Day 14, Open Air Dining | #NaPoWriMo2018

I decided to go back to yesterday’s poetry prompts list and write a poem to go with my favorite grasshopper photograph.

Brewer: “For today’s prompt, pick an insect (any insect), make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Praying Mantis,” “Ants,” and “Grasshoppers.” I’ll even except other creepy crawlies, like spiders, slugs, and leeches (shiver). Sorry in advance if this prompt gives you the heebie-jeebies; feel free to use insect repellent in your verse.”

Suave Photo Subject (Photo © by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld. All rights reserved).

“Grasshopper”

one warm summer day
a debonair grasshopper
dines on a flower

spotting a street photographer
he grins between bites and bows

Copyright © 2018-04-14, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

Originally published on The Moments Between blog.

Day 26, Life-long learning | #NaPoWriMo2018

flower seed packets scattered on a desk
Next month’s flowers

nahaiwrimo:April 26 LEARN

Real life-long learning doesn’t have to be profound or deep or even long-lasting. Doing so keeps us young! While in Boston this last weekend, I learned that I love lobster rolls. I also learned that I love the warm welcoming people I met. Learning something new blesses us all in one way or another and perhaps only in hindsight. Onward!


a water pail
moist dirt between my toes
sunlight’s warmth
 
after a lingering winter
it’s time to plant flowers

Copyright © 2018-04-26, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

Day 30, A Closing Poem | #NaPoWriMo2018

Today’s prompt, write a closing time poem.

I had thought there would be more feelings about…more active involvement in the act of my dying. Interaction with this new experience. Not simply waiting in the not-silence, listening to my breath in- and outing…all other sounds too far away. I slip into sleep. When I wake, I listen for the sound of breathing, check to see if it’s really mine. Somewhere along the line, it won’t be, anymore.

solitary room
sounds fade away, approach again…
listening for forever

Copyright © 2018-04-30, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

 

Day 24: Growing Up | #NaPoWriMo2018

hometown cemetery

Prompt for the day, Cayahoga library: List all the jobs you have had, including volunteer work and other unpaid jobs. Turn the list into a list poem by rearranging, repeating or just titling it. /Or/ write a poem about one of them.

I thought I’d stick to the jobs during grade school and high school, leaving out the gardening chores, since that really was free labor for the common good.

 

“It’s good for you”

My first jobs, tedious but
character- and muscle-building
picking rocks at springtime
in farmers’ fields
kids’ time is cheaper than repairs

Father rented us out by the day

The second summer job lasted
much shorter than it seemed
which was always and forever
clipping grass around stones
mowing the cemetery grounds
setting traps for ground squirrels
who spoiled painstaking work—
lugging pails of well water
to drown the pests or
drive them out

Should have stuck with the rock picking

The best job of my childhood
was selling door to door
in a small town every household
finds the need for more stationery
cards for none or all occasions
so their children find buyers, too

Pay-off was a week or two
each August far away from home
for private and group lessons,
ensemble, band and choir rehearsals

Brass ensemble work cost extra…
Worth the miles walked to get there

Copyright © 2018-04-24, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

 

Rewriting the World – April 21

nahaiwrimo prompt for Day 21: PRINT

bookshelves beside my rocking chair
Rewriting the World

Bring Your Own Plot

Print has gotten smaller
in books as years go by
and letters crowd the line
with two or more ascenders
where only one should be, and
below the quivering baseline
the descenders stub their toes

I do not know what choice to make
to maximize these story times—
read very fast for fleeting joy…
or memorize my favorite lines
to savor when the light fades
and shadows darken all

We will call up treasured stories,
the characters and I, and we
will plot out better endings
in which none of us will die

Copyright © 2018-05-02, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

Day 19: Origins | #NaPoWriMo2018

Prompt for Day 19 is from the Cayahoga Library:

An “origin story” is the backstory of how a character became a protagonist or how superheroines (or -heroes) received theirsuperpowers. Write a poem that imagines your backstory as either a poet or a superhero(ine).

