Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prompt #182 – National Poetry Month

The idea that poetry comes from beyond oneself is vital, as is the sense that one writes a poem in a condition that is often associated with a spiritual position, i.e., the condition of humility. One doesn't know what one's doing and is inspired in that respect. But it doesn't mean one's completely inert, or passive; rather it's just about allowing a poem to come from wherever it comes from and getting it into the world

                   —Paul Muldoon, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize

Here we are again! In just three days’ time, we’ll begin National Poetry Month and a month-long celebration of poetry.

Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month begins on April 1st and runs through April 30th.  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, as I’ve done for the past few years, I offer you inspiration words/phrases and related poems for each of April’s thirty days.

This year, I’ve taken titles of poems by some of my favorite poets and used them as inspiration words and phrases. Links to the poems appear beneath. You may wish to read, write, or do both. If you choose to write, be sure to extend the inspiration and travel away from the example poems.


1. Don’t feel compelled to match your content to the examples’—in fact, do just the opposite and make your poems as different as you possibly can. The inspiration titles and the example poems are only intended to trigger some poetry-spark that’s unique to you, to guide your thinking a little—don’t let them enter too deeply into your poems, don’t let their content become your content.

2. Let your reactions to the inspiration phrases and poems surprise you. Begin with no expectations, and let your poems take you where they want to go.

3. Give the topics your own spin, twist and turn them, let the phrases trigger personal responses: pin down your ghosts, identify your frailties, build bridges and cross rivers, take chances!

4. Keep in mind that writing a poem a day doesn’t mean you have to “finish” each poem immediately. You can write a draft each day and set your drafts aside to work on later.

5. Whatever you do this month, find some time (a little or a lot) to enjoy some poetry!

As always, your sharing is welcome,
so please be post your thoughts and poems as comments!

Regular weekly prompts will resume on May 3rd.
In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful and poetry-filled April!
Happy National Poetry Month!

Let the poeming begin!

April 1
Inspiration: Taken for Granted
Example: “Taken for Granted” by Marie-Elizabeth Mali

April 2
Inspiration: Street Music
Example: “Street Music” by Robert Pinsky

April 3
Inspiration: And Soul
Example: “And Soul” by Eavan Boland

April 4
Inspiration: Reading Between the Lines
Example: “Reading Between the Lines” by Michael T. Young

April 5
Inspiration: The Summer Day
Example: “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

April 6
Inspiration: The Distances
Example: “The Distances” by Henry Rago

April 7
Inspiration: The Partial Explanation
Example: “The Partial Explanation” by Charles Simic

April 8
Inspiration: Anything Can Happen
Example: “Anything Can Happen” by Seamus Heaney

April 9
Inspiration: The Idea of Ancestry
Example: “The Idea of Ancestry” by Etheridge Knight

April 10
Inspiration: Here and Now
Example: “Here and Now” by Stephen Dunn

April 11
Inspiration: Why Regret?
Example: “Why Regret” by Galway Kinnell

April 12
Inspiration: Five Flights Up
Example: “Five Flights Up” by Elizabeth Bishop

April 13
Inspiration: Blueberry
Example: “Blueberry” by Diane Lockward

April 14
Inspiration: Day of Grief
Example: “Day Of Grief” by Gerald Stern

April 15
Inspiration: The Embrace
Example: “The Embrace” by Mark Doty

April 16
Inspiration: What The Living Do
Example: “What The Living Do” by Marie Howe

April 17
Inspiration: The Strange House of the Past
Example: “The Strange House of the Past” by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

April 18
Inspiration: Suffering
Example: “Suffering” by Joe Weil

April 19
Inspiration: One of the Lives
Example: “One of the Lives” by W. S. Merwin

April 20
Inspiration: I Am Not Yours
Example: “I Am Not Yours” by Sara Teasdale

April 21
Inspiration: The Road Not Taken
Example: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

April 22
Inspiration: All You Did
Example: “All You Did” by Kay Ryan

April 23
Inspiration: A Blessing
Example: “A Blessing” by James Wright

April 24
Inspiration: If You Forget Me
Example: “If You Forget Me” by Pablo Neruda

