Monday, December 20, 2010

Lazy Sunday

beneath his blanket
beneath his dog

Photo credit: daveynin, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poems for National Punctuation Day®

Last September, I entered the National Punctuation Day® haiku contest at National Punctuation Day®. Contest entries were - you guessed it - haiku poems about punctuation.

I didn't place in the contest (congrats to all the winners!), so I thought I'd post my poems here:

Chasing ellipsis:
he kisses her ... one ... two ... three
times before she leaves.


Lost along the way,
she slows, grasping for the end,
nearly comma-tose.

Photo credit: Horia Varlan, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Under a goldenrod eye,
armies of cloud-men strut by
flanked by a blue damselfly
streamers of flags in the sky.

Note: This was my third attempt (the first two were hideously trite) at a tanaga, a four-line Filipino poetic form that traditionally had an A-A-A-A rhyme scheme and a syllable count of 7-7-7-7.

Photo credit: sahua d, via flickr //CC BY 2.0

Saturday, December 4, 2010

He is coming

thin tapers of wax
remind me of why I'm here:
light the Advent wreath

Photo credit: Mario Sormann, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


small servile gesture
kneeling down to offer thanks
on Thanksgiving Day

Photo credit: josephpetepickle, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Friday, November 19, 2010


ubiquitous green grasp
choking life from the trees:
deadly embrace of kudzu

Photo credit: Robert Michalove, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our First Child

first sonogram:
so excited to see you
we didn’t notice
your missing heartbeat -
the silence

Photo credit: Anne Norman, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Saturday, November 6, 2010


on Halloween night
the North star guides our way
to smiles and candy

Photo credit: YAXZONE, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Curly Top

curly cirrus clouds
waving with the autumn wind
Mother Nature's hair

Photo credit: k4dordy via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reading the leaves

cryptic messages
swirling on the autumn wind:
wet, tea-colored leaves

Photo credit: Shamanic Shift, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Falling into Fall

scarecrow's jaunty hat
tipped in my direction:
the cold autumn wind

Photo credit: Randy Robertson, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Monday, October 4, 2010

Playing with my food

plate full of giggles
relaxes my tense shoulders
delightful play food

Photo credit: mayoff, via flickr //CC BY 2.0

P.S. If you search flickr for play food, you come up with some pretty wild things, like a melon Death Star and cookie board games.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tidal Force

small arms in motion
teaching the ocean to wave -
nature's conductor

Photo credit: Erik (HASH) Hersman, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Evolution of the Poem: Faded Memories

Earlier this year, I read a wonderful post at Kelli Russell Agodon's Book of Kells blog entitled "What You Don't See Behind the Poem". Using Fuzzmail, she gave a glimpse of the evolution of a poem from start to finish. Hers is a humorous tale, and I found myself laughing as I read, and re-read, the post.

I've been thinking about haiku and editing. Short poems look deceptively simple to write. Most of the time, they go through numerous revisions from start to finish. I usually compose on the computer, deleting and rewording as I go, and I tend to forget just how many stages one poem can undergo. I thought it might be fun to work up a poem from start to finish.

Here's the finished product:


blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the scent of sea foam

And here's the messy, ugly, evolution of the poem:

That blue ribbon on my seashell wreath is looking kind of worn and faded … it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the beach ...

faded blue ribbon
ties seashells and sand together
faded memories

faded blue ribbon
wrapped around moss and seashells
memories of the sea

strip of blue linen
ties seashells and moss
into faded memories

blue linen ribbon
tied around a seashell wreath
the smell of the ocean

blue linen ribbon
tied around a seashell wreath
faded scent of moss

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the taste of sea foam

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the smell of sea foam

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the scent of sea foam

Then I had to think up a title:
The Wreath?
Seaside Memories?
Found Treasure?
Faded Memories

Is this poem really finished? I tend to edit my poems every time I look at them, until I finally get to a point where I don't think I can add or change any more without losing the essence of the poem. Since I just wrote this tonight, I don't have enough perspective yet to know if it's finished. Only time will tell.

Photo credit & wreath-maker: Mama Joules

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Post - Tempest

The storm sighs softly,
drawing her final breath;
exhaling leaves from the trees,
she cries herself to sleep.

Note: This poem was inspired by the poetry of Tina Nguyen.

Photo credit: Ellie, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Monday, September 13, 2010

End of season

summer memories ~
swept to the back of my mind
like leaves from the porch

Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, September 2, 2010


waning gibbous moon ~
scoop of vanilla ice cream
melted by the sun

Photo credit: Dave Young, via flickr //CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


on your desk, ninja stars


on your arm, faded scars

Photo credit: Damien McMahon, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Hot for Teacher

high school chemistry
my favorite memory
his bulging biceps

Photo credit: Patricia H., via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Monday, August 23, 2010

Squawk Thoughts

Seagull, seagull, seagull.

