Tag Archives: Verse

NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 8–Palinode Poem

The Prompt: Write a palinode–a poem in which the poet retracts a statement made in an earlier poem. if you don’t have an actual poetically-expressed statement you want to retract, maybe you could write a poem in which you explain your reasons for changing your mind about something.

Of Stable Mind

There’s nothing I said yesterday that I’d like to retract.
Such wishy-washy thought systems leave me cold, in fact.
Those things that I believed in last week, last month, last year
are pretty much the standards that I still hold dear.
I’m not veering toward the right. I don’t like war games much.
Haven’t changed my taste for chocolate or changed to Greek from Dutch.
I still like Indie movies, the Avett Brothers and
prefer the beach to mountains as I like my walks in sand.
Though change is epidemic with apps changing every day,
when it comes to my beliefs, I think that I’m just going to stay
right here in the middle of the leftward slanting crowd–
where thinking for yourself is both encouraged and allowed.
No knee jerk either way, please, and respect for everyone
so long as they aren’t given to persuasion with a gun.
So I’ll post no apologia for anything I’m thinking.
I’ll row home in the boat I came in even if it’s sinking!

NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 5: Spendthrift

Today we were to write a poem inspired by Emily Dickinson.  The first poem below is the one I wrote.  Hers is given last.

Spendthrift

I exist in silence­­—
rare life hidden from gross eyes
until an instant ambush
rocks me in surprise.

Pierces all my “shouldn’ts,”
spends my hoarded dimes,
melts my frozen assets
saved for future times.

We dare not look too closely,
lest we see adventure’s end.
If we knew what came of it,
we’d doubtless never spend.

We cannot live for endings
lest the story never start,
For all that lives in memory
is paid for in the heart.


The Prompt: Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it! (I chose the below poem:)

I know that He exists (365)
by Emily Dickinson

I know that He exists.
Somewhere – in silence –
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes.

’Tis an instant’s play –
’Tis a fond Ambush –
Just to make Bliss
Earn her own surprise!

But – should the play
Prove piercing earnest –
Should the glee – glaze –
In Death’s – stiff – stare –

Would not the fun
Look too expensive!
Would not the jest –
Have crawled too far!

 


Fault Lines

Fault Lines

She lives up on a hillside far from the busy town,
and every year she lives there, she’s less likely to come down.
Her dog sits on her house’s dome and barks at all that pass.
One day she’ll likely join it, but for now she feels it’s crass.
Besides, she’s not that agile.  She seems to fall a lot–
merely due to clumsiness. A drinker, she is not.

She spends too much on artwork. The results hang down her halls,
sit upon her furniture and cover all her walls.
Her closets? Full to bulging with sizes large to small.
Her friends keep telling her there is no need to keep them all,
but to toss the ones that do not fit would cause her great duress.
She cannot throw any away, for next year she’ll weigh less.

Her refrigerator is her favorite scenic spot,
though entering’s an adventure with dangers amply fraught:
dog food barely balanced on a small sweet pickle jar
she has to brush against to get to where the short ribs are.
I’ve said that she is clumsy.  She doesn’t take her time.
This really isn’t new, for she was like this in her prime.

Her elbow strikes the pickle jar, the dog food comes out spinning.
They crash upon the tile floor. Our heroine stops grinning–
her thoughts no longer on the food but on the awful mess
of dogfood, pickles, broken glass–the rest you’ll surely guess.
The exercise that she will get mopping all this glop up.
will surely compensate for all the ribs she’ll later sop up.

And so she’ll lose her weight again and fit in that size eight.
As soon as this feat comes to be, he’ll ask her for a date.
Her dog will come down from the roof and she’ll come down the hill.
Her fridge and all her closets will suddenly unfill.
She’ll sell the art and cease to fall and fulfill all her scheming.
For the sixth thing true about her is that she’s prone to dreaming!

The Prompt: Far from Normal–Take a step back and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

For more writing on this topic go here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/far-from-normal/

Today’s prompt was really “Plead the Fifth” about a question we hate to answer.  We were given the choice of an alternate prompt, which is the one I chose, but ironically, it was one I didn’t want to answer so my post really fulfills both prompts.  Tricky.  If you want to see today’s prompt and other answers to it, you will find it:  HERE.

A Christmas Gift for You All!

A Christmas Gift for You All!!!

I have been combing my brain trying to think of some gift I could give you all to thank you for your support over the past year and it suddenly occurred to me that I had the perfect one already made. Below, I am presenting my entire Christmas storybook, minus the pictures (except for one) in the hope that you will read it aloud to someone you love this Christmas. 

The other day I got a fan letter from the uncle of a two-year-old who laughs out loud every time they mention Aunt Knox and demanded that it be read to her every night for three nights in a row.  (What has happened since then, I do not know.) I also received a video of an 8-year-old reading it aloud (without faltering over one word) except, with typical 8-year-old humor, he substituted “spanking” for the word “sox” every time, in spite of the protestations of his Grandma. His younger brother thought he was hilarious, so perhaps it was a kid thing.

