If A Poem Could Speak for Itself: NaPoWriMo Day 15 and “Mentor Me” WordPress Prompt


“Ganesha” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, 11″ X 5″ Ganesha is the Hindu god who watches over writers and intellectuals and makes things go smoothly in life–something we could all use a bit of. The open books all contain real stories and poems or mathematical formulas.

The WordPress and NaPoWriMo prompts worked well together today. The Prompt from one was to write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self, and the other prompt was to write on the subject of mentoring, so this poem fulfills both prompts.

If a Poem Could Speak for Itself

In me, your thoughts are broken into lines—
the cadences as vital as breathing.
At my best, June never rhymes with moon
and if there are flowers, they are never roses.
Peonies, perhaps or ranunculi.
No daisies, ever, and no bluebirds or honey wine.

Being in love is as common as work boots
or stilettos with one heel broken off.
Hearts in good poetry do not ache, pine, yearn or pound.
They are not worn on the sleeve but remain
inside. Alone. Running the same maze
hearts everywhere run every day.

What makes a good poem?
Avoiding tired words and familiar phrases.
Rhyme, if you use it,
must be impeccable.
Words should follow their natural order
and not be inverted just to force a rhyme.
And remember that just because it rhymes
doesn’t mean it is poetry.
Never take the easy way out.
Never settle.

Use one-tenth of the words
that it is your impulse to use.
No pretty language, flashy language, trite language
or language plagiarized from Valentines
or song lyrics  or others of my ilk.

And most of all, remember that
the thing you are really talking about
is rarely mentioned.
Do not over-explain.
Let me have my mysteries,
and have faith in your reader
to try to solve them.


14 thoughts on “If A Poem Could Speak for Itself: NaPoWriMo Day 15 and “Mentor Me” WordPress Prompt

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Roberta, just saw this comment again and decided I should have met your request re/ this piece. The metal box I bought in San Miguel. I usually apply three or four coats of paint to get the desired effect or patina. Many times I apply gold leaf around the edges, but I believe on this one I used a green paint to suggest an oxidized copper patina around the open edges. The figures, with the exception of the books, are all found objects. Most of them I gold-leafed. The books that are open are miniature books I created that have my own prose in them, shrunk down to a tiny size. The tiny pencil I made. All of the items have to do with Ganesha, who as stated above is the Hindu god who watches over writers and intellectuals and makes things go smoothly in life–especially transitions. The Ganesha in the retablo is actually a gold sticker. The image behind him is a found image. Two trees are on either side of him, behind the books. One is green, the other red. They represent both the Bodhi tree under which Buddah meditated, which I had visited the day I first came upon Ganesha at the fork in a jungle path and, not knowing his significance, adopted as a special personal figure. It took a few years for me to realize the significance of this attraction. The red object in front of him is the snake usually found wrapped around his middle, but in this case he has become distracted and is looking down and reading the book. Each Hindu god has a vehicle and for Ganesha, it is the mouse which is depicted to the lower right of the floor of the box.I just now took the piece down from the wall and tried to read the writing on the pages of the books with a magnifying glass and I couldn’t make out what manuscripts I had copied to make this piece. I know they had some significance to the theme, but memory fails me. The moon, the axe, the eye and the pen nib all related to the theme as well. Phew! That’s all she wrote!!!!


  1. Anton Wills-Eve

    Well done Judy, a lovely idea making a poem its own mentor. It said all it wanted to, no more, no less. But it explained why that was what it should do. I liked the sentiment of stanza three because I have always thought that poetry does not have to rhyme and indeed, by definition, a poem is an expression which does not need metre or rhyme just for the sake of it. But if rhyming lines are your priority what you have written is a ‘verse’ not necessarily a poem. Great read. Thanks. A.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: If A Poem Could Speak for Itself: NaPoWriMo Day 15 and “Mentor Me” WordPress Prompt | almosthereinc

  3. Pingback: Mentoring Poetry | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  4. Pingback: An Interview with Judy Dykstra-Brown, Teacher, Artist, Poet, Part II | ARHtistic License

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.