Creativity and Mr. Hardcastle

It’s been almost two weeks since National Poetry Month ended during which I posted quite a bit, but I haven’t posted since.  But I have been writing,  painting, and crocheting.  Pretty soon,  I will post photos of my latest painting (finished today,  but no good photo yet and it’s still at the studio) and of the blanket I’m almost done crocheting (tonight or tomorrow,  I hope).  Several writing pieces  are also in the works.  Some are good; others need work. But I’m keeping at it. I hope you are too! 

In the meantime,  here’s a picture of my Lionel Hardcastle doing what he does best,  being cute. 

PAD 15: One Time

This prompt is to write a “one time” poem.

One Tme


Just this one time, I wish

I wish they would listen.

But like the sound of a wife’s voice

To a husband’s ear,

The teacher’s voice floats over and around

The students in their seats,

And they cannot hear that

Which can fly them to new frontiers.

But perhaps, just perhaps,

This One Time,

Someone has heard

Someone has listened

And that someone will soar.

PAD 16: Fool-Proof Filing System

Yesterday’s prompt was “(Blank) System.” Since today I ran into a situation in which I could not find what I needed because I had “put it somewhere safe,” I decided to write about filing.

Fool-proof Filing System


Each cog in the machine must

Fit smoothly and cleanly into the next

Or the gear grinds to a halt.

So too the desk must be a clean space

With files neatly organized and in reach,

Or the work grinds to a halt.

Each item has its place, each file its purpose,

Neatly labeled, well thought out

To find again on a moment’s notice

A fool-proof system with one draw back:

I am no fool.

PAD 10: Cherry Blossoms

Today’s prompt is to write a travel poem, and walking through Central Park and seeing the Japanese Cherry blossoms in full bloom with New Yorkers and tourists taking pictures under it, I started thinking about living in a different country.

Cherry Blossoms

When I think how far

These seeds have traveled,

Planting themselves in foreign soil,

Germinating tiny shoots of hope,

Spreading roots and taking hold,

Making a new home,

And over time growing,  blossoming

Into pink-white petals of joy

Announcing the end of the cold, long winter

While tourists visit the park to take photos

Of this little piece of home and natives

Hold the baby up to the downy blossoms

Light and soft on the trees and her hands.

Side by side they coo and sigh, I wonder

What this world would be like if only

We transplanted as well as the trees.

PAD 5: Elemental

I missed yesterday because I was both busy and stumped. The prompt was to write an element poem, as in the periodic table. It’s been a long, long while since I’ve studied the periodic table. (Did I ever really study it, come to think?) So, granting myself a day’s grace, I pondered and googled after finally deciding to treat the table like a zodiac. What does the element with the number of the month of your birth say about you?


March babies gravitate to threes,
But lithium is a conundrum.
The least dense of the solid elements,
It speaks of your substance
And perception,

But it is also highly reactive and flammable
Which portends a negative reception
Of this poem,
But since it usually occurs in compounds,
Perhaps you will stick with me yet.

Though lithium itself verges on instability,
It balances others’ anxiety
Just as you bring a calming presence with you.

But your bright lustre shines
Whether or not you are broken,
Nor does it corrode quickly,  and so essentially

You rise above your element.

PAD 4: Two-fer Tuesday, A Beginning and/or Ending Poem

Today being Tuesday, we are offered two prompts, but as I’ve noted in the past, these are really three: either, or, both. Today’s choices are a beginning poem, an ending poem, or a beginning and ending poem. I started thinking about an interesting metaphor or simile for beginning the day, and I came up with unwrapping a deck of cards. From there, I had fun describing a day from dawn to dusk in card terms and adages. Enjoy!

The Game of Life


Dawn breaks.

You blink your eyes,

Removing the film from the night before,

Like the crinkly unwrapping of cellophane

Off a new deck of cards–

Crisp and clean and orderly,

Ready to play the game.

Let the day begin,

Feed the kitty,

Shuffle the deck and see

What cards fate has dealt you today.

And off you go,

Playing your hand

Again and again

Scoring points, bidding high,

Some winners, some losers

As noon approaches, then afternoon,

Til night falls

And you flip the deck in the air,

Discarding the jokers of the day,

Still searching for your king,

But now you don’t care,

Let the cards fall where they may,

You’ve done your best,

Retire the deck.

Start fresh tomorrow.

Staircase of Love


Today’s prompt is “______ to Love.”  I could tell you what inspired it, but I think today, I’ll let the poem speak for itself.

Staircase to Love

As I climb the stairs, heading up to our room,

I’m huffing and puffing;

I wish I had taken the elevator.

