Hour #5 / Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

Got my hardback novel ‘neath this old oak tree.

A sunflower springs up behind me,

feeling groovy.

So I sing to myself

over and over.

Groovy, recapturing youth.

Groovy, slowing down in the midst of great change.

Groovy, delighting in the life we’ve been knitting from

improvisation and heartache.

Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

Yet the words no longer rhyme.

We look for our sunshine silhouettes

on the pavement

making us taller and bigger and better, just as we want to be.

Yet, we know such fancy and hope no longer exist.

Sweet innocence does not return

as we gather treasures in

a satchel,

a cigar box,

a childhood lunch box.

Such carefree memories we will whisk away and

shut forever with this nail of time and

cruelty which has wizened us.

We try to sing, but the words won’t complete.

Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

Ba da-da dah dah dah dah . . . . .

The song will not complete,

so we make space for silence.





2122 and 1922 Prompt Hour #4

Step Right Up! Step Right Up! Ladies and Gents.

The tour will begin soon for you lovely Ladies and Gents.

This brave new world of 2122 promises to bring you shudders of delight.

Notice the beauties!

Bobbed hair, bared knees and shoulders, lips painted just right, just right, just right, just right, but still no rights.

Oh yes, you have the vote. So go ahead and be sure to vote dear little ladies.

health care, credit, jobs, and children remain under the domain of husbands and your politicians

Yet still, vote, little ladies. Your Charleston plays on and on. . . .Step Right Up!

Sail down this river with me.

Fordland’s rubber empire has been de-rusted and polished.

Marvel at our space-age assembly in this cleared Amazon forest.

True, we don’t need to see those who live behind the factories.

After all, poverty is such an ugly plight.

All is right, right, right and humming in this tropical Brazilian night.

Sway to the beats of the Brazilian Samba as we dance through the night.

Step Right Up! Step Right Up!

What fun we’ll have as we wander into those naughty neighborhoods.

We will dance to the Darktown Strutters Ball, delight in exotic Oriental and Egyptian smokes.

indulge in all that is outlawed and expensive. Your needs are settled for today, just today.

We just clear away debris and make everything shine for you so it seems right, right, right.

Step right up, Little Ladies.

Step right up.


Our Waltz // Prompt #3

Oh, how we’ve danced these last two years.

Our first twenty? Merely practice for our waltz

of surviving, fretful tears, hushed and distant goodbyes.

We breathed the same air, now precious and scarce

as our world gasped for more through sobs and jolts.

You bowed then tipped your hat, and I curtsied with

a demure glance again to catch your direction.

Where would our dance lead us?

This same dance of rhythm, two four six eight steps

repeating the melody in a song which grew deeper,

more resonant each day we were blessed to dance.

You are now the one closest to me,

mine who grew closer as our pivots changed to pirouettes.

Our shared precious air, our quiet sky, our shaky dance,

drawing us together in our daily gavotte, our high steps,

our shimmy, our moments of stillness as music swept over us.

You have been the truest partner in our waltz.


Hour #2: A Line From Robert Frost

The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
Summer Interrupted
Winter’s deepest peace was designed to gather strength for summer,
the time for hardest work.
So were my reflections remembering my horse that winter evening.
We kept our commitments which swept over us, yes.
We nestled in at night, breathing in crisp winds that woke our souls.
We let the downy flake fall over our homes like delicate lace.
So we let winter snow turn to spring’s fresh dew.
Little did we know the summer’s storms would destroy our toils;
the sheltering barn would collapse, and the growing fields would burn.
All we had prepared
were really prayers
like silent angels
gently coming to us
on that clear winter night.
These golden tidal waves have stolen our sleep’s cherished dreams.
All strength must go into grasping daily survival.
Life we had prepared for has been interrupted,
yet my horse and I force ourselves onward, and
colors will deepen again,
we’ll grow new depths of silent majesty,
and we’ll again find the holy nights for soft bells as we sleep.

Prompt #1 / Hour #1 Write a poem about being in water.

Once a proud horse galloping across waving grasses

deepest green turned blue

the sun warming and nourishing her senses

she belonged among the warm winds and soft rains.

Her home was free.

Her whole being was boundless.

