April poetry challenge #1




The photograph above is one of five that will be posted, one each Wednesday during April 2014, in commatology’s April poetry challenge as part of National Poetry Month.

The challenge: Write a poem about (or inspired by) the photograph above and submit it using the comment box at the bottom of the page. You may use your own name or make one up. Don’t worry if you’re “not a poet.” The idea is to have fun.

All entries must be submitted before midnight Pacific time on April 30, 2014.

At 8 a.m. on May 1, 2014, I’ll randomly select one entry. The lucky poet will win a $25 gift package (your choice of five packages) from Brick Books.

Enter as many poems as you like, but make each one original.

Photo credit: LadyheartMorgueFile



16 Responses to “April poetry challenge #1”

  1. Amy Jaarsma

    Time out chair.
    Where do you go to have a time out?
    The garden to pull weeds
    And deadhead the flowers.?
    A City park with an umbrella,
    to dance through the showers?
    To children this was punishment,
    for doing something wrong.
    For an adult nowadays,
    it keeps us mentally strong.
    A quiet chair in the corner,
    With a good book to read.
    Sounds like a good place,
    A good place, indeed!

    • commatologist

      Thanks for your poem, Amy. 🙂 My time out chair is a purple Adirondack pointed at the Sisters. Where is yours?

  2. commatologist

    One Last

    Irene and Henry helped Uncle Tom pack the wagon, every
    last bed
    last chair
    last plate
    last hope that life would be better here
    piled high
    strapped down
    and loaded onto a freight car
    bound for Chinguacousy.

    Father sat with his back to the door,
    holding the
    baby, shell

    “No soldier should be allowed to think that loss
    of nervous or mental
    control provides an honourable
    avenue of escape
    from the battlefield.”

    So he endured the
    shellfire snipers’
    bullets rats explosions gas infections

    so he could come home
    to Pearl and the children.

    We’ll buy a farm in British Columbia,
    Pearl decided.
    Make a new start.
    Raise turkeys, grow apples.

    He stared a thousand
    yards and said

    so they came.

    Three years came
    and went, three
    seasons of growth, three
    harvests, three
    snow-muffled winters, three
    children flourished and a fourth
    onto the scene.

    Slowly the light
    to Father’s eyes. The intoxicating
    of lilacs in June. The way
    the turkeys advanced
    up the north
    slope in August to nibble
    on peavine. The eagle that swooped
    to snatch
    the hat from his head as he sat on Bandit’s
    back. He was a/part
    of something

    And then Pearl took sick.

    Tuberculosis in her kidneys, the
    doctor said. She grew
    and weak
    one last

    and she was gone.

    Henry doesn’t want to leave and he
    thinks that Father
    sits with his back
    to the door because he can’t
    bear to watch
    Uncle Tom
    lug their meagre
    from the house.

    But Irene knows
    that Father’s thousand-
    yard stare is trained
    up the north
    for the turkeys to fly home
    one last

  3. Amy Jaarsma

    I like to sit on the back deck with a pair of binoculars spying on the mountain goats as they come lower in the spring to graze…. The whole property is my time out spot…. I just love coming home to the quiet peace away from the hustle and bustle of work and town….

  4. Amy Jaarsma

    Someone Else

    I tiptoed but still couldn’t reach.
    Why was it put up so high?
    I wasn’t going to break it, I knew it was fragile.
    Everybody else just ignored it… couldn’t they see?
    No of course they couldn’t, it was darkened in the hallway.
    They went about their business, waiting for someone else to do something about it.

    I stretched as tall as I could,
    It just wasn’t meant to be.
    I needed to find something.
    Something to make me just a little bit taller.
    How else was I going to be able to reach it?
    I was determined to be that someone who was going to do something about it.

    I looked to my left, then my right,
    there, over by the wall, I spied
    A chair that would do the trick.
    I moved it to sit in just the right spot.
    And with the goods held tight in my hand,
    I climbed up on that chair and replaced the bulb.

  5. commatologist

    Thanks, Amy. I keep hoping to see mountain goats on our slopes, but I haven’t yet.

    Q: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Three. One to curse the darkness, one to light a candle, and one to climb up on a chair with the goods held tight in their hand.

  6. Judy Jaarsma

    My Treasure

    Years ago a good chair I sought.
    I found an antique that I bought.
    It’s sturdy and oak
    And though I’m now broke;
    Part with it? I surely wood knot.

    • commatologist

      I once met a poet named Judy
      Who was artistic and by no means moody.
      She liked to have fun
      Quite oft’ with a pun
      And her antique oak chair was her booty.


  7. Jennifer Woppenkamp

    I sat next to the mirror never looking in, afraid of what I’d see
    You’re short, too wide, even though you’re glazed in lipstick and rouge
    you’ll never hide the stain, Miss Born, that covers up your bruise

    Took years to understand I’m strong and sturdy
    and layers of paint have left me kind and smart and funny
    My awkwardness behind me forever creeping in
    Naked, bare and paying penance for someone else’s sin

    I see your eyes, they’re mine, the same
    You, my love, have change me
    Stripped me, took me back to the grain
    To show my raw mahogany

    My words, my thoughts had become my truth
    But they will not be yours, not words for you.

    • commatologist

      Stripped me, took me back to the grain
      To show my raw mahogany

      I love these lines. Thanks for your entry, Jennifer!

  8. Anne Chilibeck

    Alone at last
    a quiet corner beckons
    smells of cedar
    worn planks
    looking to touch
    and be touched
    I close my eyes
    the room enfolds me
    letting me

  9. Jewel

    my chair holds one side
    the other is there
    listening and laughing.

    I sit, I send, I am with you.

    The wall is my
    drum, thrum, strum these words of joy
    against the strong boards.

    reverberation, shared with friends

  10. commatologist

    Not quite alone
    in the cedar-planked room I
    drum, thrum, strum
    Anne is here
    Jewel, too.
    Thank you, matilda magtree
    I don’t mind if I do.

  11. Diana Z

    “Said the Lonesome Chair” made me chuckle! Maybe poetry is not that hard after all!



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