April 25
Inspiration: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Example: “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein

April 26
Inspiration: When You Are old
Example: “When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats

April 27
Inspiration: Some Days
Example: “Some Days” by Billy Collins

April 28
Inspiration: Unfolded Out of the Folds
Example: “Unfolded Out of the Folds” by Walt Whitman

April 29
Inspiration: A Dream Within A Dream
Example: A Dream Within A Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe

April 30
Inspiration: Kindness
Example: “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye

P.S. If you missed the National Poetry Month blog prompts for 2013 or 2012, you can check them out by clicking on the links below.

National Poetry Month 2013
National Poetry Month 2012


  1. I so look forward to your 30 prompts during poetry month! Part of the fun is just reading the inspiration poems. Often, the poem you offer resonates for me, and I look for other poems by the same poet. It's lovely to relax with the example poems, to read them in and out of order, and to see where they lead. No pressure. I also really enjoy the poems that are posted as comments. I hope Basil R. does a poem a day again this year.

    1. Thanks so much, Jamie! I'm really happy to know that you enjoy Poetry Month here on the blog! (I hope Basil treats us to some of his poems again this year too.)

    2. Thanks for the kind words. It is always a good feeling for a writer to be welcomed in his/her community of readers! This year some projects are interfering with the commitment to do a poem a day, but I always read the sample poems and the comments and feel part of this terrific place that Adele has created on the blog-space.

    3. Maybe you'll be able to share a few with us, I hope, Basil!

  2. Adele, I'm new to your blog and so grateful that you included the links for the 2012 and 2013 poetry month prompts. Looks like a wealth of inspiration and really good reading! Thanks so much!

    1. Welcome to The Music In It, Kathy, and thanks so much for your kind comment!

  3. This is really great for both poets and readers alike. I like the mix of poets represented in the inspiration poems.

  4. Taken For Granted

    wash the dishes
    make the beds
    dust and sweep
    sweep and weep
    weep for carefree days
    of playing outside till dark
    of being care less
    no, you can't eat off my floor!
    why would you want to?
    the unseen unknown
    come into the light
    dry your tears
    wipe your face
    all is well
    continue on your way
    never mind
    smile in your soul
    smile in your heart
    any way

    1. Smashing, Risa (as we say here in England)! You go from the mundane drudgery of chores, to a sense of loss, to a message of hope and encouragement. Well done!

    2. Oh my goodness! I seem to have missed this one. It's so uplifting and filled with encouragement. Thanks, Risa, for sharing with us.

  5. Risa,
    Wonderful, crisp poem but it says so much….

  6. Today's prompt poem is STREET MUSIC. It transported me into a different era and a different kind of music:


    Petula Clark was wrong!
    You did not need to go
    downtown to hear the
    street music in the city

    I grew up. The milkman’s
    delivery cart woke you up —
    clickety clack of his metal
    wheels on the pot holes

    before sunrise. Hunched, kerchieved
    farming women peddled wild greens
    from the north mountains
    in accented cries repeating

    at each new block. The German guard
    at the Kommandantur building, next door,
    was silent. The happiest music,
    was when resistance

    fighters’ shells flew past our home
    and landed on his building.
    After the curfew silence fell in the streets,
    mother hummed a new freedom song.

    1. HOORAY! Basil is back! A lovely poem that evokes freedom in a beautiful and personal way (I can almost hear your mother humming).

    2. Lovely, Basil! Thanks so much for sharing, It's great to see you back this year. I hope you enjoy the inspiration ideas, poems, and your own writing!

  7. Thanks! And welcome back, Basil! Nice post!!!!!

  8. Another great set of inspirations for National Poetry Month! Thank you.

    I'm not a Paul Muldoon fan for the most part, but I did enjoy the quote very much.

