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30 April 2016

I AM SUCH A FOOL: thirty-day review

We counted eighteen whimbrels in the morning, then a larger gathering later in the day.
This morning, they were still here. They have not stayed so long in many years. A sign.

This year I wrote 34 poems during the month of April. Not all are posted, and only one or two or three might grow beyond their current condition. Most will soon vanish from this blog. This month, I also read my twentieth book of the year, took my husband to Portland for (successful) eye surgery, and my third grandchild was born. Terrible things happened in the world. I found myself in arguments I did not seek, but failed to avoid. (That happened more than once.) I cried sometimes. I laughed. I tried (and failed) to be steadily honest, fair, and kind. 

Poems, books, eyesight restored, and beautiful little E.V. April was fine—fine the way an agate found on the beach is fine, the way colors glow, and joy may grow. 


Almost no one reads my blog during April. I know this absolutely since I have a counter. I also stopped posting the links and no one noticed. (sad face) But still, it was a good run. (happy face) The last poem for National Poetry Month:

LOOKING BACK TO TODAY

April was the finest month, carved of stone
and beach flotsam, the shells I gather, hope
I reach for every morning, and waking
early to share these days with birdsong
and light. May I do something more
than celebrate battles and funds, let there
be joy mooning all around us each and all,
let there be passion and anger when it gets
things done, but gentleness too, the weight
of tenderness in a hand raised to smoother
words before they stab and wound. Let there
be kindness after all. Let the empty shells 
gather and recall that life licked their opal-
escent gleam into existence, that the smooth
pebble was a rougher stone and rubbing
in the tides is what made it beautiful. Beyond
this day will come another, and ever after
whether I am here to notice or gone. Ever
after, worlds turn and beauty commands
even when the eye is closed to perception. 
There is loveliness here, the shush of sand
and the blush of light upon water. Waves
roll ceaselessly toward shore, soothing
licks that toss and sooth. However far
I have come, there is a path before me
that I cannot see. Each morning I step 
blindly into the future. Neither is the past
mine to command. I see as through a glass
darkly, yet I might choose to seek the light.


Dried Oregon cherries with toasted walnut scones for breakfast this morning. Anyone would feel the love. 


I AM SUCH A FOOL: Day 30

flotsam: 国土 調 査 which means "national land survey"


Any fool can write a bad poem in a day—I am such a fool!

As in years past, I am sharing daily prompts from NaPoWriMo and my own prompts, as well as my daily poems. I invite you to join me in writing bad poem drafts—it is not too late to start writing a poem a day and you do not need to use a prompt. Write whatever comes.

If writing even a bad poem sounds too scary—it really isn't—the Academy of American Poets offers "30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month." These creative suggestions include a wide range of ways to get cozy with the oldest literary form in the world—poetry!



Today's NoPoWriMo prompt
"Because we’ve spent our month looking at poets in English translation, today I’d like you to try your hand at a translation of your own. If you know a foreign language, you could take a crack at translating a poem by a poet writing in that language. If you don’t know a foreign language, or are up for a different kind of challenge, you could try a homophonic translation. Simply find a poem (or other text) in a language you don’t know, and then “translate” it based on the look or sound of the words. Stuck for a poem to translate? Why not try this one by Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska? Or here’s one by another Laureate, Tomas Transtromer. "


In 2012 on day 30, my prompt was a narrative poem inspired by "Persephone, Falling" by Rita Dove. I have a particular weakness for the story of Persephone, the young woman abducted and held captive. Her father only agrees to help Ceres/Demeter when she is unable in her grief to attend to her obligation to growth. The first time I wrote a sonnet was entirely by accident, telling Persephone/Proserpine's story from her own point of view. Usually we get the story from the mother's POV.
     A narrative poem tells a story, but like any poem, there is a density, and intensity about observation and language that prose only approaches. Poetry can tell a story, or in this case, use an old story to tell a new story. Use a myth, a fairy tale, or other familiar story to reveal something you know about how people go wrong, to give a warning, to shed light. Perhaps turn the POV on its ear or rest your sympathy in an unexpected place.

