Day 16: Skeltonic Walk

the sky today is blue

with a thousand shades and hues

and that’s my point of view

does it look that way to you?

let’s walk into the woods

to pick some wild foods

wild garlic’s very good

and more, if understood

I’d like to learn some more

about foraging for sure

learn what to look for 

from books and from lore

so crawling on all fours

let us check the bowers

and search for elder flowers

it may take several hours

and use up all our powers

until we need to rest

and nap under the nests

being careful of pests

note that it is best

to stay here the latest

before the sun sets

over the hill in the West

past the firs and the birch

who can get back first?

now that we’re immersed 

in the wild, and well versed

and quenched hunger and thirst

and nursed our need for nature

connect our spirit to Creator

today, what could be greater?

Saffron – 16th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 16:

And last but not least, our (optional) prompt. Because it’s Friday, today I’d like you to relax with the rather silly form called Skeltonic, or tumbling, verse. In this form, there’s no specific number of syllables per line, but each line should be short, and should aim to have two or three stressed syllables. And the lines should rhyme. You just rhyme the same sound until you get tired of it, and then move on to another sound.

Skeltonic verse is a fun way to get some words on the page without racking your brains for deep meaning. It’s a form that lends itself particularly well to poems for children, satirical verse, and just plain nonsense.

Day 15: Solving Insomnia

grandson on the left arm

pen in the right

his newspapers are opened

from the back

he buys puzzle books

in crossed words, anagrams

logical problems and sudokus

up and down these pages

are so many problems

that can be solved

at one in the morning

the grids of sudokus for me

are an effective cure for insomnia

Saffron – 16th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 15:

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt comes to us from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.

You can see the original prompt (in quasi-cartoon form), along with a few other of Martinez’s prompts, here.

Day 14: To Be A Sauterel

Photo by Jeanne Paredes on Unsplash

When he answers the phone

Dad compresses the three syllables instead of hello

our name – some people think they’ve reached

some headquarters, an important place – a central

when introduced, if French is your language I can tell

I look keenly for the edges of your smile to rise

for your eyes to flick a few times, you want to surmise

and make a joke – but my little trick

is to smile back oozing charm, stare you down

there, you fell for it, and now the moment has passed

what would you want to ask? If I live in wild fields?

and my brown complexion distracts

from your imagining green – what else does it yield?

what else do grasshoppers do? 

but to cooks and chefs they have other information

as the base to them will mean to fry and stir fry

I’ll suggest noodles or potatoes, or veal sauté

let’s get back to the jumping part, jump back

if you like – when the verb becomes a noun

it actually seems bland to me so… “saut”

a vertical break from a stand, just up and down

but does a name define how you move 

in the world? none of my family stroll

or do anything slowly…

with so much movement and cooking 

and immersion in nature we do get around

quite fast, or “saut” it seems

Saffron – 14th April 2021

* sauterelle (f) is French for a grasshopper

Napowrimo prompt day 14:

And last but not least, our (optional) prompt for the day. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at this poem by Mark Wunderlich, appropriately titled “Wunderlich.”

Day 13: Utopia News

Photo by Emma on Unsplash

I read the news today, oh boy!

it’s really about time

there’s been zero violence, no more crime

peace has made strides

and there is cross the board universal rights

for all – the animals have advocates

and so have the forests

there are now clean oceans

and biodegradable plastics

these events just and beautiful

came from one recognition:

from the micro to the macro

each insect and the planet as a whole

are all imbued with soul. 

Saffron – 13th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 13:

And now, on to our (optional) prompt. Today’s prompt comes from the Instagram account of Sundress Publications, which posts a writing prompt every day, all year long. This one is short and sweet: write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow

Day 12: North Hera Union States

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

mind the gap

mind the gap

we’ve arrived and I woke

some confusion in surfacing

the travel gap?

the uchronian gap?

it turns out we have to take care

when placing our feet on the jetwalk

as passengers of the jump drive 

can be giddy from the ride

of course a statue of Juno

is foremost in the hall

we are after all

in North Hera Union States

for us this is a holiday

to a less oppressive space than home

for us women

we can walk safely without fear

of threat or harm

we take the mag-train to spend

the morning in Renouvierville

we’ll go swimming in the bliss pools

and spend a day there

mere minutes on Earth Alpha

we’ve booked a jump drive back

we’ll feel heavier on the steps

of our station for the return

to our regular world

mind the gap

mind the gap

Saffron – 12th April 2021

*Classical dictionary p412 – Juno (Hera/Uni)

** Dictionary of Science Fiction: 

JUno – JUmp drive: to journey through hyperspace, instantaneous long distance travel

HEra – HEat ray (not used)

UNi – UNchronia alternate Universe story eg. Charles Renouvier and his alternate Roman Empire where Christianity was suppressed. 