  9. street music

    thumping jumping waves
    of rap music
    blasting our of car raidos
    yap yap yapping dogs
    screeching tires rip the air
    where am I?
    the noisy world
    rushes full speed ahead
    repetitiously on a daily basis
    while white noise hums a constant chorus
    birds sit on the wire
    like notes on sheet music
    it's the symphony of life
    in full spectrum rainbow color coordinated

    1. Well done, Risa! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

    2. I think I'm going to have a hard time keeping up! Lovely, Risa! Keep them coming.

  10. And Soul

    everybody's got soul
    all God's children
    got soul
    all the little children
    all the animals
    everyone's got
    childhood chants
    everybody's got
    so they'll say
    they'll know
    if you have
    or no...
    believe you have it!
    as in ole chris kringle
    and jingle
    jingle jingle

  11. Reading Between the Lines

    it's the empty spaces
    not what's said
    what is unsaid
    white chalk on black board
    black ink on white paper
    it's the white
    it's the black
    it all depends on
    your perspective

    1. Risa,
      I like your technique (contrast of colors, and things being said or unsaid) of highlighting why everything is relative. The title could not have been better.

    2. Well done, Risa! Basil makes a great point about the contrast of colors and things said of left unsaid.

  12. Inspired by Mary Oliver's THE SUMMER DAY
    and a recent announcement by a team of Cosmology scientists who worked on the South Pole.


    (After Mary Oliver’s poem THE SUMMER DAY)
    The March 2014 announcement that BICEP2, a team of scientists who lived 3 years on the South Pole, managed to measure gravitational waves, first such measurement in the annals of Cosmology)

    I hope you don’t take seriously this lofty
    question. Call it what it is — a poetic
    device to set realistic goals copied
    from self-help books for readers

    best summed up as “tomorrow-addicts.”
    Because for me, I plan to circle the earth
    in a space capsule and gaze over hazy
    meadows, mourning animals going extinct.

    I will then go to the South Pole
    where scientists spent 3 years in thin air
    distortions-free telescope installations
    to catch the fading light from the first

    explosion that set the universe
    expanding after the big bang.
    They claim they’ll make connections
    between quantum mechanics and

    gravitational waves, matters still hanging
    loose since Einstein’s times.
    They say they’ll let me look through
    their telescopes and educate me

    why physics will never be the same;
    which doesn’t mean a hill of beans
    to my dog who sits across, spread
    on my carpet and happy to be with me.

    And the pulsating waves, Higgs bosons,
    variable masses, fusions and fissions
    all boil down to just a daily life moment
    in my living room until the timer

    switches off the light. I tuck under
    my blanket and go to sleep. Tomorrow,
    another day. The sun will rise again.
    My dog will follow me to his feeding dish.

    1. Brilliant, Basil! Thanks so much for sharing. It's wonderful to see where the inspiration idea and poem have lead you! Great juxtapositions—the technical jargon and the faithful dog (and a great dismount that gives the whole "idea" perspective)!

    2. Today's prompt is about DISTANCES…


      From the mountain ridges
      to the delta it took
      a river's journey

      But to go home to the mountains
      I only need time for the sun
      and the cloud

      to do their work.

      Basil Rouskas
      April 2014

    3. I really love the conciseness of your distances poem, Basil. What a beautiful way to bring the poem to closure: "But to go home to the mountains / I only need time for the sun and the cloud / to do their work."

      Note: I think you posted this poem as a reply to your previous comment. Be sure to post as a new comment not related to a previous one to be sure it doesn't get missed.

    4. Thanks for your words and the technical point. I am still learning the system

    5. I'm still learning the technical things myself! Thanks again for being such an important part of our Poetry Month journey here on the blog! You've shared so much with us all for the past three years!

    6. I love your poem, Basil! "tomorrow addicts!" indeed and after you fly around quantuming, your dog will follow you to the feeding dish! Nice!!!!

    7. Basil, I'm having a hard time keeping up but please know that I'm reading your poems and loving them. Things have gotten quite busy at work, and I'm exhausted, but I thank you for sharing and look forward to more!