The April poem prompts from 2012 are inspired by the wonderful craft book, The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux (1997) and published by W.W. Norton. At the back of the book are the "20 Minute Exercises' that have inspired me and twenty years of my students to write bad drafts in twenty minutes.


My 29th poem draft:


NEEDING TO STOP

I wanted to coach the runner on the beach this morning:
Relax your hands and use your arms to suggest to the rest
of your body that you can move faster. I wanted to run
with her, run past her, run a longer distance than three
miles, the distance we covered at a walk today. I wanted
to be that old woman still running in her seventies. Three
years ago I had my last good run, my feet so painful
afterwards that I consented to see a doctor. The runner
on the beach this morning has not run as long as I have,
has not had the coaching, read the article, abused her feet.

Yesterday we counted eighteen whimbrels—fat sand-
walking birds with long curved beaks like bents straws
coming out of their faces. By evening, there were more,
and the flock was nearby this morning, before our walk.

There are warnings I could share: rest every other day;
put your feet up; stay off cement; if the hurt lasts longer
than a twinge, it’s damage and will take longer to heal;
pay attention to pain, don’t let pride prevent you from
stopping. Fly back, stick together, rest when possible.





NOTE: Mostly I have created the daily posts a day ahead and wait to put them up till the next day when the new NaPoWriMo prompt shows up. Thus I post my daily poem that following day too, mostly to force myself to write each day. If my effort shows some promise, I take it back down later to work on further. A single day does not yield a polished poem—not for anyone. But think! William Stafford wrote a poem draft each morning of his adult life! Stafford published many poems, but of course he did not publish 365 a year. He spent the remainder of his days revising the most promising of his drafts. It is the habit of poetry he inspires.


28 April 2016

I AM SUCH A FOOL: Day 29


Any fool can write a bad poem in a day—I am such a fool!


As in years past, I am sharing daily prompts from NaPoWriMo and my own prompts, as well as my daily poems. I invite you to join me in writing bad poem drafts—it is not too late to start writing a poem a day and you do not need to use a prompt. Write whatever comes.

If writing even a bad poem sounds too scary—it really isn't—the Academy of American Poets offers "30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month." These creative suggestions include a wide range of ways to get cozy with the oldest literary form in the world—poetry!



Today's NoPoWriMo prompt
"And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Poet and artist Joe Brainard is probably best remembers for his book-length poem/memoir, I Remember. The book consists of a series of statements, all beginning with the phrase “I remember.” Here are a few examples:
     "I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.
     "I remember how much I cried seeing South Pacific (the movie) three times.
     "I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

     "The specific, sometimes mundane and sometimes zany details of the things Brainard remembers builds up over the course of the book, until you have a good deal of empathy and sympathy for this somewhat odd person that you really feel you’ve gotten to know.
     "Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue." 


In 2012 on day 29, my prompt was based on "Naming My Daughter" by Patricia Fargnoli. In the West, names are mostly given at birth and are chosen for their sound or popularity, or by family tradition. Traditionally, in most cultures, names are earned through life experience. Name someone according to how they behave and what happens to them—give them all the names they deserve. Do this for yourself or someone else, but choose someone you know well enough to create an impressive list of appropriate names, names that are meaningful.
     Like Fargnoli, create names that are literal—“The one who was born two weeks early. The girl baby when they were expecting a boy. The woman who traveled the world.”
Create some names that are metaphorical—“Son who turned the world. He who sang the moon from the night. He who stands before lightning.”
     Borrow some names as allusions from myth, history, and popular culture—“Thor, the wielder of hammer. Jack who climbed.”
     Add names that are literally true, and some perhaps that offer hope or predict the future.
     Farignoli arranges her list more or less in chronological order. Rearrange your list until it falls in an order that makes sense for the person you are naming. Personally, this has been one of my favorite prompts.

The April poem prompts from 2012 are inspired by the wonderful craft book, The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux (1997) and published by W.W. Norton. At the back of the book are the "20 Minute Exercises' that have inspired me and twenty years of my students to write bad drafts in twenty minutes.

