Anaphora through the night (NaPoWriMo Day 25)

I hear Westminster chimes each quarter hour.
I hear the fan making circles of air.
I hear the hum of insects I thought would be sleeping—
no, it’s the streetlight I hear.

I hear drunks at two, and a car revving up.
I hear rain briefly damping the night.
I hear the coffeepot dripping to wake the unwaked
and the chirping sounds of sunrise.

I hear your breath, and I hear my pulse,
and I wonder what fate they auger.
I turn off the alarm before it rings
so I can listen a little longer.


Today’s prompt from was to write a poem that uses anaphora, the practice of repeating certain words or phrases. I tend to use a fair amount of anaphora in my poetry–I just didn’t know what it was called. 🙂


Listen to your own voice.

What does it say?


Block out other voices.

Ignore chittering chatter. Stop

listening to authorities.

You know enough. You’ve

learned enough.


Sort through the noise. Choose the sounds that

resonate. It’s time to write your own

score. The canticle of you.

Find the tones that work together,

the startling intricate variations.

What does your own second soprano say?

What does your own first tenor say?


Listen at the end of the day for the song

not of Solomon but of you,

you with the wisdom of Solomon.

Listen to your own voice.

Listen to your own voice speak

and sing and shout hallelujah.


Listen to your own voice as it heralds that you—you—have

arrived. You have arrived ready to sing,

your radiant voice about to intone

its first true words

its first true words

its first true words

the voice that is yours and yours alone.



listen for the world’s fervent ovation.

My brother, the poet: A meditation on the nature of poetry

I recently received an email—in the form of a poem—from my brother.


The Sister’s Poetry



self absorbed people with time on their hands

sylvia plath

i have to throw up now

pretentious. arrogant. boring.

dear poets, no one gives a shit

sincerely, the world.

the mother calls

to read the sisters poetry

sigh. speakerphone while i jab this knitting needle into my eye

the words are about the house

where we grew up

the words reach my ears

but don’t really connect

on account of the blood from my eye

the mother reads it again

this time i listen

i did not hate the sister’s poem

maybe i like these words

they are interesting and make me feel things

they are not pretentious, they are not arrogant, they are not boring

clearly this is not poetry

glad i got to the bottom of that


I think he needs his own blog, yes?

I was going to get into an essay about how his poem encapsulates the problem with poetry and expectations about poetry…blah blah blah…and then I was afraid I would turn into, well, Sylvia Plath. So I stopped.

Well done, brother.

And I love you, too.

In the Woods

In the woods I am grateful for

the rocking of the hammock

the lullaby of the wind

the mobile of light through leaves

I am grateful for quiet foot-

steps on the pine path

I am grateful for the chance

to listen


Writing exercise: Write a poem using a repetitive phrase, e.g., “I am joyful when…” “I think of you when…”

Start by listing as many things to finish the sentence as you possibly can. When you run out of ideas, think of at least 10 more. Then see what you’ve got to work with.