April 30, 2015

Vote for YOUR favorite poem!

Phew! That was a lot of poetry! Thanks to all who offered encouragement and ideas along the way as I worked through my April Poetry Challenge.

Now, it’s time to cast your vote for your favorite poem from this challenge! You can leave a comment under that poem OR comment here with the name of your favorite poem. (The poems eligible for this competition were posted from April 1-30, 2015. You can find the whole list of 30 poems here.)

One vote per person. Voting ends this Monday, May 4 at 10pm.

May the best poem win.


Bury the Poems

What would happen
If I buried my poems
In rich soil?

Would a madwoman crawl out
Muttering nonsense?

Would a bat inch his way
Through the mud to the open air?

Would a tree sapling sprout
And spout love poems?

Would a vain fairy named Amia
Burst forth and fly away?



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 29, 2015

A Fly's Day

He doesn't know I zig and zag
Over his tattoos as he loses his shoes
And snoozes watching the news

Zooming, I brazenly peruse
The day's prizes--
Pizza, wings, and cheese

Frozen breezes seep from the windows
Pushing me in a dizzying maze
As I graze on the buffets

Hours later, I buzz out
Over nature's bouquets
Over-sized as the sun's rays

I suppose I'll doze on that rose.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 28, 2015

My Shadow

My shadow
isn't made of matter.
It can't occupy a bowl
Like cake batter.

It's not alive.
And yet it grows and shrinks.
And lays beside me
When I get forty winks.

Sometimes, it's a dove gray
And then swiftly turns black.
When I exercise,
I can see it doing jumping jacks.

I've seen my shadow dance, too,
And don a hat.
It's also tripped
And fallen flat.

My shadow can even
wave "hello" or "goodbye"--
Or mouth the words
To a lullaby.

My shadow's not matter
In a classic sense.
But I like mine
Without pretense.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 27, 2015

Walking to the Barn

Blood-sucking bats.
That's what my parents--both teachers
Shared about with us tonight
In a book about exotic animals
After dinner.

Then, Mom asked if I'd fed
The cat.
Gulp. No.

So, I grabbed my jacket from a
Hook in the hallway.

My cat lived in the backyard
Where the sun had
Dug a deep hole in the horizon
And disappeared--
Taking every drop of light.

The sky was a new chalkboard
With not a single prick of chalky whiteness
To break the black.

The sooty sky
Was the perfect hiding place
For a blood-sucking bat.

I felt for my hood, bringing it up
Protectively around my white neck
Surely an easy target--especially
On such a night.

I shivered with the tree leaves
As the wind blew past.
I ran at a dead sprint
To the barn door.

Inside, I looked suspiciously up
At the rafters
But I saw no flutter
of wings.

I lifted precisely one scoop
of cat food into the cat's dish
As she mewed in the corner.

I shuddered looking out into
the black night.
Now I had to walk
Back home!



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 26, 2015

Green-eyed Gossip

Beware of Lady Gossip
Concealed in the shadows,
Green eyes glinting
Eager to destroy her prey

Her gnarled roots entangle conversation
Poisoning the hearts of
speaker and hearers
Forming bent, twisted opinions

Secrets are her perfume
Eagerly wafting from her wrists
The stench cannot be contained

Her whispers are sickeningly sweetened
By the words, "I'm only telling you this
so you'll know how to pray."

Lady Gossip talks too much.
She has broken confidences
And divided close friends.

Beware of Lady Gossip
Lest she tear you apart.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 25, 2015

Still In My Heart

In a busy Mexican marketplace
A brown-eyed boy blocks my path
Selling Chiclets with a downcast face
I give him pesos, generous in my math.

The cobbled streets of Prague
Whisper stories under the feet of passersby
As the river's misty fog
Soars to meet the just-lit sky.

In the Dominican Republic, an orphan girl
Slips into the seat beside me
Her black hair a tangle of fuzzy curl
My name sounds strange to her ears, and we laugh freely.

