new limits that even mother
    couldn’t redraw - although she tried.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. So heartfelt and such a universally understood lesson. Thanks, Basil, for sharing this with us!

  27. The prompt for April 13th is SILENCE.

    I am against the violent taking of life by the state. Executions for me are unnecessary, uncivilized and they don't restore justice for the wrong that has been committed. Please consider your position on the issue and I hope you will offer "your voice" to make death penalty a practice of the past. Most nations have abolished it, most states no longer do it. My poem below is offered in that spirit.


    It starts and ends with a silence.

    The red phone in the death row
    linked to the Governor’s mansion
    stays silent and you know that your last
    request has not been granted and you
    don’t need your lawyer to tell you that.

    And the deed must proceed, your veins prepped,
    the gurney rolled in and the offer for your
    final public statement made, before
    the fluids flow and grant you
    the final irrevocable


    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Chilling. Well done, Basil.

  28. Basil! So interesting that the "silence" inspiration word sent your thoughts in this direction. Well done!

  29. Lovely blog, Adele. Packed with great poetry information. I came here by way of Margo Roby's blog. Chaucey is adorable.


    1. Thank you, flaubert and welcome! Thanks for the Chaucey compliment - he really IS adorable!

  30. April's 14th prompt is LIGHT


    She raves about the Santa Monica light and takes another sip of wine. She came from the northern country - Minnesota; “How do you like living here?” I ask. From her balcony she points to the Pacific Ocean, the pier, the sandy beach and the lights that come alive in the buildings along the shore. “It’s the secret in the light” she says.

    In a poem I read this morning, James Wright ponders the secret of another light of perilous color - a woman’s black hair (real or of a statue?) - over the iridescent green banks of Verona’s river Adige. He wonders at the years of study before the craftsman could stroke the strange stone to bring out that secret light.

    And I, Grecian by birth, have my own secrets with light (the Greek light) who must be a woman. She welcomes me back each time I return. The plane descends to land in Athens and she rises over the burgundy sea, and opens her arms to wave at me and I forgive her for all the lovers she has taken since our last embrace.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Thanks, Basil, for reposting this! I love that you've done a prose poem, and that you've personified the Grecian light as a woman! Great imagery! This one is glorious!

    2. Yes, this is a wonderfully luminous prose poem, Basil!

  31. Strong notes and chords touched on universals- light, time, death, silence, place, aging, not gracefully, in a hard world. There's a short story by Bruce Jay Friedman about a prisoner with a last request to make before his execution. He asks for a dinner that will take about six months to prepare since the main ingredient is not in season. All prisoners should have this kind of request. I've read where the US gravitates towards the most repressive nations on this issue. I'm heading for the WTC memorial today. Silence and remembrance will be in attendance, as they are every day.

    1. Bob,
      Thanks for you many-layered poem. Well done!

    2. Thanks for your comment, Bob! And for yours, too, Wendy!

  32. Thanks so much for your comment, Bloom306! Silence and remembrance, yes -- your day at the WTC Memorial will be meaningful.


    In the endless flats
    of this land I stand on

    the tarmac of a small
    regional air strip.

    The outline of the small plane
    faces the dim-lit eastern sky

    and dawn starts to swim into
    clouds of pink-yellow bands.

    A man and a woman climb
    the ladder and board the plane.

    They both look east
    where dawn greets the sun.

    A new day begins.
    The man throws the switch.

    Basil Rouskas
    April 15, 2012
    All rights reserved

    1. Very evocative and with a sense of the mysterious that makes the reader wonder if this is about the plane, the man and the woman, or something else.

      Always a pleasure to read your poems, Basil!


  34. Jamie,
    Thank you for your comments.


    In the endless flats
    of this land I stand on

    the tarmac of a small
    regional air strip.

    The outline of the small plane
    faces the dim-lit eastern sky

    and dawn starts to swim into
    clouds of pink-yellow bands.

    A man and a woman climb
    the ladder and board the plane.

    They both look east
    where dawn greets the sun.

    A new day begins.
    The man throws the switch.

    Basil Rouskas
    April 15, 2012
    All rights reserved

    1. Lovely, Basil! I agree with Jamie's comment -- even the word "Heartland" in your title is nuanced with possibilities for interpretation.


    For the life we share

    For the orchids that perfume your breath

    For the vocabulary, still poor to express my feelings for you

    For the enemy I fight every day to not let our love be taken for granted

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Basil, you're amazing! Poetry Month is a great time for you!