The Vicissitudes of Childhood

I learned to talk aloud
by learning how to read
line by line, books read—
two pages, pointing out
each word and saying it,
and when I’d read them back
I’d open up my mouth again…
to eat a bite of baby food
while Mother turned the page

Copyright © 2018-04-21, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Day 29: Whatever it takes | #NaPoWriMo

spring clouds behind barren tree branches

Brewer: “For today’s prompt, write a response poem. Respond to whatever helps you get your poem written…”

dry leaves dance above—
leaping higher than treetops
stripped by April winds

green shoots kissed by dirt and rain
pledge autumn one more harvest

Copyright © 2018-04-29, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

This poem is in response to a poem not from this challenge, but one that I wrote for the 2008 SFPA poetry contest; the theme was “Energy”. The poem’s title is “Future Freedom”. It’s the second poem on this page of my QuiltedPoetry.net blog.

Story Poem, another Day 27 prompt | #NaPoWriMo2018

Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a story poem. Think of a story, could be a long, complicated, winding story, but for a poem, it may make more sense to make it a short, direct story.

Sort of a plot summary of a book that I wrote, many years ago, and then put aside. I have no suitable photos to go with it. Comes to mind, again, every once in a while, morphing over…nearly 4 decades.

“Blood to Blood”

Not who he thought, his father,
not he who was seated as chairman
in his grandfather’s boardroom.

His true father, not by name, but blood,
one who labored in his mother’s gardens,
holding his hand as he took his first steps,

sharing carrots with him from those gardens.
Eating green peas nested in their pods,
they watched koi fish swim among the lilies.

As he grew, listening to rain and
painting the colors of the wind,
he came into his heritage and ran.

Not a heritage of wealth,
but fear, fleeing to the one
who taught him how to run.

Copyright © 2018-04-28, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

Day 22: As Far as the East Is | NaPoWriMo2018

For April 22, I selected this prompt from naprowrimo:

And now for our daily prompt (optional as always). I’ve found this one rather useful in trying to ‘surprise’ myself into writing something I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. Today, I’d like you to take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens: …” But the phrase that immediately came to mind was “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12.

As Far As The East Is

the sun rolls along
west is ahead—east, behind
just a glance away

In bright sunlight, all shadows
are behind me as I face the sun.

Copyright © 2018-04-25, by Elizabeth Bennefeld. [Playing catch-up.]

 

Day 18 – Tempted to Silence | #NaPoWriMo2018


Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a temptation poem. Nearly everyone is tempted by something: fame, glory, money, chocolate. Today is the perfect day to give in to the temptation to write about your (or “a friend’s”) temptation. Also, I totally understand the temptation to write about The Temptations today.

Tempted to Silence

as the years move on
as I move with them
or we go separate ways

I have less to say
there is less to hear
around me that inspires…

I don’t know what I miss—
words of kindness, uplifting
without self-serving thoughts

a different world, perhaps,
outside the door…with hope
for more than me and mine and yours

If I were alone, again
if there were no one to care
if I were there or here

I would take a lease
on a cabin in the woods
for enough years to die

listening to rain and bird calls
wind and ice and hearth fire
pencil scratching paper

the opening of a door

Copyright © 2018-04-18, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.

Day 15 – If I were a garden | #NaPoWriMo2018

late-spring garden

Prompt-
Cayahoga library: Katerina Stoykova-Klemer has written, “Often I Wish I Were// a potato.// Eyes opened/ in all directions.” Begin a poem with “Often I wish I were” and complete the  stanza with…” and  see where that takes your poem.

“Wishes”

I sometimes wish I were a garden
filled with roots, berries and such
I would renew both dirt and harvest
sending seeds throughout the Earth

I always wished I had big shoulders
broad and strong to share life’s cares
I’d wrap my arms around the crying
help transform their tears to joy

I often wish I were a spirit
floating high above the world…
I’d watch closely for the hurting
act to foster hope’s rebirth

Copyright 2018-04-15, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

Day 12 Prompt: Natural Landscape | NaPoWriMo2018

NaPoWriMo Prompt: Today, we’d like to challenge you specifically to write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. It may be the high sierra, dusty plains, lush rainforest, or a suburbia of tiny, identical houses – but wherever you live, here’s your chance to bring it to life through the charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun.

A Late Spring

Rabbits have eaten the bark from low Cotoneaster branches, leaving them bare to lingering cold, icy winds, and snow storms. Again this year, the bushes are at risk to dry and die when the heat does come, searing tender leaves. There will be no warm rains to waken grass seed strewn in hope, six months ago. Birds eat the grains, finding no new growth.

dormant flax seeds hide
beneath last autumn’s bent stalks
waiting for summer

Copyright © 2018-04-13, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Day 9: Who We Were | #NaPoWriMo2018

I decided to go back to April 9, to the Pilgrimage prompt, and wander a bit through the family tree. My mother was a genealogist, among other things, and we kids got to do research, each in our turn.

