My Word of the Month poem

ANNOUNCEMENT: My thanks again to Steven Withrow for providing such good fun on November 9 with his poetry challenge to parody songs. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s certainly not too late!

Hi everyone,

I’ve been thinking about TALENT, our word for November, which was provided by Rachel Heinrichs. It occurred to me that I see a good example of it every day in my yard. It might be a stretch to bequeath such skill to a plant, but that’s why we have metaphors!

Hidden Talent
David L. Harrison

Marvel at this tree,
broken and stubby,
split down its middle
like a sternum laid open,
heartwood exposed to rot and decay,
its two half-trunks leaning apart
like dying twins trying not to touch,

Yet its withered arms throw out leaves,
withstand battering winds,
hold young birds safe from spring rains.

What wondrous talent to remain upright,
spirit masked by dry tissue,
sucking hard from deep reserves
to greet another year,
one more season.

Word of the Month poems deadline at noon today


Hi everyone,

Don’t forget that a couple of months ago I moved the usual W.O.M. deadlines from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 noon CST. This gives me a chance to work with posts during the day instead of needing to stay up late to get them done. Thanks for understanding.

So today, May 25, I’ll cut off new entries at 12:00 noon. I hope you have enjoyed working on poems in May inspired by our word, PROMISE. There are a number of good ones posted and with a few hours yet remaining, we could see others come in.

Sadly, we have not heard from our students this month but that is understandable. After all, one has to cut teachers some slack when they are rushing around completing all the end of the year activities and requirements. It would be nice if we see some student poems this summer but all we can do is wait and see.

I’m typing with one eye again. This morning I had the second cataract surgery so I should be getting used to these patches!


My poem for the month

Hi everyone,

The IRA institute on poetry was well attended today. This evening I’ve been back at work on my Word of the Month poem, the second one I mentioned earlier.


The Gift

I fold his clothes,
recognizing some,
like old acquaintances
not met for a while
that recall stories of the man.

Checking jacket pockets,
my hand pulls out a program:
Westminster Presbyterian, 1996.
They spent most Sundays cooking,
bringing food to share,
left little time to collect
church programs.

This pocket yields a wrapper,
the candy sucked, I’m guessing,
as he crossed a parking lot
keys in hand.
The toothpick’s in here too.

This paperclip? Easy.
Bet he went to the bank that day,
took a deposit, kept the clip.
Waste not want not he’d say.

Black comb, hip pocket.
He had such beautiful hair:
thick, wavy, bright white.
She liked to comb it.
He liked that too.

A man of routine, keeper of promises,
planner of pool shots,
pitcher of pennies;
ate out on Tuesday,
bowled on Friday,
attended high school reunions.
Organized his clothes front to back,
newest by the door transitioning
by age in a slow march toward the rear.

These pants at the back say garden.
I can see him there,
behind the garage,
tilling his beloved soil,
scooping out rows
like doodlebug holes,
dripping in seeds,
soaking with that old green hose,
intent on the joys
of working alone in the sun.

I fold his clothes,
fill boxes, make lists.
They’re just clothes, really,
without the man.
Whoever gets them
won’t get the stories.

I kept nothing when he died
but now I know
I’ll keep these stories
like books from a library
checked out to cherish again.

Life records it memories.
I fold his clothes
and give thanks.

Let the voting begin

BULLETIN: Yesterday my blog turned another milestone. It was visited for the 80,000th time. The visitor was a young writer named David Campbell III who has his own website where he posts his poems and stories. Thank you, David, for stopping by when you did. For visitors who want to know more about you and your budding career, here is the link to you site. Keep writing! /

REMINDER: You still have time to register for my poetry workshop in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, June 2-5. There is room for four more. Right now we have registered two from Quebec, two from Arizona, and one each from Maryland, New York, Ohio, and Pennyslvania. I look forward to meeting everyone and spending time together thinking, talking, writing, and reading poetry. It’s a lovely setting and we’ll have an enjoyable experience together.