So, here it is, my present to you.  What you do in the way of altering it to suit your own brand of humor is up to you.  I am also including one illustration so you can get a mental image of Aunt Knox! The cover is pictured on my “Children’s Books” page on this blog if you crave seeing one more illustration by the talented Isidro Xilonzóchitl. There are 16 in all in the book.  He did have fun with the gift-listing ones!!

I also just received his illustrations for our next book, which I hope will be out by April.

Copyright© Judy Dykstra-Brown, 2014. (please do not transmit in its entirety in any form. If you wish to reprint an excerpt, please include a pingback to the original.)

Sock Talk
(A Christmas Story)

by
Judy Dykstra-Brown

I’d heard the story many times
of Great Aunt Knox’s beastly crimes—
toward Mom, who, as a kid like me
was as upset as she could be
whenever she received a box
from her Aunt Knox.

For, in tinsel or in birthday wrap,
in ribbon or in mailing strap,
whatever it came wrapped up in,
whatever the gift could have been,
twice a year from her Aunt Knox,
my mom got sox.

I wished that I could have some talks
with this Aunt Knox.
“Aunt Knox,” I’d say while we were talking,
“a Christmas gift goes in a stocking,
not the other way around.
Stockings never should be found
inside a present,
’cause it’s not pleasant
to wait and wait and wait and wait
for the proper opening date
just to open up a box
of sox!”

Of course, these talks were all imaginary.
I was never even very
sure of whether Great Aunt Knox was still alive.
I didn’t know how long a great aunt could survive.
So when my mother got a letter
from Aunt Knox and said, “I’d better
ask her here, I haven’t seen her for so long.”
“I was wrong,”
I thought, “the dread Aunt Knox
still walks!”
And when Aunt Knox called up to say
she’d visit us for Christmas day,
I knew that this would be the year
I’d bend her ear.

I went to buy Aunt Knox perfume
and put fresh flowers in my room.
I’d even give Aunt Knox my bed
and sleep upon the floor instead.
But it was still hard to believe
that in our house on Christmas Eve
I’d finally have those long-planned talks
with my Aunt Knox.

Blog Sock Talk

I’d never met Aunt Knox before,
but when I met her at the door,
she gave my nose a playful tweak,
and ruffed my hair and kissed my cheek.
(Aunt Knox’s kiss was surely wet.)
She asked me what I hoped to get
for Christmas. Then she pulled me near
and cupped her ear.

“She’s kind of deaf,” my mother said,
So I got right up beside her head
and shouted to my Auntie Knox,
“I wouldn’t mind a bird that talks,
a sand pail or a music box,
a robot that both speaks and walks,
a diary with keys and locks,
a tumbler that can polish rocks,
some overalls or painters’ smocks,

but you know what?” I said, “Aunt Knox,
when I rip into a box,
It seems as bad as chickenpox
to just get sox.”

I asked her if she understood.
She smiled and said she surely could.
She asked what else and bent her head
closer to me, so I said,
“I’d like lots of other things:
paints, crayons, ruby rings,
a horse, a Barbie doll, some books,
a new toy oven that really cooks,
a ball, some blocks, a jigsaw puzzle,
a baby crocodile with muzzle,
bubbles, bracelets, purses, beads,
comic books, sunflower seeds,
a kid’s Mercedes just my size,
or even a Crackerjack surprise
I could accept
except,
please,” (And here I gave her hand a squeeze,)
“please, please,
Aunt Knox,
don’t give me sox!”

She rose and said she’d heard enough,
although she’d missed some of the stuff
I’d said because she’s hard of hearing.
She said with Christmas quickly nearing,
she’d be off to do some shopping,
and she assured me she’d be stopping
for a special gift for me.

And sure enough, beneath the tree
that night there was a package wrapped,
my name on it. I poked and tapped.
I squeezed and shook it, poked its side,
but never could I quite decide
what it was. She wouldn’t say.
She said to wait till Christmas day.
At bedtime, though, she kissed my ear
and said, “It’s on your list, my dear.”

All night I lay upon the floor
listening to Aunt Knox snore.
I didn’t mind the noise at all
’cause I was sure she’d bought the doll.
And just before I fell to sleep
I prayed the Lord Aunt Knox to keep
safe from harm
and dry and warm.

On Christmas morning, while Aunt Knox dressed,
we pushed and prodded, shook and guessed
what was tied up in each bow.
And my Aunt Knox was surely slow.
I ran upstairs three times or four
and knocked and knocked upon her door
while Aunt Knox said that she’d be there
after she had curled her hair.

I thought Aunt Knox was never coming.
My brother drove me crazy drumming.
So when Dad joined in his prum prum prumming
I accidentally elbowed Roy
to the beat of “Little Drummer Boy.”
Then mother almost made me go
upstairs to bed again and so
our Christmas started sort of slow.

Then, finally, Aunt Knox came down
attired in her morning gown
to give my nose another tweak,
to ruff my hair and kiss my cheek—
a wet one, but I didn’t care,
’cause my Aunt Knox was finally there!
I grabbed my present from the tree,
the one Aunt Knox had bought for me.
Again, her words rang in my ear.
She’d said, “It’s on your list, my dear.”