Who We Were
[still a rough draft]

Our people came from Iowa
by way of the Norman invasion,
Mayflower I and II, the Winthrop Fleet
by way of rivers on diverse craft
neighbors with neighbors
towns moving together

They arrived in the Firelands
then settled in Iowa and
opened South Dakota—farms
were lost behind the dam, so
back to small-town Iowa

Penneys went into retail, catalog sales
A connection of “our” Bennetts sent
Stanley to find Livingston
the Deans made sausage, and the
Gallops (Kolopp, from Alsace) took polls

The grocery store owner in
South Dakota patented a plow
the Carters served in India
as Methodist missionaries
Evangeline Ink wrote an exposé
novel about TB camp swindles

My generation and the next have been
lawyers, executives, freelancers, clerks
writing and publishing books,
poetry. textbooks, and many stories
nurses caring for the injured and elderly,
builders, handcrafters, quilters,
artists, musicians

Myself, I grow wild flax
in the backyard garden, take naps
with the puppy dogs, make up recipes
and do the laundry, play piano, and
hold my husband close to my heart

I read only as many books in a week
as I write poems, a photo for most
no children, but a library
gathered over a lifetime
determined to leave no book unread…
always buying more

There’s always time to write a poem…
time to read a book

Copyright © 2018-04-10, by Elizabeth W. “Lizl” Bennefeld.

Continue reading

Day 7: Sound | #NaPoWriMo2018

The prompt for today called for a poem involving one (or more) of the senses. I find that I still miss hearing those voices in the night, singing me to sleep.

bedclothes, folded down

“Night Sounds”

in the apartment where I lived
before I married, a quarter century past,
late at night through air ducts
the building sang to me
deep, rumbling chants
basso profondo choir

I recall the voices—
vibrations in my bones—
rocking me to sleep
wrapped in
silent
sound

Copyright © 2018-04-07, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.

Day 5 Prompt – Intelligence | #NaPoWriMo2018

Brewer: For today’s prompt, write an intelligence poem. Of course, intelligence is subjective. What is common sense for one person makes no sense to another. But intelligence is more than IQ and test scores. There’s artificial intelligence, intelligent animals, and military intel. And I’ve found that many poets have a special intelligence of their own.

the books by the chair

“Specialized Intelligence”

I’m good with words
Ideas flow from my mouth
guiding the bewildered
the puzzled, the lost

Just don’t ask me to repeat
what I said last—I can’t
My mind has moved
into a new channel

The sound of spoken words
often bypasses memory
The words that I gave you
rest only with you, now

Copyright © 2018-04-05, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Day 6: uneven lines | NaPoWriMo2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prompt from NaPoWriMo: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two….”

uneven lines

when the patterns that you see
do not mirror the observations of others
patterns can be dangerous
the loaded gun can go off
when patterns go askew
things can happen
even when they don’t
flow with the
current
script
a lot like my life

Copyright © 2018-04-06, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Day 2: Portrait | NaPoWriMo2018

Prompt: Portrait

the face in the mirror…mine
as I looked 30 years ago
gaunt…drawn…withdrawn
hair cut short—cut off

after all those years
do I appear the same to
anyone but me? will they
know me at a glance?

I will not know them
I did not know them then
then, I did not care
now, there is no one else

Copyright © 2018/04/02, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld (Lizl).

This one’s probably a rough draft.

Day 1: Dreams in Porcelain | #NaPoWriMo2018

 within the bowl
blue trees surround a small house
patterns from childhood
born of her best memories—
paths forward…wishes…hopes

Copyright © 2018-04-01, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld (Lizl).

I read both the NaPoWriMo and the NaHaiWriMo prompts for this day, coming away with “bowl” (haiku prompt) and NaPoWriMo’s suggestion to write a love poem to an object. They blended in my mind to produce “Dreams in Porcelain”, combining Mother’s memories of her childhood and her love of collecting such decorative pieces during her cross-country travels. As they reminded her, I expect, of her childhood, the memory of them calls up memories from my own childhood…and the dreams that she had and fostered for us.