My poem draft is a reversal: 


SAVED FROM THE KNIFE

All scars set aside and invisible again.
I hide until the wounds sink beneath my skin.
Raw death alone might touch me here where
pain slides off, flows through, rubs my flesh

to hide my pain. Bulletproof, that’s me. Powerful,
I am not supposed to suffer. I am not supposed
to feel a twist of the blade to shut me up. When
I step wrong, the knife slides in. Cut daily by

those who left because I was not there to stop
them, the ones I loved and could not stop, those.
Nothing I could say brings them back alive
to truth. Blame me and I will cower in the shade,

lamenting my mistakes. I lead others away
and receive nothing but disgust. I disappear.
There have been times when I begged mercy:
Make me stronger. Lead me beyond suffering.

Off a cliff—I remember that time was very close.
The scars—overdose, the night I nearly drove off,
a flight of stairs, the bleeding wrist—want to see
how I might die? Another time, I threw my head

down and could not be controlled. I heard it
as music, that muzzy sound that buzzed my head.
The first time I was not more than four, since then
fear, poisoning, appendicitis, but not by choice.

Ted Bundy might have put me in the papers, or
poisoning or walking alone at night. I was
too young to remember and now there is no one
to recall, not even me, the first time I was saved.



NOTE: Mostly I create the daily posts a day ahead and wait to put them up till the next day when the new NaPoWriMo prompt shows up. Thus I post my daily poem that following day too, mostly to force myself to write each day. If my effort shows some promise, I take it back down later to work on further. A single day does not yield a polished poem—not for anyone. But think! William Stafford wrote a poem draft each morning of his adult life! Stafford published many poems, but of course he did not publish 365 a year. He spent the remainder of his days revising the most promising of his drafts. It is the habit of poetry he inspires.



I AM SUCH A FOOL: Day 28

Painted rock with a story.


Any fool can write a bad poem in a day—I am such a fool!

As in years past, I am sharing daily prompts from NaPoWriMo and my own prompts, as well as my daily poems. I invite you to join me in writing bad poem drafts—it is not too late to start writing a poem a day and you do not need to use a prompt. Write whatever comes.

If writing even a bad poem sounds too scary—it really isn't—the Academy of American Poets offers "30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month." These creative suggestions include a wide range of ways to get cozy with the oldest literary form in the world—poetry!




Today's NoPoWriMo prompt
"Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning. Now, the story doesn’t have to be complicated (it’s probably better if it isn’t)! Here’s a little example I just made up:

     The Story of a Day

     She lay her head down on the table.
     She climbed the stairs to her room and sat down.
     The afternoon of the boarding house was cool and dusty.     
     She walked home slowly, watching the sun settle on      
          brick walls and half-kept gardens.
     Work lasted many hours. Office lights buzzing with a 
          faint, mad hum.
     Breakfast was a small miracle.
     She thought it a wonder, as always, that she’d woken up 
          at all.

"Well, that’s kind of unsettling! But I think it works as a poem. Maybe you’ll have better luck working backwards toward a happy beginning."


In 2012 on day 28, my prompt was based on Toi Derricotte's "Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing": Derricotte uses a specific event, dressing up for a special occasion, to show how she admired her mother, and to contrast with the way her mother was taken for granted most of the year.
     Choose someone or something you know—a family member, a worker, a holiday, business such as a coffee shop, an institution such as the DMV. In three stanzas, describe the details of he, she, or it on a best day and on a typical day, and finally return to that first day. Explain what the contrast between these two pictures teaches you about the person, business, or institution and what it teaches you about yourself.



The April poem prompts from 2012 are inspired by the wonderful craft book, The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux (1997) and published by W.W. Norton. At the back of the book are the "20 Minute Exercises' that have inspired me and twenty years of my students to write bad drafts in twenty minutes.

