Word of the Month Poetry Challenges in the coming months

Hi everyone,

A quick reminder to those who have not posted their November Word of the Month poems yet. Grief is filled with meaning and stories. Thank you for the insightful poems already posted. I hope to see others as the month winds down.

If you remember, a few months ago I turned to the poets who attended my first workshop in 2011 near Honesdale, Pennsylvania and asked them to choose words for the next eight months. They were CORY CORRADO, JEANNE POLAND, KEN SLESARIK, SUSAN CARMICHAEL, JOY ACEY, HEIDI MORDHORST, BECCA MENSHEN, and CAROL-ANN HOYTE. In previous posts I’ve mentioned this group of poets, most of whom came to the workshop as strangers and left friends. Many have remained in touch over these past eleven years. With that original group in mind, I asked each in turn to provide the Word of the Month word for the months of September (Cory), October (Jeanne), November (Ken), December (Susan), January (Joy), February (Heidi), March (Becca), and April (Carol-Ann).

So far we’ve enjoyed words provided by Cory, Jeanne, and Ken. Coming up in December is Susan. I’m eager to see what she suggests to tickle our muses.

My Word of the Month poem

Hi everyone,

Sorry it has taken so long to write my W.O.M. poem, but here it is, inspired by KEN SLESARIK’s word for November — Grief.

The Hall, the Bridge, the Gate

Grief is a stone-walled hall
where memories of loss echo
from steel-clad bootsteps.

Grief is a bridge across regret
to a place where perspective
softens pain.

Grief is a freshly painted gate,
through which the future lies,
when it's time to open it.

(c) 2022 David L. Harrison 

Waiting for word about the Word


Hi everyone,

Time now to announce the new Word of the Month word for November and it will come from KEN SLESARIK.

We talked briefly about his short list of possibilities and they all sounded good. I’m eager to learn which he chose. Ken, we’re ready when you are.

Couple of chestnuts

Hi everyone,

Thanks to all who posted such thoughtful comments yesterday. I enjoyed reading them all and learned from them.

Nothing very profound today. I’m feeling the heat of a deadline so I went dumpster diving for a couple of Word of the Month poems I’ve posted in the past. Since the original challenge issued in October 2009, thirteen years have passed so I’ve written 156 poems. I don’t know how many other poets have posted their work here — many — or how many total poems we’ve logged in. Again, many. My gratitude to all who have joined the fun.

From Macbeth, more or less,
With apologies, as you might guess.

A dark Kitchen. In the middle, a crock pot boiling. Thunder.
Enter three Witches.

Witch 1
Thrice the aged cabbage stewed.

Witch 2
Thrice and once, the children whin’d.

Witch 3
Mothers cackle, “’tis time! ‘tis time!”

Witch 1
Round about the crock pot go,
In the blackened mushrooms throw,
Radish slickening long alone,
Pork decaying off the bone,
Swelter’d squashes border rot,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!

Double, double toil and trouble,
Children quake, and crock pot bubble.

Witch 2
Fling a maggoty bloody steak
Into the crock pot, boil and bake
Eye of potato, tongue of frog,
Stinking spinach, howl of dog,
Cauliflower old since spring,
Cold forsaken chicken wing
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like devil-broth boil and bubble.

	Double, double toil and trouble,
	Children quake, and crock pot bubble.

Witch 3
Rancid fish which time has come,
Worm of apple, mush-gone plum,
Green mold bread hard as bark,
Gooseberries plucked i’ the dark,
Something brackish, something phew,
Dump them all in ghoulish stew.
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse – 
If you have them, chicken lips –
Celery six months past its prime,
Lima beans gone chartreuse slime,
Of freezer burned, throw in the lot,
Adds mystery to the pot.
Screech and cackle, watch it thicken,
He who eats it shall be stricken.

Double, double toil and trouble,
Children quake, and crock pot bubble.

Witch 2
Fill their bowls with spoon of wood,
And now the charm is firm and good. 

(c) 2015 David L. Harrison

In Lieu of a Story

Touristing in Greece was tough
On writing time but sure enough,
Bless my heart I tried.

Abundant feasting, wine, and sun
Reduced my story thoughts to one –
“But god it’s good!” I cried.

I marveled at my savoir faire.
I felt Apollo’s presence there.
You’ll forgive my pride.

Every word was marshaled right,
My focus fierce, my vision bright!
Truth won’t be denied.

At last I read my masterpiece,
My quintessential tale of Greece,
And then was mortified.

Expectations drowned en masse,
All I’d wrought was smoke and gas,
Poppycock without a plot,
Balderdash and tommyrot.
My trusted muse had lied.

I moaned and hung my weary head
And wrote this pity tale instead,
But bless my heart I tried!

(c) 2017 David L. Harrison

My Word of the Month poem for October

Hi everyone,

Have you posted your poem for October yet? I’m posting mine today so I can scold the rest of you and feel holier than thou.

Global Command

Dogs show it best.
It softens their eyes,
tilts their heads,
wags their tails in code.

Swans mate for life.
Elephants grieve.
Cardinals feed seeds
to their mates.
Lions tongue-wash their cubs,
chimpanzees hold
their babies close.

Perhaps humans did not
invent it.
Perhaps it was here
all along,
this pull, this need,
this global call for love.

(c) 2022 David L. Harrison