NaPoWriMo: Selkie


From the sea, she walks ashore, seal-skin slips

from her body, she stands now unadorned,

save for shimmering hair unbound and flowing

down her back, laced with dulse, she whips

this hair round her body. Girded thus, the sea foresworn

from her human form, she lingers; yet captured

by the sunlight, body glowing, hair in sea-wind blowing,

hearing her lover call, she turns then, bewitched, enraptured.


NapoWriMo, Day 20  I started out trying to write a kenning, “calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description,” which was today’s prompt. I didn’t quite manage the kenning, but I did write a san san, “an eight line poem using three images repeated three times and a rhyme scheme that goes: abcabdcd” for Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge.







NaPoWriMo: How to Enjoy Spring


Laugh with the daffodils; they’re

not prickly, like roses, no

they’ll invite you to join them

as they giggle and sway in

the gentle breeze fragrant with

the scent of wet earth and plants just

sprouting from it yellow green,

watch the spindrift of pearly

petals as they float from the trees,

sing with the robin as dawn breaks

turning the clouds to flowers

of melon pink and pumpkin orange

growing in the sky,

listen to the mockingbird

call at dusk, a hundred calls,

your windows opened wide

to embrace the sounds, the scents,

sit with loved ones in the garden

tasting the garnet sweetness

of wine on your tongue,

rejoice the days have lightened,

brightened from winter’s gloom,

bask in the warmth of the sun

and shiver just a bit as night falls,

linger in the glow of the moon

as it rises in the night,

full and round,

pregnant with hope.

NaPoWriMo, Day 19  A “how-to” poem

NaPoWriMo: Memories of Childhood Not My Own

The Egg and Bear sit side-by-side

conversing, no doubt, as best friends do.

They laugh and joke

and vanish to a secret site

though they remain in plain view

because that’s what Eggs and Bears do–

at least those of the stuffed kind.


This pair, companions, though three years apart,

once sang and talked at family dinners—

six of us at the table–

my husband, two daughters,

Humpty, Ahh Bear, and me.

They told us of their days in school, of being bullied by Carlie

(a bad egg through and through)

They were a bit uncool, the Egg and Bear, but nonetheless, endearing.


Is it odd that I remember their songs?

“Mrs. Mommy Goddess Protector,”

my favorite, of course.

I always felt a bit sorry for people

who didn’t have real stuffed friends,

not a Velveteen Rabbit story—

but truly real from the start.


Family car rides were never dull.

We tuned in the Egg and Bear radio station

and listened to Humpty and Ahh Bear

sing along to Les Miserables,

Ahh Bear cried as he sang Éponine’s

part in “A Little Fall of Rain”

and Humpty channeled Jean Valjean.


Well, we may have rocked with laughter

it’s true–

but still, a memory to be cherished

held close within my heart

as are these friends

who two little girls

took to the seashore

and later to college dorms.


No, they’re not forgotten, the Egg and Bear

though their voices are now

seldom heard aloud:

“Take it, Humps.” “OK, Ahhbs.”

In my head, I can hear their voices still

and memories of childhood, my children’s,

not my own, transport me for a moment to the past.


The Egg and Bear sit side-by-side,

forever in my mind.


NaPoWriMo, Day 18   Today’s Prompt: “a poem that incorporates ‘the sound of home’.”

I  wrote a free verse poem, using the Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing prompt  Words: Plain/Laugh/Site/Rock/Secret






NaPoWriMo: Richard and Ben


Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1748 edition, Library of Congress


Both entertaining and useful,

my Philadelphia publication,

the aim, to instruct,

to construct for the common people,

a guide of this and that

They scarcely buy any other book.

So I look

to the future—

not really an adventure

(though I could tell you some).

Poor Richard’s Almanack will be a venture

an enterprise, both profitable and astute.

Imagine the success, imagine the acclaim

and several editions to my name.

But printing being as it is,

I’ll fill in spaces, viz,

but not bad lines of my own

When good ones of other people’s are so plenty.

I’ve borrowed the name, too,

you may have noticed, as you glance through.

Poor Richard seems to suit.

Here you will find wisdom of the ages,

the days in Old Style and New.

