Humanity On The Road

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads – Kerry Says~How Does The Story End?

“Often, the hardest part of writing a poem, is the creation of a memorable final line. The value of a strong conclusion is evident, but sometimes it is also elusive, and a poem with a great opening line, fades away at the end, or just comes to a dead stop.

Here are five helpful tips I picked up while browsing a few articles online.”

1. Write your last line first. This creates suspense, and is a hook with a thread attached to the theme you will explore in the remainder of the poem. You can circle back to the first line at the end, if you wish, or rephrase it in such a way that it reverberates with the central idea.

2. Ask a question. This involves the audience more actively in the reading process. It also suggests that the poem does not end at that point, it continues in the imagination of the reader, who will ponder the theme more closely.

3. Create a dichotomy. End your poem with a line that contradicts or contrasts, the body of the poem, in mood, tone or imagery. This can create a lot of impact in the reader’s mind.

4. Use your title as leverage. The title of your poem is a clue to its subject. Save the reveal for the final line.

5. Choose your best line and repeat it at the end. Repetition is an integral part of poetry. By repeating an essential phrase or line at the end, you reinforce the main idea of your poem.

“For today’s challenge, please select one of the above suggestions and write a new poem with a killer last line.”

Country reduced to rubble.
Everything–homes, shops,
schools–turned to dust.
Scavengers crawled through
debris to see if anything
was worth taking. Forsaken
families took to the road.
Must be a better place
on earth than the one
they have fled. After thousands
of miles–hungry, thirsty,
exhausted–they arrived
at a border. Flicker
of hope in sad eyes. Will
you not allow us in? Our
country has been reduced
to rubble.

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A Rose Cut Down

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub – Meeting The Bar:  “Creating Metaphor”  (posted by Bjorn)
“One of the most important things in poetry is the use of unique metaphors, and today I thought that we should work with them a bit.

Today I would like you to take words and things around you and try to equate them to something symbolic such as an emotion, or the description of a person.

To make them unique fill the imagery with descriptions. For example don’t just say a car but say a rusty yellow 1977 Volkswagen Beetle… Make them as rich and specific as you can.

When you have a few description try to equate them to something abstract such a sense of love or another person’s rage. You can also equate them to something hard to grasp in a person. Maybe your boss has axes in his mouth…”

Her velvety red rose
developed crystals
of ice. Silk abandoned
for cotton. Luminous
eyes became sliding
sheets of rain. Pain
entered her heart
and remained.

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Burn of Love

Written for:  Poetics Aside 2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge
“For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Burn (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Burn the Midnight Oil,” “Burn, Baby, Burn,” and “Burn Everything.”

When love is a consuming burn
body fires with a constant flush
secret scents ’round every turn.

When love grows cold, and spurns
body cools, heart no longer feels that rush.
From each fading romance, you learn.

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renga with six

Written for:  Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #57 Renga With … six haiku poets

“For this weekend meditation I have chosen to challenge you to create a Renga With … not with one other haiku poet, but with six different haiku poets. So this weekend you can make a renga with the following haiku poets: Basho, Issa, Chiyo-Ni, Buson, Shiki and Jane Reichhold. Of course you may choose your own line-up. Your task is to add the two-lined stanza between the haiku through association on the scene(s) in the haiku.

Here are the six haiku to work with:”

all my years
floating in the river
a childish heart                  © Jane Reichhold (taken from our tribute e-book “All My Years”)

Keeping a young piece of me
close to the sound of water        © Sara McNulty

a flash of lightning:
the screech of a night-heron
flying in the darkness             © Basho

sky is streaked with purple bolts
night birds become wary                © Sara McNulty

the coolness
of the sound of water at night,
falling back into the well              © Issa

filling our needs to live
quenching our thirst for life        © Sara McNulty

autumn’s bright moon,
however far I walked, still afar off
in an unknown sky                            © Chiyo-Ni

bright enough to light ground
and touch feet with its glow            © Sara McNulty

pressing sushi;
after a while,
a feeling of loneliness                       © Buson

overcome with a need
for the company of people              © Sara McNulty

at the gate of a deserted house,
a cicada is crying in the rays
of the evening sun                              © Shiki


inhabitants cooling off
splashing in the river                        © Sara McNulty

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All Journeys Possible

Written for:  Poets United Midweek Motif~Reading Fiction  (posted by Susan)

“What happens when you read fiction? Does it seem more a physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual engagement?

Or don’t you read it?

Some say it distracts us from a true path, but others believe with Ralph Waldo Emerson that “Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”
Your challenge: Write a new poem with “reading fiction” as topic and/or motif.”


How Reading Fiction Books Can Change You

Where am I?
A different city, foreign country.
What time is it?
1800’s, 1920’s, present, future, or
maybe where time is non-existent.
I am not consistent. Sometimes
I reside in main character’s
head–solving mysteries, combating
crime, battling poverty, fighting
with family–or tucked away
in Wonderland where heads
are not often present
to become a part of. I might
be aboard a ship, romancing
nights away in the arms
of a lover, who is undercover,
and will surely break my heart.
Where am I?
On a glorious adventure
between the pages.

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Omens of Grayness

Written for:  Poetic Asides 2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge – Day 8
For today’s prompt, write a poem that hints at something. In my mind, I’m thinking of a poem that foreshadows a possible future poem in your potential chapbook. But you could also write a poem that hints at something that’s not fully explained–like a bad relationship or an amazing moment. Maybe the “real story” is shrouded in metaphors or obscure language. Or maybe the poem just kind of beats around the bush.

