from the darkness
birds call out their parting songs
the day is done…now
Copyright © 2019-04-06, by Lizl Bennefeld.
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.”
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.
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
after a lingering winter
it’s time to plant flowers
Copyright © 2018-04-26, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
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.
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.
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 blog.
Cuyahoga Library prompt: Cleveland poet Russell Atkins describes a backyard that “has hold/ of the throats/ of trees.” Write a poem that personifies your backyard, or the backyard of someone you know, during a particular season of the year.
like an old grave site
the fenced-in garden bed lies
shadowed by bare limbs
last fall’s scattered stalks conceal
shoots of this year’s wildflowers
Copyright © 2018-04-28, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
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.
waves beat on the shore
playing footsies with strangers
then slipping away
wind and sand party along
the beach … Catch me if you can!
Copyright © 2018-04-27, by Elizabeth Bennefeld, final version.
Prompt: Ronovan Writes Haiku challenge of 23 April 2018: Beat and Party.
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.]
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.
NaHaiWriMo Prompt for day 11: stone(s)
dry path through the heavy dew
bold whispers of spring
violets perfume the breeze
moonlight bathes the late-night waves
Copyright © 2018-04-13, by Lizl Bennefeld.
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,
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.
NaPoWriMo Prompt: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of simultaneity, in which multiple things are happening at once.”
geese cry overhead
the dogs sit up and listen
leaves remain silent
I would fly like those wild birds
fly to be with you again
Copyright © 2018-04-10, by Lizl Bennefeld.
tulips pushing through
loam to newly fallen snow
wait in line for spring
our rabbits, lacking new grass,
nibble tender tulip shoots
Copyright © 2018-04-08, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
We have a lot of rabbits in our yard and the surrounding neighborhood, which we appreciate, since they provide a lot of exercise for our dogs. First thing in the morning, they are eager to go outside and check for rabbits who’ve stayed out eating past the softer light of sunrise. They have such fun! Especially when the rabbits run off in different directions…or taunt the dogs by making an extra detour around the garden shed before slipping out through the fence.
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.
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
Copyright © 2018-04-07, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
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.
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.
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….”
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
a lot like my life
Copyright © 2018-04-06, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Prompt for Day 4 from the NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook.
reconsider this day’s world
warmth and rest can set thoughts free
transforming dreams into flight
Copyright © 2018-04-04, by Lizl Bennefeld.
life of words
filtered through words
life lived at second hand
a slower pace—indepth
without the words
written out or spoken—
if only heard, repeat them
before they disappear
into the aether—
wordless melodies and rhythms
sensory nonsense songs
without the verbs
subjects and adjectives
caught in imaged
letters upon the mind
sounds are only
Copyright © 2018-04-03, by Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld.
Again, a rough draft, I expect.
the face in the mirror…mine
as I looked 30 years ago
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.
within the bowl
blue trees surround a small house
patterns from childhood
born of her best memories—
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.
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.
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
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
red-winged blackbirds celebrate
clinging to his reedy stalk,
feathers fluffed, the father sings
sunshine through leaves
kissed by frost…changing color
Copyright © 2017-11-26, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Prompt: Brewer: shine
raindrops on the roofraindrops on the window paneraindrops all aboutrain came down, this week, in sheetsthat can’t be used for sails
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.
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.
stacks of clothes
worn and freshly laundered
the outside world fades away
when words are singing in my mind
Copyright © 2017-11-24, by Lizl Bennefeld.
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.
Copyright © 2017-11-22, by Lizl Bennefeld.
forcibly polarized world
dark skin or white…no gender
pushed to declare a side
Copyright © 2017-11-21, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Prompt from PoetryPotion: “The war inside”
we didn’t expect
oceans dead, oxygen gone
cities down sink holes
we thought…smog and air filters
Copyright © 2017-11-21, by Lizl Bennefeld.
I believe that the 19th day was the one that I missed in the poem-a-day string. Having given up on the prompts for that day, I found a prompt that did appeal to me: Not what we expected (from PoetryPotion, Nov. 20). Now, I should be caught up on the writing of ’em, if not the posting.
sharp north winds
broken cloud cover
winter…refuge from the heat
cold seeps into these old bones
Copyright © 2017-11-20, by Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld.
banked camp fire
glowing embers toast
the last s’mores
laughter and hot cocoa
childhood memories of love
Copyright © by Elizabeth “Lizl” Bennefeld, 2017-11-15
harvest mountain fogcatch droplets on nets—waterto green the desert
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
cradled by blades of grass—
free of dew
one feather fell to earth
together the rest still fly
Copyright © 2017-11-01, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Not a novelist, I intend to write (at least) one poem a day during November 2017, during the 2017 #NaNoWriMo challenge.