Swimming all the time

Telescopes reveal the heavens
buried deep within our brains
relics lying in the dirt

(not for amateurs, this
circulating blood)

Seemingly random singers
blossom harmonies
of the heart: overtones

Another found poem, sourced from this NPR article about “close listening” in the medical field.

Bones in Church Ruins

So these were the clues in the dirt
(a very holy mystery): clearly
a reliquary, silk sash with silver
sequins mixed with teeth
and pitted jawbones

Our men were destroyed
with cruel diseases, burning
fevers and by wars—
some departed suddenly
(mere famine); life was hell

A found poem sourced from this NPR article about archaeological discoveries in Jamestown, Virginia. Trying to get my brain focused and writing juices flowing again after our family’s transatlantic move.

Hildegard’s Way

Marked by

light, shades, colors

death: fiery lightning flowed

and glowed, gift of vision leaping



The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 21 was an erasure poem. I “erased” around these words from a booklet called Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard, which I picked up last weekend while hiking the “Rüdesheimer Hildegardweg.” 

E. D. E. B. B.

Forever is composed of nows. O dreary life!

we cry, and still the generations of birds sing

through our sighing, infinite months dissolving

in further months, and years exhaling in years.

Serenely the unwasted stars pass in glory

while we are keeping strife with Heaven’s

true purpose in us. (God grant me grace

unwearied, patience.)

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to play with a poem of Emily Dickinson’s. Just after I chose this one (690), I read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Patience Taught by Nature” via poets.org’s poem-a-day, and felt they were made for each other. I had fun melding them together.

Of the din and of the darkness

Come, therefore, mournful Muses, and lament;

And sorrow feed, feeding our souls with sorrow,

Lost to all music now, since everything

From the dull confines of the drooping West

Death says he will undo and drag down low,

And whisper to their souls to go.

Aye, we must die an everlasting death

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night,

His rage, with razing your immortal town,

The burg broken and burnt to brands and ashes.

When night’s black mantle could most darkness prove

A true retreat of sorrow and despair,

Let us roll all our strength, and all

We shall new shadows make the other way.


Another cento, title from Piers Plowman. Click the last word of each line to find its source.

And how the silence surged softly backward

The earth keeps some vibration going:

The hoarse leaves crawl on hissing ground,

Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick.

The warning whispers pass

With songs of misery, music of our woes.


My soul, dressed in silence, rises up.

Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn

With only our tongues for our swords

And learn to chaunt a tongue men do not know–

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


My attempt at a cento. The title is from Walter De La Mare’s “Listeners.”

Things to do in Tuscany

1. 900-year-old historical heart
a piano, soprano & tenor
profound fresco, unsurpassed views
lunch under the pergola in the garden

2. The Duomo façade has no true rival
you do not have to be a lover of opera
unassuming, quiet place to kneel in prayer
(the body remains buried in Rome)

3. Leaning tree growing out of its top
Europe’s first school of drawing
stone-mill discovery of the truth of faith
whose roots have grown below


Found poem sourced from tripadvisor.com: Things to do in Florence, Things to do in Siena, Things to do in Lucca.

Always a Popular Place for Lunatics

Rain splashing on metal and leather,

and running down. This camping in heather

a mistake; he had no notion whether

the storm would abate. He felt for the feather

and clutched it as he lay, remembering.


In that space was a curious curving

for near the moment, his mind went swerving

to some happier time. A method, perhaps, of preserving

sanity (all too late); he had made a vow of serving

the arts that had brought him to this hill.


Swept from black tables and made to dance—

so his master now owned him. Without a backward glance

he had entered magic’s dark waters; mere chance

that his brain in one lucid moment might advance

this truth: The ravens had been the first warning.


Inspired by We Drink Because We’re Poets Poetry Prompt #7: Complex instructions here. The short version is, line 10 from a book, rhymed into a stanza; repeat as desired. My first lines (and title) come from JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL, by Susanna Clarke.

The Bumblebee of Forgiveness

Forgiveness–a social insect–
feels fuzzy, visits flowers every day
(A few hardy species range
into very cold climates)

Once common in the West
forgiveness is in danger
Its decline could cause changes
in the countryside

Forgiveness should be incapable
of flight (a misconception)
All you need is a spare hour
to go walking, recording
forgivenesses you see


Inspired by NaPoWriMo’s prompt: Write a replacement poem (swap an intangible noun for a concrete one). I found some great info about bumblebees at Wikipedia, heraldnet.com, and edinburghnews.scotsman.com.