Hi everyone,

Time to begin rereading all the poems posted for April Word of the Month and voting for your favorites to become the April Hall of Fame Poets. At the same time, our judges are hard at work deciding which poems they believe should be named as the April Word of the Month Poets.

Starting this month our lineup of judges has changed slightly in that Jane Yolen has left the panel and Avis Harley has joined. My thanks to Jane for all her help and welcome to Avis! Soon I’ll post a link to all of our judges. I know you enjoy their work and hope you will tell them so when you visit their sites.


1, BRADBURY’S ROCKETS by Steven Withrow

Bradbury’s rockets are targeting Mars
And packing enough plutonium power
To overshoot the nearest stars—
Rambling bumblebees rumbling flowers!

Bradbury’s rockets are held in a field
Of clipped Ohio summer grass,
Such spirited horses, whose wagons are wheeled
For homesteading Alpha Centauri. Alas—

Bradbury’s rockets are grounded for good
By the penalty tax against dreaming of flight,
As Armstrong, the Kitty Hawk Wrights understood it,
Who will pay no passage through limitless night.
©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved
2, Understanding by Jane Heitman Healy

the final frontier–
fly far, dig deep within space
of the human heart

3, POOR PLUTO by Steven Withrow

I’ll tell you, when I really get annoyed,
Is when you people call me “Planetoid.”

OK, I’m not as big as Earth or Mars,
But names, like meteors, still leave their scars.

You bumped me off the planetary team
And damaged my celestial self-esteem.

The things that count in any solar system
Are things I’ve got in spades, and I can list ’em:

Solidity—I’m solid rock and ice.
And gravity—my orbit’s pretty nice.

And maybe I’m too cold to ever melt,
But that’s from living in the Kuiper belt.

I demand a full retraction—make it soon—
Don’t jerk around a guy who dwarfs the moon!

©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

4, SLOW THOUGHTS by Don Barrett

Writing poetry.
Finding time and place
morning, noon, or night
they just come to me.
Riding my horse
while watching a plane in flight.
The stars come out so bright,
such beauty in outer space at night
the jet trail shines so bright.
I turn my pony toward home
all i can think of is good night.

5, STAY OUT! by Mary Nida Smith

You are in my space.
My private space!
A space where
I feel happy.
Happy to enjoy
the space around me
without anyone
squeezing in on me
or conforming me
to their ways.
A space where
the wind blows
against my skin.
Where I can look up
watch the clouds
rush across the sky.
Birds fly playfully
Untouched wild flowers
grow in a natural state.
I want my space
unruffled and uplifting
to be a free thinker
to dream, be still
while lost in space.
In my space
my own
private space.
© By Mary Nida Smith

6, Agora-acro-claustro-phobia and more by Jackie Huppenthal

I’m afraid to fly
but that’s not all
I don’t like heights
I don’t like tight places
I need elbow room
and lines are terrible
for me too
I don’t like people
bumping into me
nudging, shoving
stepping on my heels
I like to have space
but not up in the sky
stuck up high
in an airplane
you can’t get out
you can’t get away
and the bathrooms
are really small
no space to move
around in there at all
I don’t like being
I like room
room to move around
but safe on the ground
no, I absolutely
don’t want to fall
from the sky
falling to the ground
from up high –
that scares me the most

I’m afraid to fly,
but I still want to.

I booked a flight
so I will be flying this July
and I’ll be praying
a lot.

7, Lately by Sidanne

The words are all jumbled
And jangled and bruised
Thoughts so contagious
Turn curly confused
My head’s in a tailspin
My minds all awhirl
Today I’m not sure
If I’m a boy or a girl
Where is my wishbone
My wand of what if?
I need a vacation
Just to float adrift
Thoughts all ajumble
Words out of pace
Just give me some headroom
My brain needs more space!

8, Halley’s Comet by Ken Slesarik

I could be curt and rather rude,
some say I had an attitude
for back in nineteen eighty-six
to Halley’s Comet I said this;

“Your show is such a boorish scam,
with freak facade so glib, not glam.
Then there’s your queer, lackluster tail,
it’s dreary, dull and downright pale.”