But I know, that this is better, healthier.

My heart races, and my quads burn.

Sometimes I think, “This is no fun.”

But in the end, I am better because of it.

My heart is healthy and full

When I reach our space and

Rest with you.

PAD 1: She Majored in Music

It’s that time of year again, folks–National Poetry Month! As in previous year, Writer’s Digest sponsors the Poem-A-Day (PAD) challenge on it’s “Poetic Asides” blog. I’ll do my best to keep up. At the very least, I’m starting on time! I read the prompt this morning and ruminated all day, and then when I finally went into my “office” to write, I came across a spam-ish email from a former student which sparked some lovely memories of teaching the young woman how to play the flute during after school sessions. Since today’s prompt is to write a reminiscing poem, this random email struck just the right chord.

She Majored in Music


A clear, soft tone

Of a silver flute.

Crisp and clean.

We’d meet after school

And practice and learn.

Sweet music almost as melodious

As her laughter.

Her joy was contagious,

Even after a long day,

Especially then.

I think that I, the teacher,

Learned more from her

Than she ever did from me.

She’s like a lily,

So clean and defined,

That knows what it is, and

Is proud of it.

The flowers stand tall;

The scent is unmistakable.

The purity and goodness

It symbolizes.

She shared with me:

Her joy, her music, and her faith.

Simple and profound

And topped with a hat.


Minor Derailment 

Again I submitted a poem for a literary journal that publishes one poem every Sunday that responds to something from the week’s news. (And again,  my poem was not chosen.) Perhaps because I wrote in response to a small, local story of a minor train derailment by Amtrak on Friday in Penn Station NY, the news does not have a wide enough net. Perhaps there were too many other entries that surpassed mine.  Perhaps this is not that good.  But the idea lodged itself in my head. It must come out. The news kept saying how no one was hurt, but I started thinking about the butterfly effect and how there is more than one way to be hurt.
Minor Derailment 
It was a minor derailment

At slow speed.

No one was hurt.

And yet,

And yet,

Trains were cancelled,

Delayed, and crowded.

So the Mom rushing home early

From a business trip to DC

Misses her daughter’s basketball game.

But no one was hurt.

And the Dad who promised

He’d be there,

For sure this time,

For his son’s school play,

(He has the lead)

Won’t make it in time.

But no one was hurt.

And the sweetheart with a ring

But a dead phone battery

Is over an hour late for their reservation

And she’s gone home, crying.

But no one was hurt.

The pushing and shoving on

The overcrowded trains,

Everyone wanting to get home,

No one wanting to give an inch,

Anger, frustration,

And who knows what else,

Especially later as some commuters

Have over-enjoyed happy hour 

To kill the time

Lessening their inhibitions

And loosening their tongues.

But no one was hurt.

The broken dates,

The missed appointments,

The misunderstandings,

The fatigue,

The tempers flaring.

One train slips off the track

At minimal speeds

Not even completely out of the station

And sideswipes another.

The grinding of metal!

The jostling and jarring!

And, thank God!

No one on board is injured.

But that does not mean

No one was hurt.

A Rose Refurbished 

A couple of Fridays ago, I had some time on my hands,  so I went to the newly refurbished Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library. Always a beautiful space, it is now brighter and cleaner as well. It is certainly conducive to creativity and work.  And let’s admit it,  the two go hand in hand.  But surrounded by beauty and knowledge,  it is easier to engage in the search for truth.  (Support your local libraries, museums, and cultural institutions, my friends.  Tell your Congressmen to support the arts,  the NEH and the NEA.)

As I looked around the majestic room, I saw people from all walks of life immersed in all sorts of reading/writing activities: in print, online, by hand, by machine, researching,  creating, in English,  in Chinese, Spanish, French, etc. And others came in to appreciate the art and architecture, and others just to sit for a minute. It is a beautiful space that offers so much to so many.  I feel lucky to have experienced it today. And in a true New York moment,  I ran into people I know who had just stopped in to see the room!

One of the things I love about libraries is the access to the creativity of generations. Thousands, millions really, have left a little part of themselves for us to read and know. They inform, challenge, and inspire. But the Rose Reading Room of the NYPL does even more–through the beautiful architecture of the building, the space itself inspires. It is a place I love, yet definitely do not get to enough.

Musing on a topic? Stuck on a scene? Look up to the newly renovated ceiling and drift among the clouds or trace with your eyes the ornate designs. Soon, new ideas and connections will spring to mind, and your creativity will flow freely. Grab a seat and begin. I’ll see you there!