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)

Prompt Four


Lauretta, 1922

You entered ‘normal school’ at Crescent Heights
as if your education to this point had been
abnormal, and maybe it was—you couldn’t know
the future so you believed your prospects were
limited to what your husband could provide…

You balanced plates on your head like the women
in Canadian Home Journal, minded your posture and
ate every morsel on your plate, all while writing poetry

to your father each morning, then eagerly awaiting

his evening response. So many photos in later years, snapped
while you walked the eighth avenue mall. All, black and
white, as though your life was colourless. And you bought
each one; you could afford vanity now, while your sister
carved a different path. She typed one hundred words per
minute on a manual typewriter, entering the work force

as a girl Friday and wearing pants; living just as many years.

Did you know your dreams? Were they stifled—did they twist
knots into your body that never unsnagged—that plagued
you through the years? At least you both had the right to vote,

with Nellie McClung just up the highway.

And after recent events in a future YOU never got to see,
one has to wonder how far back the pendulum will swing…


Prompt Three


The Cellos’ Arc

Juxtaposition in the first verse of the tune,
the cellos’ lilt like a dance, but their haunting
tones tell another story beneath the surface—
how the tale will end with the promises shared
in the song’s first rhythms, not held until its last notes

Like life, art imitates, and while one cello
lifts the melody to light and airy heights
the other brings a bass line of sorrow
and loss. As though the musicians know

this story by heart—know the ending
before it begins. But they should, they have
played it many times before and the ending
has been written, in the measures and bars along

the staff. In the beats and rhythms of
life. In the way it always goes. But maybe
just this once, the song will take a detour
and surprise us with its chorus and final verse.


1 2 3 7