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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Napowrimo Day 28, Retrospective

Dear Reader,

I appreciate every one of you who has visited my blog this month. I promise to 'catch up' on the last several days, where I've only entered the prompt-for-the-day so far, as we go on into please keep coming back.  After  completing the Napowrimo month challenge, my blog goal will be to share the throes of revising and reorganizing both my study and my writing.

Meanwhile, today's challenge: "And now our (optional) prompt. Today I challenge you to find a news article, and to write a poem using (mostly, if not only) words from the article! You can repeat them, splice them, and rearrange them however you like. Although the vocabulary may be “just the facts,” your poem doesn’t have to be — it doesn’t even have to be about the subject of the news article itself. Happy writing!" 

(Hmmm...Does anyone know how to control the line spacing in the blog? Please comment!)

An author comments on Facebook (re the frequency counter at <>) that the most frequent words in her latest book werewhite, lake, light, hands, small, house, home, blue, red, mother, school, and plastic, which I shall attempt to work into a poem today:


How often in the white light 
of a full moon winter's night
my thoughts return to my 
small Fininish grandmother.
I imagine her 
examining her small hands
from her chair near the window 
overlooking the frozen lake
near the small house
which was her last home.
What now are her thoughts 
as she sits alone, her years
as a wife and mother complete.
Once accustomed to weaving
endless rag rugs shot through 
with strips of red and blue,
while hearty dishes of meat,
potatoes, and bulging roots
put forth a welcoming aroma
to greet their snow frosted 
nine children, his, hers, and ours,
when they returned from school,
does she remember those days 
as, come dinnertime, she rises
to thaw this evening's meal
from its container of plastic?                                      ---Shirley Smith Franklin

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27 Napowrimo Twenty Seven - Princess

Although it's the twenty seventh, Napowrimo's day twenty six prompt was to write an ekphrastic (i.e. written to accompany a work of art) poem, describing one of four given photographs, none of which inspired me, or a photograph of one's own, which I did.


You were princess for a day, once.
Your mother had planned out a princess-themed birthday party,
an elaborate treasure hunt which you and your little friends
owned with the lightness and surety of five year olds,
dashing from point to point to find pieces of costumes
only little girls expect to wear as their right,
ballet tutus, improbable gauzy wings, tiaras, at the end,
mardi gras garlands of gaudy beads and a wand
with a star for each princess guest, your majesty
waving yours over all with gladness and joy.
There were giant cupcakes to be conquered,
fitting largesse for reward.
No need for games, for princesses are content
to bask in the company of other princesses.
If only for the day.
                                  -- Shirley Smith Franklin

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Napowrimo Day 26, a Curtal Sonnet Exercise, in Pies

From the site: " Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who wrote his “family member” poem for Day 20 in the form of a curtal sonnet. As Vince explains, the curtal sonnet is shorter than the normal, fourteen line sonnet. Instead it has a first stanza of six lines, followed by a second stanza of four, and then closes with a half-line. The form was invented in the 1800s by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who used it in his famous poem “Pied Beauty”. So for today, I challenge you to give the curtal sonnet a whirl. It doesn’t need to rhyme — though it can if you like — and feel free to branch out beyond iambic pentameter. Happy writing!"  Well, perhaps I didn't have the muse today...this one evolved more Seussy than meditative or romantic!

     The Pie Beautiful

     Pies are beautiful, there's no doubt
     That, most of us would surely agree.
     Whether apple, blueberry, cherry, 
     (Chocolate,  lemon, pecan, for me!)
     Let me hear it for pies, all pies,
     Hands down, pie for dessert,

     Would you bake it in the oven,
      would you zap with microwaves,
      or refrigerate, or freeze it?
      Pies are  good for daily saves.