My poem draft: 
   


THE PAINTED ROCK

On our walk this morning I learned
the entire story of this rock:
My future husband was hitching late
at night in the winter of ‘68.
A truck stopped to pick him up
and though he hesitated,
Gary figured he was lucky
to have a ride, so he got in.
Then he noticed the guy's leg braces
and soon realized he had seen
him play congas at a Shoreline
High School dance. (His name is on the back
of the rock, and Gary thinks it might
have been Jose, though he isn't sure.)
They talked about music and José
explained how he had polio
as a kid, and then he drove Gary
pretty much home. Before they parted,
they made an exchange. Gary liked
to offer gas money when he got
a ride, but instead he bought the painted
rock for a few dollars. He gave
that three-face rock to his mother,
but when she passed, it came back to him,
and he wanted to give it to someone
else he cared about, which is how
you have it in your garden.




NOTE: Mostly I create the daily posts a day ahead and wait to put them up till the next day when the new NaPoWriMo prompt shows up. Thus I post my daily poem that following day too, mostly to force myself to write each day. If my effort shows some promise, I take it back down later to work on further. A single day does not yield a polished poem—not for anyone. But think! William Stafford wrote a poem draft each morning of his adult life! Stafford published many poems, but of course he did not publish 365 a year. He spent the remainder of his days revising the most promising of his drafts. It is the habit of poetry he inspires.

27 April 2016

I AM SUCH A FOOL: Day 27

Brass head from Ife (present day Nigeria), early 14th 
century. An image that waited on my desktop.


Any fool can write a bad poem in a day—I am such a fool!

As in years past, I am sharing daily prompts from NaPoWriMo and my own prompts, as well as my daily poems. I invite you to join me in writing bad poem drafts—it is not too late to start writing a poem a day and you do not need to use a prompt. Write whatever comes.

If writing even a bad poem sounds too scary—it really isn't—the Academy of American Poets offers "30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month." These creative suggestions include a wide range of ways to get cozy with the oldest literary form in the world—poetry!




Today's NoPoWriMo promp
t: "Today’s prompt comes to us from Megan Pattie, who points us to the work of the Irish poet Ciaran Carson, who increasingly writes using very long lines. Carson has stated that his lines are (partly) based on the seventeen syllables of the haiku, and that he strives to achieve the clarity of the haiku in each line. So today, Megan and I collectively challenge you to write a poem with very long lines. You can aim for seventeen syllables, but that’s just a rough guide. If you’re having trouble buying into the concept of long lines, maybe this essay on Whitman’s infamously leggy verse will convince you of their merits."

In 2012 on day 27, my prompt came from a student's assignment based on Sylvia Plath's "Mirror": Write a poem from an object’s POV. What does it see, what secrets does it know? Then in a second stanza choose another object’s POV and again, develop a view of the world that is revealed to this object only. Include a characteristic or perspective—a specific word, as Plath does with darkness—that each object possesses and reveal how this colors the world described. The object is both itself and what it observes. [Thank you, McKenzie Peters, 2011]

The April poem prompts from 2012 are inspired by th
e wonderful craft book, The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux (1997) and published by W.W. Norton. At the back of the book are the "20 Minute Exercises' that have inspired me and twenty years of my students to write bad drafts in twenty minutes.


This poem draft was written after an interesting exchange on Facebook
. Maybe because I have been reading Du Bois, Gay, McIntosh, and others I am feeling defensive about discussions concerning race. A few years ago a (white male) senior at the high school where I teach assured me that there was no racial issue at our school. At about the same time, I was receiving Facebook messages from a former student and his mother about how to deal with racist issues at our school. I think only white people are allowed to believe that race is not a problem, and that is white privilege, which people get defensive about and embarrassed, just as we do when trying to talk about class or sexism. And yes, the "my dear" is condescending, but it works in the line for now, so I will own my privilege as a white person old enough to be her mother. It's a pretty bad poem so far, but I am not among those who find anger worthless. It is a tool for change sometimes. So I apologize for patronizing a woman who means well and has read well. No sarcasm here, I was sincerely furious.   