    8. Wonderful imagery in this one!

  13. Distances

    stop watch
    the clock
    not matter
    you are
    part of me
    of the universe
    no distance
    truly exists

    1. What an unexpected dismount… No distance/truly exists!
      Good stuff.

    2. Risa, your poems prove that so often less is more. You are able to draw us in with your careful word choices while teaching us strong lessons.

    3. Great point, Gail Fishman Gerwin -- less is often more, and the lessons in Risa's poems are always highlighted by the poems' brevity.

    4. Thanks! I so appreciate your comments. Today, I was thinking how funny life is! When I was in grade school, one report card said something to the effect that I was a chatterbox and tended to talk toooo much.

  14. Simic's small luncheonette scene transports me to places where I have eaten alone in the heart of winter away from home. A crackling fire in the dining room, a glass of red wine and a steaming plate in front of me, as I miss a loved one…Other times I am a field agent in snowy southern Vermont. On a trip back to Greece my wife and I enjoy the hospitality of a restaurant in a Peloponesian winter just by ourselves. The fire rages, to wind howls and the hail starts to fall. Yet, we are taken care of and we have a room reserved in the hotel upstairs….
    This poem is embroidered with different mood, yet the roadside restaurant theme returns…


    We buried mother in the
    mountain village cemetery
    next to our father.

    The monk on sabbatical
    (taking care of his sick mother
    in winters) and the priest's son
    dug hard through the frost to
    carve her a resting home in the
    black earth.

    Then, you drove back to Athens
    and we descended the village road's
    tight switch backs to the plains

    without saying a word.
    Before the highway, we
    stopped at the family owned
    roadside-restaurant where
    she fed us on the last day of
    summer vacations.

    The chef-owner, an older man
    of street savvy and natural wisdom
    brought our food to the table
    but never asked about her.

    1. Bravo once again, Basil! You weave detail and emotion beautifully into a fabric that speaks to your readers of the past and moments with which we can all identify even if our own details are different.

    2. Such striking imagery -- the monk and the priest's son, the village road (tight switch backs) and the highway. The underlying silence in this poem is one of its strong qualities.

    3. In your poetry blog community, Adele, I feel visible. Both, when the comments offered match my intention, or suggest a special angle not originally aimed at.
      Of course the relationships that evolve is the continuing dividend.
      Thank you both,
      PS Jamie, hope you are well on the other side of the ocean…so far and yet so close.

    4. I'm glad you're comfortable here, Basil! I know the blog readers appreciate your work and your spirit!

  15. Basil, you brought so much to this poem. You took us to Greece in winter (we were there when it was blistering hot) and gave us the contrast of seasons: summer warmth when you ate with joy, winter cold when your heart was heavy. You left us wondering if the owner didn't mention your mother in order to spare you or out of apathy. I lean toward the former, owing to his "natural wisdom." What a strong finish to a poem that tells so much about family and ritual.

  16. Thank you for your kind words, Gail. I hope you will share some of your poems with this blog this April.

  17. Famly history, emigrations, and unanswered questions are all part of the ancestral tapestries we weave both daily and across centuries — Choices we make, challenges we face, success and knock-downs. This is what came to mind when I read Etheridge Knight's poem.


    In "The Parthenon Enigma,"
    Joan Breton Connelly rewrites
    history, challenges dogmas

    and reinterprets the frieze of
    the temple not as a
    Athenian procession

    but a sacrifice rite
    of King Erechtheus'
    three daughters

    in exchange for
    the city's survival
    from advancing armies.

    And in my conversations
    with relatives on three continents
    I rewrite myths, ask questions

    and put pieces together —
    about uncle Nick
    who ran a grocery

    store in Buenos Aires,
    my brother who married
    in a Greek Orthodox

    Cathedral in Bujumbura
    Burundi, my father (the
    teenage shepherd)

    who fought on Asian shores
    before repatriation into
    crews laying rail before

    he opened his business in Athens.
    All these, fragments of a roving nation
    of which whether I accept it or not

    I am a part.

    1. Wonderful, Basil! You take us on a journey through your personal "Motherland of the spirit" and remind us that we're all part of the emotional and spiritual fragments of our own, and one another's, histories.

