PAD 30: Bury the (Blank)

Whoo-hoo! We’ve made it!! Today is Day 30 of the Poem-A-Day Challenge, and now I post my thirtieth poem. I’ve made up all from my “sick days,” and I finish with the final prompt of the challenge. Today’s prompt is to finish the phrase “Bury the (Blank).” Fill in the blank and make it your title. Go from there. Of course that phrase leads one to all sorts of introspection. Bury the Guilt, Bury the Pain, Bury the Hatchet all pop in one’s mind immediately, but I wanted something different. It took some time, but here it is.

Thank you all for joining me on my PAD Challenge journey. It was invigorating to write a poem a day. My creative juices are certainly flowing. I am already looking forward to next year’s challenge (though I certainly won’t wait that long for another blog post or another poem).

Bury the Remote

Turn off the TV;

Get off the couch;

Spring is sensational.

Walk the course;

Hike the hills;

Breath in the blossoms;

Soak up the sun.

The bear awakens from a

Winter slumber, and

Stretches his limbs before

Sauntering forth in

Search of food and friends.

He does not hit snooze,

Or sit on his couch watching

Reruns of Castle or of others

Playing the games that

We should be playing. So,

Bury the remote

Beneath the couch cushions.

Lace up the sneakers;

Leash up the pup;

Let spring awaken

The bear within.

PAD 23: Historic Poem

Today I am making up a prompt I missed when I was sick. April 23rd’s prompt was to write a historic poem. I’ve been thinking for a few days now about what historic event I wanted to focus on. With the recent events in Baltimore, I was thinking about Selma. Then, true to creativity’s form, the topic changed a bit as I started writing.  The Selma March was instrumental in passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

 

Rock the Vote

 

‘‘the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying
 the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men’’ 
(Johnson, ‘‘Remarks’’)

 

From Seneca Falls to Selma,

Americans have convened, marched,

Pleaded, begged, argued for

The right to vote.

To have a say, to break down

Injustice. To destroy the terrible walls.

A powerful weapon, that anyone

Can wield with no training, no practice.

Yet, like child who screams for a toy

And then abandons it as soon as he gets it,

Americans have abandoned

This instrument, this tool, this weapon

And instead seem to let the status quo-

Which seems to be full of division,

Full of creating those terrible walls-

Imprison them still.

Or they become so disillusioned

That they don’t vote at all.

Susan B., Sojourner, Martin, Malcolm

Are turning in their graves.

 

 

Johnson, Lyndon B. ‘‘Remarks in the Capitol Rotunda at the Signing of the Voting Rights Act,’’
6 August 1966, in Public Papers of the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, bk.2, 1966.

PAD 29: What Nobody Knows

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about what nobody knows.

Magic

What nobody knows is

How magic happens. Where

Does it come from? When

Will it strike? With what

Intensity will it burn? How

Did it start? How do you

Harness it? But,

What everyone knows is

That magic is real.

You feel it; it crackles and shines

When love enters your life.

His kisses cast a spell, but there’s more.

Holding hands conjures warmth and safety.

Years later even simple pleasures,

As simple as watching TV together,

Continue to summon satisfaction.

This magic is electric, enchanting,

Otherworldly, and world building, but also

Subtle, and lasting, and

Unexplainable.

 

PAD 28: Matter/Anti-Matter

It’s the last two-fer Tuesday of the month. Today prompts are matter (what things are made of) or anti-matter. I went with the former.

What Things Are Made Of

 

It matters, you know,

What things are made of.

Is the sweater acrylic? Or Wool?

The dryer cycle will let you know

If you don’t already,

But it matters, what things are made of.

It matters, too, if the gold

On the edge of the plate is paint

Or real. Will it create a spark, a fire

In the microwave, or not?

And what about you?

What are you made of?

Do you believe what you tell me,

Or do you tell me what you think

I believe?

Are we real to each other? Or

Just visions of what we think

The other believes real?

I will come clean.

I will be true.

What am I made of?

Catholicism, Literature, Art,

Music, Writing, Family,

Books, Yarn, Crochet, Sewing…

But most of all, I am made of

You and me…

And our baby, our kitty, our Leo.

I am made of our family,

As we define it.

PAD 24: A Moment

Another make-up poem from my sick days! Friday’s prompt was to write a moment poem; in light of the circumstances, I decided on a moment of exhaustion. (Excuse me now while I take a nap!)

An Inconsequential Thing

 

There is a moment coming,

A breaking point,

When the persona you’ve produced

Will fail,

And the carefully constructed

Facade you show to the world

Will crumble.

Too little sleep,

Too many demands

Will combine in a mountain

Of Exhaustion which

Will tumble

Into an abyss when

A pin drops,

A feather alights.

An inconsequential thing

Will be your moment.

You see it coming,

And you don’t want to be there

For that moment.

But, you have to

Just like you have to do

Everything else.

And somehow,

You will

Own it,

Make it your moment,

And move on

Or back

To the persona you’d been

Before

That inconsequential thing.

