At the Gate – NaPoWriMo Day 30

It’s the last day of NaPoWriMo, and we are challenged to examine the way that we begin and end our poems. One way we can do this is to take a poem we have previously written, turn it upside down (with the last line becoming the first), and edit it so that it makes sense.

I chose to do this with the poem I wrote for Day 1 of NaPoWriMo. The original poem started in a place of darkness and proceeded to a hoped-for state of light. Of course, reversing the order gave a different feel. With only a few words changed, the poem now ends by advising the reader not to be afraid of the dark (i.e., pain and suffering). I hope I can follow that advice myself!

I think the poem still retains the essence of hope and healing. If I have learned anything, it is that without hope, we cannot move forward.

angel statue

as you stand before the gate

she brushes off the snow and makes you beautiful

she carried you in a blithe but urgent rush

to your yearned-for destination

you ascend on angel’s wings

when light has failed you

so welcome the dark

Aurora – NaPoWriMo Day 29

Before April ends, I thought my readers might like to see the northern lights. This photo was taken in Alaska on April 9th by Sebastian Saarloos and posted on

Golden Gate – NaPoWriMo Day 28

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem about a bridge. For me, the choice was obvious. I have a love/hate relationship with the Golden Gate bridge. Well, mostly love. But read on….

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

I left my heart
in The City
just like the song says
but only part
it is split apart
by the beautiful bridge
its imposing structure
orange, not gold
and no golden gate
still, it is the gateway
to two halves of my soul

it always seems too long
vibrating beneath me
whining against
the texture of my tires
lanes too narrow
always nervous
always wondering
if I’ll make it across
without incident

then I am on the other side
and northern California
opens up to me
I sit for hours
in Sausalito
gazing across the bay
and watching seagulls
feast on human food
I bask in the shade
of Muir Woods
I don’t feel so old
amongst the ancient trees

it’s a white knuckle drive
back across the bridge
my reward, the skyline
The City sparkles
lit up in evening dress
inviting me to dinner
(I accept)

finally, to bed, to dream
of waking Rodin’s Thinker
to ask what he is thinking about
of basking in the sun
like lazy seals on the pier
of seeing a different
view of The City
from every hilltop
of driving over my beautiful bridge
that whines when I leave

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Hips, Hearts – NaPoWriMo Day 27

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 27 is to write a hay(na)ku. This is like a haiku, but focuses on the number of words and relaxes the usual “rules” of haiku. The form was invented by an American teacher, to be more accessible for her students and easier to write. It’s a stanza consisting of three lines, with one word in the first line, two in the second and three in the third. You can write a hay(na)ku “sonnet” by stringing four stanzas together, and ending with a couplet of three words per line.

Image by Annika Gandelheid - Fotolia

sway like
Chubby Checkers’ girl

sway wide
for her lover

move on
and kiss another

age, erode
swap out parts

still fickle
swap out hearts

hips will heal
hearts still reel

Nightingale – NaPoWriMo Continues

This is in response to the Twitter poetry challenge #haikuwordgame. The prompts are “patience” and “dusk.” I am behind a day for National Poetry Writing Month, so I wrote two haiku 🙂

I hope you enjoy the musical “extra” below the poetry!

Wikimedia - Public Domain

Wikimedia – Public Domain

patience turns to sadness
nightingale sings for his love
in the grim dusk
at dusk he puffs his chest
he sings of his prowess
impatient for love


The Road Forsaken – NaPoWriMo Day 24

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to take a favorite poem from the past and rewrite it in a humorous or satirical way. Here’s my contribution. My apologies to Robert Frost!

Photo Copyright: Loupe Project -

Photo Copyright: Loupe Project –

Two roads diverged in the New England wood
My nav system must not be any good
I looked at the screen, so long I stood
The guy behind me honked as hard as he could
Made me jump out of my skin, and go!

Soon I wished I’d taken the road over there,
It having more than just one narrow lane
Plus it’s well paved and lighted fair
This one looks like a road for Paul Revere
It rides like a bridle path centuries old!

I passed a quaint store–may stop another day.
Yet knowing how much I am hating this drive,
I doubt I will ever come back this way
Unless this is the wrong friggin’ road
Which may well turn out to be the case.

I shall be telling this with a huge glass of wine
At my sister’s house, many hours hence
After scraping the fence on the side of the “road”
Deep in the woods with no bars on my phone
Just glad I didn’t have to have my car towed!

Jack of Hearts – NaPoWriMo Day 23

This NaPoWriMo challenge asks us to pull a card at random from a deck, free-write about the card for five minutes, then create a poem from that.


you are a knave

a valet to the brave knight

requiring no bravery of your own

a handsome profile

an empty crown

a servant in aristocratic dress

a contradiction

someone, ironically, without a heart

but who collects others’


do you take

the shards of each broken heart

and sharpen your sword with them

preparing for the next victim

how does a heart heal

after an encounter with you


deal me instead

the ten of hearts

ten juicy red hearts

no fancy dress

what you see

is what you get

no facade

no attitude

no lies

no airs

no regrets


yes, deal me instead

the ten of hearts

and I will win the game


Unhappy Earth Day

This is in response to the NaHaiWriMo prompt, “prophetic.”

Photo by Igor Mojzes -

Photo by Igor Mojzes –

 For information about the dwindling population of pollinators such as butterflies and bees:


Landay – NaPoWriMo Day 19

This is what I love about National Poetry Writing Month: I always learn something new.

Today’s poetry prompt is to write a landay–a couplet of 22 syllables, 9 in the first line and 13 in the second. This is a form of poetry originating in Afghanistan. It sometimes rhymes, sometimes not.

Landays are spoken or sung by women as part of folk songs, often to the beat of a drum. They are anonymous and are never written down. In this way, Afghan women can compose poetry that expresses thoughts on men, marriage, societal norms and treatment of women, thoughts that if attributed to a specific author or written down by a living woman, could be considered disrespectful, illegal or worse.

Maureen Thorson, the poet who administers, linked us to a great resource on landays. I learned that there are twenty million Pashtun women on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border who practice this form of poetry. Some landays are ancient and some are new. Some complain about ancient customs still in practice today. They can be dark, sarcastic and painful expressions of opinions that are otherwise kept buried.  And some are poems of love or lust, expressing longing for a boyfriend or husband.

So if you assume that these beautiful, burka-wearing women are always demure, you’d be wrong! Here are a few examples of their landays:

You sold me to an old man, father.
May God destroy your home, I was your daughter.
Making love to an old man
is like fucking a shriveled cornstalk blackened by mold.
Slide your hand inside my bra.
Stroke a red and ripening pomegranate of Kandahar.
How much simpler can love be?
Let’s get engaged now. Text me.

I can’t pretend to write their joy or pain, so my landay simply celebrates this unique form of poetry:

We tell our truth, we sing our bold song.
Can twenty million women with biting wit be wrong?