    2. Wonderful, Basil! Your family history has given you a rich and poignant sourcebook for your poems. Thanks, as always, for sharing with us.

    3. How nicely you tie the threads!

  18. I read Kinnell's poem as an ode to miraculous things around us; accepting one's environment and "skin" as they are.
    My poem went into the opposite direction: Regret about things that I still don't accept but I cannot change.


    I still remember
    the cause

    and the words of
    our argument

    when you
    called me

    a piece of cat’s

    and stormed
    out of the room.

    Not long after
    I came to America

    a stroke paralyzed
    your mouth

    and on my visits we
    could no longer talk like

    father and son. I, about the
    the anger I caused you;

    and you about
    your regrets

    for what you’ d
    called me.

    1. Basil, this is really wonderful. I agree with Adele that you've captured a universal feeling of regret and "what if." Sometimes those little moments become big moments that come back again and again to haunt us.

    2. I like this poem, Basil, for all the reasons cited by Adele and Jamie and just because it's a damn good poem with a lot to say to a lot of people. I found it both genuine and consoling. I hope it brought you some sense of peace to write and post it.

    3. We all have similar things that we regret, Basil, which makes your poem especially universal and especially meaningful. The details may be different, but the feelings of regret and the "I-wish-I-could-take-that-back" feeling are the same for so many of us.

      I always say that one of poetry's most important roles is to show us that we're not alone. You do that so often in your poems! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  19. The Partial Explanation

    I can't live this way anynore
    I won't go back to the NE
    too much snow
    too cold
    too congested
    That's not the real reason
    it's the shame
    an inherited trait
    a feeling tone
    distorting vibrations
    coloring all the bright
    variations with shades of gray
    a blanket of shame
    emanating suffocating memories
    of limitations, humiliations, deprivations
    I won't live this way

    1. Very strong expression of feelings! Thanks for sharing this, Risa!

    2. Thanks, Risa! This is great!

    3. Risa,
      The voice of confidence, the language of commitment, the firm stance of a direction you have chosen for yourself and for your life.
      Nice work!

  20. Anything Can Happen

    quantum physics
    nothing static
    and poof
    everything changes
    anything can happen

    1. I love the staccato effect you achieve through the short lines and no capitalization or punctuation. Well done!

    2. I agree with Adele -- great sound effect!

  21. Ancestry

    follow the silk road
    on horse back
    with my dark-skinned
    oriental eyed
    high-bridged nose ancestors
    go east or west
    from Middle Asia
    for years, I searched for the answers to the questions:
    who are you?
    what are you?
    and finally
    an American from the East
    from far away and long ago
    That works!

    1. "That works" and so does the poem! The sense of discovery goes beyond the obvious answer and moves toward self-acceptance.

    2. Well written, Risa! Thanks for sharing with us!

  22. I LOVE this blog! There's always so much happening here by way of inspiration and writing challenges. Thank you! I'm a rank amateur but I love poetry and write a little bit from time to time. I'm not brave enough to post my name, but here's a little poem based on today's inspiration:

    April 15
    Inspiration: The Embrace
    Example: “The Embrace” by Mark Doty


    I don't challenge that you're gone,
    that I'll never see you again except
    perhaps in dreams that comfort and
    frighten at the same time. I don't
    challenge this loss and what it means,
    how it changes everything: even the
    sky's shape and the brightness of the
    stars—how it changes what I never
    wanted to know and what I know ...
    what I know ...

    1. How lovely, Anonymous! I think we can all identify with that feeling of loss and change. You're definitely not a "rank amateur." Thanks so much for sharing with us!

    2. This is a wonderful poem, Anonymous! You've captured the essence of grief perfectly. (You're not an amateur!)

  23. Grief

    The vet took him
    My darling Puddy
    I see him everywhere
    in all orange cats

    1. Oh, so sad, Risa! I've been there and know that feeling. I hope warm memories bring you comfort.

    2. I know that feeling, Risa, and how much it hurts. I hope writing the poem helped a little. Sometimes when there are "no words," a poem makes the needed expression happen.

