What fun “whatever” poems today on Poetic Asides!

With all deference to my kids, who are actually quite reasonable people…

Whatever, Mom

Whatever I say
they’ve heard before
so I’ll stop right now
and won’t be a bore.

Whatever I think
they of course know best,
they’ve long been ready
to leave the nest.

Whatever I do
they do better than I
sometimes I wonder
why I even try!

In Memoriam


he gave me my love
of words written and spoken
though not his blue eyes

[First published in Four and Twenty, Volume 3, Issue 4, April 2010]

my father’s orchard—
tending his fruit trees
reaping the harvest

[first appeared in Caribbean Kigo Kukai #14, June 2010]

August moon
what would have been
his ninetieth birthday

Stanton Cohn
August 25, 1920 – April 28, 2008

Rest in Peace, Dad.

Pineapple Summer

This week’s Big Tent Poetry prompt was a wordle. The words that jumped out at me were pineapple, silk, and summer. I wrote this at four in the morning, when I couldn’t sleep anyway. Maybe that’s the trick to writing poetry that springs from the unconscious mind– I certainly never consciously think about pineapple upside-down cake, or corn silk either, for that matter!

Pineapple Summer

The secret of pineapple upside-down cake
is that the pineapples have to start at the bottom
in order to end up on top. Eventually.
Life can be like this. Or not.
Some things start at the bottom
and stay at the bottom. Like fish.
Some start on top and fall. Like Humpty Dumpty.
Others just drift. Like milkweeds on the breeze.
Or summer days, which slide one into the next,
smooth as corn silk.

More poetic response to this prompt can be found at the Big Tent website.

His Legacy

Come One, Come All Fridays keep rolling around at Big Tent Poetry. Monday’s prompt was to write about possessions. The first thing I saw when I looked up was the picture hanging over my desk, and so I wrote about it.

His Legacy

In the picture, one elephant
Six blind men
The first pulls at the tail
A rope, he thinks
The second feels the leg
Aha, a tree trunk
No no, a wall, says the third
With his hand on the side
A fan, muses the fourth
Grabbing the ear
Obviously a garden hose
Declares the fifth, of the trunk
You’re all wrong, it’s a spear
The sixth vehemently protests

More than sixty years have passed
Since he drew this pen and ink sketch
It used to hang above his desk
Now it hangs above mine
And I have to wonder
Did he see himself
As one of the one of the blind men
Fumbling for the truth
Or was he the elephant
Completely inscrutable
Someone different, to each of us.

As I Was Saying

Several years ago, in writing group, I learned to go with my first thought after a prompt. Of course there it makes a lot of sense– we have a short (usually 10 minute to 20 minute) window to write– but I’ve discovered it works equally well with poetry prompts. This little ditty jumped into my head the second I saw this week’s Poetic Asides poetry prompt, I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s my new life philosophy. 🙂

As I Was Saying

Fish can swim, but pigs can’t fly
Ask me a question, and I’ll tell you no lie
You can’t ever win, if you don’t even try
And things will get better, by and by

A Summer Renga

A Summer Renga

By:  Cara Holman, vivinfrance, brenda w, 1sojournal, Linda Goin, Lisa Hills, pieceofpie

sweltering heat-                                                [Cara Holman]
children laughing and running
through lawn sprinklers

a dragonfly hovers
above a blade of grass

Cold, cold, wet August cold.                             [vivinfrance]
Depression looms
through gloom of speckled window.

Warmth, warmth, cosy warmth,
welcome comfort, hug of a quilt.

Rain rain go away                                             [brenda w]
dissipate the cloudy day
sun rise, dry the sky

twirl through meadows
and let your hair fly!

Snaggled hair and blush                         [1sojournal]
on cheeks, kissed by sun
while running wild

a child, a dragonfly all are met
in net of summer’s warming smile

Wild with heat and sweat                                  [Linda Goin]
You carry summer with you
in berry kisses

hold me tight before you fly
like summer into autumn

The honey bees                                                [Lisa Hills]
are jumping on the purple
lavender bush

everyday they gather
the nectar for their hive.

“Quickly!” they buzz.
“For we must finish before
the sun has gone!”

cool summer drifting breeze                               [pieceofpie]
open window invitation
subdue the heat within

sweltering shadows simmer
dancing tango flaming fire

twilight slowly overtakes                                   [Cara Holman]
the sky, sleepy children
shut their eyes

the dragonfly and honey bee
in silent slumbers repose…

Add To This Renga!

The Big Tent Poetry prompts just keep getting better and better. This week’s prompt challenged us to mix up our writing life, and write a poem that is different in some way to what we usually write. What I write the most are haiku. What I would really like to attempt this week is a renga, which is basically a series of short verses linked into a single long poem, and composed collaboratively. There are all sorts of subtle nuances to renga, as well as to haiku apparently, but for the purposes of this week’s prompt, here’s all you need to know:

  1. Haiku are generally three lines, containing a total of 10 to 17 syllables. The 5-7-5 form is acceptable but not required.
  2. Haiku consist of a sentence fragment (one line), and a phrase (two lines that complete a thought).
  3. Renga consist of haiku, alternated with two line phrases.
  4. Renga usually have a theme. I thought since we cross this country, and in fact the globe, the theme could be summer, in wherever you live.

So, now for the fun. I’ll start the renga, and everyone can add to it in the comments section:

sweltering heat-
children laughing and running
through lawn sprinklers

a dragonfly hovers
above a blade of grass

Read the poetic responses of others to this prompt here.

Shopping Poetry

Some poetry prompts speak to me, and some just don’t. I loved the Poetic Asides prompt today– write a shopping poem– almost as much as I love shopping! For starters…


Paper or plastic, the cashier asks me
and it takes me a minute to realize
she’s talking about bags.

Down the Aisle

Somewhere between the calcium enriched
fresh squeezed orange juice with low pulp
and the organic applesauce with cinnamon
but no added sugar, I forget what I came for.

Anything Quirky

Now that I’m doing two poetry challenges a week, and participating in two monthly kukai and one bi-monthly kukai, deadlines roll around pretty regularly. So I was actually taken by surprise Sunday, when I checked my BlackBerry and found out my haiku had won the July Shiki Monthly Kukai, in the free format section! The subject was “anything quirky”. I can do “quirky”.

night sky —
my thumb
eclipsing the moon

Read all of the haiku here.