  37. Tomorrow is April 17, more than half of the poetry month gone - and the prompt is WORDS...


    In the fifth morning of their
    Caribbean honeymoon
    “Do you still love me”
    she asked checking
    a new swimsuit in the mirror.

    “Of course I do” he said
    and rolled his finger down
    to a new text message
    on the screen of
    his smart phone.

    Their honeymoon suite
    flat panel TV (on the mute mode)
    silenced the words that
    ran down the screen on
    Heidi Klum’s face.

    And they didn’t share
    another word until their server
    came to their breakfast table
    to help them sort out the words
    on their menus.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  38. Just catching up this afternoon and really impressed with the interesting comments and poems. Basil deserves an award for writing every day two years in a row! Bravo, Basil!

  39. April 18th is about Self Portrait...


    I have different stagings
    in my two portraits.
    In the first I will tell you about
    the Greek light, the village
    in the mountains I spent
    my summers as a kid
    and sea breezes through pine
    needles on Greek islands.

    in my English staging,
    I will oblige with other details
    including my MBA studies
    the corporate deserts I have
    traveled on camel backs
    and my entrepreneurial ventures.

    I have lived in the woods for the
    last 20 years over a river, next to
    a state park, away from civilization
    except when I am on a Skype call
    with Copenhagen, Sydney,
    Athens and Jerusalem.

    I am learning Polish on Primsleur
    to surprise my wife
    and the house cleaning crew.

    Occasionally, besides deer
    (our companions) we see wild turkey,
    hawks, blue herons and - yes - black bear.

    When people ask me how can I be
    in the people business and live so far away
    from people I just remind them that life is complex.

    I listen to music Greek
    (upbeat dancing or elegiac)
    baroque, Beethoven and Bach.
    I, lately, listen to Rachmaninoff’s trio in D minor
    when I want to mourn unrecoverable losses
    (that includes my college and military
    service years.) Okay, let’s include
    most of my corporate career.

    I write poems now and then
    (mostly in April)
    take my self less seriously
    and find myself concluding
    more and more with
    “it all depends”

    I don’t like long esoteric poems.
    I like to cry and laugh with easy poems
    I like surprises
    I like poems pointing to new paths
    I am suspicious (and bored)
    with commonly accepted wisdom (cliches)

    In other words, I am a revisionist:
    I see mailboxes as roadside deer ready
    to dart across and hit my car
    and other times I see doctors as executioners
    and have a laugh or cry, depending.

    If I had my life to live again
    I would have made more mistakes

    And you?

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  40. Wonderful, Basil! I especially love the last three lines! (Wish I lived in the woods - I'm sure it's magical!)

  41. The prompt for April 19 is TREES...


    They grow
    roots in soils
    that feed them;

    we live in
    ways that
    kill us.

    They seek light
    and grow leaves
    to catch it;

    we seek love but,
    when found, we build
    walls between us.

    They reach higher
    and get stronger
    with each annual ring;

    Do we?

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Love this poem, Basil! And I love your commitment. Kudos to you!

  42. What an amazing month of prompts and poems! I'm enjoying reading the poem each day, as well as the poems posted by readers. Basil, you really do deserve an award for writing a poem a day! Lovely, Adele, thank you!

    Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)

  43. Basil,

    Thank you once again! The comparison between people and trees, and the juxtaposition of walls and trees is so interesting!

  44. This very strange poem is about Mahmoud Darwish:


    The burial scene / birth
    early childhood - childhood as
    paradise and aventure / learning to read and
    the magic of letters first meeting with
    The horror of Exodus the flight from the home village to Lebanon; childhood
    tuns to

    Smuggled bach into Galilee
    semi-ilegal life in Israel

    chilhood memories of Gipsy
    on the symbol of the Gipsy
    dangerous moments and chance rescue
    on waiting in airports 'nd the sense of
    prison experiences of the
    meaning of freedom

    Struggle between myths and legends about the new Trojans

    in exile on autumn, autumn in Paris and autumn in life

    on the meaning of exile / a praise to sleep and dreams / nightmares of
    on the meaning of homesickness and nostalgia / on the meaning of love...

    the first visit to Gaza the the first visit to Jericho the first visit to Galilee the funeral of Emile Habibi.
    al- Birwa (the destroyed home village the mother the visit to the
    father's grave


    (the lines are from " IN THE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE" by Tezt Rooke, footnote 13, page 14,).

    Obviously, the poem is by Jago...