      Heroic, romantic, germanic...I LOVE PIES!
                                                     ----Shirley Smith Franklin

Friday, April 25, 2014

Anaphora Is the Opposite of Epistrophe, "Learning from Loose Ends"

Today's Napowrimo challenge, at least on the page that I follow (there are others), is to write an anaphora, that is a poem to repeat the beginnings of lines words and/or phrases  from line to line, at least a couple of times, periodically, or throughout the poem.
Is the plural of anaphora anaphorae, or anaphoras??  I'll opt for the latter in the following poem.
By the way, epistrophe is the opposite (line endings instead of beginnings) of anaphora.
Symploce is a combination of anaphora and epistrophe, using both at the beginnings and endings of phrases or lines...Does that mean in the same line?  OR  in the same poem? Though this poem utilizes both, I don't believe it necessarily qualifies for the term symploce.  'You think??

Learning from Loose Ends

Anaphoras repeat beginnings,
Epistrophes repeat the ends.
If we could repeat our beginnings, dear,
Would it ever make amends
for stumbling at beginnings,
for fumbling beginnings,
for sad, mistaken beginnings,
for misunderstood beginnings,
among the glad beginnings,
or is this is the way it ends?
If we could repeat beginnings, dear,
could we have ended better friends?

                                ---Shirley Smith Franklin

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Something About a Wall...

Today's Napowrimo suggestion (have I been in error, heretofore calling it a 'challenge'?)  is to write a poem that features walls, bricks, stones, arches, or the like.  Robert Frost writes famously about a wall.  Not wanting to channel his words, though I admire so many of his poems because I too write (or try to write) in a conversational style of poetry,

 I consider the walls in my life.
Are they walls, or simply roads not taken?
A theme of not quite making it?
Or an embarassing wealth of choices?
Is this the beginning of a poem?                      (Stay tuned, we will make something  
My mother left, with her final instructions,                                      of this theme yet.)
a poem about a rose and a wall.                     (We had it printed in the funeral leaflet.)
...something about not mourning a rose
formerly blooming next to a wall, because
"the rose still blooms beyond the wall."
My mother, ever with me, instructing,
encouraging, holding out possibility
beyond every wall, singing to me
ways to be
                                 --Shirley Smith Franklin

Can a flower actually grow through a wall? I suppose, if it were a stone wall.  Stone wall, now there's an image and an idiom.  Hmm. These days we have concrete and granite...if walls were such, would they admit a rose?  (At this point in writing, I go back to the foregoing sentences that hint of poetry and separate them as they appear, above, now. The italicized words are not part of the poem.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Children's Number Chanting Poem -- A Ditty

Napowrimo 2014, Day Twenty Two suggests writing a poem for children...a nursery rhyme, or something longer, say in the manner of Shel Silverstein.
Would my creation work as a jump rope rhyme, or as a hopscotch chant? Try it and see!

One two three, look at me!
Four five six, watch my tricks.
Seven eight nine, I'm so fine.

Ten, ten, back again.

Ten nine eight, you're so great.
Seven six five, it's good to be alive.
Four three two, I love you.

One plus one, it's true!
                                 --Shirley Smith Franklin

Napowrimo Eighteen: In Medias Res

"Today’s prompt comes to us from Cathy Evans, who challenges us to write a poem that begins and ends with the same word. You could try for something in media res, that begins and ends with “and,” for example. Or maybe “if.” Or perhaps you could really challenge yourself and begin/end your poem with a six-dollar word like “antidisestablishmentarianism.” "...from the site's day one hundred eight of year seventy two, 'running', not 'of our Lord', though you wish it were true, that you were a saint, not this self-centered you.  You should be so (lucky, grounded, ___ serendip) as to always wish it, nay, demand that it always be just, be,  so....
There are just so many hours in a day, many days in a week, so many months in a year,
and for that matter, whoever measured(s) the value of 'so'.  Is it a nanosecond?  Half a minute?
In the middle of lunch, I dash to the computer,  the highest level of mathematics with which I have to deal.  I have an overwhelming urge to look up the word, so.

Riff on a Foreign Poem-- Chance on pour-less n-fonts liver

It's day twenty three of Napowrimo 2014, and I feel that I'm gaining momentum.  The first couple weeks I was quite literally lame, and even using the computer was tiring. While I still have a couple of days set apart  for want of words or finesse, I'm getting more into it, though, and many of the recent posts are coming more easily.Now the only thing is, will somebody please read my blog?????