India's Taj Mahal, resplendent in white
Conceals a tragic tale
It's a tomb, though blisteringly bright
And enormous in scale.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 24, 2015

A Moment I'd Rather Forget

Shivering, I strolled
under tangled trees
My slow breath a foggy mist
My path crunchy with frost

Birds warbled, trilled, and called
The messengers of spring
I tried to smile, but my face
was too numb

Just ahead, I spotted the warm lodge
Where breakfast awaited
The smell of sausages
Wafted on the chilly breeze

Flinging open the door
I realized I was late
As twenty pairs of eyes turned on me
Gasps sounded

Hands covered tittering mouths
Fingers pointed--all at me
Instinctively, my hand touched my chilled cheek
Coming away white and wet.

"She has bird poop on her face!"



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 23, 2015

Funeral

I don’t want to see him
I’m not strong enough
To gaze into the casket

But they tell me I must.

My throat is tight
Like coiled springs
Legs shudder under
My black dress.

I see him.

Why does this waxen, lifeless manikin
Look like him?
And yet not like him?

Hot tears hover in my aching gaze
Threatening to boil over
Down my flushed cheeks.

And finally … they do.

The hot drips
Spiral me into emptiness.

It's hard to imagine God has
A plan, a purpose in this
But my mind tries to convince me anyway.
It will be long before heart
And soul can follow.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 22, 2015

My Hideout

This tree is my hideout
Thin, spiny leaves arch overhead
Kissing the rugged dirt
Where I sit, hands clasping knees

Thin, spiny leaves arch overhead
A thick canopy with tiny sunlit pinholes
Where I sit, hands clasping knees
And leaning against scaly bark

A thick canopy with tiny sunlit pinholes
Kissing the rugged dirt
And leaning against scaly bark
This tree is my hideout.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 21, 2015

Fuzzy Chipmunk

A fuzzy
chipmunk
squirreled
underground
Clutching a tiny
steaming
mug of
bitter
coffee
I am
Not.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 20, 2015

My Anxiety, the Troublesome Tagalong

“Mental illness” is a scary phrase
A stigma that dogs me now
Throughout my days
A companion I wish I could disavow.

Niggling fear in the back of my mind
Becomes a fast drumming heartbeat
My breathing feels confined
Numbness steals my hands and feet.

Anxiety was huge and I felt small
Even novels, movies, and driving
Left me curled in a ball
And barely surviving.

My wet grip on the life raft kept slipping
Over and over again, I sank in anxiety waves
Losing sight of the raft, cold and dripping
Feeling anything but brave.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

P.S. If you'd like to read more about my journey with anxiety, start here: My Struggle With Anxiety (Episode 1)

April 19, 2015

Mirror

My name is Mirror
In reflecting light, I see things as they
Really are
Revealing flaws and beauty alike
Oh, but I abhor darkness
Revolting black that obscures all light.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 18, 2015

Amia

Amia, a fairy, pins hair in a plait
Whilst sipping a tin can
Admiring light wings
And a tail shining as a star

A bit vain in a glass
As rain drips again
In a fairy lair



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 17, 2015

Swing Set

Thinking of swings brings to mind
How I felt like a king with wings
Or a rock in a sling
On a swing set in the spring.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 16, 2015

More Than A Picture


Looking at this picture, 
What would you guess about our story?
A picture is like a tiny gem
That doesn't reveal the whole quarry.

This picture doesn't tell you
That we met through online dating
Or that Dave plays hockey
But I hate roller and ice skating.

It doesn't whisper that I had mono
only six months before
Or that I would soon find out
That Dave sometimes snores.

A photo also can't capture
How we fell in love
And how Dave's weird and my weird
Go better together than a hand and a glove.

But you probably can see
That I found the love of my life
And that I'm so excited
To be his wife!



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 15, 2015

Beautiful

Bonny bluebells bend in the breeze
Ebony elk elegantly emerge from evergreens
An albatross ascends in the air
Under brush, a rabbit runs unfettered
Tiny toads topple into translucent water
Instinctively, illuminating insects inflame the night
Flowing fronds of sassafras wave flawlessly
Unified crickets sing an uplifting tune
Laughing, the life-giving lake laps the land.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 14, 2015

Yellow Fabric

Colorful fabric swings in the breeze
As marketplace vendors call to me
Not wanting to long linger
Timidly, I point my finger
At a long bolt of smooth yellow.

Behind the booth, a young fellow
Picks it up and holds it aloft
My fingers touch the fabric—so soft!
I sigh, my gaze a bit starry
As I picture the cloth as a beautiful sari.