Napowrimo prompt day 12:

Finally, our prompt (optional, as always). I’m calling this one “Past and Future.” This prompt challenges you to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction. A hat tip to Cathy Park Hong for a tweet that pointed me to the science fiction dictionary and to Hoa Nguyen for introducing me to the Classical Dictionary.

Day 11: Letter to Ms Ricardo

Screenshot – I Love Lucy – No copyright infringement intended

Dear Ms Ricardo, 

In those days when you made those shows

did you know their power – your power

would last as it did? That they would go on 

to be aired at least six decades later?

Did you even guess how your charm 

could ooze through different fashions and times?

How we can still hold our breath – alarmed

by the speed those chocolates came down

the conveyor belts? Your wide eyes

and ginger bangs, your sass as a female clown.

In short, in the healing art of laughter

you are a trendsetting master – you do see

that even now I, and everyone loves Lucy. 

Sincerely, 

Saffron

Dear Saffron, 

Many thanks for your letter. 

No matter how well we did

we always thought we could do better. 

We have indeed been blessed 

by long success

and to be sure – making people laugh

I also consider

to be a healing art

most of all my advice to you my fan

is to always have fun

and to be true to yourself

because Time is the real trickster

and Life, I have felt

somehow runs as fast

as that chocolate factory conveyor belt!

Best wishes for the future, 

Lucy Ricardo

Saffron – 11th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 11 :

And now for our (optional) prompt. This is a twist on a prompt offered by Kay Gabriel during a meeting she facilitated at the Poetry Project last year. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response. These can be as short or long as you like, in the form of prose poems, or with line breaks – and of course, the subject matter of the letters is totally up to you.

Day 10: 33 Years of Fast Cars

Screenshot of YouTube: Tracy Chapman and Fast Car – no copyright infringement intended

I admit that it’s a wasteful solution

sometimes your head just swirls

by the lack of gravity

and you are clasped at the neck

by the winds – and transported by events

it’s always good to know where

the spare key is stored

the one with the macrame cord

for guests, for emergencies

like too fast, and enough

that we can fly away

we won’t be using that over summer

the plan is not yet made

and I remain in disbelief

too much sponge never gets in

the corners – I had assumed 

it was just for now

it has to be reloaded

can we be there for each other?

a sampler I was really looking for

nearly there! six months to finish

push down and pull back

the car was symbolic of everything

of the whole travel thing

should I return this?

got to make some decisions for sure

I am not even sure which lamps

they are for – I had that feeling

to leave today, I took it up to the attic

the corks are somewhere else

or do I accept it is no longer needed

to live and die this way

Saffron – 10th April 2021

* On the 5th April 1988 Tracy Chapman released her first album with “Fast Car” as one of the singles. 

Napowrimo prompt Day 10:

Finally, here’s our daily prompt (optional, of course!). It’s called “Junk Drawer Song,” and comes to us from the poet Hoa Nguyen.

  • First, find a song with which you are familiar – it could be a favorite song of yours, or one that just evokes memories of your past. Listen to the song and take notes as you do, without overthinking it or worrying about your notes making sense.
  • Next, rifle through the objects in your junk drawer – or wherever you keep loose odds and ends that don’t have a place otherwise. (Mine contains picture-hanging wire, stamps, rubber bands, and two unfinished wooden spoons I started whittling four years ago after taking a spoon-making class). On a separate page from your song-notes page, write about the objects in the drawer, for as long as you care to.
  • Now, bring your two pages of notes together and write a poem that weaves together your ideas and observations from both pages.