Today's challenge is an exercise in exploring the sounds of words.  We are to take a poem in a foreign (to me) language, and try to mimic the original letters and the words into English sounds, without reference to a translation of meaning.  I chose a children's poem about a snowman (ok, I peeked, but did not imitate the theme), by Prevert, who is said to be a very popular French poet (and trust that one quotation of a very familiar poem is a matter of 'fair use.".  I share both the original and the riff side by side.    Here goes! (Unf. copied and pasted matter comes with its own margins, that too on its own white, rather than the green, background of my blog, truncating the ends of my 'side' of the poem, shifting them over to interpolate with the original....  If you know how to circumvent that, please let me know in a blog comment after these poems.)  (Oh, I see shrinking the font corrects the overrun line problem.  Now for the color...?)

The Original:...


Chanson pour les enfants l’hiver           Chance on pour-less n-fonts liver

Dans la nuit de l’hiver                         Dan's la, new, it deliver
galope un grand homme blanc              Gallop un-grand homie, blank
c’est un bonhomme de neige                zest un-bond homie, den eggie.
avec une pipe en bois                         Ah, vex you a-pipe and boys
un grand bonhomme de neige              un-grand, un-bond homie, den eggie
poursuivi par le froid                          pours you, live e-par, lay Freud.
il arrive au village                              Ill arrive, ow village
voyant de la lumière                          Voyant de-la loomie, ere
le voilà rassuré.                                Lee voile erasure.
Dans une petite maison                     Dan's a petty mason,
il entre sans frapper                          Ill enters ants frappe', 
et pour se réchauffer                         Ate pour series chauffeur,
s’assoit sur le poêle rouge,                Sass, oh, it's surely po', well, e-rouge.
et d’un coup disparait                       Ate dun coop this parrot,
ne laissant que sa pipe                     Nay, lace ant quay saw pipe.
au milieu d’une flaque d’eau              Oh, milieu, dune flack you, dough,
ne laissant que sa pipe                     Nay, lace ant quay saw pipe,
et puis son vieux chapeau.                ate pulse, son vie you, ox chap, oh.
                  --Prevert                                                  --Franklin (me)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What You Can Hear in a Seashell

Day nineteen's Napowrimo challenge is to take inspiration from one of a list of fanciful seashell names.  I am immediately drawn to a name suggesting poignance:
Unequal Bittersweet. Will I be able to put what I felt, in words?

Unequal Bittersweet       

Now the term 'bittersweet' is an oxymoron, if I ever heard one.
In recipedic terms, I suppose it could translate 'half bitter, half sweet.'
Equal parts.  
But in the life of the heart, you know bittersweet is never equal.

Neither equal in concept, of course, it's a contradiction in terms,
nor gender, not to mention quality, intention, ability,
nebulous words.
When you start to define it, meaning evaporates into the clouds.

But in music, you can suppose that it's three against two, 
but I think the point is for the numbers to complement each other,
Though counterpoint in music is a different thing altogether.

Bittersweet could be a happy theme above a serious one,
swelling in joy, wallowing in sorrow, arguing the truth,
Ostinatos, melodies,
Different voices striving together to sing the same song.