  24. The Embrace

    They say
    The only ones we need are already attached
    They say
    There's not many things as satisfying
    as a hug
    Come hug me
    I'll mold myself to your body
    Feel your heat beat next to mine
    Wrap my arms around your shoulders
    Count myself blessed

    1. Nothing better than a good, old-fashioned hug! Hope you gets lots of them!

    2. Ditto to jamie's comment! Nothing better than a hug! Thanks for sharing.

  25. What the Living Do

    Oh, the artist's life!
    Living outside the box
    What fun
    What joy
    Wait a minute!
    It's really not what you think
    There're still bills to be paid
    laundry to be done
    groceries to be bought
    The art
    is really in the living
    in the small acts
    of the everyday

    1. Yes, so true -- the art (and joy) of living IS in small, everyday things. Thanks, Risa, for this reminder.

    2. Who was it who said that God is in the details? I believe that—the little everyday details of our lives are what our lives are about. Your poem expresses exactly that!

  26. : ) You are all so encouraging! Thanks!

  27. Maria Mazzioti Gillan's poem (our prompt for tomorrow) inspired me to write about the first house we lived in Athens:


    Condemned from occupancy
    in a neighborhood bombed
    by the guerrilla artillery in the war
    she still stands - a two story stucco

    our home during the war. Inheritance
    issues hung in Athens courts
    keep the spider webs in
    and the bulldozers out.

    I visit when I am back
    in the homeland. I turn the car
    into the narrow street and
    struggle keeping my eyes dry.

    I turn on the windshield
    wipers and take a glance
    at her two-story tired frame
    next to the Megalophon family house.

    One of the brothers became
    a doctor - that much I remember.
    Their basement tenant
    the ghost of a lonely slow woman

    in her fifties approaches me
    with half the neighborhood cats
    trailing her in the back yard.
    A dying palm tree still upright,

    — its trunk forms an exclamation point
    with the roof shed hole — and
    documents war bombings on the German
    Kommandantur building next door.

    I park the rental car
    and walk the narrow
    street. On the second floor
    the gendarme (our tenant)

    still plays the violin.
    Mrs. K’s dogs know I am not the
    Ulysses they expect. They growl
    at me, in anger and disappointment.

    Out on the street, mother is running
    after my classmates who threw rocks and
    spat at me in envy of my best
    grades in class. I wait.

    When she returns we go
    upstairs to pack daddy’s
    lunch. "He must be hungry."
    she says.

    1. Beautiful, Basil! The visual aspect is so strong—I felt as if I were visiting that house myself. I can see the lady with the cats trailing after her, I can see your mom—I see my own first home, and my eyes aren't dry! Thank you for sharing this!

    2. This is truly beautiful, Basil! As Adele wrote, I can see the house and the people who lived there so clearly. The visual quality of the poem is really outstanding. Your sense of loss, and perhaps even a certain feeling of displacement, is felt as well. Our old homes never leave us, do they?

    3. The Strange House of the Past

      That strange house of the past
      Don't open it!
      You really want to reveal
      the secrets behind all those stories
      you've been told
      believed all your life
      Release yourself
      from these identifiers
      Remember the strange house of the past
      move forward
      facing the future
      one step at a time
      running full speed ahead is even better!

    4. Wonderful, Risa! Release from the identifiers—great phrase. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    5. Risa,
      And everybody knows the strange house has SECRETS. Besides the motivational aspect, your poem has a mysterious mood that intrigues me.

  28. Today's prompt is about suffering, so here is another glimpse of it…


    There is no hope
    no redemption
    but iron balls
    and chains and
    the keys of the warden.

    1. oh dear, oh dear!
      This quote seems more about hopelessness and despair. I'm working on "suffering." Hmm. That sounds funny, no:? yes?