FROM ONE WHITE WOMAN TO ANOTHER


          Is "X" the surname of Malcolm X
          for the purpose of an annotated
          bibliography? It just seems wrong.
          I want to put it in the M place.
          Does anyone agree with me?—MFA student query

No, my dear, that is not something you may

choose. You may not rename Malcolm X.
X was the truer name the man chose.
It is his last name. It was a political act
to discard the little name weighting him 

downHis right to rename himself, which 
you must know from reading 

his autobiography. It is rejection
of the slave name and two crossed lines

might represent his twin paths, the swords
recutting his identity, or the erasure of black 
peoples in the African-American diaspora. 
That X, that was his cross to bear. We
may not rename the man 


because his last name seems "wrong.” I think  
too much was wrong to begin with. That 
em-sound, that soft hum of complacency 
said less than enough for Malcolm 
who chose X. The man named himself, 
and how we are named and what we 
are called is at the heart 

of identity. White people especially must 
guard against assumed prerogative to call 
someone by a name we prefer, the one 
easier to spell or pronounce, the one that 
seems right, the name that puts the bearer 
in the place we choose, and not the place 
chosen by the man 
who named himself. 


NOTE: Mostly I create the daily posts a day ahead and wait to put them up till the next day when the new NaPoWriMo prompt shows up. Thus I post my daily poem that following day too, mostly to force myself to write each day. If my effort shows some promise, I take it back down later to work on further. A single day does not yield a polished poem—not for anyone. But think! William Stafford wrote a poem draft each morning of his adult life! Stafford published many poems, but of course he did not publish 365 a year. He spent the remainder of his days revising the most promising of his drafts. It is the habit of poetry he inspires.

26 April 2016

I AM SUCH A FOOL: Day 26

What a newborn baby dreams is a mystery.


Any fool can write a bad poem in a day—I am such a fool!

As in years past, I am sharing daily prompts from NaPoWriMo and my own prompts, as well as my daily poems. I invite you to join me in writing bad poem drafts—it is not too late to start writing a poem a day and you do not need to use a prompt. Write whatever comes.

If writing even a bad poem sounds too scary—it really isn't—the Academy of American Poets offers "30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month." These creative suggestions include a wide range of ways to get cozy with the oldest literary form in the world—poetry!




Today's NoPoWriMo prompt
: "Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea chanties!), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response. (Think: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN!.). You might think of the response as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used. Here’s a sea chanty example:

Haul on the bowline, our bully ship’s a rolling,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty is my darlin’,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty lives in Liverpool,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

The call can be longer than the response, or vice versa. But think of your poem as an interactive exchange between one main speaker and an audience."


In 2012 on day 26, my prompt came from Terence Winch's "Success Story": Winch seems at first to be bragging about a perfect life, but when you look closely, it’s obvious that he’s being ironic. It’s clear that Winch has an idea of what success looks like, and that his life doesn’t measure up. Yet, there still seems a genuine contentment here, despite his self-criticism. 
     Describe your own notion of success and how your life measures up. Be satirical or sincere, but be specific as Winch is about his own success. Or choose some other abstraction to define by contrast. Notice Winch’s use of enjambment. Use enjambment to place significant words, most often nouns or verbs, at the end of lines rather than the verb “is” or an article such as “the” or a preposition such as “from”—he sets up what he’s talking about, and completes the sentence in the next line. Notice too that Winch uses stronger verbs when he can, and always in present tense. 

The April poem prompts fr
om 2012 are inspired by the wonderful craft book, The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux (1997) and published by W.W. Norton. At the back of the book are the "20 Minute Exercises' that have inspired me and twenty years of my students to write bad drafts in twenty minutes.

My twenty-sixth poem draft was written while sitting in the waiting room of St Vincent's Hospital in Portland. It probably should be a poem about health or 
ill health or about the ridiculousness of our healthcare system. My husband is fine, but we would like to abandon this new hobby. Instead I looked back at my own self, that invisible, interior determination to become good.    