                                                                ---Shirley Smith Franklin

Monday, April 21, 2014

Heyhowyadoin: A 'New York School' Poem

Today’s challenge was to write a New York School. poem  the idea of which is to incorporate as many as possible of the "New York School" (of poets)'s 23 rules.. Here is the list: (I did not  particularly like it, or, rather, it did not 'grab' me at first, but I gave it a shot.  I think I accomplished every 'rule," and did a fairly decent job of it, at that!  And there, it's done. So, here are the New York School 'rules,' ff by my poem.
    1. at least one addressee (to which you may or may not wish to dedicate your poem)
    2. use of specific place names and dates (time, day, month, year)–especially the names of places in and around New York City
    3. prolific use of proper names
    4. at least one reminiscence, aside, digression, or anecdote
    5. one or more quotations, especially from things people have said in conversation or through the media
    6. a moment where you call into question at least one thing you have said or proposed throughout your poem so far
    7. something that sounds amazing even if it doesn’t make any sense to you
    8. pop cultural references
    9. consumer goods/services
    10. mention of natural phenomena (in which natural phenomena do not appear ‘natural’)
    11. slang/colloquialism/vernacular/the word “fuck”
    12. at least one celebrity
    13. at least one question directed at the addressee/imagined reader
    14. reference to sex or use of sexual innuendo
    15. the words “life” and “death”
    16. at least one exclamation/declaration of love
    17. references to fine art, theater, music, or film
    18. mention of genitals and body parts
    19. food items
    20. drug references (legal or illegal)
    21. gossip
    22. mention of sleep or dreaming
    23. use of ironic overtone                      _______________                                                                                                                                                                                              Heyhowyadoin, ala New York School
  1. Heyhowyadoin BFF, let's change this thing up.  We've
  2. lived long enough at 123 West Thirteenth Street, 
  3. which, even though it is conveniently located 
  4. between the Sixth and Seventh Avenue subways,
  5. bears no comparison to the Prague Hotel where we saw
  6. Vanessa Redgrave, like, you know, this movie star, 
  7. at the registration desk, like the bellhop glared
  8. at us staring at her but we were at the short end 
  9. of life then, too self conscious about showing
  10. any body parts, arms or legs, never torso,
  11. much less breasts or genitals, but not interest.
  12. (I mean, how much can a bikini cover, are you
  13. down with that?)  The war broke out before 
  14. we passed that way again, we cowered
  15. in a Berlin airport hallway the second time through,
  16. spent the whole dark of the moon night
  17. longing for a sedative, damn!, to sleep, to dream away
  18. the sounds and possibilities of the existence
  19. of war.  Fortunately we'd saved snack crackers
  20. from the flight and a kiosk operator shared
  21. fruit at a reduced price, but did you know
  22. Irene peed her pants that night
  23. (should've worn a Kotex)  before we were allowed
  24. to get up, stretch, go to the'd think
  25. we'd've been safer in there, in the first place.
  26. "Let's tell each other stories," you said,
  27.  as though the word would save the world..
  28. Well, I didn't mean to be sacrilegious, but anyway
  29. I don't think that's the kind of story 
  30. you were talking about.  OH it was a long, hard 
  31. night; reminding me of being scared to death
  32. during a bad storm one night when 
  33. I was a child just old enough to be trusted
  34. to stay home alone overnight.  I never used 
  35. the "I"m old enough, aren't I?" 
  36. argument with Mother again.                         by Shirley Smith Franklin

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter! Ironically, a day of sacred freedom, but the poem is of secular "Bondage"

One of the pleasures of Napowrimo is the number of poems and blogs you can link to from the daily page and its responses.  Today the challenge was to write something in the voice of a family member.  I followed a link to one responder's blog delightfully named  "Shhh... Voiceless Fricative" (voicelessfricative.word) The author pens a delightful fantasy in the 'voice' of her precocious three year old daughter.

Oops--The down side is that it may be a bit inhibiting to have read such a good response before I write my own!

Anyway, it's been a full and Happy Easter (Happy Easter everybody!), and I'm going to let today's suggestion percolate for awhile before I respond.  Lord willing, I'll be back..

Three days later...Ok, here's the voice of a familiar family member.


Where're you going? You didn't tell me about that.
You don't have enough to do around here?
What time are you going to be coming back?
Where is this thing going to be held?
Who else is going to be there?
What do you do at these things?
Lot of gossip, I suppose.
When are you going to stop running around
and start sticking to business around here,
       do something 'useful'?
So you didn't bother to look for the car keys
       before you went out?
Why didn't you ask me?
I'll be in bed when you come back;
       Don't make noise.
                                   --Shirley Smith Franklin

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Naporimo Day Fifteen: A Wrinkled, Decrepit Terza Rima

I found there is more than one site suggesting napowrimo challenges for this year.
One of them suggested writing a 'poetic challenge' for the sixteenth and  poem about hands for the seventeenth days.  I'd done one for hands a couple of years ago, perhaps even before (gasp) napowrimo,
I'll keep the former challenge in mind for  a future 'write.'
For now, 'wishing you a happy day...may the sun shine and skies turn blue...

