Now for Day 22, the poem I like better than the previous one:

The Wind’s Will

(pseudonym Windy City)
can’t compete with winds
sweeping down the Rockies,
pouring over Scotts Bluff to shake Carhenge
(rusty autos precisely arranged to impersonate Stonehenge)

splitting like Red Sea at Moses’ command
around pencil-thin Chimney Rock, lest it be erased
briefly swooping to stir the placid waters of the river Platte
like the Angel of the Lord disturbing sacred pool at Bethesda
(promising healing, starting the invalids’ rush to be first to immerse)
overtaking highway drivers racing eastward exceeding interstate speed limits
barreling past Lincoln, its thousands of football fans in clothes redder than stop signs

pouring over prairie like Noah’s flood submerging all the land
between Lincoln and Omaha in turbulent waves lofting loose soil
as if to caution there’s no guarantee 1930s dust bowl days are done
washing at last into Omaha, heart of the heartland, whose skyscrapers can’t compete
with Chicago’s, can’t create deep enough canyons, steep enough flumes to channel the wind
like Chicago can

dwindled momentum is left to ford Missouri River’s muddy stream
seep into Council Bluffs, perhaps ebb past it into Loess Hills
to slip down them picking up speed once more and soaring
over Iowa, heading for Mississippi’s wide waters
to finally make land in Illinois
on its way to Chicago
the Windy City.

Marian O’Brien Paul

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April Poem a Day Challenge, Day 30

Today’s prompt was  the phrase “bury the _______.”  I decided to write a villanelle about superstitions/ old wives’ tales concerning when to plant potatoes because one has to bury the  potato eyes to plant them.  Thus the title —


When to Bury the Potato Eyes:

You have to plant potatoes on a moonless night,
according to a tale that’s told by some old wives.
Clearly, their old husbands thought them right.

Sleepy though they were, they put up no fight,
got back out of bed when told “It’s time to rise.
You have to plant potatoes on a moonless night.”

Wives had sliced potatoes with all their might
that day, cutting each potato eye to exact size.
Clearly, their old husbands thought them right.

Other old wives recommend a little different rite:
“Plant Good Friday evening because,” they advise,
“you have to plant potatoes on a moonless night.”

Easter being moon-phase-driven, no moonlight
shines Good Friday evening, proving them wise.
Clearly, their old husbands thought them right.

Weary from a day of work, no husband felt delight
at planting in the dark, but they listened to their wives:
“You have to plant potatoes on a moonless night.”
Clearly, their old husbands thought them right.

Marian O’Brien Paul

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Looking backwards, the prompt for Day 27 of the April Poem a Day challenge

A Cautionary Tale

backwards gawping
rabbit-hole down-falling
everything looks odd

no pocket telephone
for you to text on
no internet to surf
no GPS if you are lost

no blue-tooth
no DVD
no CD
not even a TV

you’d have to use a finger
turn a dial to make a call
or take a pen and sheet of paper
sit down somewhere to write a letter

you might loiter
in bookstores
or libraries
to read

with no subliminal
electronic hum
you’d hear each chunk of dirt
knocked off the tunnel walls
as you were falling
hit the rabbit-hole floor

and you’d be yawping

Marian O’Brien Paul

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Day 26 of the April Poem a Day Challenge.

Using some of the words coined by Shakespeare found at and one (incarnadined) from The Shakespeare Key. Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke. Shakespeare’s words are italicized.


Incarnadined Dawn
(with apologies to Shakespeare who’s likely
rolling over in his grave at my desecration!)

Earth as if blushing at dawn’s first touch
is hidden beneath a flimsy layer of cloud
incarnadined by flames of the rising sun.

Vaulting barefaced star, groping our planet
intending bloody savagery, your act flawed
because solid granite’s nature is inanimate.

Yet submerged beneath earth’s crust
smolders molten lava probing the mantle
that impedes volcanic outbreak’s fiery gust.

Perhaps like calls to like and the radiance
that generously blankets our morning world
is drawn to changes in temperature gradients.

Marian O’Brien Paul

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Today’s Poem a Day Challenge was to write a poem about history. Thus, I wrote the history of my hometown’s name.

Possum Trot, Missouri?

Had sense not prevailed,
I might have had to claim
Rabbitville or Possum Trot
as my hometown’s name.

In the 1830s, John McCoy
established a river landing
on Missouri River bluffs
so he could make a living

outfitting the pioneers bent
on taking the Santa Fe Trail.
Since money draws money
investors came, says the tale.

By 1850, the settlement grew
large enough to incorporate,
so people dreamed up names
each one deemed appropriate

like Possum Trot or Rabbitville,
but luckily, a nearby confluence
of two rivers, Missouri and Kaw,*
provided much better influence.

“Kaw Town! That name’s as bad
as both the others,” said some.
“It makes us sound like a flock
of cawing crows. Plain dumb.”

Voices rumbled. A few fists
flew until suggested at last
was the “Town of Kansas,”
and the winning vote was cast.

In three years, the word “City”
replaced “Town,” and by 1889,
“Kansas City” became the name
of that old hometown of mine.

Marian O’Brien Paul

* The Kaw River is also called the Kansas River.

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Two posts today, one for April Poem a Day, Day 21 and one for Day 22

This one is so-so:

Meta morphing

I used to be
the cook
the housekeeper
the laundress
the baby sitter
the chauffeur
the mediator
argument referee

In short
I was my children’s
(euphemism for all the other).

Now all are grown.
I visit them; they visit me.
I’ve become a listener
a counselor
a wise
(or not so wise)
and best of all
a grandmother.

Of course
there are always
of some sort
but I have time
to be a reader
a thinker
a writer
and I can
even be alone.

Marian O’Brien Paul

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April 2015 Poem a Day — Day 20

My Assignment: the Facilitator
(terza rima with apologies to Shelley and Lovelace and Schenck)

O wild administrator whose clarion voice
blew deep in my ear to assign me the chore
of facilitating discussion (without a choice

in the matter), the tone of your high-pitched trumpet, more
piercing than rumbling drum-roll, caught me napping.
Like Althea’s imprisoned lover I’m tangled to the core

not in curly ringlets, but in reams of flapping
paper, scores of colored pens for marking,
fingers fettered to keyboard, eyes snapping

twixt textbook and laptop for snippets worth remarking
on. How astute was a former colleague to advise
me, “Simply say ‘No.’ Cease embarking

on assignments you don’t want to do. Be wise.”

Marian O’Brien Paul

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