Saturday, April 18, 2015



So yesterday I was quite poetry-involved, even though I didn't post anything. I spent an hour talking about poetry with three classes of students via the Internet. Now, I'm not actually a teacher, so whenever I get into situations where I have to do something like that the obsessing about it I do is unbelievable! The hour was both long and short. It was very strange, babbling at my computer while not being able to see to whom I was babbling. So yeah, did that, then went to Nelson to drop off income tax stuff and visit my sisters, then home, cooked dinner, sat down to watch the National, and boom! Woke up at eleven just long enough to go to bed and was just too tired to start writing anything. (The being tired like that is a natural result of the aforementioned obsessing).

But it's another day. Actually, it's almost eleven—again—but at least I'm conscious, so here goes today's effort.

The prompt, via the always interesting NaPoWriMo, is "to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical."

And I got nothing! 

An urgent journey? AND and important message?

Why is all I can think of to do with having to pee? Is there is message there? 


Why is when the line is long
it never seems to move?
If I were rich I'd add a row 
of special seats to prove 
how kind and generous I am,
how thoughtful and perceptive,
but be aware if there's a line
you'll suffer my invective.

So there. Historical,  mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical? You decide.

Thursday, April 16, 2015



Tied, tied, tied up, getting ready for tomorrows poetry talk, so I'm not doing the prompt, I'm just doing something short.


River's low—
with sand to walk on, 
hiking boots 
not bare feet.

Sun warms 
but doesn't bake, 
peels layers off overdressed me.

I'm walking with the dead today, 
with Daniela who, 
only a few weeks ago 
was looking to buy a bike,

whose daughter will know her
through stories and pictures
as she flourishes, grows.

And I'm walking with Dalia
who taught me, who came from
a people who didn't then,
that it's okay to hug,

whose grandchildren will know her 
through stories and pictures 
that will have to do.

Current's swift—
wouldn't want to wade in too far. 
Sometimes living feels that way
but we splash in, regardless,

sinking, swimming,
and one way or another
we make it to shore.

Free verse. Four alternating four-, then three-line stanzas. Yet another exploration of this thing called life. We'll call it a Crosfieldian.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015



"Write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of itself" is what we're up to today.

Here goes: 


Look how your words slither and slide across the page                  and trying to hide

then  s t r i d i n g  boldly out as if you're on skis,

the page in front of you

a steep, powder-laden run with only

the odd rock

                                           tree  x   tree
                                     tree       xx        tree
                              tree              xx               tree
                      tree                      xx                        tree

to slow



Sure, sometimes you wipe out

faceplant, lose your gear, break stuff

but sometimes you fly down that slope like you were made for each other 

which is why you keep doing it, 



Tuesday, April 14, 2015



Today, instead of giving you a new poem, I'm going to post a link to a YouTube video and if you're so inclined you can hear me reading ten poems. It's 15 minutes of me!

I'm not writing a new one today because I'm working on a lesson/talk that I'm giving this Friday to students in various classrooms that will be connected, via the magic of the Internet, with me at home.
I'm participating in Rocking the Page! —a virtual online writers' festival convened by the Kootenays's Arrow Lakes School District #10. This involved me making a video while I was in La Manzanilla. (If you doe me you'll dotice I had a bit of a code whilst making it.)

Huge thanks to my friend Martin, who assisted with the filming and edited out the bit where I piteously called for water and for getting it all onto an SD card complete with a title so I could load it to YouTube once I got home. Here, again, is the link.

The poems:



Halfway Down He Stares

Why I'm Not Looking For the Cat

The Quilt

What's Best For Us

Salty Meringue Madness and the Traveling Fair


Just Before Dusk

Mango Dirge

And, just because in Canada this year the National Poetry Month theme is "food", here's a shot of the three men in the Friday tianguis in La Manzanilla who cut and squeezed enough orange juice to fill my two-litre jug.

Thanks for reading (and today, possibly listening). I appreciate the comments.


Monday, April 13, 2015



Today NaPoWriMo is looking for a riddle poem. I have never been good at solving riddles and I doubt I'll excel at writing one, either. But on a more positive note, I got a bunch of apr├Ęs being away stuff done today: preparing piles of paper to do with income tax, making some phone calls to sort of stuff that couldn't be sorted from Mexico, working on a poetry presentation I'm doing this Friday.