 Today's poetic challenge is to ' a poem in terza rima, a form invented by Dante, and used in The Divine Comedy. It consists of three-line stanzas, with a “chained” rhyme scheme. The first stanza is ABA, the second is BCB, the third is CDC, and so on. No particular meter is necessary, but English poets have tended to default to iambic pentameter (iambic pentameter is like the Microsoft Windows of English poetry). One common way of ending a terza rima poem is with a single line standing on its own, rhyming with the middle line of the preceding three-line stanza."
I'll try to fit some of this morning's thoughts into terza rima form. That's sure to be an exercise for the brain! (Figuring out how my blog page 'reads' information about highlighting and line spacing is an exercise in itself.  The following is intended to print uniformly...!)

Watch Who You're Talking About!

Who're you calling old and wrinkled and decrepit?
You should be old enough to know better.
Oh, I'm old, I'll grant it, older than you, I'll bet it.

Old enough to know talk like that is a fetter.
That faces become twisted by too many a sneer.
I'm proud of every one of my wrinkles. Better

for having weathered so many seasons here,
crows feet crowding, radiating from my eyes,
and laugh lines drawn by smiling at somebody dear.

So you think I"m decrepit? Some day, I surmise,
when I've moved on to a much better place,
You'll look in the mirror, look into your eyes.

You will stop taking back, you will wish for grace.

You'll talk to yourself, but it will be too late.
What you've said or intended will be writ on your face,

Surprise!                                   --Shirley Smith Franklin

(Alas, the muse had flown by the time I got to the third and fourth revisions of this theme, but I slogged through for the sake of practicing the form.  Practice makes perfect, right?  That's one of the benefits of Napowrimo...holding me to the discipline of reading, writing, and learning poetry daily, like it or not!)

Final version, "At the Condolence Table,": Napowrimo Day Seventeen

Napowrimo Day Seventeen's challenge is to write a poem, preferably about something I experienced just today, describing it in terms of at least three of the five senses.

Condolence Table

Friends gather, family are already there.
We speak in hushed voices, look around with care.
There's her son's wife, let's speak to her,..Where is he?
It's a pity, she was so young, 'seems to me
Just last week we were planning to go for lunch
She seemed so well at the time. I have a hunch
she must have gone quickly, I hope without pain
Ohh, it's done, I hope that slide show starts again.

A hush falls, I turn to the table, and when
I see it is my turn, I take up the pen
and then--I'm startled by a fragrance so near--
a bouquet of lilies before me, right here,
bend their generous velvety petals my way,
almost brushing my hand as though wanting to say
a beautiful woman has passed this way,
this gracious, this gentle, this kind.

                                           --Shirley Smith Franklin

Friday, April 18, 2014

Comments Please! Napowrimo 2014 Day Eighteen

Statistics show that tens of people read my blog every day.  So  doesn't anyone have anything to say?  Humility says it's because I've not written anything good...or droll...or memorable...or universal...or what-have-you that grabs--or nudges--you. But still, I am compelled to write.  I hope you, dear reader, will write too, if you will, about anything at all that you find in TLPOP, any little reaction, any little thrill.  Even that you can do better...and share it, if you will...
So, today's challenge by Napowrimo is: "And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to write a ruba’i. What’s that? Well, it’s a Persian form — multiple stanzas in the ruba’i form are a rubaiyat, as in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Basically, a ruba’i is a four-line stanza, with a rhyme scheme of AABA. Robert Frost’s famous poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening uses this rhyme scheme."
Really, something that simple, that plain a thought:  I was out for a ride. I stopped to consider snow falling in the woods.  I wondered what my horse thought about my stopping there,--he seemed to sense something out of order.  But that's really all the time I have to think about that.

So, what can I say in a ruba'i or rubaiyat?  Let's try...

Comments Please

When something you thought easy turns out not so,
who will commiserate, where do you go?
When you're up for the day but your body cries 'bed,'
do you do what you should, or heed body instead?