She growled, giving “the evil eye,”
and spoke to me while soaring by.
With vim and vigor, vehemently,
from outer space she said to me;

“Other comets may be brighter,
their gassy tails a little lighter,
but I can’t hack you talkin’ smack,
so boy you better watch your back.”

Today, I view it as a crisis
how that mass of dust and ices
can terrorize me all these years,
conjuring up my darkest fears.

So now in twenty sixty-one,
illuminated by the sun,
she’ll be back to power dive
and end my life at ninety-five.

Copyright 2011 by Ken Slesarik
All Rights Reserved

9, Timeline by julie Krantz

In the space
of a day—
or so it seems—
the winter-white world
turns yellowy-green.

In the space
of an hour—
or thereabouts—
daffodils bloom,
maples leaf-out.

In the space
of a minute—
no more,
no less—
crabapples fall,
storm winds
blow west.

In the space
of an instant—
a nano,
a blink—
the blistery sun
turns purplish-pink,
and the shadowy
goes grey.
Snowflakes alight
in the blustery
and the wintery
is once again

10, A Space Flight by liz korba

Infinite, open, deep, dark – not enough
A sky filled with stars – and my closet with stuff
The place between people
And words on a page
Distance that’s needed – not wanted
An Age
Of one – two dimensions
Those ads on TV
In magazines, papers – “Must Buy” “Guarantee”
A place for the car – and for trees, plants to grow
The freedom to come – and the freedom to go
To be independent, to ask and explore
“Space” is a word that makes space – and much more.

11, Lovers Wait by Don Barrett

Night flings her sable curtain
Across the space of the day
The twinkling stars come, one by one.
Down the milky way.
A little bird sings softly,
to its happy mate.
All the world is waiting for love-to celebrate
sweet springs returning,just as I wait for you
to come at dusk and find my lips with your kiss
which thrills me through.

12, Untitled by Sidanne

In the space of a trembling moment,
an infant walks and joins the giddy
ranks of toddlerhood.

In the space of years
passing, it seems momentarily,
a shy boy boards a bus
for his first ride to school.

In the space of wind rushing
through decades, an adolescent
yearning toward manhood
emerges ever upward, stretching
toward infinite potential.

In the space of my lifetime,
I have nurtured a miracle
that smiles and laughs
and joins wholeheartedly
into the tumble of space,
moments, days, years,
and reaches with open arms
toward the freedom of future.

13, S p a c e by: Cory Corrado ©

I love to gaze at endless skies;
behold the boundless seas.
I love to wander among the trees;
look out into the vast unseen.
I love to meander with the stream
and delight in freedom’s flow.

Give me the space to find my place,
to set my pace and live with grace.
Give me the room to find my groove,
to breathe,
to be,
to feel wind-free.

I need vastness of endless skies.
I seek the freedom of birds that fly.
To me and to my heart I give
s p a c e – to breathe,
to live and love,
to thrive and grow-
to be just ME.

14, U s (the space between us) by Tamra Jenkins

When did we forget how to laugh?
How to hold onto our sides to keep them from falling out?
Now we hold ourselves for different reasons
Like we’re afraid to let go
Remember when s— was simple between you and me?
When the dead air over the phone line didn’t hover over our heads,
When the conversation wasn’t strained
But flowed like water for these four ears alone.

We were children then
rushing to grow up.
And now that it’s here for real
we behave like little kids
Playing hide and seek, but never sticking around long enough to find anything.

Is it because we’re afraid to find
that nothing’s there anymore?

Somewhere between children, men, bills, schools, countries and other people
we forgot how to just be us.

We forgot the simple shrills of excitement we got
from walking down the street.
We forgot about summer days and crazy nights
And sisterhood that ran deeper than bloodlines would allow
We forgot how to lie to our mothers
the way our children will someday lie to us.
We forgot that we told each other we’d never forget.

So today I’m going to lay out a huge blanket
and let’s turn off the lights
so you can tell me a dream.
And I’ll tell you one too.
But this time let’s tell a tale of two women
who weathered the storms of their lives
Who’ve come back to this place slightly changed by circumstance
But underneath it all, they realize
that friendship means never having to apologize for lost time.
Because the time was never lost,
it just moved on

But this time around when it moves
they will move together
And like the little girls they once were.
They will build new memories,
look back at them one day
and laugh like h—.