I pull out my worn purse
Hoping he won’t notice my face is terse
Digging inside, I offer a fistful of rupees
My desperate look saying, “Please?”
Instantly, I see his eyes snap.

He knew that of education, I’d not had one scrap.
He tells me the price, counting my money
Is it just me, or is his face a little too sunny?
I walk away, yellow cloth in hand
Feeling not at all in command.

Did he cheat me or not? I just can’t tell.
Illiteracy is a jail cell.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 13, 2015

When You Weren't Home

When you weren't home, you supposed me pining,
Annoying our neighbors with my whining
But I have a confession to make:
Though I looked drowsy-eyed, I was awake
When the garage door closed
I nosed
The ground
And found
A few chores had been left undone.
So, I decided to finish them, knowing you'd be stunned.

With the observation skills I've been employing
I've noticed our curtains are nothing but annoying
Shut to open, open to shut
What is the point of this little ritual, what?
Besides, I never cared for that deep shade of brown,
So I pulled every last curtain to the ground.

Finished with that,
I set my sights on a tissue, fallen on the bathroom mat
Gazing above, I saw a whole tissue roll
And I made decimating it my new goal
Scattering fluffy debris here and there
Decorating our home all the way to the living room chair.

Suddenly I heard the sound
Of an opening door, and I jumped 'round
And 'round your legs as if to say,
"See how much I helped today?"



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 12, 2015

Why Red?

Out of the rainbow of colors, why is my favorite red?
Lots of reasons could be said,
But there's one that rises above the spread.

Red's the color of the blood that Christ shed
From his nail-pierced hands and feet he bled
And from the thorns pricking his head

Giving me life when I was dead.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 11, 2015

Is It Spring?

Glittering ice snaps
Softly, silence is shattered
The forest awakes



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 10, 2015

How a Cactus Says, "I Love You"

When thinking of things that say, “I love you,”
Cacti don’t usually make the list
With prickly and pointy spines
They aren’t likely to be chosen if you want to be kissed

More likely candidates include
Deep red roses, candlelight, champagne
Sweet chocolate, a heartfelt note,
Or a violinist’s beautiful strains

But you knew my heart
And weren’t afraid to break the rules
You searched for that perfect cactus
Which meant more to me than jewels

The truth is, love is not one-size-fits-all
So, let me give the rest of you guys a clue
Find out what your girl really wants
It might just be a cactus that best says, “I love you.”



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 9, 2015

Where is the Line?

I have loans and bills to pay
Cups of tea at the café
Let’s not forget makeup and hairspray
Oh, and I want to see that ballet.

“Beauty, wealth, and influence are the way
To lead a meaningful life today!”
“You deserve to entertain yourself before you hit the hay!”
At least that’s what culture seems to say.

But I think those things lead to societal tooth decay.

I don’t believe it’s wrong to buy tickets to a play, per se,
But how much am I thinking of others when I give those dollars away?
With hurt, loss, disease, poverty, death, and decay
In the world, why does my selfishness still hold sway?

At some point, I go beyond “okay”
I cross the line and fritter away
What could have been used to allay
Awful injustice and evil today.

I am the Potter’s clay.
Lord, mold and shape me; cut away
The selfishness that drags its feet, wanting to stay.
I don’t want to follow you halfway.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 8, 2015

On a Rainy Day

I dare you to pick up that worm

Don’t drop it! It’s wet and squirming.
And now I double dare you to
Raise it to your mouth. Yes!
Even with the wet dirt still clinging to it.

You can’t refuse the triple dare!
Open your mouth wide … yep, like that, and
Unflinching, drop the wriggling worm down your throat. Ewww, that was gross!



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 7, 2015

Gift Ideas for Compassion Child (Part 2)

Gift Ideas for Compassion Child, which I wrote back in July, is one of my most popular blog posts of all time!

So, I think a Part II is long overdue!

I'm sending letters and small, flat paper objects to Adelce and Rhoda, the two girls I sponsor through Compassion International, and here are some of the recent things I've sent and/or am sending soon. I hope it sparks some ideas of your own!  :D

I recently took a one-night art class with my husband. After our class, I had him snap a quick picture of my finished product. If you're artsy, a photo of you with one of your art pieces might be a fun thing for your sponsored child to see!