THANK GOD

I have been politely agnostic since turning
a teen, but then in my graduation year
I wished "God bless" right and left in all 
sincerity, but also to reclaim my good-girl 
image dropped in a rush toward experience.
The father of my first boyfriend warned him
off me—She's only one to marry. I tried 
drugs and walking in the innocent dark. 
I tried razor blades and tears, almost-sex, 
too much darkness in my heart. I found 
a pathway out, I found a man I could love,
I found myself wandering, not forty years
but alone and it was never enough. Yes,
I would marry, but first I found myself, ran
back to myself, and though it was too late
to pretend innocence, I held what cannot
be second best: spiritual awakenness.


NOTE: Mostly I create the daily posts a day ahead and wait to put them up till the next day when the new NaPoWriMo prompt shows up. Thus I post my daily poem that following day too, mostly to force myself to write each day. If my effort shows some promise, I take it back down later to work on further. A single day does not yield a polished poem—not for anyone. But think! William Stafford wrote a poem draft each morning of his adult life! Stafford published many poems, but of course he did not publish 365 a year. He spent the remainder of his days revising the most promising of his drafts. It is the habit of poetry he inspires.

25 April 2016

I AM SUCH A FOOL: DAY 25

My older son and his wife are new parents, but here I am myself as a new parent.
Any fool can write a bad poem in a day—I am such a fool.

As in years past, I am sharing daily prompts from NaPoWriMo and my own prompts, as well as my daily poems. I invite you to join me in writing bad poem drafts—it is not too late to start writing a poem a day and you do not need to use a prompt. Write whatever comes.

If writing even a bad poem sounds too scary—it really isn't—the Academy of American Poets offers "30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month." These creative suggestions include a wide range of ways to get cozy with the oldest literary form in the world—poetry!




Today's NoPoWriMo prompt:
"Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. This will work best if you just start with a line of poetry you remember, but without looking up the whole original poem. (Or, find a poem that you haven’t read before and then use a line that interests you). The idea is for the original to furnish a sort of backdrop for your work, but without influencing you so much that you feel stuck just rewriting the original!. For example, you could begin, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” or “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” or “I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster,” or “they persevere in swimming where they like.” Really, any poem will do to provide your starter line – just so long as it gives you the scope to explore."

In 2012 on day 25, my prompt came from a student in the previous year: Write a poem about a time the narrator (not necessarily you) was mistaken for somebody else. Include dialogue. At the end of the poem, feature an ironic twist, a surprise that was not expected. [Thank you for the
assignment, Sam Nelson, 2011.] 


The April poem prompts from 2012 are inspired by the wonderful craft book, The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux (1997) and published by W.W. Norton. At the back of the book are the "20 Minute Exercises' that have inspired me and twenty years of my students to write bad drafts in twenty minutes.


My twenty-fifth poem draft was a response to my own recent writing about race
. Originally, I'd planned to use yesterday's NaPoWriMo prompt about combining high faultin' and more pedestrian words. Instead, I wrote about the family legends, the great grandmothers who kept hearth and home together.  


FAMILY HEROES

Immigrant ancestors vanished in crowds.
Only the ones who came from here stood out—
how’s that for irony? We learned English,
wore our dresses buttoned up to our chins,
baked bread, but always kept our family fed
through the work of our own hands—dear me, yes,
those stories I heard throughout my childhood.
Women who made do, made families, made
themselves the best they could. Before heroes
on horseback, my grandmothers gave them birth.

Before he conquered a continent, she
shouldered a rifle, ran a boarding house, 
kept hearth and home together, and endured.
When trouble piled high, it was their mothers'
voices sang children to sleep when they cried. 




NOTE: Mostly I create the daily posts a day ahead and wait to put them up till the next day when the new NaPoWriMo prompt shows up. Thus I post my daily poem that following day too, mostly to force myself to write each day. If my effort shows some promise, I take it back down later to work on further. A single day does not yield a polished poem—not for anyone. But think! William Stafford wrote a poem draft each morning of his adult life! Stafford published many poems, but of course he did not publish 365 a year. He spent the remainder of his days revising the most promising of his drafts. It is the habit of poetry he inspires.


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