Or is body in bed the most important thing?
What if you need to cry, but the occasion says 'sing'?
When your best friend is revealed as not very nice
and, by implication, you've enabled her vice?

What, when your dream nears your reach, then it fades,
would you say to aspiring lads and maids?
Can you believe possibility lives?
Can you hope? Can you rise? Accept what life gives?

What do you have to say about THAT?
                                         ....Shirley Smith Franklin

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Notice to Readers" - A poem of Lies, lies, all lies

Today a prompt from Daisy Fried:  write a ten line poem of ten lies...silly, complicated, tricky, or obvious...Cheeky challenge.

Notice to Readers

If you read this poem before breakfast, your coffeepot will never run dry
You can always deceive people, because there is no such thing as lie.
Drying tennis shoes in the dryer will restore them just like new.
Don't look now, but somebody is always standing right behind you.
The gibbous moon is unstable, and only occurs when the world is at peace.
Ball point pens were invented, but are now illegal, on a tiny island in Greece.
Writing drivel like this will make your brain more intelligent.
At least it will understand why you did, and where the time went.
A half truth doesn't count as a lie unless you're standing on a crack.
If you carry this poem in your pocket , today's schedule will stay on track.
                                                           --Shirley Smith Franklin

Monday, April 14, 2014

Twenty Questions: What's a poem of seven triplets and a couplet called??

Napowrimo's prompt for day fourteen is a version of the game of twenty questions:  Simply write a poem, any poem, in which every line is a question.   Here are twenty three.  Kind of bald, as a poem; not very poetic, but maybe, someday, I can hone a worthy poem from some of these thoughts!...

How do I love thee?
How would you like to be loved?
How do you love me?

Do you remember what moved you?
When was the first time we met?
Did you know how truly I loved you?

Why do we argue so often?
Is this normal, for husband and wife?
What would cause our hearts to soften?

Do you know how I love you to hold me?
Do I listen to understand your cues?
Did I believe your love when you told me?

Shall I compare us to an early fall?
Can nights be both warm and chilly?
Is there a reason every time you call?

When you laugh, do you laugh sincerely?
Do I know when you come and go?
Do you know I picture you clearly?

When you go away, why do I fall ill?
When together, why do you confuse me?
When you're gone, why are you with me still?

How do I love thee, dear one?
How do I know you love me still?
                                        ---Shirley Smith Franklin

Kenning: A Nordic concept

Napowrimo day thirteen.  Today's assignment involves writing a poem that includes at leasn one 'kenniing,' which iconsists of a newly-coined adjective which is made up of two words, joined together as a descriptive term, this usage probably arising out of similar language in Nordic sagas, to which this fragment is similar in meter. I couldn't help returning to the idea of "keening," which is a different thing, but which I should return and study in relation to this one.  I wanted this one to have a combined ominous/boisterous chant feeling.

Fanfare for When the North Wind Blows

There blows winter-harbinger,
See, he blows the branches bare.
Then he stalks both here and hinter,
seeks destruction-wreakimg there.
Winter-bringer, bone-cold-zinger,
stern he stalks without a care
save to make our homeland colder,
banish songbirds everywhere.
                            --Shirley Smith Franklin

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"How to do Motivated" --Replacement Poem - An Exercise

Day twelve: Quoting from the Napowrimo website, "Today’s (optional) prompt is a “replacement” poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, “desk” or “hat” or “bear,” and then pick one for something intangible, like “love” or “memories” or “aspiration.” Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem. "

All right, I picked 'hand,' and 'motivation'.  Let's see what happens!  
(This exercise turned out to be more fun than I expected.  I enjoyed it.)

How to do 'Motivated'

Selected topics in the motivation section were developed in partnership w
ith the American Society for Surgery of the motivation. 
The Grand Motivation Gallery specializes in fine American craft 
and fine art by artists from across the U.S., 
with a particular focus on artists from Minnesota.
On one motivation, we can appeal for peace, 
and on the other, declare war.
All motivations on deck! 
These gloves will keep your motivations warm.
She put her motivations over her eyes.
He sat quietly with his motivations folded in his lap.