If you're more of a doodler, send some doodles! Also, crayons and markers aren't just for kids! Here's a scene I drew and colored to send to one of my girls:



I really enjoy card stock paper -- it comes in such fun colors and patterns and there's so much you can do with it! I cut some rectangles out of card stock and stapled the pages together to make a small book:



One of my more recent ideas was to trace shapes on card stock and then cut them out. You could do outlines of clothes for paper dolls, animals, stars or other shapes ... use your imagination! I LOVE the way these dresses turned out!




Finally, if you're looking to add a little sparkle, I really have enjoyed using this roll of duct tape (I can't be the only girl who loves shiny things!). TIP: Fold duct tape around the edge of a letter or make it into a simple bookmark!  :)



The Poolside

Water sloshed as Dad
Raised his hands from the depths
and clapped them in my direction
“Jump to me!”
He said.

Quivering, I stood by the poolside
Not keen on the idea
Of my feet leaving the
solid pavement for the
liquid pool

But at his urging, at last
I jumped
Not because I’m an excellent jumper
Or because the water is safe
But because I trust Dad.

And he caught me.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 6, 2015

Unequal

Every day, I’m locked indoors
Abandoned by my family
And when I cry in the middle of the night,
Hard-hearted, they ignore me

They don’t share the umbrella
When it rains
I just shiver, wet
As we walk the lanes

I’m not allowed to go outside
Without one of them or more
I’m not allowed to eat at the table
They serve my food on the floor

But when they come home
I always greet them, tail wagging
And if they have a treat,
That I might be guilty of snagging

So, I have to admit
Even though I’m not treated as an equal
I’m actually a pretty lucky dog
To have them as my people.



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 5, 2015

Easter Haiku

The stone rolled away
Revealing an empty tomb
He will come again!



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 4, 2015

If I Could

If I could,
I'd handpick words from every language
And fling the warmest of them across the sky
Shining brightly like stars in the night
I'd pluck the brightest as gifts
Each morsel of light absorbed in your heart's beat

If I could,
I'd capture every lover’s whisper that caused a man’s heart to skip
Or a blush to curl ‘round his ear
And hand the phrases to you in a jar
Like one we'd use to catch fireflies
in the garden

If I could,
I'd take the glow you put in my eyes
And the love in my heart
And replicate them with ink on paper
So you could hold that shining wonder
close to you all day



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 3, 2015

Good Friday

"Hail, king of the Jews!"
Soldiers cried out, falling on their knees
in mockery.

A simple purple robe
Twisted thorns as a crown
But Jesus did not step down.

The soldiers did not know
They spit on and struck
The One who created all of us.

"King of the Jews"
the sign above his head hailed
As to the cross Jesus was nailed.

But what the shouting mob didn't know
Is that they crucified the King of Kings
The Maker and Ruler of all things.

And when the noonday sun
should have been brightly shining,
The crowd found themselves in darkness confining.

Three hours later, into that dark blackness,
Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

And he breathed his last.

But that's not the end of the story ...



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.


April 2, 2015

Why I Should Have a Pet Bat

I think I should have a bat
It would be much better than a cat
He could sleep while I'm at school
And after dinner play on the piano stool

Say goodbye to mosquitoes and flies
They're his food and favorite prize!
I read in class that a bat's poop is great
at fertilizing, so Mom, your garden would look first-rate!

And at night when I'm in my room
What fun it would be to see him zoom
Winging in circles above my head
As I drift off to sleep in my bed.

Besides, you know my plan to become Batman
And who could train me better than a bat can?



This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.

April 1, 2015

The Madwoman's Murmurings

I pace the halls more often than I should With a miniature dragon in my teacup. A key is trapped by peanut butter on my mirror. I wonder if dinner could get any weirder. With a bite of prickly cactus for dessert, I turned green. My pens started to whisper, and I screamed. For protection, I hired a llama who could find a werewolf hair To get the cigarettes out of my ears. Spiders keep stealing my nail polish brush. Sometimes I swear the wallpaper hears my thoughts. I like pickles, and sickles, and hearing blood trickle. I formed a daisy chain out of metal drains But I have never made a paper crane.


This poem is part of my April Poetry Challenge. In honor of National Poetry Month this year, I'm writing lots of poetry and posting a new poem every day in April! Read more of my poetry here.