Day 11 #NPM15 – Basic training

Green rank and file

in ragged formation—

tomato seedlings.

Tomato seedlings and two chickens

Tomato seedlings and two chickens


Today’s prompt for a season poem came from Poetic Asides. As you can tell, we are moving into tomato season! The seeds start out in little containers under lights in the garage. When they get big enough and the weather gets nice enough, they come outside to harden off before moving into bigger pots and eventually (some of them) into the ground. (Anne, right, and Margaret are on their way to the herb garden for a little dust bath. The love to loll in the warm dirt.)

Day 10 #NPM – Abecedarian

A little flock of
black Australorp
doesn’t eat much; it
eats everything.
Foliage is
gobbled up gone.
Hens have
insatiable appetites,
just like you would if you
kept pumping out an egg a day.
Let me tell you, our un-
manageable chickens are
notorious for ruining
our tomato seedlings,
prancing on them—
quit that! They
run away to
scratch in the garden or
take refuge
under the holly bush when the
very angry chickenpapa sees his flats.
What the
[x-rated language here]?!?! Look out or I’ll send
you all to a

Oh, the nice thing about writing a poem a day is that you’re forced to write some bad poems. This one comes courtesy of napowrimo and is an abecedarian, which typically has lines or stanzas that start with each letter of the alphabet sequentially.

OK, I’ll be caught up if I can manage one more poem for today…

Day 9 #NPM – How to breathe in North Carolina in the Spring

When the oak pollen falls, when the air hazes gold,
when black hens show sparkles of blond,
when windshield wipers are needed to see
through the film dropped by the frond,

when you pray for rain to clear the air
and wash the pavement clean,
when the temps are perfect for windows and breezes,
go inside and turn on the AC.


Good grief, it wouldn’t be NaPoWriMo without a pollen poem. Seriously high pollen count right now…

Day 8 #NPM15 – Wonderland

I take it back. I wanted to be Alice.
She was the star of the show after all.
Who wouldn’t want to be the STAR
of the SHOW? With her curly blond hair,
blue dress and white pinafore,
CLEARLY she was the STAR.
No, poor little me, I was just the CAT.
The C-A-T, CAT. I mean really,
WHO wants to be a CAT?
I’m a DOG person! Oh, that Lisa Springer,
that Lisa Springer got to be Alice,
with her curly blonde hair and
turned-up little nose that managed
to be priggish without being piggish.
Lisa. Li-sa. Al-ice. Lee-sah. Al-iss.
Lee-sah. Al-iss. She even had the right
sounds in her name! Me? Well,
I managed the syllable count.
Always the Cheshire Cat, never the Alice.
Maybe someday my White Rabbit will come.

Today’s prompt from was to write a palinode, a poem in which you retract a statement made in an earlier poem. (Sounds like a great crossword clue, Brent!)

This one, well, ya know, I think it’s a true story. But apologies to Lisa Springer if I misremembered who played Alice. The name worked though, right??

Day 7 #NPM15 – Jabberwocky

I was the Cheshire Cat in my purple unitard
with orange gift-wrap ribbon taped on for stripes.
I sang ’Twas Brillig à la Al Jolson in my middle
school enthusiasm to an elementary audience.
My voice surely evaporated in the gymnasium heights.
But there I danced with my cap and cane.
And, really, shouldn’t everyone have a chance
to be the Cheshire Cat? Who doesn’t deserve
the superpower of disappearing into thin air
while your enigmatic smile lingers? How useful. How dis-
concerting. But if we can’t all be the Cheshire Cat,
perhaps we should get a shot at the Mad Hatter.
Most of us could use a little more balmy in our lives.
I could do without anymore Queens or White Rabbits,
but we could use a few more Caterpillars, eh?
I don’t know more than a handful of people who’ve
been the Cheshire Cat. I am one of the lucky few.
And so, so glad not to be Alice.

Getting caught up after a couple busy days plus an almost-24-hour internet outage. Good grief! (And how productive it was…)

Today’s poem started with a prompt from Adele Kenny to read “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. True story, the above. And I’m pretty sure y’all are wishing for a photo of that purple unitard about now…heh. Fat chance.

Day 6 #NPM15 – Aubade

In the morning, when the small birds
have been chirping for hours
and it’s been light, not just gray,
for twenty, thirty minutes, I know
the hens are whining to come down
from the long night in the roost.
I pour my coffee, cinch my robe, and wrestle
the cranky garage door so I can pad
to the coop in my ripped felt clogs.
The dopes tumble down the ramp
or jump from the nest box when I let them
(it’s an adventure). They take a bite
of pellets on the way out the door
and eat weeds between stretches and flaps.
Suddenly they remember the water jar
and race to be first to scoop and swallow


then it’s off to the garden.
They are so happy to start the day,
to slake their thirst and dig right in.

I used the Day 6 prompt from, which was to write an aubade, a morning poem. And yes I actually wrote it yesterday, just was too tired to post it online by the time I had a draft. 🙂

Day 5 #NPM15 – I heard a fly buzz

Today I decided to follow a prompt from In short, take an Emily Dickinson poem, remove all her linebreaks and punctuation (especially those fun dashes) so you just have a paragraph of prose. Then reline it, feeling free to add, modify, or delete words.

Here’s my version of her “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—.”

I heard a fly buzz when I died.
The stillness in the room was like the still-
ness in the air between the heaves of storm.
The eyes around had wrung themselves dry,
and breaths were gathering firm for that last
onset when the King be witnessed in the room.

I willed my keepsakes, signed away
what portion of me be assignable,
and then it was there, interposed—a fly
with blue uncertain stumbling buzz
between the light and me—
and then the windows failed—

and then I could not see to see.


And the original

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –


I’m not any sort of Dickinson expert and wasn’t particularly familiar with this poem, so for me it was quite easy to reline it into something that felt more modern (i.e., I wasn’t “stuck” in any familiarity with the original). It was interesting to see where I used a couple of dashes in the same place Dickinson had. Some people get distracted by her dashes; I get distracted by so much capitalization as well, so I had to get rid of that.

All in all, the relining of the poem allowed me to stop reading it in such a sing-songy way. As a result, Dickinson’s original words (with one minor adjustment) struck me as remarkably contemporary.

Day 4 #NPM15 – Celebration

Chicken choir sings

Behold the miracle of the day—

Easter eggs!

Yes, chickens like to brag on their egg-laying prowess. “See what I have made!” (That one is not ours. I think ours might even be louder. Just imagine the cacophony when they all join in to praise their sister hen.)

I hope you’re all having a nice Sunday, happy Passover, happy Easter, or whatever holiday or egg-laying event you prefer to celebrate. In our heretical household, we go for Happy Zombie Jesus Day! 😉

Day 2 #NPM15 – Spring Cold

Chicken alarm wakes

me from sick sleep—where the hell

is that snooze button?


I wrote this yesterday but forgot to post it. Spent most of the day sleeping as much as I could. Horrible chest cold… Chickens have a very distinctive alarm call—kind of like a car alarm. It usually goes for few minutes then stops, but it’s hard to ignore…