Category Archives: poems about poetry

If I Follow the Wandering Poet


If I Follow the Wandering Poet

Who cares
if I swim naked in my pool?
All other human occupants
have left this neighborhood behind,
leaving more room
for possums, skunks,
birds, scorpions, spiders
and me.

I keep a closer company with them
than I do with any human these days.
This week, I talk to the large caterpillar
who seems to sprout two crystals from his crown
as he sits for a day on the Olmec head
that guards my swimming pool.

Back and forth, back and forth I pass,
adding a look at him to my lap routine.
For one long afternoon,
he sits still—like Alice’s caterpillar,
but hookah-less,
meditating in this grey place.

If he were on my Virginia Creeper,

I’d be repositioning him
to the empty lot next door, but here
he seems to be a guest; and so some etiquette
keeps me from altering his placement
as he sits on stone, moving his suction cups in sequence
now and then only to alter his direction, not his territory.

Perhaps I’ve stayed too long
in this one place.
That wandering poet within me
may have somewhere it thinks I need to go.
If it creates a good alternative, 
I might follow in much the same way
that I have come to this point
in my poem.
Blindly, in a maze of words,
open to what comes next.

The prompt word today wasmaze.” This is an extensive rewrite of a poem written three years ago.

Overworked or Labor Shirked?



Overworked or Labor Shirked?

It’s hard for me to find the middle
between hard labor and the fiddle.
Work? I either overdo it
or endeavor to eschew it.
Work all day and then all night,
being very erudite—
putting words down on the page,
imprisoned in my muse’s cage.

Perhaps I fear my distant past
when good work habits didn’t last
and days were spent in dreaming or
novels read behind closed door—
midnight radio a chance
for fantasies to spin romance.
Whole days stretched as though to catch
an errant dream of true love’s match.

I feared such days were sloth, and yet
perhaps they were just roads to get
to the place where I would tell
the stories that I knew so well
because I’d lived them first in dreams
or days just bursting at the seams
with doing nothing but living life—
its pleasures, problems, romance, strife.

First the doing at my leisure,
then the writing, and the seizure
of all the details of the past
that, once down on paper, are made to last.
Overworked or over-lived,
life first collected, then finely sieved.
Panned like gold to find the treasure—
leisure and work in even measure.

Overworked” is the prompt word today.

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


“Ganesha” by Judy Dysktra-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.