Old memories (NaPoWriMo)

The water touched by the image of the beast
With silken lines and silver hooks
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street

There will be time, there will be time
Warm’d by thy eyes, more than the sun
Morning in paradise, or what pretends

The iris wavers as the fox trots by
There will the river whispering run
I know the voices dying with a dying fall

And it seems as if the end is nigh
old memories come flooding by
Rubbing its back upon the window panes.

Today’s challenge is to write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems.

I have taken lines from Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Donne’s The Bait and Logan’s Summer in the Ordinary.


Fated (NaPoWriMo)

How does it feel to shine like sun
but grow up in shadow
dwarfed yet blooming; fun yet not fun!

Destined or planned; who can say
new links in old chain
entwined for life till death has its way!

Born four years apart; sort of fraternal twins
we were told we are each other’s gift
but over the years, curse did win!

The elder sibling I can rely on
my guardian angel, my protector
helping albeit grudgingly, considering me a thorn.

Also tyrannical tormentor
a bully who laughs at my follies
making fun of me but also my mentor.

Bete noires, best friends, each other’s voice
we fight, we make up
tied by blood, free by choice.

Same blood group, views diverse
different ailments, same aches
our shared genes; our gift our curse.

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). I hope you find this to be an inspiring avenue for poetic and self-exploration.

Wave (NaPoWriMo)

A wave is an emotion in motion
undulating moodily like a mood swing
responding with commotion
to moon’s manipulation of strings
rising and falling then rising again
billowing and surging, sometimes shimmying
moving unfettered, without restrain
basking in love; happily shimmering.

Today’s prompt is to write a concrete poem.

I could have written the whole poem in the shape of wave but it would have been difficult to read. I also did try it in Word. You can see the screenshot of the dismal result below.

Moss of loneliness (NaPoWriMo)

The green, moist moss of loneliness in my chest
supine leaves whisper unsung songs

The whispered songs follow me in my dreams
blistering pearls fall freely from the eyes

Blistering pearls falling with thundering noise
leaving razor thin cuts where they fall

Razor thin bloodless cuts left by angry words
pain rises like irate welts all across my body

Irate welts pulse like the vein in my neck
beating, beating, beating waiting for respite

Beating, beating down the door
desultory despair comes looking for shelter

Shelter seeking despair finds welcoming home in
the green, moist moss of loneliness in my chest

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a “duplex.” A “duplex” is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. Here’s one of his first “Duplex” poems, and here is a duplex written by the poet I.S. Jones. Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first.

Love be like a favourite stuffed toy (NaPoWriMo)

The love that we share is like the misshapen stuffed beagle
our son dragged by the ear when he was barely four
passion has dulled a bit like his button eyes
but the cuddles are as warm as they were before
the mundanity of living has taken toll on the sheen
but the familiarity has only increased our rapport
we both may be spilling out of our seams
the sight of each other still makes our hearts roar
just as it occupies an honourable space
our love over the years has quietly matured.

Today’s challenge is to write a poem that contains at least one of a different kind of simile – an epic simile. Also known as Homeric similes, these are basically extended similes that develop over multiple lines. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they have mainly been used in epic poems, typically as decorative elements that emphasize the dramatic nature of the subject (see, by way of illustration, this example from Milton’s Paradise Lost). But you could write a complete poem that is just one lengthy, epic simile, relying on the surprising comparison of unlike things to carry the poem across. And if you’re feeling especially cheeky, you could even write a poem in which the epic simile spends lines heroically and dramatically describing something that turns out to be quite prosaic.

Wake up (NaPoWriMo)

Dissent and Debate stand there
showing the rule book to me again
wake up before it is too late,
they beseech earnestly,
we are being strangled bit by bit
Plurality is panting, parched for parity
Democracy will be on death bed without us
in the name of nationalism,    
Majoritarianism is asserting himself
parochial views are having a free run
mobocracy is on the rise
there is blood on the streets and hatred in hearts
lumpens and goons are deciding who will do what
how long do you intend to be quiet
how long will the naked dance of totalitarianism continue
they will be pounding at your door soon
wake up, wake up before everything is lost!