    1. A stunning poem, Jago! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    2. A very visual poem with a slightly (just slightly) surreal quality. I find it hauntingly powerful, Jago. Thanks for posting it.


    3. Haunting is a good word for this poem. It stays with the reader. Thanks, Jago, for posting it!

      Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)


    And my memory revives food scents
    from the summer village where father grew up,
    on the mountains of central Greece.

    My cousin and I - on vacation with our mothers - would leave
    the city by the end of June and joined family members
    still in the village who raised flocks in winter and tilled the

    fields in summer. Grandma still lived there
    with one of her sons (uncle Costa) and his family.
    Corn grew high and tasty on their fields and grandma

    made an unforgettable fresh bread out of that corn.
    My cousin and I would daily walk to the distant fields
    away from the village. We stole ears of corn from the plants.

    We lit small fires and barbecued them. We ate those corns
    hot and salted before even noon time. We drank water
    from the icy spring and... never got caught. On the long walks

    back to the village we’d chew on last year’s crop from
    grandma’s walnut trees, placed in our back packs by her
    with some dried figs. Grandma who knew a couple of things

    about growing boys’ appetites had our favorite things
    ready for us by the time we got home. She’d bring out
    her fresh baked corn bread and her goat skin case filled

    with brine and cheese. She’d cut a chunk of the creamiest
    feta cheese. Next to it, she would lay the homemade air-dried
    sausage from the pork they slaughtered at Christmas.

    It was made with orange rind, dried minty wild oregano from
    the high meadows, garlic and chunks of fine pork meat in
    aromatic spices.

    It was from the hearth room so it soaked the fragrances
    of hard wood fires, steaming soup pots and wafting fumes of
    wine that grandpa made from grapes of vineyards villages

    in the lower hills crushed into must by peasants’ bare feet -
    wine without sulfites never made to be exported but drunk -
    passed down by the gods of Mt. Olympus to the poorest farmer.

    And so it was that in the midst of the creamy feta cheese from
    the goat skin case, the fresh corn bread, the home made
    air-dried sausage and even two small glasses of watered-down

    wine, good enough for us boys of twelve, we filled our bodies
    with food blessings, and our hearts with family love. We waited
    for grandpa and uncle to come home from the fields.

    We were happy.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. So many memories ... I'm glad the prompts are calling them into your poems! Thanks again for sharing so much with us, Basil!

    2. Basil,

      It seems as if your family and memories of your life in Greece provide much poetic inspiration for you. It's wonderful that you're able to channel your memories into poems. I've ordered your book from Finishing Line Press.


  46. Jamie,

    I thank you for ordering my book. I know "it is in a good home"

    Very best wishes,


  47. Today's prompt is MORNING


    The morning crew
    rakes the beach,

    runners synch their
    pace with I-pod beats,

    and yoga groups warm up
    on the lawns of Palisades Park.

    The homeless wake up
    on the benches of the

    3rd Avenue promenade
    and the ocean’s breath sprays

    salt on the condos over the bluffs --
    the city is coming to life.

    Today, it is certain, someone
    will have a facial at the Mall

    and somebody else
    may eat a meal in the streets.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Wonderful social commentary, Basil! The contrasts are striking!

  48. Jago - a great poem. Thanks for posting it!

  49. Our prompt for April 22, 2012 is GRACE


    It looks we’ll soon be
    close to the end of our
    journey where it all began
    -in Central Africa.

    In the deep horizon
    the snow capped
    Kilimanjaro will lull
    the animals to sleep

    and there will be
    a time of prayer
    for the humans on
    on the dying planet:

    “Solemn vespers
    of confession at these
    pre-dusk hours
    when the heart is heavy

    but our spirit light
    forgive our trespasses
    we meant well.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  50. Thanks once again, Basil! Eight days and poems to go!

  51. April 23rd and our prompt is ANIMALS


    He had a brown-cinnamon short hair
    on a slim greyhound frame
    a delicate snout, long patience,
    and soft grey-blue eyes.

    He would be with us in the
    mountain village, eat from our food,
    play with the kids
    throughout each summer.

    In the winter when the villagers
    went to the plains to tend to their flocks
    and Athenian vacationers
    returned to the city

    he stayed with the old
    village woman and her son
    - the monk - who was on a
    sabbatical to take care of her.

    The first winter after she died
    and the monk returned
    to his monastery
    I - the naive tourist -

    indulged my temporary
    guilty thoughts but did nothing
    of practical use and
    I assumed the worst.

