National (bad) Poetry Day

Last Friday was National Poetry Day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to posting a poetry blog on the day, but I did work with my students on poetry all week. 

When I give my students a writing challenge, I like to do the challenge alongside them. That way, if they’re shy when it comes time to share what they’ve written, I can share my writing first. Usually, they’re willing to share after hearing my hastily-written first-draft junk.

So, needless to say, I wrote a lot of poetry last week. A lot of silly, poorly thought-out poetry. Here are a couple of them that made my students giggle.


They think I have a superpower
A skill that’s so superb,
It rivals every other hero.
Villains it perturbs.

I smile inside because I know
They are all mistaken.
The only skills that I posses are
Smiling well and faking.


Cat by the Fire

He worships his god,
Prostrating himself nightly
Before the fiery altar,
His rumbling prayer
A tuneless drone.

His faith and devotion
Are unsurpassed,
Radical, even,
As he attacks any
Who prevent his adoration
Of the winter god.


In the Fish Tank at the Library

There once was a mermaid so fair
Passersby all stopped to stare.
She hated the looks
And hid behind books.
A book-loving mermaid is rare.

Random acts of poetry

Random Acts of Poetry Day was apparently the 3rd of October. I didn’t know about it until the following day, but it seems to me that it’s even more fitting to celebrate Random Acts of Poetry Day on some other, random, day. And since I’m feeling random today, here is a poem for you all. 

Chaos Theory:
Sammy Sandoval meets Sargent Shriver and Edward Lorenz in a young brain on a narrow footpath after dark.

The base beat
of Sammy’s accordion
faded into the night
like a heartbeat
after a long run.

save for the tap of rubber sole on packed earth,
the trill of the tropical screech owl,
the whisper of moth wings.

Those tiny wingbeats,
creating a tornado,
not on the other side of the world,
But here.
Peeling back the roof to expose the beams,
rearranging the furniture,
toppling trees across the path,
hurling the neighbour’s car into my kitchen,
shattering mirrors,
slamming the door to the past.

And the folded bellows
of the future
breathed in and out,
humming in my ears,
masking the click
of the lock behind.

Happy National Poetry Day!

Octochaetus multiporus, a bioluminescent earthworm.

It’s National Poetry Day, and after my glowing garden find earlier in the week, I couldn’t resist a little poem inspired by sparkly worms.


Like fireflies winking on summer nights,
Like fungi on rotting logs,
Like glowworms dangling from cave walls,
Like drifts of sparkling plankton washed up on the shore.

Bio      life
Luminescent      shining

A shining life.


The Scarlet Letter

I’m sorry
I’m sorry
I’m sorry
I do not know this nation
To which I was required to swear allegiance daily until age eighteen.
This nation obsessed with delusions of grandeur.
This nation drunk on power.
Convinced of its own morality
Because why else would God
In His infinite wisdom
Have endowed the nation with abundant natural resources
Free for the stealing from the native peoples
To provide wealth to fuel
White male subjugation of the world?

From afar, the disease is evident
A grotesquery
From a time when
Two-headed foetuses were displayed in circus sideshows,
Masturbation caused blindness,
And livestock could speak multiple languages.


The currency of the politics
Of the diseased.
They feed
And breed
On this offal,
And when one invariably falls
The others descend
In cannibalistic orgy.

All this I watch
From afar.
But the 10,000-mile moat
Is not enough to distance me.
Even the mighty Pacific,
Reservoir of half the planet’s water,
Cannot dilute the stench.
It wafts across the waves
And clings to my American skin
Like a caramel’s sticky residue,
Long after the taste has gone off in my mouth.

It is the red A branded on my chest.
My shame stitched in glittering embroidery for all to see.
Oh! To be as proud as Hester!
To own my heritage
And wear it with straight shoulders
And an uplifted chin!

But instead I write
Because to speak would betray me.
My flat vowels
And voiced H’s
Confirm my guilt.

I am sorry
I am sorry
I am sorry
I do not know this nation.

Conversation Overheard in the Park

Every time I see these trees, I think they look like old men sitting around talking.

When we were just saplings?
How we thought the wind was so strong?
Thought it was going to blow us right over.”

“Well, it almost did, didn’t it?
Joe was nearly bent in two
In the cyclone in ’17.”

“Aw, he was a youngster.
He came right.”

“Ah, but ‘17 wasn’t half as bad
As that big blow in ’44,
When Carol and I lost nearly half our limbs.
I thought the rot might get us after that, you know?”

“I heard a pair of poplars the other day,
Young things,
Hardly able to grow lichens yet,
Complaining about the wind.
What do they know about wind, I thought.”

“They don’t make wind like they used to.”

“Or snow.
I remember snow so heavy it took off branches.”

“Yes, but don’t you think the sun was brighter back then?
When the sun was up it was up,
And you knew it.
Not like this weak sun nowadays,
Hiding behind clouds,
Hardly enough to photosynthesise with.”

“Absolutely. Water tasted better, too.
When we were young.
Modern water just isn’t the same.”

“Do you remember those kids?
The ones who used to climb right to the top of my branches?”

“Then there was that one,
The boy with red hair,
Who fell.”

“Broke his arm, didn’t he?”

“Do you think that’s why they did it?
Why they cut us down?”

“Don’t be stupid.
That was years ago.
Humans have short memories.”

Ode to a Fern

I could have posted a blog yesterday, but only from here, where there was cellphone reception. You’ll excuse me if I decided to enjoy the view instead of write a blog post.

It’s not that I didn’t write. My daughter and I, out for two days of hiking, stopped a couple of times on our way to sit and write. Sometimes I gave us a challenge, sometimes we just wrote.

I can’t say that anything I penned in the past two days is great literature, but I did smile as I wrote this Ode to a Fern, which was our first challenge. True to our writing styles, my daughter’s poem was deep and insightful, mine silly doggerel. Here it is, to lighten your day …

O filmy fern
All wet with dew
With fronds so thin
They are see-through.

You could adorn
A lady’s hat
A leafy veil
Fine to look at.

Or perhaps a curtain
You could be
Your gauzy fronds
Flapping free.

O filmy fern
These aren’t for you
To your wild self
You must be true.

Inhabit damp footpaths
Dimly lit
The forest floor
Is where you fit.

Autumnal Haiku

Yesterday was a gorgeous autumn day. It inspired a few haiku:

Rats tap out poems
On the ceiling at night while
Cats dream of sparrows.


Summer slips off to
Warmer climes, leaving autumn
To face winter’s scorn.


Summer cashes in,
Trades green for gold to spend on
Ice blocks and snow cones.