Today’s (optional) NaPoWriMo prompt is based on the aisling, a poetic form that developed in Ireland. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live. Perhaps she will be the Madonna of the Traffic Lights, or the Mysterious Spirit of Bus Stops. Or maybe you will be addressed by the Lost Lady of the Stony Coves.

Written also for Sadje.

Writing like Chandler (NaPoWriMo)

It was raining heavily
like the clouds couldn’t hold their bladders
there were just the two of them in the bar
like two proverbial strangers fated to meet
he thought she was like a double shot of brandy
on a freezing January night
she felt he was tepid
like afternoon’s leftover soup
the silence between them stretched
like a slack clothesline
his mind was forming words eagerly
but his tongue remained immovable like a bollard
finally her foghorn like voice broke the spell for him
he realised she was not a slip of a girl like the slip of tongue
when she rose she was lurching
like a battleship that had lost its moorings
he quickly exited like a startled beaver in the night.

Raymond Chandler

Today’s challenge is to channel your inner gumshoe, and write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile. Feel free to use just one, or try to go for broke and stuff your poem with similes till it’s . . . as dense as bread baked by a plumber, as round as the eyes of a girl who wants you to think she’s never heard such language, and as easy to miss as a brass band in a cathedral.

The doormat

feet pound
and scrape
I gather dust
and debris
see stolen kisses
hear secrets, become
accumlator of waste
then flogged
sometimes scrubbed
frayed edges
more frayed and edgy
next day; the same
am meant to be
trampled upon
lying silently
always an outlier.

Today’s challenge is to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, whose poems tend to be short and snappy – with a lot of rhyme and soundplay. They also have a deceptive simplicity about them, like proverbs or aphorisms. Once you’ve read a few, you’ll see what I mean. Here’s her “Token Loss,” “Blue China Doorknob,” “Houdini,” and “Crustacean Island.”


P.S : The answer to yesterday’s riddle is tea.

Two poems for two prompts (dVerse/NaPoWriMo)

Riddle me not! (dVerse)

Two sisters and a baby, shabbily
separated from their dear family
descend willy-nilly from cooler climes
going through harrowing times
becoming warm comforters or cool companions
equally at home in a castle or under the banyans
all weather friends, always game
versatility is their second name.

Written for dVerse MTB. Today’s host, Björn, says: write a poem that is a riddle, using personification for abstract or innate objects.

Words (NaPoWriMo)

Enough of your evasive, edgy, errant words

you think I can’t fathom how you use words

to camouflage and cover chasm caused by words

your father’s harsh, hostile and hurting words

they are no salve; your mom’s half-hearted words

you may try to make light with light-hearted words

but I can see the laceration caused by words

caustic, nasty, abusing and accusing words

just sit quietly and utter no words

let wordless-ness take away the pain caused by words

when proverbial silence speaks louder than words

then no words are required to heal wounds given by words.

In honor of today’s being the 22nd day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.

Gone too soon (NaPoWriMo)

Flashing eyes, acerbic tongue
oodles of sass, a touch of foolhardiness
the mind of a genius in someone so young
melancholy cloaked in haughtiness
forever crossing swords with authority
impudent smile cocking a snook
never a part of any sorority
her pained soul always misunderstood

and then we both moved on
as we were meant to

not many I met were like her
though I mentored quite a many
some memories are a blur
some keep returning like a bad penny
yet some burn as bright as flame
voices from the past keep them alive
she did have her tryst with fame
am filled with deep satisfaction that she did thrive

and thus began my quest
those old ties to renew

I am reminded of the portrait that hung in her room
the eyes seemed to look right into my soul
same deep melancholic eyes I had viewed
the news the phone brings fills me with gloom
in place of my heart I feel a hole
how could fates be so skewed!

gone on the cusp of prominence
Justice, I wonder, where are you!

Amrita Sher-Gil’s self portrait

This is a 1931 self-portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil, depicting one of India’s most important modern artists at the age of 18. Sher-Gil’s self-portraits are painted with an intensity that is almost hypnotic, drawing the viewer into the innermost psyche of the artist, where one discovers a sea of melancholy. She died at the age of 28.

This NaPoWriMo prompt asks you to write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.