Tammy’s Lament

It’s Friday, time to post responses to the Big Tent Poetry prompt. The prompt was to write about icons, those larger-than-life personalities. As soon as I saw the examples of Barbie and Chatty Cathy though, I knew I just had to write about…

Tammy’s Lament

You don’t know me, very few do.
I was Barbie’s country cousin,
the one she didn’t talk about much,
the perennial girl next store.
She wore glittery evening gowns,
I wore sensible clothes.
Even my hair was drab.
No Ken waiting in the wings for me.
I spent Friday nights watching
my little sister Pepper.
Could life get any duller?
Barbie was the glamour girl. And me?
Simply “the doll you love to dress”.

Read more Big Tent Poetry poetic responses here.

A Lune By Any Other Name

When Robert Lee Brewer proposed a lune challenge on Poetic Asides, I just had to jump at the chance. The lune is an “American haiku” and comes in two flavors: Kelly and Collum. More on the lune form can be found on my previous blog post La Lune or at Poetic Asides.

I entered three lunes in the challenge. This  one made the Top Ten list!

a lune by any
other name
haiku just the same

These are my other two:

long summer’s eve-
watching bats in flight until
darkness subsumes them

an interpretive dance-
tree branches sway in time
to fiddlers unseen

The winning lune is a Kelly, the other two Colloms. To read the lunes that made the Top Ten List, click here. To read all lunes submitted, check out the “Comments” under the original challenge.

The Life of a Birthday

Well, it only comes once a year, but today being my birthday, I’m going to make the most of it!

I was completely stymied by the Big Tent Poetry prompt at first. It asked us to identify something we admire from our favorite poem, and use this to write one of our own. The problem was this– how to select just one favorite, from all the poems I know and love. I thought of nursery rhymes, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rachel Field, Hilaire Belloc, John Ciardi, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, T.S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, Mary Oliver, Lisel Mueller, Judith Viorst… well the list goes on and on. It would be like asking me to pick my favorite child! But then I decided, I only had to pick a favorite poem (or two).

I based mine on two poems in fact:

The Life of a Day, by Tom Hennen

and When I Am Asked, by Lisel Mueller

(Both poems are reprinted in  “Good Poems” by Garrison Keillor, and aired on The Writer’s Almanac.)

I combined the form of prose poetry with the examination of a day. Hennen writes about the meaning of a typical day, while Lisel Mueller goes back to the day her mother died to explain why she writes poetry. Add birthday to it, and I came up with this:

The Life of a Birthday

It dawns like any other day and why shouldn’t it. But still
it surprises me that the morning sky is a pale gray, almost
white, not oh, say magenta or chartreuse or tangerine
or something more festive. I listen to the click of the sprinklers
as they come on, one by one, and the neighbor’s dog
barking at regular intervals in his territorial way. The cool
morning breeze seeps in through my open window,bringing
with it just the merest hint of fall even though it is only
mid-summer, and I snuggle deeper under my covers. It is,
in fact, a day like any other of the thousands of days I have
lived, no more, no less. Looking out over the leafy branches
of the maple so near to my window that they almost brush it,
you’d never know that this day had special significance for me.

Read more poems written to this prompt at Big Tent Poetry.

The Perfect Guglhupf

This Wednesday’s Poetic Asides prompt was to write an inverted pyramid poem. The idea is intriguing. In it, the most important information is packed in at the top, and then dwindles down in the fashion of an inverted pyramid, the idea being based on a journalistic concept. The idea is that if an editor needs to cut an article for space, he can slice cleanly from the bottom. I immediately thought of a recipe. All you really need to know are the essential ingredients, and you can take it from there.

The Perfect Guglhupf

The most important thing
is the flour and sugar.
Shortening and eggs
hold it all together.
A bit of leavening,
salt to taste,
the merest suggestion
of lemon peel.
Raisins, they’re optional.
Mix it, stir it,
put it in a pan
and bake until done.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar
and eat while still warm.


I know better than anyone that life isn’t a competition, and I don’t need contest wins or publications to validate me… BUT, it sure is nice to get a little recognition once in a while. So it was with great pleasure when I saw that my poem “Paris” made the Top 50 list, in the 2010 Poetic Asides Poem-a-Day Challenge.

Here then, is the poem reprinted:


We bow our heads
at la Tombe du Soldat Inconnu,
collect postcards at le Louvre
and stroll along la Rive Gauche
in the footsteps of Hemingway.
April, I say, isn’t the best time
to be in Paris,
as inconsistent skies
pelt rain on us one moment
and smile upon us
with all the good will
of a benevolent parent the next.
But Paris, he murmurs,
isn’t the worst place
to be in April.