Tag Archives: the daily spur

Poetic Research

Poetic Research

My dictionary slips off its perch,
so I leave it lie and ask Google to search
for the meaning of “farctate,” a word that sounds farty
when what I had wished for was words far more arty.
But I find even after it’s screened,
I forget to remember what I have gleaned.
Then, when I check “precept” to see if its meaning
is what I think, I find it demeaning
that I have to check and do not just know,
but in the end, I am right on, and so,
I get to the task and I screw up my lips
and type out this poem without any slips.
Still and all, don’t we wish they made prompt words more easy,
so we could pursue them without feeling queasy?

Prompt words today are register, lips, farctate, precept and search. Definition of “farctate” copied from the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Pludged Doze

Pludged Doze

When she’d clipped and arranged and with water anointed
the roses I’d brought her, she  looked disappointed.
“These roses aren’t flagrant,” my lady-love said,

but she suffered a horrible cold in her head, 
and recently testy, lately each word
she uttered was also slightly absurd.

She was given to certain extreme mis-pronouncements
Like “Dode wad adudder” and other announcements
when I offered a hot and whisky-laced toddy
to coat her sore throat and to comfort her body.
The simplest of pleasures may be greeted with dread
by a bellicose lady with a cold in her head.

And her talent with words, be it poetry or prose,
doesn’t work orally with a plugged nose!

Prompts for the day are comfort, flagrant, talent, bellicose and simple.

Praying Mantis

(Click on photos to enlarge and see details.)

Praying Mantis

Now that the sun has vanished and the desert air turned cold,
some of the insects vanish, but others have turned bold.
Small winged gnats bask under the lamplight’s surrogate sun.
Motionless, they seem to sleep, their daylight flitters done.
They colonize the body of the terrace table lamp,
sunning in the bulb’s bright glow, absorbing every amp. 
A single different visitor ascends my sister’s back,
as though he seeks the warmth and light the night air seems to lack.

She does not feel his presence. So far, he’s brought no harm.
He spreads out on the blanket of her light-warmed arm.
More stick-with-arms than insect, he seems inclined to stay.
Secure in his establishment, it seems as though he may
settle there for good, but then he chooses to decamp
by making an impromptu leap onto the terrace lamp.
Motionless, as though caught up in silent meditation,
nothing seems to interrupt his profound cogitation.

But then he leaps up higher, closer to the light,
the globe’s gleam growing warmer at this greater height.
The smaller denizens of light seem calm and unperturbed.
They continue slumbers largely undisturbed,
but suddenly I notice their numbers have diminished,
the mantis washing off his arms as though he has just finished.
He draws one and then another arm through his lethal jaws,
as though they’re violin bows moving without pause.

His music has no volume. The sawing of his bows
creates no funeral music.  No sins do they expose.
For awhile he stands unmoving, the heat and light ideal
for aiding his digestion of his midnight meal.
The moon cuts through the darkness, dividing it in layers
as the unmoving mantis seems to say his prayers.
Then, when he leaps into the dark, I turn out the light

and trundle off to bed as well, bidding you good night.


Prompts today are insect, impromptu, establishment, trundle and cold.



Breath, down through my lifetime, if I dare to cogitate,
creates a varied story that I’m driven to relate.
Along with embouchure, it was a subject of debate
that, added to execution, served to determine fate
by moving me from first chair to second, then to third
in placement in the school band. I easily conceded
to yield my place as first chair, and so was superseded
by player after player who played the saxophone
more skillfully than I did. I had not a bone
to pick with them. I knew I had neither skill nor lungs
to insure my placement in the upper rungs
of our school band’s placement. I really didn’t care
if I manned third or second or the first-ranked chair.

Tobacco, then pneumonia later played a hand
in lessening my lung power long after the school band
had retreated into history and a guitar took the place
of an instrument requiring both my breath and face
to execute its glories. And so my prowess lingers
longer now that it requires simply arms and fingers.
Meanwhile, my breath is used up by necessary things.
It talks and sighs and whistles and laughs and coughs and sings.
Even with more talent, it’s clear I’ve not enough of it
to put my mouth upon a reed and puff and puff and puff on it.
I’m glad I had no talent, for it would mean my death
if I had any other thing using up my breath!!!

Prompt words today are pneumonia, tobacco, embouchure, cogitate and empty.

On Strike (At Odds With The Prompts)

On Strike

(Prompt words today are glass, never, hectic, tyro (novice) and rebirth. For the NaPoWriMo Prompt “Past and Future.” we are challenged  to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.)