Do you need a motivation?

                                                      --Shirley Smith Franklin

One Last Cup

Napowrimo Day Eleven - Write an anacreon -- Named after an early Greek poet who wrote mainly about the muses, and wine and song, though not to the point of bacchanalia.  Although 'lyrical' and 'elegance' have been used to describe his work, the one poem I saw in translation was almost as
light as the old Burma Shave ditties of years gone by.

Being an afficianado of song, though not of wine, this assignment challenges me to find something to say that 'works..' Mid-night wakefulness finds me penning praise of the cup, though not the song:

One Last Cup

I rise. Solitary, I rise,
by the morn's early light,
solitary, I repair
to the solitude of my kitchen,
surreptitious, for this cup
of singular delight.
Seven are the ingredients,
I add them just so;
each one in right proportion --
though who is to know?
No man to chide me,
no woman beside me
contends with the content
of this matchless cup,
its warmth conspiring to fill me up.
Then it's Drink! to the promise of morning,
aye, drink to the comforts of night.
Though my pillow still pleads
as its own warmth recedes,
ramen shall be my delight.
                         -- Shirley Smith Franklin

Friday, April 11, 2014

(A Bad Ad)

Napowrimo Day 10's challenge is to write an ad, as simple as a Burma Shave jingle, or whatever develops...I recall an assignment to do something like this in junior high school and still remember the ditty about a fictitious soup I wrote at that time.  I'm not so into it this time around, but come up with:

The Good Egg

You know how some people seem naturally good?
They are always doing and saying things they should,
not just please and thanks, but a little bit more?
That's how you will find us at our Super Store.
'Need a friendly smile, or a handshake at the door?
Our Super Store has that, and a little more.
Need to find a product or informative lore?
We will help you find it at our Super Store.
Need to return an item you never wore?
No problem, we'll accept it, so evermore,
Keep your pocketbook handily at your side
Because you're sure to find something at Super Store!
                                     -- Shirley Smith Franklin

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Napowrimo Day Nine: Recycling words of songs

Napowrimo Day Nine

Today’s prompt, suggested by Bruce Niedt is to take a random song play list from any media you like, and use the next five song titles on that randomized list (this implies mixing up the titles at random?) in a poem.  I choose to use a list closer to home, i.e. random golden oldies (then popular songs) that I remember my mother listening to on the radio, or singing, during my childhood:
"You are my sunshine"
"When the red red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' along"
"Brighten the corner where you are'
"The old lamplighter"
"Blue skirt waltz"                          and I come up with this prose poem...or is it?

As she appliques a robin to her granddaughter's too sober navy blue skirt,
she finds that the sewing machine bobbin has run out of red thread, and there
is none in her sewing box, but then morning sunshine brightens the corner
where she sits at her machine, and it occurs to her to zig-zag-stitch, around
the robin, a bright yellow aura, reminiscent of the sun, or a softer one, as of
an old fashioned streetlights being illuminated by a lamplighter on his way down
the street in front of her childhood home. (Funny, the way memory
brings both solace and fresh perspective to dilemmas large and small.)
When she rises next from her machine, she waltzes out of the room,
stepping and bobbing along to a remembered tune..
                                                        --Shirley Smith Franklin

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Then Go

Napowrimo Day 8

Today's prompt is to choose a famous poem, and rewrite it, giving it my own spin.  Hello Dylan Thomas, I hope you won't mind that I chose your "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night" to rewrite, molding context and diction in simple, everyday terms.

Then Go

Do not go angry when you leave for work,
Consider that these may be our last words;
Kiss me slow, with no regard for the clock.

Our parents birthed us and did what they could
to live and work while they taught us their good.
Do not go angry when you leave for work.

Common sense, though it’s really not, makes wise,
practical matters, tooth paste, adequate food.
Kiss me slow, with no regard for the clock.

Retire and rise early, remember: think.
Be mindful of others in doing good.
Do not go angry when you leave for work,

And you, my darling, as you pause on the deck
don’t stop to consider whether you should.
Kiss me slow, with no regard for the clock

Do not go angry when you leave for work,
Kiss me slow, with no regard for the clock.