    Yet, back in the states,
    timidly in a letter, I asked
    the natural question
    and they wrote me he

    was back in the village
    with his human friends,
    ate from their food,
    and still played with the kids.

    And so Kanellos spent his life
    as a migrant family member
    survived the harsh winters
    in the plains and in the early summers

    made his 19 kilometer trip back alone
    to a spot in our backyard where I pictured
    my grandma (50 fifty years ago)
    would have fed him.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. What a wonderful "dog story!" Such a profound memory!

    2. I was so delighted when I had proof of his ability to survive... I now have so much more respect for the animals' abilities to survive. Yet, at the same time, animals are part of a frail ecosystem and you never know when their ability may be pushed beyond their limit.

    3. Yes, Basil, I, too, respect animals and their will to survive, but, like you, I acknowledge their frailty and our responsibility to protect and preserve the "lesser" creatures of our world. Thanks for your poem!


  52. The prompt for April 24th is Wildlife. The poem painted pictures of a ferocious animal in all its glory and power. My inspiration came from different kinds of "wild."


    The wild West
    was won
    by cow boys
    in high Montana skies
    and shoot-outs
    in whiskey saloons.

    The tamed East
    is being won
    by unisex techies
    in low Jersey skies
    and tweets
    from the Mall.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  53. LIGHTNING is the prompt for April 25.


    Ben Franklin figured it out
    when sparks on his kite string
    flashed light on his key,
    downtown Philadelphia,
    and made him witness to the
    first channeled lightning storm.

    When masses of different moisture,
    he said, rub on each other enough,
    electrons swap homes, cells
    change skins, and all it takes is a hair-line
    conduit between them,
    a kite string, to start the storm.

    I never thought my last night’s question
    would be that kite string, and
    in my hillside cabin I drenched
    in the wrath of your clouds
    wondering if we’d make it
    past the night.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

  54. Thanks, Basil! Such an interesting twist!

  55. Happy Blogaversary to The Music In It. Here's a birthday wish for the blog:

    prompt notes live on
    call forth the music in us
    as true harmonics

    1. THANK YOU, VIOLET -- for the "Happy Blogaversary" and for your thoughtful and poetic wish! How very nice of you!

    2. I nearly forgot! HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY, Adele! Thank you for all you do for poetry and for poets!


  56. Happy blogaversary, Adele.

    5 earthworms, fellows in women and adventures
    2 larvae of Cetonia, to cradle them into a flower
    2 snails, one for me, one for you, my love
    1 slug," a l' enterrement d' une feuille morte (*)
    deux escargot s'en vont..."
    1 centipede, running to you, with beating heart .

    *** **** ***

    (*) * Da " Chanson des escargot qui vont à l'enterrement "
    by Jacques Prevert

    A teacher ,Laura (and I loved her, alas! ) gave me the idea for this little poem: it was just a list to make a terrarium for school kids, but it was so romantic...( for me, it's obvious). There's nothing really romantic in a slug!

    1. Thank you, Jago! So thoughtful of you and much appreciated! I love the poem! Thanks again!

  57. The April 26th prompt is DREAMS


    Those dreams were reports
    of my life’s dilemmas.
    They sneaked in my room
    the cowards - when eye lids
    got heavy and my defenses were down.

    The same judges span the
    same themes in the same direction:
    Not enough time, no help
    to get there, no one to share
    the load, no resolutions.

    I reach mother when her lips
    have turned cold; I fly 4,000 miles,
    bribe my way through the taxi queue
    at the Athens airport so I can
    get home to face a father

    who’d rather welcome a tax collector.
    When I fly back to my corporate job
    in the States I miss my flight again
    for want of a passport or traffic delays.
    In short, my dream life has been holding

    mirrors to me. Forced me to face
    employers I didn’t respect,
    colleagues I had nothing in common
    except our names fed the same “lay-off” lists
    I managed to stay off for 15 years.

    But now, when I fall asleep,
    my parents - too - sleep restfully
    under the cypress trees
    of the village cemetery.
    We have said our last good bye’s.

    There are neither corporate judges
    to impress nor passports to be had.
    The flights are on time
    and there’s never a taxi strike
    on my way home.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Another! Congrats to you, Basil, for writing every day! (The image of your parents is very touching.)

    2. Basil-
      Congratulations! What an accomplishment! Impressive for the quality of your poems, and the volume and consistency.