Day 9: Human Owner’s Morning To Do List

Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash ( cropped)

it is seven in the morning

the human is still asleep – time!

to get in a few greetings 

(just before they come out of their dreams)

my human is up at seven twenty their time

she will go to the water litter

demand to have presence there

lean against legs plenty times

(they must know they are missed

let them know how happy you are)

keep them company

while they shower

(they will be in a better mood, after)

when they are clean and dressed

it’s now your time to meow as if starving

it has been all night since

the biscuits were refreshed

(never mind that there’s a ton left)

weave in and out of human’s legs

as if dancing their tango

meow with urgency as if death is close

until both bowls

have been tended to

eat heartily to show thanks

more tango, solo this time

to look pretty, to look slinky

open up those kitty-est eyes

do the catwalk, model

walk and lean, turn

and come again

make the loudest ever purr

this is to get the human

to stroke your fur

and get your due massage

if a tummy rub is desired

roll on your back, chin up

make the loveable face 

like when you ate the cream

a little grooming, bite the nails off my claws

make sure my coat is licked tidy

and stretch legs to get in between

every single paw, every single toe

(these are also cat “yoga” poses)

when they are gone – nothing more

to do – time to catch up

on the cat naps missed overnight

(remember you climbed all around

jumping on all areas the human

declared out of bounds?)

Saffron – 9th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 9:

Our (optional) prompt for the day is to write a poem in the form of a “to-do list.” The fun of this prompt is to make it the “to-do list” of an unusual person or character. For example, what’s on the Tooth Fairy’s to-do list? Or on the to-do list of Genghis Khan? Of a housefly? Your list can be a mix of extremely boring things and wild things. For example, maybe Santa Claus needs to order his elves to make 7 million animatronic Baby Yoda dolls, to have his hat dry-cleaned to get off all the soot it picked up last December, and to get his head electrician to change out the sparkplugs on Rudolph’s nose.

Day 8: The late Amanda Joan Walsh

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

After my darling daughter died

at only three – my grief continued

to break everything else too near

in a dark thrashing about

just shy of madness

after weeks of tears

my husband and I could not

face each other

his grieving eyes so horrified me

I could not look

he could not

but I looked and hoped for Death

a place of peace I imagined

until then, bottles of vodka

the only brand of “forget”

yes, my family was there, around

yet I was alone in my head

they found me in stench

on the grey sofa bed of my apartment

I’d choked on my vomit

in a sleep that had been elusive

the autopsy should have said in it:

“Subject died of a broken heart. “

Saffron – 8th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 8:

And last but not least, our (optional) prompt. I call this one “Return to Spoon River,” after Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. The book consists of well over 100 poetic monologues, each spoken by a person buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily – perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, like the gentleman who ran the shoeshine stand, or one of your grandmother’s bingo buddies. As with Masters’ poems, the monologue doesn’t have to be a recounting of the person’s whole life, but could be a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy. Be as dramatic as you like – Masters’ certainly didn’t shy away from high emotion in writing his poems.

Day 7: Sun & Moon Fibs

Photo by KARTIK GADA on Unsplash

moon

light

blue glow

the silver

riches it bestows

we are wealthy as kings tonight

and let our thankfulness be heard

for each small wonder

so serene

we now

find

peace

sun

light

the golden

warmth that it bestows

indeed we feel like royalty

refreshed by colours of raw Spring

not that long ago

we had snow

and long

dark 

nights

Saffron – 7th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 7:

Of the poetic forms that are based on syllable counts, probably the most well-known – to English speakers, at least – is the Japanese form called the haiku. But there are many other syllable-based forms. Today, I’d like to challenge you to pick from two of them – the shadorma, and the Fib.

The shadorma is a six-line, 26-syllable poem (or a stanza – you can write a poem that is made of multiple shadorma stanzas). The syllable count by line is 3/5/3/3/7/5. So, like the haiku, the lines are relatively short. Rather poetically, the origin of the shadorma is mysterious. I’ve seen multiple online sources call it Spanish – but “shadorma” isn’t a Spanish word (Spanish doesn’t have “sh” as a letter pairing), and neither is “xadorma,” or “jadorma,” which would approximate “shadorma” in sound. But even if this form is simply the brainchild of an internet trickster who gave it an imaginary backstory, that’s no reason why you shouldn’t try your hand at it. Every form was made up by someone, sometime.

Our second syllabic form is much more forthright about its recent origins. Like the shadorma, the Fib is a six-line form. But now, the syllable count is based off the Fibonacci sequence of 1/1/2/3/5/8. You can  link multiple Fibs together into a multi-stanza poem, or even start going backwards after your first six lines, with syllable counts of 8/5/3/2/1/1. Perhaps you remember the Fibonacci sequence from math or science class – or even from nature walks. Lots of things in the natural world hew to the sequence – like pineconesand flower petals. And now your poems can, too.