 

Back in the Day (30 November 2017)

Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a “back in the day” poem. You might also
call this a “good old days” poem or a “bad old days” poem. To me, back in
the day is synonymous with history–but a kind of personal history (even if
shared among a community).

gold field…harvest time
footprints and downed stalks trail us
our shortcut home

— Elizabeth Bennefeld, Copyright © 2017-11-30.

In childhood, we wandered throughout the neighboring pastures and fields, afternoons and early evenings and weekend days. We swam in the creeks and marshes, rivers and shallow pond, often coming home soaked to the skin and coated with mud. When we arrived home in answer to Mother’s call, she often made us strip at the back door and sprayed us down with the garden hose until we were clean enough to come into the house, put on clean clothes, and help set the table for supper.

 

Response Poem (29 November 2017)

Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a response poem. The poem can be a response to anything–a piece of news, some art, a famous (or not so famous) quotation, or whatever. However, I thought it might be a cool opportunity to respond to a poem that you’ve written this month. If both poems work, it could make an interesting dynamic to have two (or more) poems that interact with each other.

leaves on edge
dance to autumn’s wind
jeté…temps levé

Elizabeth Bennefeld, haiku: Autumn Dance, Copyright © 2017-10-18

yesterday, leaves fell
today they spiral upwards
reaching for the sky

as nature strives for balance
who falls down, must rise again

Elizabeth Bennefeld, tanka, Copyright © 2017-11-29

Remember Me (24 November 2017)

My husband and I have been talking about this writing prompt, how we feel about being remembered after we die. As a writer, I thought at first that I would want my poetry to be remembered (and I would be pleased if people printed out a poem or two that spoke to them, since one does not remember poems, and contrary to popular belief, stuff on the Internet does not hang around forever). And I write too much, too often, to produce comprehensive books of my work.

Ephemeral experiences, however, are worthy of being cherished. So often, I find, people remember me because of my smile…and mention it to me, when they see me again after our first meeting. Smiles. Laughter. Recognition of a momentary rapport with a stranger. A moment of not-aloneness. When I experience that, I feel somehow more real.


Prompt for the 24th: Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a “how I’ll be remembered” poem. It’s an interesting question: How will I be remembered? My amazing looks? My incredible personality? My charitable nature? My goofy jokes? The cranky guy who’s always telling people to stay off his lawn? Dive into this introspection today.

 

Remember Me

If you remember me at all,
recall my joy—my laughter.

Remember me. The one who
looked into your eyes
and recognized a friend.

No matter that we’d never meet again.

Remember me, taking notice of you,
drawing your attention. I laughed…

And you laughed, too.

Copyright © 2017-11-24, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Outside the Window (23 November 2017)

black cat in a dark room, sitting under a lamp and looking out the window through lace curtains
Cat at the Window

songs of birds outside
a window too often closed—
their songs muted

cats cannot fly away…but
birds cannot escape the cold

Copyright © 2017-11-23, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Prompt 172. Write a poem using the following image: a cat sitting on a windowsill looking outside. ~ Donovan, Melissa. 1200 Creative Writing Prompts (Adventures in Writing) (p. 99). Swan Hatch Press.

Seeing Mother (16 November 2017)

my parents, photo taken in 2008 or 2009
Mother and Father

Prompt: “When I see my mother”

When I see her now
she looks so much younger—
filled with song

vigorous and happy, radiant…
sorrows past, still in love

—Elizabeth Bennefeld, 2017-11-18

Note:

My mother died on 15 November 2016 (age 94, and my father, a little more than 3 months later, age 100), and I have been trying to write a poem for the Day 14 prompt from PoetryPotion: “When I see my mother”.  It took me a while, but it was a writing prompt I wanted to respond to. (Also posting this on my Quilted Poetry blog.)

Solar Sky Diving (2 November 2017)

unfurl your wings
catch and sail the solar wind
from Venus to Earth

hide inside Luna’s shadow—
count the myriad divers stars

Copyright © 2017-11-02, by Lizl Bennefeld.

NaHaiWriMo prompt for November 2: solar wind.

I went with NaHaiWriMo’s prompt, again: solar wind. I remember reading a science fiction book (I think it was in Lightwing, by Tara Harper, 1992) that included traveling from asteroid to asteroid using foil sails powered by the solar winds of the star where their space station was placed in orbit. Sometimes I dream of it