PAD 25: Across the Sea

Today I made up one of the days that I missed while I was sick. Saturday’s prompt was across the sea. As an English teacher and a woman who has a sister who has lived in England for many years, naturally that is where my thoughts flowed.

Across the Sea

Wistfully thinking of trips gone by,

Austen’s Chawton, Shakespeare’s Statford,

And London teems in my memory

The history, literature, fashion, and culture.

And a way that wends

To Chaucer’s Canterbury and Becket’s shrine.

Or head north to Cambridge:

A city that sparks with scholarship,

Rides green with bicycles, laughs heartily at pubs,

Strolls cheerfully toward Grantchester, for tea.

Further on is the Lake District, with rolling hills,

Limpid lakes, Wordsworth’s daffodils.

And there is Arthur’s Cornwall yet to be seen,

And the White Cliff’s of Dover, and Rye, and

Music’s home in Liverpool, and the Bronte’s

Yorkshire, and more, so much more.

But most of all, there’s family, calling me over,

Across the sea

PAD 27: Looking Back

Today’s prompt is looking back. And, looking back over the past year, I thought of all the time I spent lesson planning. Teachers, I am sure you can relate.

Lesson Planning

Do I need to read

This book, poem, essay

Again? I have taught it

Year after year. I have lesson

Plans, tests, quizzes, ideas-

Folders full of material. I will

Just look back over the notes. I will

Just skim a few pages…

Until hours have passed, and I

Am rereading it all over again,

And creating lessons anew because

I see a new angle; because

The class’s last discussion lead us

In a new direction; because

I wanted to try a new technique.

Whatever the reason, I, again,

Have spent hours when I could

Have reasonably spent minutes.

When will I learn to look back

And learn to work smarter?

Probably, never. Not until I stop

Learning myself. But sometimes,

I wish I could just use last year’s

Lesson plan.

PAD 26: Words Coined by Shakespeare

Yes, I’ve missed a few days, I know. I have been sick with bronchitis. But I pick up today with today’s prompt, take a word or two that was coined by Shakespeare, use it as the title of your poem, and go. I went a little bit farther than that as I sprinkled Shakespeare’s words throughout the poem. Can you find them?

As for the days I missed, I will do my best to make them up before the week (and the month) are over! Now, here’s to Shakespeare:

Ode to Shakespeare’s Words

I bet you can’t help but complete

This task; whether in premeditated swagger,

Or vaulting language, Shakespeare’s words

Cannot be avoided. What can I

A lowly poet, a blushing amateur add

To such a lexicon? Turn your eyeballs to

His fashionable gossip and find labels

To items and ideas as lackluster as skim milk,

As laughable as madcap, as lustrous as Olympian.

Such a majestic genius could dishearten and

Deafen later generations, yet instead his works

Continue to create amazement. Academe cannot help

But secure exposure to his genius and

Inspire countless generations to

Barefaced adoration,

Equivocal criticism,

Green-eyed envy,

And a select few

To monumental heights.

To monumental heights.

PAD 22: Nature

Happy Earth Day! In honor of such, our prompt today is nature. I had a few things going for me as I ruminated on this prompt today. For one, we took the ninth grade students to the Bronx Zoo in celebration of Earth Day. And, it was a beautiful day! And finally, I have been teaching William Cullen Bryant’s “To a Waterfowl” this week. As these three things combined with the Earth Day prompt, I came up with my own message from nature. Enjoy.

Giraffe Lessons

With a long neck extended gracefully,

The giraffe nibbles daintily on the leaves.

Another ambles over to a nearby tree

To chew and ruminate.

Nearby the ostrich jolts its way

Around the savanna,

Unperturbed and unmolested

By its towering neighbor.

The mothers form calving pools

To provide day care for their young.

The males come to play.

Even their form of battle seems benign,

As males engage in necking to claim power.

Few are hurt; fewer die,

And the boys are friends again

When the battle is over.

 

What is it about the giraffe that seems

Majestic, regal, stately?

Is it his height alone, his quiet manner,

His seemingly calm lifestyle?

 

Perhaps there is a lesson to learn

From our elongated friends.

Can we stretch ourselves to our

Full height; hold

Our heads high? Let us protect our children,

Leave our neighbors uninjured, and

Ruminate before we act.

 

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PAD 1: Resistance

Yes, you read that title correctly, PAD 1. I didn’t learn of this challenge until April 2nd, and I have been vigilant in writing my poem-a-day every day since, but I have felt incomplete that I do not have a poem for April 1. So here it is. No fooling, April 1st’s prompt is resistance. I have thought for a few days about what I am most resistant to, and I think it is admitting my age. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is true of many, whether they are young and want to be older or older and want to be young. So, please excuse the two posts in one day as I catch up with the challenge.

Age Resistance

We live in a world of youth

All wanting to be older,

And the elders

All wanting to be younger.

Little girls correct their moms,

“I’m ten and a half.”

Beauty creams cry,

“Age defying.”

Society has become resistant

To age–any age:

Young or old,

We wish to be other

Than what we are.

Like caterpillars looking at the sky

And butterflies pecking at the ground,

We resist the reality of what

We are now.