  58. HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY to "The Music In It!"

  59. Happy Blogaversary, Adele! Thank you for two years of brilliant prompts and wonderful poetry info!

    Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)

  60. Maire O Cathail, the number 100 comments is yours!
    I have never seen something like this on other blog.
    Adele, you are great!!!!!!!
    Your readers also!

  61. PROMISE is our April 27th prompt!


    When they got
    the bad news at
    the doctors’
    she promised him
    she’d beat it.

    They made plans
    for a second
    honeymoon in Paris
    that summer.

    Now, every time
    he sees Paris
    he thinks of a
    promise not kept.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Adele is right about this poem resonating for others. It made me think of my mom and the promises she didn't get to keep. Thank you, Basil!


  62. And another! Basil, I'm really impressed with your dedication to writing a poem each day. I'm sure this one will resonate for many readers! Thanks so much for all the sharing!

  63. This blog always has so much substance, and this month in particular - the prompts as well as the comments! Thanks, Adele, and blog readers!

    1. YES! You're so right, Bob's Mustangs!

      Cara S.

  64. So much sadness conveyed without using the word "loss"-elegantly done.

    1. I agree with the two Bobs! There's always so much offered in this blog and Basil has outdone himself again this year!


  65. LANDSCAPE is our prompt for April 28...


    My landscape
    is a misty meadow,
    a tranquil lake
    that reflects dreams
    of a roving tribe,

    a traveling theatre group
    that performs by abandoned
    wharves while the water
    licks the ribs of the boats
    anchored in the shallow port.

    In the moist air, the costumes
    for the evening show strive to dry
    and the director puffs on his cigarette.
    A sad accordion tune fills the air and
    the actors sink more in their thoughts.

    Our landscape is a low sky
    in a locked land that shrivels
    in self defense and the fog expands
    to shroud the barbed wire
    of our Northern border.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. Powerful imagery and content! Only two more poems to go to complete National Poetry Month! Thanks again for your commitment to writing a poem every day!

    2. Wonderful again, Basil! Thank you!


  66. It is April 29th and our prompt is BIRDS


    And I have seen the double-headed eagle fly high
    in Byzantium’s black and yellow flag
    building bridges over the Bosporus sea.

    And later heard the wailing call
    of lonesome loons over
    New England’s lakes.

    At the end of their long trip,
    I relived the sailors’ jubilation at
    the first seagull sighted by Columbus’ ships

    and have been awed by
    hawks that soar on high
    thermals over Grand Canyon.

    But I change paths when I sight the
    blue heron on the rocks of Black River
    alone, without his partner.

    Basil Rouskas
    All rights reserved

    1. What a great "punch" at the end! It's hard to believe there's only one more day for National Poetry Month! You've really accomplished a lot, Basil! Kudos to you!

    2. Thank you, Adele and Jamie, for your words of encouragement throughout the month. Your feedback, and that of other members of our community, has been greatly appreciated..

      Adele, you have created a terrific resource for people who love to read or write poetry. My commitment is to be more active in it, not so much as a poet but more as a responder to some of the terrific works of poetry you are posting as prompts.

      Your prompt for tomorrow, the last day of April, is PEACE. Here is my posting, not so much as a poem but more as a prayer. Mankind has so many weapons to destroy itself and the planet!!!


      May we:

      Praise fairness

      Eliminate injustice

      Acknowledge past wrongs

      Cherish life’s sanctity

      End wars unconditionally


      by Basil Rouskas

    3. Basil,

      Here's a HUGE THANK YOU for all the poems you shared with us this month and for your kind words!

      Your poem (prayer) today contains the perfect sentiment with which to end this Poetry Month!

      Thank you again for your wonderful words throughout the month and for your ongoing participation in "The Music In It." Your comments are always welcome, my friend!

      I wish you all the best and, always, poetry to cheer you.

    4. A hundred thousand 'Thank You's' for this month of poetry and sharing, Adele!

      Go raibh maith agat! Iontach fad!

      Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)

    5. Dear Basil,
      Ditto to your "Amen". We missed you last week!

    6. Thanks so much, Maire! It's really great to know that the blog is being enjoyed in Ireland!

  67. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Adele, for a great month of poetry! (And for ALL the fantastic prompts and sample poems that you post each week - your readers can visit to read, to write, and, ALWAYS, to enjoy!)


    1. Thanks, Jamie -- I love doing the blog, and I really appreciate your generous feedback!

  68. This is my first visit -- you have an amazing blog!

    1. Hi Tabitha!

      Welcome! Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope you'll visit often!