I am not in the mood to write about glass.
My mood of the moment? Belligerent sass!
The prompt words are silly and way too eclectic.
They leave me feeling frustrated and hectic,
as though I’m a tyro at trying to rhyme—
in need of a rebirth in iambic time.
I’ll never complete the task as assigned,
but I’m sure that my readers will not even mind.
Aren’t you tired of my inane ill-rhymed verse?
If I added the classical, it would be worse.
Then sci-fi allusions? Just bring on the hearse!
Sometimes these prompts can end up as a curse.


Image by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash. Used with permission

“Dear Self” for NaPoWriMo 2021, Day 11, Plus Daily Prompts,

poem a

Dear Self: The Query

I’ve written all the words. That is the easy part.
But why can I not  finish the projects that I start?
Four books that I have finished languish on the shelf.
I cannot follow through with them. I cannot help myself!
A letter to an agent, a query or request,
someone to pursue the task, perhaps, at my behest?
It just seems impossible to do what I must do.
I haven’t the ability to simply follow through.
I need a deus ex machina to simplify my task.
A simple intervention. Is it too much to ask?


Dear Self: The Reply

Jettison your worry. Throw away your fear.
Regain your former confidence. Shift to a higher gear.
Every rigorous journey requires a last step.

Why would you avoid it when you’ve done all the prep?
I think that fear of failure is your fatal flaw.
Those who seek lionization must face the lion’s maw.
Time’s persistent pendulum repeats its past percussions.
Those who overlook them will suffer repercussions.
“Done begins with do,” is the most memorable of morals.
You succeed by finishing, not resting on your laurels.


Ironically, “Done Begins with Do” was my class motto when I graduated from high school.

Prompts today are: confidence, jettison, memorable, percuss and repeat.
And also, the prompt  for NaPoWriMo today was to write a letter and a reply. for the




Even though his art skills were little more than nascent,
he displayed an attitude disgustingly complacent.
He bragged about this vision and lauded his own craft—
Puffed up about his concepts that were little more than daft.
His style was so protean that it was nonexistent.
He was deaf to any critique and consistently resistant
to suggestions from instructors, resisting education
that might have been of aid in his artistic operation.
Thus, he developed  habits that led, as you can see,
to work that is just noted for its mediocrity.


Prompt words for today are operation, complacent, habit, protean and craft.



“To Do” List for a New Roommate (NaPoWriMo 2021, Day 9 and Daily Prompts)

“To Do” List for a New Roommate

*If you value this abode,
please plan to shoulder half the load
to keep it lovely, clean and neat.
This rule, I will not repeat.

*Underwear should not be seen
on chair or floor or in-between.
(To insure I’m a happy camper,
dirty clothes go in the hamper.)

*If, on occasion, you feel you might
have a lover spend the night,
lest my ire you might incite,
please have him leave by morning light.

*No mongrels, kittens, fish or birds
or other denizens of herds
may cross my doorway, now or ever.
In short, are pets allowed? No. Never!!!

*If personal details you recite,
please insure they are not trite,
for next to messiness and snoring,
I most dread roommates who are boring.

* Don’t steal my cookies or my chips.
My food should never pass your lips.
Don’t steal my leftover knishes,
and when you cook, do your own dishes.

*If these requests you can’t abide,
just pack your bags and move outside!
Follow my rules, or it’s your loss,
for in this house, I am the boss!


Prompt words today are shoulder, underwear, mongrel, trite and love.  Image by Sincerely Media on Unsplash. Used with permission. 

Also, for NaPoWriMo, Day 9, Make a To-Do List

Line of Reasoning

Line of Reasoning

His baleful eye and mawkish grin
reveal the sort of state he’s in.
Anybody can see he wields
an attitude that never yields
to any view different from his.
He’s up on everybody’s biz.
On world matters bacterial
and all things managerial
he knows more than the experts do
and gladly shares his point of view
with doctor, scientist or crew.
He’ll educate them all anew
by sharing truths that only he
in his superiority
has figured out. He is so clever
that even though, in truth, he never
went to university,
still, surely, all the world can see
it’s simply common sense that how
he sees things is a sacred cow.
In fact, you need not go to school.
Just listen to this puffed-up fool
to hear how science has it wrong.
He’s known the true facts all along.
How much more proof is there to get?
He heard it on the Internet!

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from people’s inability to recognize their lack of ability.

Prompt words today are bacterial, crew, mawkish, wield and anybody. Image by brandi ibraho on Unsplash. Used with permission.


Safety in Numbers

Safety in Numbers

It might beseem the patriarch to forego actions radical,
forsaking them for pastimes more blandly mathematical.
Discourse over Pi and coffee a safer course, by far,
than plotting revolution at a local bar.
That there’s safety in numbers is a much-repeated platitude
much favored over taking risks with a subversive attitude.

Prompt words today are radical, patriarch, beseem and coffee. Image by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash, used with permission.
And for NaPoWriMo, Day 5