Hour Twelve

A Poem about A Spider, That Doesn’t Rhyme

Oh, long ago spider

The one that bit my finger while I tidied the garden

A thousand miles from here

I never even saw you

And you must have died over twenty years hence

And yet your venom lingers

Cold in the flesh, numb in the skin

Stiff in the knuckle

I don’t know what color you were

I don’t even know if you were tiny or huge

Or somewhere in between.

Hour Eleven

I prepared for two whole days before this marathon. I reviewed my poetry already written, reviewed old prompts from past years and played with possibilities, wrote a couple poems for practice. I was totally on board and ready for today. Then I woke up with a very sore throat, ten minutes before the first one was due, and dragged myself to my computer. Despite everything, I could not stay awake and could not think poetic thoughts, could not feel any emotions aside from a desperate need to go back to bed. I stayed with it for three hours anyway. I am disappointed, deeply sad that this event that was so important to me could not go as planned.

After sleeping a few hours, I still don’t feel great, but at least I’m not falling asleep on my keyboard and waking up with seventeen rows of the letter N where a poem should be.

I have reviewed the prompts given, and the one that spoke to me the most so far was Hour Five, a childhood memory.

Redwood Cathedral

What do I remember most?

The smell of redwood dust

Every inch of ground was made of

Pulverized redwood from the centuries of rotting logs

It was a summer campground under tall, tall trees

Many numbered clearings formed the rented sites

Each with water, hookups, a ring of stones

Containing ash and charcoal

Daddy loved to build the fire

Mommy loved to cook over it

What is it about food cooked over fire

That tastes ten times better?

Every campsite backed up to wild redwood forest

Each with a character all its own

Each year, a different site we chose to occupy

Each year, new explorations to be made

The seeming-untouched wildness drew me

I a child of eight or nine or ten

Always in my thick soled flip-flops

Set off alone to see what I could see

Even as a little one I sensed, I loved

How spiritual it felt among the shrubs and ferns

So far below the roof of greenery, the redwood canopy

Perhaps the residue of happy times

Rituals of growth and gratitude and familial love

Practiced by the native peoples who once dwelled

Who worshipped everything they saw and felt

Emotions not unlike the way a child like me

Experienced the green

The sunwashed yellow green above

The dappled ground around me, undisturbed

By any human feet

Yet always full of motion, tiny changes

Full of unexpected wonders

A cathedral built of close set living redwood trees

Standing in a circle close together, so close they all were touching

The stump of long dead mother tree

Inside it, and one gap, one tree

That wasn’t there, as if,

As if to welcome a footed occupant

To come inside, stand against the mother tree

Look up and see

A redwood starburst shape

Converging on a pulsing, sunny center

Brilliant yellow green with beams

That shot down on my head and shoulders

Ever moving, ever changing, warm and sweet

Blessing me like God.



Hour Four

“The prompt for this hour is to write a four stanza poem. The stanzas can be as long or short as you want them to be. In each of the stanzas, you most repeat one of the lines in the first stanza. It can be the same line repeated in each stanza or a different line in each stanza.  This can have a dramatically different effect, depending on the length of the line and the length of the stanza.”

Four stanza poem?

Why not just ask for the moon?

Easier than this.

Hour Three

None of the pictures elicit an emotional response. All I can think of is lying down, closing my eyes, and going back to sleep. So I could take a quick catnap, and not fall much behind. Couldn’t I?

I could not. By the time I am refreshed enough to get out of bed, half the day’s prompts will have come and gone. I am only sitting here from a strong commitment I am adamant about.

Sorry folks, as I struggle to maintain consciousness, I may be leaving a very long trail of haikus.


Sleep, my enemy

Stolen another, have you?

Dear God, eleven oh six


Hour Two

My poet brain is still asleep in the bed. I listened to the song for hour two. I thought about the prompt and encouraged words to come, but no. I’m posting another haiku.

I’m now behind, and considerably stressed though trying not to be.


At a loss, it seems.

Open, ready. Poesy

Won’t return my calls.


Hour One

I’m barely out of bed and will not be using the prompt, which sound extremely cool by the way…

My hour one poem is destined by circumstance to be short; therefore, a haiku:


Waking with the thrill

Of grand anticipation

And just twelve minutes


You Have My Respect

It’s an honor and a privilege to be counted among this year’s half-marathoners. I’m a first-timer here.

I may one day feel equipped to take on the 24-hour challenge. In the meantime, isn’t this exciting!

My secret dream is to be a published novelist. I don’t have grand literary aspirations; I don’t want to write the great American novel. I just want to finish something people will buy. Like a category romance or a historical. Then continue to do so repeatedly until further notice.

Despite said cherished dream, for some reason poetry comes to me more easily than novel writing. Not that it is ever really easy; it is always hard work to produce a finished poem. But at the inspiration stage, it just seems to flow, whereas, when I sit down to work on one of the many novels I carry in my head, I get so caught up in plotting, and naming characters, and getting facts right, and other necessities, that I almost never achieve the effortless flow of original wording that I experience when a new poem has me by the muse.

This is why I was so quick to sign up for The Poetry Marathon. I have done NaNoWriMo before, and this seems much more accessible. I tend to overthink my decisions, but one day about a week ago, I read about the Marathon for the first time in my life. Less than ten minutes later, the decision was made and my application sent off. One of the easiest decisions of my life. I don’t know why it was, but it felt fabulous.

By rights, any sane person should seriously hesitate. It takes guts to sign up for this, folks. You have my respect. I wish every poet here a deeply satisfying, best-case startling effort!