Twelve Months

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is inspired by T.S. Eliot’s words from Wasteland: “April is the cruelest month.” We are asked to write about the month we hate the most!

But as I go through the months, particularly as they transpired in my life last year, I find that the most challenging months also have some endearing qualities. Not being able to pick a least favorite, or even a most favorite, I decided to write about all of them.


creamy white snow smothers
my colorful Christmas comforts

savoring winter solitude
but am I anyone’s Valentine?

spring begins amidst the snow
but it’s hard to tell

nature’s nascent growth
means wicked allergies

school ends and children play
with raucous abandon

Summer Solstice
declares victory

such irony, dammit
homebound on Independence Day

the happiest, sunniest month
spews the most miserable allergies

family birthdays
time to be thankful

precious great-niece arrives
God’s most amazing gift

friends remind me
I am not alone

God blessed us with a Savior
time to celebrate His love

Welcome the Dark – NaPoWriMo Day 1

This poem is for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). The goal is to write a poem a day throughout the month of April.

After surgery, I spent several weeks in a rehabilitation hospital receiving physical therapy–ultimately very good for the body, but very painful! I find that it helps to give a literary form to my pain, memorializing my worst episodes as a poem. These poems tend to be very short, and either very dark or very hopeful–not much middle ground.

The PT continues, and so do my poetic efforts. I’m not sure either is particularly successful at this point, but I’m hopeful it will all be worthwhile.

You can find more resources for National Poetry Writing Month at the NaPoWriMo website.

angel statue

Welcome the Dark

by Jan Brown

so welcome the dark

when light has failed you

be willing to ascend on angel’s wings

to your yearned-for destination

she will carry you there in a blithe but urgent rush

then brush off the snow and make you beautiful

as you stand before the gate


What the Mirror Shows

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.  Please visit Rochelle’s blog for more information…and join us if you wish!

This week’s photo is by fellow writer Janet Webb. Thank you, Janet!

I’ve been absent from these pages for a couple of months, busy (overwhelmed, actually) coping with medical issues.  If this story seems a little different from my usual fare, it is. I’m not sure it follows the “rules.” It’s exactly 100 words, but it’s not really fiction. It is, however, full of feelings that I needed to express.


Photo Copyright: Janet Webb

What the Mirror Shows

by Jan Brown

Jennifer packed her bag. No makeup on the day of surgery. The mirror shows every time-worn line around her questioning eyes. Is it hope she should be feeling? Or something closer to dread?

She blinks back tears as the doorbell rings.

Carmen, her BFF, is taking her to the hospital. Jennifer is hesitant to unload her fears and sadness on Carmen. Her friendship and moral support is priceless; it deserves a positive response.

The tears fall anyway, and Carmen gets a flood of raw honesty, a gloomy glimpse into her friend’s desperation.

Jennifer wonders: What will the mirror show tomorrow?


To read more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link below:

NaPoWriMo 17 – Morning Song

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem that provides a detailed description of something using at least three of the five senses. It’s recommended that we describe something we encountered or experienced today.

Morning Song

by Jan Brown

morning feels like the aftermath of an assault
surely someone had attacked her knees and hips
while she fitfully slept
perhaps an angry debt collector
a sour-faced enforcer or
a fundraiser for the arthritis foundation
wielding a baseball bat

the acrid odor of stale sweat
another reminder of the night’s
pain and thrashing
gives way to the sweetness
of lavender body wash
doesn’t smell at all like lavender
still it’s delicate and flowery
giving purpose to the wisps of steam
that reorganize the kinks in her tendons

taste buds waken against their will
to the dry minty medication
that melts in her mouth
as advertised
a dozen more pills
to wash down with breakfast
she gives thanks to whichever greek god
created fat-free yogurt
and all the tiny morsels of mango
that lurk at the bottom of the plastic cup

she greets the world outside her window
seasonal colors waiting to be seen
but doesn’t come alive
until she hears the morning’s song
a harmonious cacophony of birds
going about the business of a warm spring day
the rhythm of lawn mowers and leaf blowers
the whistle of the train
the soulful latin jazz refrain
morning’s almost gone
but her song remains



NaPoWriMo 3 – A Charm Against Arthritis

National Poetry Writing Month continues….

