Day 19 April Poem a Day 2015

This has a revised ending from the original written yesterday.

Delegated Authority

Summers were long and lazy
when I was young
the sun hot and air sultry.
Thick with shade
the backyard beckoned
my books and me.
I had no responsibility …

But one day my mother
put me in charge
of my little brothers.
I was old enough, said she
to keep my eye on their antics
get them lunch, wash the dishes
and make sure they did not
mess the house up.
She’d only be gone
a few hours.

My little brothers tumbled
all through the house
did not like the lunch
and refused to help
me clean anything up.

“You’re not the boss of me,”
shouted one. “You’re only
my sister and not a very
nice one,” said he as he
stuck out his tongue.

They raced outside to play.
You’d think the Cat in the Hat
had made the mess they left
behind for me that day.

So much for my mother
putting me in charge.

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April 2015 poem a day # 18


If wishes were fishes
rivers might teem with them

fishermen be keenly fishing
nets brim-filled with them

string lines between trees
set drying them

grills filled with fish frying
wives flipping them

children sniffing the smell
fried fish delighting them

their little fingers picking
pieces, sticky with them

Fewer fish being the effect
if wishes weren’t them

Marian O’Brien Paul

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Poem a day # 17


I recall the rope swing with its board seat
suspended on my first memory of porch.
I’d learned how long it took
to twist the ropes
so I could

like my favorite top.

with me.
Watch railings
ripple past reflected
in storm door, in window pane.
We feel no dizziness, too focused

on another task.

Lips pursed, tongue curled behind teeth
held-breath forced out twirls around us.
Ears scoop up unmistakable sound.


This is the day I learned how to
whistle. No matter how thin or reedy
I hear it, let lips smile. Swing slows down.

Marian O’Brien Paul

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In-frequent blogging

Back when I was teaching writing, I remember an essay about journaling contained in the text book we were using. My favorite example from the essay was an ancient Asian journalist (whose name, of course, slips my memory!) who made a journal entry every 7 years. I think my blog is like that : )

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Day 30 final poem for April

Using the prompt form I chose a short poem by Wallace Stevens and rewrote it line by line, changing each word, but not as suggested for an opposite one. Instead I chose different words for a different context.

Anecdote of the Jar                              A Box Tale
by Wallace Stevens                                    by Marian O’Brien Paul

I placed a jar in Tennessee,                      I placed a box in Missouri,
And round it was, upon a hill.                   Rectangular, within the ground,
It made the slovenly wilderness              It made the decorous ranks of rows
Surround that hill.                                     Gather around.

The wilderness rose up to it,                    The silent dead bestirred themselves.
And sprawled around, no longer wild.     Parents, grandparents no more napped.
The jar was round upon the ground        Four cornered box, an infant’s bed,
And tall and of a port in air.                      Soft cushions blanketed with earth.

It took dominion everywhere.                 It took precedence in that place,
The jar was gray and bare.                       Small box in its new space.
It did not give of bird or bush,                 It spoke of joy and love and grief
Like nothing else in Tennessee.               Like nothing else in Missouri.

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Day 29 poem 2 prompts a) take a line from a previous poem as title b) use at least 5 foreign words in the new poem

small as a sandbur

insidious seed husk
the bare foot beware
tá sé go dona, bad
and yes, you could
step on an Irish one
I did not, buíochas
le Dia agus Muire
but no fear a foot
might meet fangs
for buíochas le St. Pat
Erin’s been de-snaked

haben Sie gehört?
devil’s claw
in German so
you’d best
and snakes?
in august ‘09
a British tourist’s
big toe felt the fang
of a poisonous one
in a Bavarian market
briefly hospitalized she’s
okay, dank ist zum Gott

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Here’s Day 28 poem, a bit late–two stanzas, each in shadorma form.

Sea Stacks

ocean waves
salty green spindrift
slams the cliffs
carving western Irish coast
sculpting stacks

cut off chunks
lush green tops severed
from mainland —
rock towers
sea still swirling round bases
incessant assault

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