Oh, perhaps something you knew?

But I have included

for your edification,

The anatomy of Man’s Body

As govern’d by the Twelve Constellations

And information on many nations.

I’ve provided the phases of the moon

and whether the tides comes in morn or noon.

Each month has a particular number of days.

April hath thirty days, you see?

The planets are also of great interest:

though the sun’s light shines on Mercury,

in such a way that makes it

intolerable to our eyes, unfit

some believe, yet still that distant sphere

may just be inhabited.

Lest you think I’ve scattered too many words

upon the page here

Let me now offer you some free advice

(normally you must pay the price)–

Paintings and fightings are best seen at a distance.

Follow these sage words, my friend,

And perhaps you’ll also be an emissary

to the French Court or elsewhere be

someday, with reports that might be read.

Yet keep your wits about you,

and be wary of the words you spew–

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.


NaPoWriMo, Day 16   Today’s prompt was Almanac Questionnaire, but I chose to write about an actual almanack.    No idea what this form is–apparently Ben speaks in rhyme. Why not?


NaPoWriMo: Brothers

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Graceful leap in streaming sunshine, the cat waits

still, but for his twitching tail, watching the elusive prey.

Another cat, sleeps in the waning sunlight.

Brothers of other mothers, they’re playmates,

sometimes foes, they chase, and wrestle, stay

or slumber, following the arcane rules that cats keep–

rules unknown to humans. But now as sun fades and night

falls softly, they sprint, then patter; they groom themselves, then sleep.



NaPoWriMo, Day 15; I’m using today’s prompt to write about pairs or couple with yesterday’s form, a san san, an eight-line poem that repeats three terms or images three times. The rhyme scheme is abc abd cd.




NaPoWriMo: The Swirling Mist

The mist swirls in before dawn’s light

Spectral shapes with various forms

Bring imagined grey, secret swarms.


Yet fog could bring a magic sight–

From lake, a lady with a sword

From hills, a vanished town restored.


No fear comes then, instead delight

Ensorcelled, enchanted, amazed

My mind and body in a daze.


Too soon, the misty swirls take flight

And I resume the morning’s chores

Opening cupboards, closing doors.


Now jonquils dance in sunshine bright

Gone the grey, the fey universe

Remembered only in a verse.


NaPoWriMo, Day 14

I wrote a constanza for Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge







NaPoWriMo: Defining Fortune


Accept no other definition

of your life, accept only your

own; March to the beat you hear

within your head and heart.

Ignore the cadence,

the melody

of defeat




the window,

open it wide!


beckons, invite it in

kindly; turn the wheel of good

Fortune, define your life, accept it.


NaPoWriMo, Day 13  Prompt: A poem based on or using fortune cookie messages. I used the three above. I wrote another nonet with a reverse. (Doesn’t that sound like some kind of figure skating move? She did a nonet with a full reverse.)


NaPoWriMo: Marriage

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Cover: Courtship and Marriage, broadside from Boston, c. 1750. American Antiquarian Society


Marital expectations: changing

Marital ideals.

Choosing partner;

an open question.

Marriage: adjustment after;

fights over money;

and sex;

and new partners.

Imperfect solution;



Financial distress

Love: within marriage;

husbands and wives:

as equal partners.


NaPoWriMo, Day 12 Prompt: To write a poem based on an index. I used phrases from the index of my book, Breaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830.




Not a Tortured Artist

My kitchen walls are golden yellow,

the color of Crenshaw melons,

so I can have sunshine

even on the gloomiest of days.

At dawn, the kitchen

is scented with the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee:

the scent of spices and the fragrance of bread baked the previous day

linger in the air.

I take an orange from the basket on the blue-granite counter,

savoring the citrus smell,

as I peel the skin from the fruit.

I sit at my place at the butcher-block table

covered with books, and papers, scattered or piled

in fragile hills, the detritus of a writer’s life,

an invitation for feline hide-and-seek.

The computer rests, waiting for the cue to come to life.

My words are created in a vortex of disorder,

but only when my soul is calm.


NaPoWriMo, Day 11  Prompt: “An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details.”