Tag Archives: homonym poem

A Letter from Mother Earth: NaPoWriMo 2019, Apr 14


All of these photos are either taken from my house or from an area within one block of it. These are photos of just one fire and one flood/avalanche that have decimated the area where I live, and they are nothing, I’m sure, compared to the California fires and the cyclones  and tidal waves elsewhere on earth.


A Letter from Mother Earth

All the riches you have stolen may be won in vain.
As you exploit my waterways and open every vein,
surely you can hear me crying out in pain?

When it comes to my riches, each madman wants a piece
at the cost of reason, willing to break the peace.
Will there be no ending? Will the warlords never cease?

As you grow one more spare tire around your spreading waist,
the spoils build up around you: the garbage and the waste.
How much plastic carnage will serve to suit your  taste?

As you fill me full of chemicals, I become more weak.
Yet still you spray and pillage, hour by day by week.
The death of soil that nourishes can’t be what you seek!

Fluorocarbons, Roundup, radiation, lead––
all the earth’s blind children just follow where they’re led.
Swallowing all the poisons, devouring what they’re fed.

All the bleating sheep, the entire driven herd
do their best to overlook all the things they’ve heard—
every threat of doomsday, every warning word.

The cyclones swirl above you. The fires burn me bare.
How many floods and blizzards will your children bear?
Why don’t you heed the warnings? Don’t you even care?

When it comes to what you’re leaving to your son and heir,
there may be no more water and there may be no more air.
Does this ever bother you? Do you even care?

If every son and daughter voiced their pleas aloud
and questioned all these foolish sins their fathers have allowed,
would they bend their heads in grief? Can they be shamed and cowed?

If they beg and bargain, if they plead and pray,
will parents listen to the ones who’ve been their prey,
or will they keep on throwing their children’s lives away?


Here is the NaPoWriMo prompt: Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.

May Day!!!


May Day

When I was seven and when I was ten,
the meaning of May Day was different back then.
It conjured up candy or flowers and fun
not fear of a shipwreck or missile or gun.

We’d construct baskets of paper and glue,
put in some candy and a flower or two–
marshmallow peanuts so rubbery and chewy,
jelly beans, candy corn, gumdrops so gooey.

From a big ribbon, they’d hang like a fob
so the basket could hang from a door handle knob.
We’d sneak to a friend’s house and ring the doorbell,
leave the basket and take off, running like Hell.

If anyone caught us, a prize they would seek–
a slap on the arm or a kiss on the cheek.
The boys gave the slaps and the girls gave the kisses–
(the reverse of our wishes for all of us “Misses.”)

For friends who lived farther than six blocks away,
our parents would drive us some time in the day
before school or after to deliver our gifts.
We escaped easier when we had lifts.

We once strung a Maypole  from tether ball staff
that was rather disastrous—more of a laugh
than a sweet springtime rite filled with dancing and grace.
When our ribbons got tangled, they laughed in our face.

When our class bully fell down, exposing her panties,
we all joined in with our uncles and aunties,
our moms and our dads and even the teachers,
the school board, the doctor, the priest and the preachers.

Everyone roared at this May Day disaster,
then we picked up our ribbons and ran even faster,
some unfortunate dancers wrapped tight to the pole
until finally the school bell began its slow toll,

telling us all to disband and depart,
weak from the laughter and lighter of heart.
A day in my memory much better than payday–
the one time when May Day was also a mayday!