                        -- Shirley Smith Franklin

I was always told to love people, not things. But today's assignment is....

Napowrimo 2014 Day 7

"Today’s prompt is to write a love poem . . . but the object of the poem should be inanimate. You can write a love poem to your favorite pen, the teddy bear you had as a child (and maybe still have), or anything else, so long as it’s not alive! Happy writing." (from the Napowrimo 2014 website)
I write one, recitation of facts about a book--nope, 'doesn't work.  Another few lines spout drivel about a flower--but is a flower on a par with 'inanimate object'? (not that it ultimately matters; but a writer's gotta write what a writer's gotta write...)  Finally, as I rise the next morning, this comes to me, all in a rush.  A true love I'll return to again and again...  Read on.

My One True Love

Let me now sing the praises of my love,
confident no substitute can be had,
my constant comfort, my constant joy,
oasis of calm in a world gone mad.
I repair to thee midst the heat of the day.
Weary or exhilirated, I'll receive your embrace,
willingly submit to the magic of your ways.
Nowhere else do I find so precious a place
To sink in the luxury of your arms--
no need for talk, so sweet your charms.
I plight thee my troth: Let it be said
all else uttered and done, I love my bed.
I may have to leave, dear, though I would stay.
I'll return to you at the end of day,
     Return to my one true love,..
                                                      my bed.
                             --Shirley Smith Franklin

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunny Sunday Morning

My heart overflows when there's a chance for sunshine, silence, and solitude in which to write on days like this.  But first, at breakfast, I rejoice before a vase of bright, new daffodils, a favorite early spring flower.
Later, from the kitchen, I glance back at the table and find the sunshine has moved, and now fills the yellow blossoms with a beauty of more than its own.  Hence, the following double tiny haiku like poem:

          catch morning's sunlight,
          say, yes! yes!

          This morning:
          sunlight, daffodils
                                  ---Shirley Smith Franklin

Golden Shovel?! What's THAT? (Napowrimo Day Five)

Napowrimo tells us Terrence Hayes invented a form of poetry called the golden shovel, in which the new poem's line endings are words from another poem.  I picked, from some short poems quoted, to base mine on nouns, verbs, adverbs, in
                                             First Fig
                                             My candle burns at both ends;
                                             It will not last the night;
                                             But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
                                             It gives a lovely light!
                                            -Edna St. Vincent Millay    
Wish me luck!

                                      will / not last

I take that back...

Lovely is this night, with its candle
burning bright.
Then I hurt my friend, away he goes.
Oh, we will last but one single life
one more night
at a time. Why waste it parting foes?
I'll go to my friend, let me make amends
ere ends the night, for
friendship outshines the brightest light.
                                  -- Shirley Smith Franklin

Friday, April 4, 2014


Day Four, Napowrimo's challenge is us to write a lune, which Jack Collom, poet and ecologist, defines as a Haiku-like poem consisting of three lines, which, in turn, consist of three, five, and three words (not necessarily syllables).

Today persistent headache
usurps all of my attention,
blands all thought.

                                             (Yes, the spelling of 'blands' is intentional. Or maybe it should say    'blanks out.'  I like that just as well.  Writing is never 'done.'  There's always another way to say something...Which of these two word choices do you prefer?)

A Blessing as Charm

Day Three suggests writing a charm akin to a nursery rhyme and/or recipe.  I chose to share this blessing which I wrote at the request of a friend, to the tune of a familiar folk song/hymn:  Can you identify it?

A Blessing for Clara Adamson
on the Occasion of Her Baptism,
Christ Church, Bermuda

By Shirley Franklin 

Wake my child,
For life awaits you
with all its joys.
Peace be yours,
comfort in sadness,
or when life annoys.
Life’s a gift to give on giving;
Share your sunshine with the living.
Understand, that with  forgiving.
Hope springs anew.                  

In your heart
may Christ be welcome,
always at home.
Grow in love,
With friends and family
surrounding you.
Live to share another’s sorrow,
courage take, for each tomorrow
comes anew.  No trouble borrow.
Peace be with you.