Precisely, Pilot — NaPoWriMo7 (love poem to an inanimate object)

Though you’ve never been flexible,
I long for your touch every day.
When I reach out,
You warm to my hand
to make words flow
I know I’ve asked too much of you,
And soon you will run dry
Of patience
Of love
Of ink.


My best paper grading pen

My best paper grading pen


The Last Delicious Bite — Thoughts on NaPoWriMo now that it’s over.

This scribbler's notebook and pen.

This scribbler’s notebook and pen.

And so poetry month ended, not with a bang but a whimper (at least at my house). I didn’t get the final two poems written, having intended to get two more up yesterday evening, but the siren song of my pillow won the night. Today, a day out of the classroom in celebration of International Labor Day, I spent alternating between student essays and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Obviously, I made more progress on the novel than on the student essays. It’s been many years since it took me more than two weeks to grade a set of student essays, though this round looks like it may break all heretofore standing records. After two weeks, I’m merely halfway through. But I didn’t stop in to share my woes about my current student writers. (Or maybe these woes are more about me; anyway.)

In fact, this pit stop on the way to the asparagus “florentine” and salmon filet waiting in the kitchen is to close out NaPoWriMo. Honestly, I am sad to see it go. I looked forward to reading the prompt each day with my early morning coffee, and though each day I wished I could have had the prompt the night before, the prompt dutifully percolated away in my mind after breakfast while I milled around in students’ goings on, and the day’s news, and taking out the trash, and going to dance class, and all the quotidian details.

On the other hand, NaPoWriMo has been one of those guests that after thirty straight days, really could have packed it in a week earlier and been afforded a larger space for longing in my heart. The challenge of coming up with a new (albeit often bad to mediocre) set of semi-poetic looking / sounding words and phrases to post grew to be nearly tedious. Rather (I imagine) like trying to cook for guests every single day when you aren’t a chef. Sometimes, you just order take out and call it good. So I missed two days all together, and recycled two other days. Twenty-six out of thirty poems ain’t too shabby for a self-proclaimed essay scribbler.

The challenge did jerk my imagination out of routine and jangle words and syntax around on my tongue in ways that might not have happened for any other occasion. I will play again next time, though I might not cleave so closely to the prompts.

The best part of NaPoWriMo was reading the participants’ pieces each day. Early on, I had trouble getting to sleep before one or two in the morning because I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of the whorl of all their lovely, troubling, powerful words. What a wonderful reason to stay up late!

So, I won’t be around everyday. Once a week of me is more than anyone should have to tolerate. Besides, you also have other things to do and think. I thank you for all your comments and well-wishes and reading over these thirty days; I got some thoughtful feedback that was both helpful and inspiring. I return now to my weekly (ish) posting format with full faith that the exercise of NaPoWriMo has loosened up my tongue and brain and pen. ‘Till next week, then! ~LD

Two Cinquains: NaPoWriMo



of passing time
tangibly display life
in 3D fixed frames perching — still —

At the Movies: Two Thumbs Up

A life
considered in prose
revealed gentle, thoughtful
compassionate, analytic


* * *

I included both the pieces I came up with today because the first, the tribute to Roger Ebert, is off in line two, but I wanted to say this. The other is more precise, but precision is not my specialty, so I’m sure the stresses are off somewhere. Cinquains are harder than they look!

FYI, this photo is mine, as is the shadowbox in it. And a little more information: I’ve been including these prose post scripts more for myself than for you, though I hope you don’t hate them. The point is not to explain the poem, but rather to remember the process. I’ve never been much of a poet, though it is my favorite thing to write; I’ve never taken a challenge like NaPoWriMo before, so I’m curious to see, after the fact, what it was like from one day to the next.

Happy weekend! ~LD

A Door Ever Open

More of C. Patrick's eye

This photo is published here with permission from C. Patrick Neagle. Please check out his writing at AND on Amazon: Essays in Travel and Humor volumes 1 (Wanderer) and 2 (Nomad).

A simple complexity is the
archetypal door;
passage to another plane
Middle Earth
all await.

breath of Life

we face this door,
this very one,
with its defaced
concrete-block frame
and the creeping unknown
across the darkened threshold.

Still, we lie down,
Trusting in sunrise,
and pull the aging,
comforting quilt
up over our shoulders,
say our prayers,
close our eyes,
and take the step

into the heights
of the unknown
Every night.


Letter Home — a poem

my tree

first flowering after the big freeze of 2011 — this tree is now less than half its original size, but flowering again. Anyone know what kind of tree it might be?

The workaday world winds its way in wonder,
wilty-eyed workers drive on
Under whistling stars and winking moon

my inheritance 2012

Taken from the roof into the Mike and Amanda’s back patio…this sun is hanging in my dining room now, sans duckie. =*(

Fine, just fine
The way the sun comes up
Behind the backs of the mountains
Who roll back over and return to dream oblivion
They’ll never know that there was anything to miss

In full sun, the dusty haze of autumn
Begins to collect in the valleys
‘tween here and the ancient hills
behind the steam rising from my coffee mug

Grinding away at stones
We meet and greet
Smile and nod,
We understand and sympathize
Adolescent voices all a-clamor
Adolescent bodies reflect against
each other all unknowing
Like electrons and heat mirages

All summer’s sins sink satisfied against
cliffs’ skin, before the winds sweep in
Brush of winter chill hovers near
Cooler days to come
Will clear the dust from the air
Leaving the day to day
As it always was

the rainy season

All three of these photos are mine, and I accept all blame. =)

The workaday world winding its way in wonder,
wilty-eyed workers driving on
Under whistling stars and winking moon.


The “Two Boats” inspiration story

I bought a large print of the photo below for Mom (something like 21 x 31 inches) and had it framed at Christmas.  She liked it so well that she decided right away where to hang it, though it’s still not been hung. (I think she wants to paint that wall first. Maybe.) To be fair, it is sitting on the dresser below the target hanging zone where she can see it.

Then, she commissioned me to write a poem to go with the print.  I finally finished the “Two Boats” poem the week before I went to Texas to visit this summer.  You can find the final version of the poem below.

Two Boats by C. Patrick Neagle

C. Patrick Neagle’s other photos can be found at his zenfolio site:

I promise to make another shameless plug for Patrick’s work as soon as I figure out a few more technical details. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these two companion pieces. ~LD

Two Boats

Tied together in water and wood,
blood and bone,
this traveling party of warriors,
poets, water gypsies
now docked
and still in the surly sunset.
The skins once stretched
smooth around her bones
today reveal the lie
of the great grey slab
slung so calm and cool
across the circumference
of the glazed horizon.