NaPoWriMo: Moonlight Dance



Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse, On y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse tous en rond

On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there, we all dance there
On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there in a ring

Come dance with me in the moonlight

We’ll dance where the water is wide

Take my hand and cross the bridge

Here by the waterside


We’ll dance where the water is wide

While the stars shine in the darkening sky

Here by the waterside

As rivers of birds take flight


While the stars shine in the darkening sky

I’m still alive for you

As rivers of birds take flight

You can see me, too


I’m still alive for you

As the geese fly at night

You can see me, too

In the quiet shadows, before the light


As the geese fly at night

Away in their honking V

Watch for the quiet shadows, before the light

And then come dance with me


NaPWriMo, Day 30  The final day. It has been fun writing a poem a day this month. Today’s challenge was to write a translation. Instead, I remembered a time when my very stern high school French teacher suddenly sang, “Sur la Pont D’Avignon.  I started thinking of the people centuries ago who might have danced under this medieval bridge (apparently the bridge was too narrow to dance on it) , and I imagined their ghosts dancing in the moonlight. A sort of literal bridge between worlds.

This is a pantoum. The second and fourth line of each stanza become the first and third of the next stanza, with the first line of the poem often serving as the final line.

NaPoWriMo: Friday Night Memories

Dollar hoagies, truthfully not very good,

filled with bologna, the rolls a bit soggy,

but for a time, as much a Friday night ritual as Sabbath candles

and braided loaves.

Friday nights,

we usually met at J.and I.’s house—

because they had a house–

and then children.

We were young, with budgets of newlyweds,

beginning teachers, and graduate students,

just learning to be adults,

we could afford those sandwiches,

but not much more,

well, beer, too, of course,

though I didn’t drink it,

and potato chips.

Friday nights,

sometimes we had pizza,

which I preferred,

and there was a place that sold mussels, too–

C.’s face when she tasted them—

an expression of bemused disgust

documented in a photo somewhere.


Friday nights,

in the summer, we sometimes went for ice cream

from a local stand, a wooden structure

with lines of people in shorts and flip flops,

returning to the house with cups of dripping sweetness,

cream and hot fudge, the taste

blending with the scent of summer blooms, eaten with

the sound of crickets chirping in the yard.

Friday nights, getting together to discuss the week,

we talked the way old friends do,


shedding our pretentious like shoes

to walk barefooted,

talking and laughing,

C. discussed the pregnant teens she worked with,

I told of the latest discoveries from the archives,

eighteenth-century stories of sex–

the stocking warmed and dangled before the fire

by the woman who wanted to excite her older lover?

Yes, C. still laughs about that one.

Friday nights,

we laughed over everything

and we laughed over nothing,

but as the years went on,

and we all had children, jobs, schedules,

it became more difficult to get together,

“the lost years,” a friend calls them.

Now we’ve resumed the friendships that were never truly gone,

just dormant for a while,

like bulbs buried in the ground to emerge as flowers

when the conditions are right.

And yet, I remember those Friday nights vividly,

when we ate dollar hoagies

and we were young.


NaPoWriMo, Day 29. Today’s Challenge: “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.”


NaPoWriMo: Footprints By the River


Footprints left in the sand there

The only trace left of her

Her body gone, lies ensnared

Sunken deep, it doesn’t stir


We’ll sail on the river,

We’ll sail far from sight.


Hands around her slender neck

What happened to love always?

Silly fight after their trek

Jealousy was set ablaze.


We’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight.


We’ll sit round the fire at night

On this trip, we’ll laugh and love

We’ll make wishes on stars bright

Side by side, we’ll gaze above


And we’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight


Come with me, he said smiling

we’ll sail on the river wide

she found him so beguiling

She longed to be by his side.


And we’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight


For her, a ring he had bought

She melted, love in the dark

They met at the party, she caught

His eye, rolled at some remark


And we’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight

We’ll leave footprints here

And we’ll disappear.


NaNoWriMo, Day 28  The challenge was to write a story backwards from the ending to the beginning.

I used the Secret Keepers’s writing prompt 

Words: Trip /Fire/ River/ Eye /Melt

Secret Keeper is still trapped under the Red Screen–I hope the rescue comes soon!






NaPoWriMo: Late Day Spring Storm


The thunder comes and the rain patters, a soft tattoo on the window pane,

the world outside, transformed, with  a new and misty countenance,

a watercolor tint with blurred lines,

a fresh new scent emerges through the windows, still slightly opened,

petrichor, the smell of spring rain, as it hits the ground,

wet earth and grass, germinating life, sweet fragrance

(different from the dreary damp decaying smell of winter’s rain)

And then it’s over–

a pastel arch appears in the sky, the iridescent glow bewitching,

a smile among the clouds.

Birds resume their chirping, tweeting, cawing,

whiffling high above in aerial ballets,

the mockingbird dazzles with his repeated aria of love,

Pavarotti in the tree,

None shall sleep

Squirrels and rabbits scurry about, foraging and grazing in the waning light,

the cats emerge from their hiding places, under beds and behind boxes,

ambling through the house in search of food and attention.

All is calm, a velvet blanket enshrouds the world, and we are off to dream.


NaPoWriMo, Day 27  Today’s Challenge: to write poems with very long lines.


NaPoWriMo:Alchemy in Reverse



Alchemists from ancient times

using magic, fledgling science,

attempt to turn base metals into gold,

a noble metal, prized above all,

used for good and used for hate

but sometimes gold must not be found.