15, SPACE IS AMAZING by Janet Kay Gallagher

Space is amazing.
It can be a tiny place
where you live.
Either in a home structure
or in your mind.
What imagination can open up
in these two areas is unlimited.

Space is amazing.
It can mean wide open spaces.
Then we think of a large land area.
Then we populate it with people and
animals trees and everything that is
Space is amazing.
It can mean the whole universe.
That brings thoughts of exploration
and adventure.
What IS out there in space?
Space is amazing.
It can be the space of time.
We devide that into incriments.
Although there is no limit, we
fit time into our own thinking.
Probably not allowing the true
space to grow and flow.
Space is amazing.
Thank you God for giving us the
space within us that allows us
seperation from daily negatives.
And lets us renew our strength.


1, Lost in Space by Emily Martinez

I sit there
lost in space
About what will happen after school.
All of a sudden,
My thoughts leave…
When someone
my shoulder.
It’s my teacher.
She asked a question.
I don’t know the answer.
So here’s a tip…
Maumee Valley Country Day School
Fifth Grade, Toledo, Ohio
Teacher: Nan Valuck

2, A Visit Inside by Evan D. Abdoo

That crooked dorsal fin
Gliding throughout the night
I hope I wont feel
His un meaningful bite.
The eyes of a devil
Stare blankly at my face
Like buttons on a doll
Or small black holes in space.
The jaw of a monster
His teeth are pearly white
I believe I can see
What he ate last night.
It smells rotten in here,
And I can’t see a thing,
But, I do feel feathers…
Is that a pelican wing?
Maumee Valley Country Day School
6th grade, Toledo, Ohio
teacher: Jana Smith

3, Alone by Samina Hejeebu

I’m secluded
In a tiny bubble
With transparent glass
Revolving around me.
I can’t get out
Can’t become involved.
I watch them
Laughing, talking
Pointing at me
And laughing again.
Laughing because I’m
I try to ignore them,
But I envy them so much.
I just can’t do it.
I can’t become friends,
With Anyone.
I can’t talk
Can’t speak
Can’t become close to friends
Too much space
between us.
Maumee Valley Country Day School
6th grade, Toledo, Ohio
teacher: Jana Smith

4, Woodpecker by Peter Meyer

A woodpecker flies by me
Only an inch of space
Between us
He has a bright red head
White stomach and black wings
I lose sight of him as he dashes between tall trees
From branch to branch, vine to vine
Looking for some bugs to eat
Making leaves tumble
Back and forth all the way to the ground
Vines swing like they want to be rid of him
He stops one last time
Before flying away.

Maumee Valley Country Day School
Grade 6, Toledo, Ohio
Teacher: Jana Smith

5, Creature by Bailey Hannan

I sit in the car
driving down the highway
driving in the rain.
I watch a raindrop
glide down the window.
I wonder…
Is this rain drop alive?
I observe how it reaches out to another raindrop…
when there’s still space between the two drops.
Like a mother reaching to her son
A family reaching to a relative in the military
A child reaching to a dying grandparent
a hunter reaching for his gun
or tree branches reaching to the sky.
And as it seems to crawl across the window
like a baby learning to walk
a rock climber scaling a wall
a child learning to ride a bike
or a bad sketcher learning to draw
And then it gets whisked away like sand in the wind.

Fifth Grade, Toledo, Ohio
Maumee Valley Country Day School
Teacher: Nan Valuck

6, Out of My Mind by Natalie Bawab

Everything inside my skull
is absolutely
wacko and nuts
Space inside my head
filled with craziness
random things
colorful happiness
and amazing ideas
My brain
is not one bit normal
(nothing about me is normal)
and definately not perfect
I’m weird
and sweet
people say
But that is what makes me special,
but yet out of my mind!
Fifth Grade, Toledo, Ohio
Maumee Valley Country Day School
Teacher: Nan Valuck