I couldn’t wait to see in it.
I wondered what could be in it.
Perhaps it was a bird that talks,
a sand pail or a music box,
a robot that both speaks and walks,
a diary with keys and locks,
a tumbler that can polish rocks,
some overalls or painters’ smocks.
But when I opened up that box,
my Aunt Knox
had bought me sox!!!!

A dozen pair were there inside—
sox long,sox short, sox thin and wide.
The clock advanced by tics and tocks
as I glared up at mean Aunt Knox,
but I couldn’t think of a word to say
appropriate to Christmas day.

“Well, try them on,” my mother said,
but I just nudged the box instead.
I’d had such fantasies of dolls
and ruby rings and bowling balls.

Then Aunt Knox came and kissed my head.
She’d meant to give a doll, she said,
till she remembered that in our talks
she was sure I’d mentioned sox
many times, while she could not recall
whether I had mentioned doll
at all.

“Why don’t you try them on, my dear?”
my Aunt Knox asked with awful cheer.
And she was grinning ear to ear
as she held out some sox with seals
emblazoned on their toes and heels.
I took them as my brother Roy
gleefully unwrapped his toy.
The robot that both speaks and walks
was what he got from Great Aunt Knox.

“Do try them on,” my mother said,
but I just stood and hung my head.
I could have gotten something great.
Instead, these sox would be my fate
forever, like a family curse.
I tried to think of something worse
but couldn’t. And I rued the day I’d had those talks
with my Aunt Knox.

Meanwhile, Mom was rifling through
sox red and yellow, pink and blue
to pull a pair of lumpy sox
from the bottom of my Christmas box.
“Why don’t you try these on?” she said.
The sox were gray with purple thread
around the legs—
the very dregs
of that whole gruesome box
of sox.

So I pulled on the seal-decked sox
held out to me by Auntie Knox.
I craved the robot Roy had got,
but sox were not too bad, I thought,
and clicked my heels and did a dance
to try to give those sox a chance.
I turned three somersaults in all,
then slid my sox on down the hall.
I stuck my sox up in the air
to show old Roy I didn’t care.

But pretty soon I said, “You know
there’s something in this stocking’s toe.”
I pulled it off and felt inside—
something round and not too wide,
something empty in the middle.
I pulled in out to solve the riddle
and while I thought I’d find some “thing,”
I found instead a ruby ring

Well, then I dove into that box,
reaching into piles of sox,
shaking out sox thin and wide,
seeing what could be inside.
I found a ball, some blocks, some beads,
a Barbie doll, sunflower seeds,
a diary with keys and locks,
a puzzle and a music box.
I shook out sox both short and long.
I shook out sox all morning long.
I finally shook out so much stuff
that even I had had enough—
almost.

I was only six back then,
but now that I am nearly ten,
every year my Auntie Knox
sends Roy bowling balls or blocks
She sent my dad a cuckoo clock.
She even sent my mom a wok.
Twice.
Sometimes she sends me something nice—
a robot or a music box—
but if I’m lucky, my Aunt Knox
sends me SOX!!!!!

And to all a good night!!

The Spinster and the White Hunter on Safari / Not Crème Brûlée

Okay, here is a poem I read at my writers’ group today and they say I should post it.  There was much controversy about how to pronounce Cuba Libres, but they’ve been my drink of choice for 40 years, so believe me, I know how they are pronounced outside of Spanish-speaking countries, and everywhere else (including Africa) Cuba Libre rhymes with zebra!

The Spinster and the White Hunter on Safari

After giraffes and elephants and zebras,
and one-too-many Cuba Libres,
love under white mosquito-netting
was not so much a matter of her letting
as it was of giving back what she was getting.


And then, the full picture of the detail I published for the “Yellow” photo challenge here No, it isn’t crème brûlée.  What it is is a detail of this detail:

DSC00403

Detail of a dead fish on the beach. Are those really eyelashes?

I really didn’t mean to fool you!

Monosyllabically Possible?

The Prompt: One at a Time—Today, write a post about the topic of your choice — using only one-syllable words.

Monosyllabically Possible?

I
might
just
fail,
but
I
will
try.

in
a
case
of
do
or
die,

If
I’m
caught
out
in
the
kelp,

It
will
do
to
just
cry
help!

But
if
you
want
to
cuss
and
shout,

it
just
won’t
work
to
go
that
route.

When
in
the
door
you
slam
your
thumb,

we’ll
see
how
far
that
you
have
come.

Your
girl
has
just
gone
on
the
lam,

and
you
just
have
to
shout
Goddamn!

Floating Meditation

Floating Meditation

I don’t want to do aerobics;
I want to float the sea,
pretending that I’m flotsam
or perhaps that flotsam’s me.

I’d like to try to meditate
the half hour I’m adrift,
but I fear that between me
and my subconscious there’s a rift.

“Am I flotsam now or jetsam?”
keeps running through my mind.
I guess to tell the truth,
I’m not the meditating kind.