Poetry Marathon 2023

After editing the half-marathon last year, I am back again this year as an eager participant! I have been busy since the 2022 Poetry Marathon with all things, poetic… I offered a ‘Playing with Poetry’ workshop online via Zoom and will now be presenting it in person at ‘Write on Bowen’, in beautiful British Columbia, in mid-September. My poem, ‘The Orange Door’, took second place in the Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize and will be forthcoming with the other winners of the contest in an anthology called, ‘Fire From the Heart’, this Fall. I also recently learned that a poem from another contest I entered, ‘The Ekphrastic Challenge’, is published online: ‘sleepy hollow’, after the painting, Hills and Rivers, Steamboat at Sleepy Hollow, by John Kane (USA) 1929. I am looking forward to meeting and writing with other poets this coming weekend and wish everyone luck as they begin this creative endeavour!

Prompt Twelve (last poem for me in the half marathon)

a gathering of poets

around a drum,
the room filled with inspiration,
we gather to share our words. the long haul of
covid slowly behind us, some still donning masks,
we hear the rustle of paper, the shuffle of feet,
and a chorus of snapping fingers when the
lines are done. Nodding heads and contemplative
murmurs at the turn of a phrase, the twist of a
rhyme, and the toe-tapping beat of the metre. How
we missed this sustenance over the past two years,
the heartbeat of metaphors, the pop-off-the page
imagery that brings us right into the poet’s mind,
and how a simple word, can pull a broken world back

(This poem was inspired by both the picture and the word prompt.)


Prompt Ten

A lone harlequin rasbora swims under
the red tinted Indian ocean, its
metallic orange body shimmering
with the sun’s rays. It flits through
the warm waters, watching angelfish
and humphead wrasse and thinking
about the members of its family,
turning at the same time, rising
up as one, never doing anything
of their own volition. How dull to
shuffle left and right, bumping into
one another, the proximity so tight.
To see the same sights day after day
after day after day because that is
all there is when you move in the
same circles. He ventures to other
spots, learns from manta rays, tastes
delicacies from the cool regions
and dreams in rhyme.


Prompt Nine


A Prize in Every Box

Popcorn in the cupboard prompts
a cascade of childhood memories—

the boxes of ‘Cracker Jack’; once-a-
week-treats, with a treasure in every box.

Sunday brunch at The Owl’s Nest,
dressing in fine clothes, carrying

a purse with a gold strap and wearing
freshly polished Buster Brown shoes.

Acting like a grown-up until the server
invites me to check out the hidden

treasure box filled with trinkets and toys
and I don my childhood antics, once again.

The wonder and joy of not knowing
what one will find on opening the lid.

Though the clock now ticks time away,
maybe we all need to pause: to be

curious again, to be surprised—
to look for buried treasure.


Prompt Eight


Wishful Thinking

Like Wordsworth and the Lake Poets
I wish to rusticate; leave the bustle

and daily grind behind; the tiresome
car alarms, the screaming children, the
mournful howls of the dog two doors down.

I wish to sit in a bower, framed with gardenias
and listen to fox sparrows call to one another

from the hidden branches of blackberry bushes—
watch while bohemian waxwings get tipsy

as summer wanes under September skies.
Like Wordsworth and the Lake Poets

I wish to sit in a bower, framed with gardenias
and lose myself in the quiet moments thinking
of how fortunate it is to have this treasured space.

Then the phone rings and the clock ticks toward
the supper hour and children need to be fed.



Prompt Seven

Picture of ‘Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge’ in Golden, BC


hearkening to a bygone era
promises to keep one safe—
the covered bridge



Prompt Six


Dear C,

Do you remember that day in Tofino,
the bent trees like old men watching
the tide roll in? We never thought we’d
reach that age, but here you are, ticking
away the years. I know we wouldn’t
have seen them together, having parted
ways earlier, but I still thought about

How we knicked down the path at Cathedral
Grove, you on my back, then me carving
our initials into the railing of the wooden
bridge, you smiling—as if preserving this
moment, forever. How we whispered, ‘I
love you’ in the back of your Dad’s old
Ford, then giggled like children for the
rest of the trip home.

Though my hospital stay was cut too short
and my new love unable to stay with me
that first day I convalesced at home, I need
you to know I didn’t suffer. I saw both of you
there, my first love and my forever love,
on either side of my bed, gently holding
my spirit, as I moved on.



Prompt Five


on her own path

she always had a satchel filled with lavender by her side,
the fireplace roaring and warming her small space; a
wine glass on the side table. she preferred a hardback
to the new-fangled softcovers, one that was sturdy and
would last the ages, as if a metaphor for herself. but

continuing the story from chapter twenty would have
to wait. a ball of wool—cashmere—for her daughter
living up in the big city, rolled from her lap. her knitting
needles never missed a stitch, clacking away the late
afternoon, while a pot-roast sizzled and spit on the stove.

the popcorn stitch, which was what her daughter asked for,
was new to her, but she laboured and worked her fingers
until her knuckles felt raw, to be sure she had it just right.
her daughter was enrolled in university and would be
taking a job soon after graduation. would these needles

then be put away with no promise of little feet to wear
her knitted slippers, or little arms to poke through the
sleeves of sweaters, or patterned blankets to keep the
grandchildren warm? no matter, she thought, standing
and placing the roll of wool on the oak table, where a

fresh sunflower graced a gilded vase. each must take
their own path before the nail seals the coffin, that is
what her mother always told her. a mouse scurried
under the floorboard, a dropped piece of cheddar cheese
in his tiny paws; from her lunch, no doubt, and she knew

he would feast on what he’d found. her daughter would
feast, as well. not just on knowledge, but on the path
she wandered, feeling the firm pavement beneath her
feet. pavement that took her away from home, but on
a path to her future. her destiny. her life.

(I was able to use all ten words from this prompt: Hardback, sunflower, knitting, cheddar cheese, space, wine glass, pavement, nail, oak, satchel)

1 2 3 7