This evening I attended a NCWN online workshop on ekphrastic poetry, lead by Maureen Sherbondy. She offered several famous paintings as prompts and one of them was Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. I’ve been thinking about the Spanish Civil War a lot recently, so I let it inspire me. (For audio enhancement, may I suggest listening to the second movement of Joaquín Rodrigo‘s Concierto de Aranjuez?)



Acrid air burns pustules
at the back of my throat.

Long ago I broke my sword,
pounded it to a plow.

Chose a life of fruitful
labor instead of war.

Why do those who cling
to the past insist

with their bullets
that none may progress?

Why does war come looking
for innocence?

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Mulberries in the Piedmont


Mulberries in the Piedmont

From the first snow melt
until my coatless hike,
I’ve walked under this tree
without noticing its mulberries.

I rush to pluck the fruit,
ripened purple over a warm night,
pop juicy morsels in my stained mouth,
gambling on sweet against tart.

A mother starling nags from overhead,
so I leave a few for her hatchlings—
a generosity I now regret.

Mulberry season is precarious—
and a man can’t be held responsible
in these perilous times.

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Unable to Connect

(From Living Poetry’s Monday Poetry Prompt. Today’s was a Visual Prompt.)

scary it B.jpg

Unable to Connect

I dropped my phone—
well— more like threw
it to the pavement—
by accident.

I can’t check email,
no more blinky text alerts,
it doesn’t chime or sing
when someone calls—

not that anyone called
besides scammers and salesmen.
I am untethered
from the 21st century,

floating away, high above the country,
finally seeing the big picture.


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In Praise of Patrons

For today’s prompt, write a praise poem.

In Praise of Patrons

It’s important to find a good patron,
one who cares about the Ars Poetica
not just if you give good reading
and are skilled of tongue.

Such is the fate of the poet,
there’s no money in this work,
we require the odiously wealthy
to keep the wine flowing

while we write our obsequities
and they keep us like toys
behind damp castle walls
as we wait for our muse to inspire

that masterpiece for which we’ll be remembered
long after the patron has been forgotten.


(Whew! Another April Poem-A-Day Challenge completed. Thanks for reading.)

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What hasn’t yet been written about my muses’ eyes?

Today, let’s write a poem with the theme of “eye”.

What hasn’t yet been written about my muses’ eyes?

They are blue as the morning sky
or dark as the deepest night.
Poetasters, choose one
if her hair be flaxen or raven.

My muse is more complicated—
her eyes black as an obsidian dagger
or azure as the churn of a pool
being fed by a winter waterfall.

They make lions howl to the moon
and incite lambs to riot in the streets.
Her eyes stole Shakespeare’s tongue
so there is nothing more to describe

but if just one of these strange similes survive,
my promise kept, she’ll have been immortalized.

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Purple Aurora

pexels-photo-247818Let’s try an ekphrastic poem today.


Purple Aurora

Northern lights erupt
like a baleful purple flame
our planet on fire


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Poetry Pandemic

Let’s write a relaxation poem.

Poetry Pandemic

I remember what it was like
before all this started—
I’d have dinner then decide
if I wanted to write or not.

And if I wasn’t feeling inspired,
I’d just read or play some game
or maybe even watch television
to numb the spiral thoughts.

But this month, I feel locked
in my apartment— forced apart
from my friends and muses,
required to write every night.

And only when this pandemic passes
on Friday will I truly relax.

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Remember when long distance was a thing?

For today’s prompt, write a change poem.


Remember when long distance was a thing?

I just finished a video call with my parents.
I don’t think I ever expected to write that.

Remember the video phone booth
from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Heywood Floyd talked to his daughter
from Space Station 5 in low Earth orbit.
As a star-struck nerd I thought
it more likely to have a base on the moon
by then than a two minute video call
for just $1.70.

Even Blade Runner, made in the early 80’s
had a video pay phone in a dive bar
in L.A. in 2019, one minute for $1.25.

How life has changed over 40 years—
no more pay phones or phone booths,
we carry them in our purses and pockets,
free video calls but no men on the moon
and just one manned orbiter
for professional astronauts.

And no flying cars.
No flying cars.

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Today is National DNA Day. How about writing a poem about this topic?



I filled out my family tree
like a tournament bracket—
and I’m the Champion.

My final four grandparents
from the sweet sixteen great-greats
all precisely aligned

to produce me, but I’m not the apex
and neither is my species.
Evolution didn’t finish with Darwin.

Just like we made the Labradoodle
and peppered moths with darker wings,
we’re breeding better bedbugs

and selecting our own successors
but I wouldn’t call it intelligent design.

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Gentle is not Weak

For today’s prompt, write a nature poem.


For today’s prompt let’s write a gentle poem.


Gentle is not Weak

How gentle the grass grows,
slow yet strong— muscling
through pavement cracks
to strain for the sun.

The loudest silence
is the tree root
splitting a stone
over centuries.

Gentle is not weak,
quiet is not defeated,
wind and water
wear away diamonds.

Devotion defies distraction.
Patience prevails.

(This poem took two prompts and challenge from JeanMarie Olivieri to get written. I guess it takes a village…)

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