Dancing on wet sand, seagulls pivot,
flap their wings above the incoming tide.


Their webbed toes tickled by foam,
seagulls give chase as the tide runs away.

Photo credit: Jan Smith, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I remember ...

filled nights,
our first

when time
stood still
we stopped



Photo credit: Alyson Hurt, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, August 15, 2010


such delicate lace
gracing my dusty windshield
insect's fragile wing

Photo credit: inajeep, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Perseid's Eyes

sharp shiny needles
pulled from a black pin cushion
meteor shower

Photo credit: Ed Sweeney, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Stickler for detail note: Sweeney's photo is of the 2009 Leonid meteor shower, but it illustrated what I was thinking so perfectly that I had to use it. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Out of Bounds

tiny soccer ball
bouncing across my sun roof
luminous full moon

Photo credit: Toshihiro Oimatsu, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

thunderous booming
raindrops of red, white, and blue
splatter the night sky

Photo credit: dcJohn, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Friday, June 11, 2010

Third Grade Science Project

pinned down in mid-flight
a styrofoam butterfly -
button eyes twinkling

Monday, May 24, 2010


fuzzy warm slippers
comfortable and cozy
for the brown recluse

Photo credit: Jamiesrabbits, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Before we were married ...

standing in your living room,
because you see me
and still love me

Photo credit: Tim & Selena Middleton, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Friday, May 7, 2010

Simple brilliance

dandelion suns
a galaxy in my yard
their smiles radiant

Photo credit: Ruthanne Reid, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Monday, May 3, 2010

Crowd Control

I can’t babysit them like I used to;
there’s no time to set them down gently.
When I get interrupted, as I often do,
my poems don’t queue neatly
like patrons at the post office.

Rather, they are a raucous crowd:
unruly soccer fans, kicking,
clawing, screaming at one another,
clamoring for my attention,
desperate to be noticed.

I hear them strangling now,
words congealing on the page,
stagnant as a blood clot.
Scabbing over, they will harden.
The leftovers wait to be picked off,
wait, impatiently, for their reprieve.

Photo credit: John Martinez Pavliga, via flickr // CC BY 2.0
(I realize this is a crowd of football fans, not soccer fans, but they certainly look raucous to me!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!

April 29th is Poem in Your Pocket Day. To celebrate, I participated in the "Envelope Project", where you take the first line of a famous poem and use it as a springboard to write your own poem. This year, the first lines were all taken from Emily Dickinson's work.

I chose "The Murmur of a bee." You can see the sentence in it's original context here. My poem is below.

The Murmur of a Bee

The murmur of a bee
as he talks to the flower,
he softly strokes her petaled face
before the coming shower.

Then, damp and dewy, he flies home
buzzing loudly in his haste,
with her pollen on his mind
her memory, his to taste.

[Update: This poem was honored by Poem in Your Pocket Day NYC as an "outstanding poem."]

Photo credit: Christine, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, April 15, 2010


party pink flowers
stark against naked branches
silky leaves asleep

Photo credit: Dendroica cerulea, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Here, I find solace:
the center of the poem
eye of my maelstrom

Photo credit: Kim Strømstad, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

laden with blossoms
trees dressed in their Sunday best
Easter corsages

Photo credit: terren in Virginia, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


purple-gray rain clouds
huddled in an orange sky
lone blackbird at dusk

Photo credit: Marc Wellekötter, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Springtime Serenade

my home, my home, mine
a chant of domestic bliss
frog chorus at dusk

Photo credit: Stephen Barnett, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetry Book Giveaway 2010 for National Poetry Month!

***Update! Congratulations to Evie Shockley, of may I have a word with you?, winner of Edward Hirsch's The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems and Stacy Lynn Mar, winner of Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 by Lucille Clifton. I will be contacting both of you shortly so I can get your books sent to you. Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting!***

April is National Poetry Month and Kelli over at Book of Kells came up with this great idea for a poetry giveaway. What if bloggers all over the world gave away two books of poetry this month to their readers -- one of their own, and one from a poet they admire? What a wonderful way to discover new poets! I had to join in.

Now, I don't have a book of my own in print yet, so I thought I'd give away books by two poets that have influenced me:

Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980
by Lucille Clifton contains "Homage to my Hips," a marvelous poem that taught me to love my curves. I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Clifton read her work at Duke before she died and I have a signed copy of one of her books in my collection (sorry, I can't bear to part with that one!).