Water in the ocean bubbles and roils
A depressed sky looms overhead,
like a curtain made of steel, soiled
Crows gather in groups whispering in tones of dread
seagulls cry
beach empties
my head aches
strange feelings
elude me as if unpleasant surprise awaits
I rack my brain thinking of family and friends
Is anyone ill, and I am unaware?
Water in the ocean bubbles and roils

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Written for:  Carpe Diem #1536 Autumn … the season
“This month, November 2018, all our prompts will have something to do with autumn and that means classical and non-classical kigo (seasonwords) and haiku, to inspire you, by the five greatest haiku poets, Basho, Chiyo-Ni, Issa, Buson and Shiki.”

‘The fall of the year is not merely the fall of the leaves but the fall of the vital powers in all natural things including man. We feel it in ourselves and are thus and thus only able to see it in things outside.
The Milky Way is most clearly seen and deeply felt in this month, but it is the moon that is the soul of autumn. The sun we take for granted, but the moon, in the remote nearness, its silent-smiling light, deepens the mystery of our own life. The wind of autumn also has a different voice from that of any other season; we can hear perhaps the rustle of death in it.
It seems difficult not to write well on scarecrows; these are a peculiarly Japanese subject. The crying of insects in autumn was always a cause of poetical feeling, in Chinese and Japanese poetry.
The beauty of leaves and flowers, and the powerful, esoteric scent of the Chrysanthemums make them the chief flower of the season.’ (Source: Haiku Volume 3, R.H. Blyth)

I love to challenge you to create your own version of this beauty by Shiki:

entering autumn,
the painting of flowering plants
a daily task

© Shiki

And here is my own version of this beauty by Shiki:

last day of summer
the leaves are already coloring
in the moonlight

© Chèvrefeuille (our host)

Here is my attempt:

colors flutter
ground beneath trees is a quilt
in season of Autumn

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Written for:  Poetic Asides 2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge – Day 7
“For today’s prompt, write a poem with an occupation as the title. For instance, the titles might include: “Governor,” “Teacher,” “Architect,” and “Engineer.” Or go with some of these creative job titles I found: “Director of First Impressions,” “Crayon Evangelist,” and “Chief Amazement Officer.” Or create your own.”

What is more rewarding than bringing folks
together. Love, schmove. What are the odds
that left to their own devices,
couples will be happier?
Let me make you a match,
darling. A nice boy
from good background.
You will learn
to love

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Written for:  Carpe Diem #1534 Yaha … one of Basho’s ten greatest disciples (crossroads)
“As you all know I see Basho as my sensei, my master, but in his life (1644-1694) Basho had several disciples. Some sources say more than 1000 disciples, but he had ten disciples he appreciated the most. One of those disciples was Yaha (or Yaba) who lived from 1662 to 1740.”

“The task for today is to create a fusion-haiku from the both haiku by Yaha, so this penultimate episode is a “crossroad” episode.”

morning frost –
I think of the shins of my master
on a night with snow

no strength left –
I wrap my arms around my knees
in winter solitude

© Yaha

Yaha was a master in using the Karumi-style as invented by Basho. In a letter Basho wrote to Yaha he writes:

Ah! the uguisu
Pooped on the rice-cakes
On the verandah.

© Basho

“The master’s new poetic ideal in this poem had a deep impact on his disciples, as Yaba wrote:”

[…] “I am utterly impressed by the exceptionally wonderful combination of the warbler and the rice cake. I don’t think one can find any other verse like this. The effect cannot be achieved without the words “excreting on a rice cake.”
The juxtaposition is so magically marvelous that it can only be compared to the masterpiece of the Natural. There may be more combinations like the warbler and rice cake later, but we will never see a line like “excreting on a rice cake.” In these words lies the soul of the poem.” […]

Here is my fusion attempt:

under morning frost
after night heavy with snow
poop under the veranda

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Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub:  Poetics – Utopia  (posted by Gospel Isoceles)


Painting by Alejandro Costas

Amaya here and maybe it’s because today was mid-term Election Day in the U.S., or it’s because of the accelerating rate at which species and forests are being wiped off the earth, or even it’s because my dog was outside chasing squirrels and the neighbor boy went to get the mail and our gentle, wouldn’t hurt a fly, nanny-of-a-dog wouldn’t stop barking at him to the point where he was frozen in fear. Whatever the reason, I’m thinking a lot today about creating different circumstances and visualizing my own version of utopia, where animals can run free and be at peace with squirrels and small children alike, etc, etc.”

“So tonight cheer me up with a poem about your personal paradise. You can choose to make a list poem, or be specific and focus on one aspect. Perhaps you’re living it and you want to highlight your optimism? Go for it. Even humor me with a parody if the idea is too wacky/hippie for you. I won’t bite. I’m just the bartender (and fresh out of the kool-aid.)”


in the morning
in the afternoon
at night
when darkness falls
over ocean water,
cooling sand in shadows.
Animals romp-barking,
snorting–playing their
games as busy birds
adorned in brilliance
build nests and trill
in trees. Breezes
sweep in scents
of native flowers ‘cross
the island–hints
of honeysuckle, whiffs
of jasmine, and lingering
lemongrass to sweeten
my days.

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