And here's a poem. Or, there will be a poem as soon as I write it. It may or may not be a riddle poem. Well okay, a riddle poem, then.


Up, down, all around
you go, catching my eye
though I can't catch you.
You've been away, now you're back
haunting the places you discovered
when you were growing up—
polka dot shirt, burnt orange scarf,
a yard all to yourself,
no feline to torment you this year
as you flick berries off the bush
and hunker down, here today,
gone tomorrow, glad you're back.


Sunday, April 12, 2015



Day 12. Still feeling slightly guilty for missing one day, but I expect I'll get over it. Today I am spending time with The Computer. After three months away it has various upgrades that need to be attended to, which inexorably lead to other upgrades, which inevitably lead to trying to load something that then doesn't work which means more trouble-shooting. Gah!

So, for a quick change of pace, I shall attempt today's poem prompt, brought to you by NaPoWriMo. (I know some of my poet friends are doing several daily challenges. Hats off! I can barely manage one!)
The Prompt:
"Describe in great detail your favorite room, place, meal, day, or person. You can do this in paragraph form.
Now cut unnecessary words like articles and determiners (a, the, that) and anything that isn’t really necessary for content; leave mainly nouns, verbs, a few adjectives.
Cut the lines where you see fit and, VOILA! A poem!"

Well, okay. I can write about a space that is a current obsession with me.

The Prose:
At first I don't think I can go in. The yard, overgrown with cacti, palm trees of various sizes, low creeping ground cover looks like a haven for snakes and scorpions, to say nothing of other unfriendly fauna. There is a path from the north-south road that leads to where you can see the eye hanging in a window. The doorway, open to the the elements, is mine if I skirt down the lightly trodden path beside the brick wall. I run. Inside, I see the art someone has inflicted on the walls.  A long, red arm reaches from doorway to window. And on the dirt floor, a brave green attempt at life by something. There are circles on the floor, formed by brick or stone. Black stick figures straddle canyons in the mind. Whose mind? Why? A secret. But this only tells what it looks like. This can't impart the low rising of back-of-neck hairs, the total silence in this ever-noisy town, the strange mask on the wall beneath the stairs that lead nowhere. 

The Poem:

At first, I can't go in.
Overgrown with cacti, 
palm trees, low creeping ground cover,
the yard a haven for snakes and scorpions. 

Path from the north-south road 
leads to the  always-open eye hanging in a window. 
The always-open doorway is mine 
if I skirt the path beside the brick wall. 

I run. 

Inside, someone has inflicted art upon the walls. 
A long, red arm stretches from doorway to window. 
On the dirt floor, a brave green attempt at life 
by something. 

Circles on the floor, 
sketched in brick and stone. 
Black stick figures straddle canyons in the mind,
somehow hopeful, somehow out of place.

Whose mind? 

And why this strange, foreboding mask 
on the wall beneath stairs to nowhere?
How to explain the profound and utter 
silence in this ever-noisy town?


Saturday, April 11, 2015



Dear lord. Write a what today? I had rather a busy day, wasn't around the computer much, went to hear Naomi Klein talk about climate change over at the Brilliant Cultural Centre tonight, and now it's 11PM and, well, here I am!

Today we are being asked, and nicely, I might add, for in the event we do not wish to play with the prompt we can write any darned thing we choose, to write a poem using "Sapphics". These, and here I quote the NaPoWriMo site, are "quatrains whose first three lines have eleven syllables, and the fourth, just five. There is also a very strict meter that alternates trochees (a two-syllable foot, with the first syllable stressed, and the second unstressed) and dactyls (a three-syllable foot, with the first syllable stressed and the remainder unstressed). The first three lines consist of two trochees, a dactyl, and two more trochees. The fourth line is a dactyl, followed by a trochee." 

Sounds like something you might encounter on a dinosaur hunt, doesn't it? Well, here goes, and it's going to have one stanza:

First Consideration of a Sapphic Poem

Why oh why oh why must I try to write when
all the words I find in this churned up word soup
won't be caught, or, certainly not by one so
          ignorant as I.