The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems by Edward Hirsch is my second, although no less worthy, choice. I really wanted to give away Wild Gratitude, but it isn't in print right now. Edward Hirsch came to speak to my writing class in college when I was just 17. Wild Gratitude had just come out and the world had no idea how big Hirsch's influence on modern poetry would be, although I suspect that my poetry teacher might have had an inkling. I wrote a poem in response to one of Hirsch's and he signed my copy of Wild Gratitude acknowledging my poetic response. As a poet, that signed book is one of my most treasured items (again, another book I can't bear to part with!).

Please leave a comment on this post only by April 30th if you'd like to win one of these books. Be sure to include some contact information. I will choose two names at random with the help of my husband, Itinerant Cryptographer (he's handy with numbers). I will draw the names on May 1st and announce the winners here, on this blog post, by May 2nd and I will try to reach you then. As soon as we make contact, I'll order your book and have it sent to you. If I can't reach you by May 5th, I reserve the right to draw another name.

Be sure to drop by Book of Kells -- she's running a list of bloggers participating in this giveaway along the left-hand column of her blog. The more blogs you visit, the more likely you are to win a book of poetry!

Happy Poetry Month! Good luck!

False Witness

negativity -
banned from my mind: you, your rage
banished to darkness

Photo credit: Amanda Govaert, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blue-Collar Clouds

low-slung stratus clouds
straddle the turbulent sky
weather's working class

Photo credit: Paul Downey, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Purpose of Garden Gnomes ...

fairy dust scattered
overnight, blossoms emerge -
the magic of spring

Photo credit: Mathew Ingram, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Thursday, March 18, 2010


lumbering catfish
lurking in the murky dregs
mobile barbed wire fence

Photo credit: Brian Drum, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Link love for The Haiku Buckaroo Contest 6.0

My friend Tanja pointed me to My Mommy's Place, home of The Haiku Buckaroo Contest 6.0. Of course, I have to enter this contest. I need the Haiku Buckaroo logo to dress up the margins of this blog. ;)

When I thought about My Mommy's Place and haiku, my mind drifted to my kids. This one's for the boys:

quiet, starlit night
in the stillness before dawn
tiptoes and giggles

And this one's for my baby girl:

her eyes, clear and cool
her curls, a tangle of red
my dominant genes

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bad Doggerel

stray mongrel poem
lost, snivelling, doggerel
tale between its legs

Photo credit: Pixel Addict, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Love Joe

hard, firm
grabbing, pressing, squeezing
grinder, blades, percolator, water
sniffing, sipping, savoring
fragrant, aromatic

Note: This was my first try at a diamante - interesting. That fourth line is hard: the first two nouns pertain to the top word and the second two nouns that relate to the bottom word. It's hard to move a poem with nouns. I wonder why they were chosen for the fourth line?

Photo credits: (top) Refracted Moments™ (bottom) Gunjan Karun, via flickr // CC BY 2.0


[Update: 2/16/10 - I stopped by to add commas to the fourth line - I'm still having troubles with that one!]

Monday, February 8, 2010


Earthenware mugs sit on the table
filled with hot chocolate, now cold.
The little boys have run wild again,
outside with the blizzard-like winds,
laughing as they burrow into the snow,
burying themselves in layers of ice,
encasing their bodies in a womb-like tomb
where they can retreat from adulthood,
back away from life’s worries, head back
to a time when life was always nurtured
forever warm and safe, even when --
especially when –- it was cold outside.

Note: This was my first attempt at a Jackpine sonnet. For more about Jackpine sonnets, read this.

Photo credit: Ruthanne Reid, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Even Now (for JF)

So we decided to remain friends
because I knew in my heart
that I couldn’t stand her
dating you, and me
off to one side, watching,
waiting for the phone to ring
desperately wanting
things to go back
to when we were
just two.

And we remained friends
even after the time I got drunk
and followed you around
to the neighborhood bar, cornered
by our dateless co-workers,
desperately lonely,
singing karaoke
off-key, horrible
memory, haunted me
for years.

Today, though apart,
I think of you, my friend,
and me, and how we married
other people, our best friends,
and I know, once again,
that I made a good choice
to let you go.
I wish you the best,
not desperate, not lonely,
just curious,
even now.

Photo credit: Dragunsk, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Friday, February 5, 2010


crystalline flakes fall

through the pearlescent snow clouds ~
my daughter's first tooth

Photo credit: Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, NOAA's National Weather Service Collection

Monday, February 1, 2010

Love Lessons

Lingering over Valentine evening
Our voices entwine
Votives endless

Photo credit: Rajwinder Singh, via flickr // CC BY 2.0

Note: I wrote this poem as an entry for a contest at The theme was to write a love acrostic poem.