    2. A very interesting take on the "inspiration," Basil! I really like the conciseness and the dismount. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Yes, that sounds funny. "working on suffering…"
      There was a genre of folk music in Greece that peaked in the 20's. The name was rebetica. They were sung by an underclass who did hashish and were fiercely anti-authority. They actually loved to suffer. They got their pain out of thir system by singing about their suffering. Actually, my poem above resonates their "sound"


    4. Very interesting response to the inspiration, Basil! There's a sense of resignation as well as of mystery -- is your "jail" imagery an extended metaphor for something else? I suppose that our individual interpretations are what makes poetry an eternally personal experience.

  29. Suffering

    If you're the kind of person
    who likes being in charge
    take heart
    You are in charge
    of your own happiness
    as well as your own suffering

    What power!

  30. pretty nice blog, following :)

    1. Thanks, Skyline Spirit! Nice to have you following!

  31. I am not Yours

    I am not yours
    I am not even mine
    My parents gave this body
    to me
    for a while
    When it's warranty has run out
    I hope to be retired

    1. But not for a long, long time! You have a lot more poetry to write before "retirement."

  32. One of the Lives

    Like the legendary cat
    I have at least nine lives
    In one of those
    I was possessed
    Swept along with other unruly youth
    the world changed

    1. Great last line, Risa! Just the right kind of "punch."

    2. Love your cat comparison (knowing how much you love cats)! And ... the wisdom of the way the world changes, which is does for everyone.

  33. All You Did

    I can only be grateful
    for all the good
    and bad
    you've done
    I'm alive and well

    1. Ah, could be addressed to many people in many lives ... it's good to remain grateful ...

    2. I especially like the way you've incorporated a spirit of forgiveness, implicit in your gratitude. To be grateful and forgiving isn't always easy, but to achieve them in their fullness makes life so much more beautiful.

  34. The Road Not Taken

    Wisdom is realized
    by making mistakes
    Making choices
    Taking one road and not another
    Going here instead of there
    Regret not
    It all seems to work out
    If not,
    there is reincarnation

    1. What a surprising dismount…



    2. Surprising, yes—turns the poem in another direction.

    3. Very surprising ending!

  35. A Blessing

    Even without a phone
    our ears hear each other
    Even though separated
    our hearts beat together
    our mind's eye sees
    through space and time
    we are never really apart

  36. Kay Ryan's lines:

    All you did
    was walk into a room

    triggered the following:


    Years ago
    they told him
    happened” when
    he entered the room
    But that was then;

    now they will not tell
    him, what changed—
    The room or himself?
    He has to figure
    out on his own
    they both have!

    1. Very powerful, Basil! An aura of mystery inherent in "something happened" with no explanation. Great stuff! (I'm wondering if you even need the last three lines????)

  37. For some reason, Jamie, the REPLY button is not working.

    So, here is the poem without the last three lines… Thanks.


    Years ago
    they told him

    happened” when
    he entered the room
    But that was then;

    now they will not tell
    him, what changed—
    The room or himself?

    1. Hi Basil! This is really great. I especially like the new line breaks that create pauses in just the right places -- and leaving the reader with a question works so well.

    2. I couldn't agree with Jamie more in regard to leaving out the last lines and the power you achieve through the revised line breaks. Ah, the joys of tweaking and refining!

    3. I like this version better too

  38. There is a Yiddish word my Jewish wife is using for "soulmate" — bashert!

    1. Tuck the word away for possible use in a poem someday!

  39. I think this is a Hebrew word and part of an expression in Yiddish: what is ordained by G'd; it goes roughly something like this: voos isht b'shert in Yiddish

    1. Interesting, Basil and Risa! I found this online:

      Bashert: (beh-sheert) destined, fated, meant to be. "Beshert is beshert" is the Yiddish equivalent of "Que sera, sera." When used as a noun, it means "soul mate" or the one with whom you were destined to be.

  40. If You Forget Me

    Do it
    Forget that me
    who no longer exists

    The body cells
    completely change
    every seven years
    The mind's recogniton
    should follow
    not grasping
    old images

    People of our past
    may be unable to forget, though
    Freezing you in time

  41. Makes me wonder about how people from my own past whom I haven't seen in many years might remember me ... I'm sure there are some who don't remember me at all!

