Over the Town (a poem for two voices)

Come fly with me!

(a leery look)

Come fly with me!

(nose in book)

Come fly with me!

(a heavy sigh)

We’ll go up high
And see the town from the sky!

I’m dubious.

I’ll keep you safe,

I’m dubious.

My darling waif.

I’m dubious.

Come now! Make haste!

Your hope is quite displaced.
My feet on earth are firmly based.

We’re going up!

I’m not a bird!

We’re going up!

This is absurd!

We’re going up!

Cannot look down.

Oh! Look around!
You’ll see our lovely little town.

Oh me! Oh my!

Look at the trees!

Oh me! Oh my!

Feel that breeze!

Oh me! Oh my!

It’s charming, yes?
And you would never guess!

I was blinded by my stress.

This is in response to this week’s W3 prompt — a choice of two Marc Chagall paintings for inspiration. Initially I was going to use the other painting — The Big Wheel — and try to write something about my trip to Paris in 2017, but I kept going back to the other painting, Over the Town, which I ultimately used.

I’ve never written a poem in two voices before. I wanted to tell a story. This is what came out.

poetry · swimming

How I Relax

Dive into coolness
Catch, pull, release, recover
Stroke, flutter kick, stroke
Exhale into the water
Turn my head to catch a breath

The W3 prompt for this week is:

The more I read about haikus and tankas, the more I realize that something is lost in translation. A tanka is more than 5-7-5-7-7 syllable counts. It’s actually not syllable counts, it’s kana.

What’s a kana, you ask? I’m not 100% sure because it’s something in Japanese. And Japanese “uses a combination of logographic kanji, which are adopted Chinese characters, and syllabic kana.” (according to Wikipedia) English is phonetic. These two language systems aren’t the same. How can we adapt something like poetry from system to the other. I don’t know.

But I know how I relax. A pool is my happy place and swimming laps helps me unwind.

So here’s my tanka-ish whatever.



Underneath the sparkles and glitter —
No — lose that shiny excess litter —
I see strength — such strength that must be chained
Chained, crown around its neck, constrained,
Or is it? No, no — not a quitter–
Rugged, royal, powerful, proud,
Not subdued. No knee is bowed.

Unicorn was one of the prompt words for Tanka Tuesday. The challenge was to write an acrostic poem.

Honestly, I looked at the list of words and none of them struck me. I’m not a sparkly, glittery sort of person — especially in this chapter of my life. But, man oh man oh man, do I love that Scotland has the unicorn as its national animal. Fiercely independent and untamable, he is the heart of Scotland.

collage · poetry


My mind’s a scattered mess
Errant thoughts I cannot catch
Direct result of stress
I deeply breathe — attach
This diffuse excess
As if herding butterflies
To scented blooms of peace
I deeply breathe — and sighs
Open me — I cease
Needing order. Chaos dies.

This was much harder than I thought!

The challenge was to write an acrostic poem using one of five words: Discipline, Meditation, Enthusiasm, Tumult, or Trouble.

My poetry muscles are weak.

I just started working out with weights again at the gym. Some of my flesh-and-blood muscles are SO SORE. Thank goodness my brain doesn’t hurt the same way 🙂

I realize this collage is not terribly meditative, but I was looking through my photos for one of a butterfly and found this collage that I made years ago. It made me laugh.

flowers · poetry


Smiling flower
At my workplace
Joy in the clutter

Overfriendly salesman
Hogging the conversation
“Hey, there! Notice me!”

A double-elfchen written to participate in a poetry prompt from The Skeptic’s Kaddish W3 #54

An “Elfchen” has a set form of 11 words, the lines having 1-2-3-4-1 words, respectively. The first word is the topic and the final word is often a commentary or summary. The two elfchen are supposed to present opposing views.

Seriously, though — is there an opposite to Daffodil?


Emily Dickinson NaNoWriPo prompt

To make collages it takes pictures and glue —
Some pictures, some glue
And something true.
Truth alone will do
If pictures are few

I read a post yesterday called Fame is Morning and used this NaNoWriPo prompt:

  • Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!

When I saw Emily Dickinson’s Revery Garden on the wall at the Fenimore Art Museum, I want to give it a try. I added my own restriction of 23 words for the poem.

Blather · Life · poetry


The following blather is brought to you by “Stream of Consciousness Saturday.” This is the day of the week I give myself permission to write more than 23 words.

Last Saturday, I promised a reverse poem (one that can be read top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top). Good golly, I stared at my scribbles too long. And then, came up with a reverse poem that’s too short and a little awkward. But, oh well. Here you go:

History is boring
Some people actually think that
All those dates and foreign-sounding names matter
And eccentric people worm their way into
Those stories where the world changes
I find history fascinating

Meh — not the best, but I’m going to check the “Done” box and move on.

I spent a few hours yesterday in the research library.

I wrote a post called The Negative Split not too long ago. I think I research in negative-split mode.

I got to the library a few minutes after my scheduled appointment. (Yes, we have to schedule appointments at the research library now. And wear masks.)

I had given myself two hours. For the first 45 minutes or so, I leafed through photographs, not really finding anything I wanted. Or maybe I did. A few new names, therefore a few new rabbit trails. (Side-question for you: What could the nickname “Dell” be short for, for a man in the late 1800s or early 1900s?)

The librarian left to find a few more boxes for me. I feel a little bad. She’s new on the job, and I kept saying Joe (the former librarian) did this or brought me that. Comparison to a predecessor has to be the worst.

Anyway, she brought me some boxes that Joe had never brought me. Suddenly I was lost in old correspondence and organizational reports. I looked at the clock and saw that I had been there well over my two hours.

“Let me just look at one more thing,” I said to the librarian. I was in my groove — researching faster and stronger than I had been at the beginning.

“Do you think you have a photograph of this?” I asked her about a specific place in town. She started hunting.

I kept reading.

And searching.

And wishing time would just stop long enough that I could pursue these many lines of inquiry.

I snapped a photo of a bit of correspondence because it had made me laugh out loud in the quiet of the library.

“Yours till Pancakes are a thing of the past.”

I could have spent the next three weeks looking for the pancake story that inspired that closing sentiment, but I’ll almost bet it’s an inside joke between two men that I will never know. Plus, it was way past time for me to go.

But if I had those three weeks to spend, who knows what other little stories I would have uncovered?

And I would have had great fun doing it.

You can count on it.