The third challenge is to write a rhyming charm, a recipe for a magical potion to make something happen–or, as in my case, to keep something from happening!


A Charm Against Arthritis

by Jan Brown

The jawbone of an ass
But not a politician
A bit of sassafras
The cane of a magician
The ribbon of my best friend’s hat
To remind me of her love
A photo of my sweet black cat
A blessing from above
The sparkle of a topaz
To fight away the pain
A few fine notes of cool jazz
To soothe and keep me sane
Olive oil to grease the joints
A rabbit’s foot for luck
A carrot just for counterpoint
A grimace when I say, “Oh, f*ck!”
A hundred Advil, two by two
Some fairy dust would help
A thousand steps and stretches too
Don’t worry if I scream and yelp
Just add the final touch
A pinch of peppery spice
Some alcohol, but not too much
Vodka would be nice
Shall I imbibe, or use as lotion?
Not sure, but either way
Heaven bless this mighty potion
And keep the demons of pain at bay

NaPoWriMo 2 – It’s Not the Day

National Poetry Writing Month continues….

The second NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem based on a random quote from literature provided by The Bibliomancy Oracle.  The “oracle” provided me with the following gem:

it is a lack of faith makes the days

(those joyed and those


so very long and waiting.


from “Radio” by Stephanie Barber


As I thought about this quote, I had a very strong response. I realized that it’s not my faith that is lacking, and it’s not my days that are  “so very long and waiting.”


It’s Not the Day

by Jan Brown

it’s not the morning

that is agonizing

it’s not the noonday sun

that sears me

it’s not the rainy afternoon

nor the prescient dusk

not even the chilly evening

with frozen diet dinner and wine

it’s not the day

that steals my joy

it’s the night

the screaming night

it’s the pain

winding through the bedroom

like a hunger

seeking to be sated

it’s the heavy lidded eyes

not allowed to close

it’s the medicated brain

separated from its bliss

it’s not the day

that steals my joy

it’s the night

the too long night


April is also Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). One of the things that can shorten a long night of sleeplessness and pain is the right music, and for me, that music is usually jazz. “Joy and Pain” is an upbeat song and one of my favorites–performed by Simply Red at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  There is also a quieter, instrumental version on the Smooth Jazz All Stars album that is perfect for bedtime 🙂


What You Have to Get Over

Physically ChallengedThe Poetry Foundation featured a group of classic and contemporary “Get Well Soon” poems in their March 28th newsletter. Under the category of “Healing,” I found a gem by Dick Allen, the current poet laureate of Connecticut. Here are some excerpts that spoke to me.

If you have a chronic illness, degenerative disease or love someone who does, Mr. Allen’s words might speak to you as well.

What You Have to Get Over (excerpts)

by Dick Allen

Stumps. Railroad tracks. Early sicknesses,

the blue one, especially.

Your first love rounding a corner,

that snowy minefield….

You have to get over your resentments,

the sun in the morning and the moon at night,

all those shadows of yourself you left behind

on odd little tables….

If you would recover,

you have to get over the shattered autos in the backwoods lot

to that bridge in the darkness

where the sentinels stand

guarding the border with their half-slung rifles,

warned of the likes of you.


I pray that the sentinels who guard the bridge to recovery will greet you, smile, and let you pass 🙂

To read the poem in its entirety, please visit The Poetry Foundation.


Inside or Out?

This is based on a #haikuchallenge posted on Twitter by @baffled, to write a haiku containing the word, “morning.”

Bush with pink roses and green leafes

Change creeps up on us. At some point, we wake to find ourselves on an entirely different path than the one we chose. Perhaps it’s due to our abundant success. Perhaps due to our abysmal failure. Perhaps due to an accident or illness.  Stuff happens. Life happens.

We should be able to look ahead with joy to the future that presents itself to us, no matter how unexpected. But I have to admit, I often find myself mourning that which has been lost.



The National Haiku Writing Month theme of the day is “break.” I hope you also enjoy the amazing musical poem by Mark O’Connor that appears below my haiku. Happy Wednesday!

violinist - iclipart


heartstrings plucked
like a broken violin