She found herself swept in the flood

as the blue burnished darker and

grass turned into tangling seaweed.

Her whole being was bound, yet

she learned to pivot and twist.

The tides caressed warm waves around her

and she became a seahorse.

Proud now with a majesty born of forced then determined transformation,

she glides through the water’s depths.


Nerves, Neurons, News — My First Post

Saturday morning came far too quickly. Despite all my planning to write and practice the random poems, I was busy with scholarship galas, work collaboration, and following the news at every level of community – from my home neighborhood to the world stage. Like you, my nerves are activated — that wonderful, terrifying moment when we take a deep breath and see the view before diving into a new adventure. In my ongoing healing, I am working to always protect and connect my noggin’s neurons, and well, I already mentioned the news. I suspect all of these will be part of my twelve poems throughout today’s half marathon.

I look forward to all I will read and will write!



Greetings from Kansas City, Missouri! Jan Rog, 2022

Hello, I’m Jan. I teach English, love reading, and (surprise) have taken new delight in exploring my neighborhood. This will be my fourth Poetry Half-Marathon. I completed my first two but found my energy waned last year (2021). Still, I have returned and have found more comments from you remarkable people.  What fun it will be to write with you all, read your works, and make new friends along the way. . . .


Hour Seven / Normal – Not So Normal

"norm" becomes "morn" when we scramble letters together, 
a new beginning coming each morning with morning owls and train whistles
again, again, again, again, and again 

"morn" becomes "mourn" when we let rhymes enter our lives, 
and we mourn small freedoms and inevitably massive, humble human lives we loved
again, again, again, again, and again

"norm" morphs into active "norming" as we scatter, zoom, plan,
pivot, engage, unmute, correct, revise, test, evaluate, assess, restart
again, again, again, again, and again

"norming" becomes "morning" once again as we pick up our lives
and elevate each other with arms that stayed apart too long

we must begin anew in this morning as we create our own normal
again, again, again, again, and again

Hour Six, 2021 / Responding to a Musical Piece

Until nothing remained but the soaring melodies 
Pandora's demons escaped and 
writhed twisted gnarls
around years filled with divisive tears
cruelties and blind loyalties
deadends leading to deaths
stony silent under silent stones.
Pandora's box had been nothing but 
a mirror after all, 
which revealed the dankest rank within 
ourselves which we alone drank in, 
poisoning our goodness with greed. 
We drank first eagerly then regretfully
aware that we had to imbibe what we 
poured to others. 
Churns and churls mixed within us, and 
we came to cleanse the evil we had 
let into the world.

We emerged and gazed upoon what was left.
Our mirrors now showed who remained being
gaunt, exhausted, depleted, and alone.

It was then the music began.
A beat for each heart's patter softly sounding
called out for circle of dance. 
Clumsy and forgetful, 
we tapped and gingerly first held hands
after such divisive distance 
when hours grew into days into weeks into months
isolating us from these melodies, from each other. 
Music had remained, yet we were deafened because we 
saw only ourselves in the mirror. 
Now swells of flutes and violins soar 
above and within us, 
singing the names of those we've lost
calling out the prayers and verses we now must learn. 

Only the music remains and builds as we begin anew. 

Hour Five, 2021: Two Combined / Complementing Each Other

Text Prompt

You find a time capsule buried in the backyard of your new home (or anywhere else, depends on you). What’s in it? How old is it or its probable story is up to the poet.

Contributed by Bhasha Dwivedi.

Image Prompt

Three bottles from 1921 had been waiting patiently. 
One bottle had held home brews of tawny dandelion wine, 
elderberry syrup in deepest plum hues, & nothing but sweet tea.
This bottle passed from home to home in gifts and medicines.
Smaller but with a grand flare for style, the next bottle
had held perfumes of distant peonies, lavendar, jasper, iris, & gardenia. 
Romance and mystery created the dreams of many who'd savored these. 
Stout and practical, the final bottle had homemade brews of
their farms' many grains ground fine in the long workdays, 
sipped and swigged well into long nights of stories and songs. 
One hundred years ago
the small community that stood on this spot 
marking the heart of my home before a big city took over
placed three unassuming brown bottles
empty of libations but filled with experiences of those before me.