Boots marching through the street

Left, right, an echoing beat


Noble gold, Nobel medals

in Copenhagen’s streets the brightness vanishes,

yet goodness shines, the yellow stars do not appear

stars, not of twinkling beauty, but black holes of despair

In Bohr’s lab though, science triumphs over hate.

George de Hevesy and chemistry, transformation with aqua regia–

Nobel metals slowly liquefied, placed up high, inside a flask

though the boots come marching, leaving wreckage in their wake.


Boots marching through the street

Left, right, an echoing beat


And so guns, war, and people dying

death and destruction, and gold in hiding

V-E Day comes not too soon

De Hevesy reverses his steps, no magic rune,

just chemistry. Truth. He sends the gold to be restored.

Nobel medals found again, alchemy reversed, justice scored.


Boots marching through the street

Left, right, an echoing beat


NaPoWriMo, Day 26. The challenge was to write a call and refrain. I wrote a refrain, in a bop poem. I wanted to try this form after I read Jennifer Knoblock’s  bop poem here. I been fascinated by this story of the dissolved Nobel Prize medals for some time.

Danish authorities refused to cooperate with the Nazis, and violence against and deportations of Jews did not take place there until 1943. Even then, many Jews were rescued in a huge operation.  You can read more here.




NaPoWriMo: Seek Not the Golden Apples


How do I wander? Through crowded city street,

with hazel wand in hand, or sailing roiling seas,

seeking golden apples of the sun, finding defeat,

wondering the gods whose hearts I must appease.

The glimmering girl has vanished, forever in the past

her heartaches muted grief in throes of fitful slumber.

The blossom of youth soon goes, beauty does not last,

time journeys on, carrying our destined number.

Yet I realize that dreams change, they come in many forms,

as starlight reaches us, and its reds shift to blue,

as heroes stay the course through life’s constant storms,

I see rainbows now in the changing hues.

So we’ll float together, our raft on time’s stream,

we’ll love, be together, and share a dream.


NaPoWriMo, Day 25  Today’s challenge–to use a line from a poem. I attempted a sonnet here, which was a prompt from a previous day. I used phrases from Yeats’s “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”

You can also listen to it sung here by Judy Collins.

Golden Apples show up in many myths, including one of the tasks given to Hercules.




NaPoWriMo: Oh, Deer

“No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas in incarnadine, making the green one red.”

Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2

“Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes, / That have been so bedazzled with the sun / That everything I look on seemeth green.”

The Taming of the Shrew, IV.v.56-58

“But we are old, and on our quick’st decrees

Th’ inaudible, and noiseless foot of time

Steals, ere we can effect them.”

All’s Well That Ends Well, Act V, Scene 3

“Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.”

Romeo and Juliet


Bedazzled by the sunlight,

or fear,

hearing sounds inaudible to human ears,

he stood still, unmoving, rooted to the place

like the great oaks around him, and

confused by the barricade before him.

Suddenly the power, the desire,

the need–

springing from a source deep within–

he leaped,

heedful of the multitudinous possibilities before him,

recognizing that he could go anywhere,

but knowing that the world is broad and wide,

he might want to be patient

and find his mother before exploring again.


NaNoWriMo, Day 24  Mix “fancy” and every day words. Since yesterday, April 23rd, was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death, I’ve used some words he invented or popularized.

Yesterday morning, while getting ready to slice the Passover brisket for dinner that night, I looked out my kitchen window to see this deer in my neighbor’s yard. It reminded me of another time when I saw a baby deer and heard him bleating and looking around for his mom.

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NaPoWriMo: Kitchen Jazz

I danced in my kitchen today

a ballet of swirling pots and baking trays,

an early morning tarantella

whirling in 6/8 time,

then abruptly changing

crazy meters–

Unsquare Dance–

a rush to get in all done—

because I’m off to sell my wares

to talk and schmooze with other author types.

Wait, take five,


Tap my toes to the saxophone.


I’ll go and chat,

perhaps even enjoy that—

what, being in the spotlight?

Then it’s home again to set the table,

heat the soup,

to be with my family all together

at one time.

I danced in my kitchen this morning,

and I’ll dance again tonight,

But this time I won’t be alone,

others will be dancing with me.


NaPoWriMo, Day 23 

Off prompt today. Book Festival this morning, and Passover dinner tonight. You can listen to Dave Brubeck’s  Unsquare Dance here.



NaPoWriMo: Earth Day


Embed from Getty Images

“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. I would not change it.”

–William Shakespeare, As You Like it


The robin sings on Earth Day morning

Songs of love, and calls of warning

Stories heard in brooks and trees

Stories we must try to heed

Before it is too late

Yet, look, the

Full moon



On us all

The fox and owl

The polar bear, too,

Though ice melts at the poles

And coral reefs are bleaching

Still tonight we’re here together

And Robin will sing in the morning


NaPoWriMo, Day 22   A bit late, but it’s been a busy day.

Today’s challenge: A poem for Earth Day.  Happy Earth Day and Happy Passover!



NaPoWriMo: The Gull



I watched him soar and glide so high

I watched his tumble to the sea

Enraptured he rose, longing to fly,

I watched him soar and glide so high

Feathery wings, wax-fastened, fluttered in the sky

But he was not a bird, he was not like me

I watched him soar and glide so high

I watched his tumble to the sea


NaPoWriMo, Day 21 

Challenge: “to write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth. Instead of writing from the point of view of Cinderella, write from the point of view of the mouse who got turned into a coachman. Instead of writing from the point of view of Orpheus or Eurydice, write from the point of view of one of the shades in Hades who watched Eurydice leave and then come back.”

I wrote a triolet.