  42. I never fail to be amazed by this blog, and I really appreciate the special sharing during National Poetry Month! Write on!

    1. Thanks so much, Rich! Your kind words are much appreciated.

  43. Risa,
    I really enjoyed the perspective of "If you Forget me"
    New cells every 7 years…
    Throws a new light on Memory...

  44. Here's what Neruda's evocative poem IF YOU FORGET ME triggered…


    If you
    forgot the
    songs from the sea chapel

    fragrance of
    flowers lifting off

    of ferns wild

    if you
    forgot the famish
    of one being without the other,

    love, leave me
    quietly in the Fall veranda

    please don’t
    tell me you’ve left.

    1. Wonderful, Basil! Great visual imagery and a terrific dismount!

    2. oh, made my hair stand on end!

    3. Where the Sidewalk Ends

      jumping gleefully off concrete
      step into cyberspace
      accessing information
      energetically sharing
      across borders
      but as real as a

    4. And my hair as well! This is really very good, and I quite like the surprise at the end.

    5. A brilliantly-conceived and well-written poem, Basil! Reminiscent of the Romantic poets of the late 18th and 19th centuries who worked toward " ... the filtering of natural emotion through the human mind in order to create art, coupled with an awareness of the duality created by such a process."

  45. When You Are Old

    All of a sudden
    you can't do a lot of things.
    Your skin looks wrinkled.
    Your joints creek.
    You've lost a lot of people
    and maybe things.
    life seems simpler.
    You can see through the BS
    behind the scenes,
    behind the wizard.
    Hormones don't cloud
    your mind.
    Others opinions matter less.
    It's all good,
    as they say in the 'hood.


    Each year
    lips tremble more
    when telling our stories

    and fingers grow
    snarly when
    turning our pages

    but we soon
    discover the old years’
    main advantage: They don’t last long

    1. A profound reflection! Thanks for sharing it with us, Basil!

    2. There is so much truth in this, and perhaps a reminder that we should all savour every moment we are given. You and Risa seem to have been on the same page when writing for this prompt. It's a delight to see how each of you, in your individual ways, create poems from the same "source."

  47. Some Days

    Some days
    street lights change
    just in time
    and the way ahead
    is swift and easy
    Other days
    legs feel like lead
    and walking comes hard
    Full and empty
    So goes the way
    Back and forth
    the end is reached

    1. So true, Risa! Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad the inspiration poems and ideas are working for you!

      How many poems have you written so far for this year's poetry month?

    2. Wonderful incorporation of everyday details and the larger meaning of the "way". Thanks, Risa!

  48. Thanks for commenting and thank you for all your thoughtful prompts. I think I've written a poem a day this year.

    1. Thank you for all the sharing, Risa! You add so much to this blog by way of your poems and comments. And ... big congrats on writing a poem every day!

  49. Kindness

    I'm not a saint
    I'm good
    I'm bad
    I'm luminous
    I'm dark
    I'm just human
    I accept that

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  51. Hard to believe that the month of April has sped by. Just a quick thank you for all the inspiration and sharing, and for this fantastic blog.

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie, your kind words are much appreciated!

  52. What a great month of poetry and inspiration! Thank you, Adele! Please convey my regards to both Basil and Risa who contributed so much all month.

    As we close the door on April, I offer this quote from Carl Sandburg: "Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment." Here's to more
    thinking about what's seen during poetry moments on this blog! THANK YOU!

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy, for your kind words and for the Sandburg quote! I'm glad to know that you enjoy the blog, and I'll convey your message to Basil and Risa. Thanks again!

  53. One more April of our lives is behind us. So, here is a toast to Adele (inspiration, fuel and operations guru behind it) and all the people who chose with their postings to celebrate poetry by reading it, playing with it, and entering into dialogues. It has been a pleasure and a privilege!

    1. Thank you so very much, Basil! Your presence here on the blog is a gift to all of us, and I'm deeply grateful!