Fun with Repetitive Form

Poster with Camellias by Maria L. Berg 2021

I received my National Poetry Month poster in the mail today, so I thought I’d post it on my door and take some pictures with the lovely camellias already in bloom. As I was attempting this photo, the sun began to break over the roof, creating that lovely glare and reflection.

NaPoWriMo has a very interesting prompt today. The idea of “double deed” seems to be perfect for Janus words once I come up with my repetitive set-up. I had a little trouble getting started, so I used my personal universal deck for inspiration, and it worked!

The PAD prompt is a title prompt “(blank Me).”

Today’s Janus word for the A to Z Challenge is replace which can mean “to restore to a former place or position”, or “to put something new in the place of.”

Didn’t MEan to be MEan

When silence needs to be replaced
then take it into the sun and dust it off
When the dust is fine and sparkling
then pay the fine that fits the bill
When the bill arrives, don’t clip it to bits
then clip the bits to a to-fix list
When in a fix, can’t find what to wear
then wear down a mean mirror and spin until blinding
When the mean of the glare is leased as a power source
then find a new lease on life and take off
When the trajectory is off, who knows where we’ll wind up
then the wind up has potential to really go
When potential begins to go, will it
then be replaced with silence for a song

Sijo: a new form to me

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a sijo. Thank you for featuring yesterday’s perch rant.
The PAD Challenge is a two for Tuesday: 1. Write a love poem 2. Write an anti-love poem
The Janus word for A to Z challenge is qualified which can mean “limited” (as in “qualified success”); or “skilled, skillful” (as in “a qualified expert”).

pink Mylar balloon, floating on a lake
photo by Maria L. Berg 2021

Eye-catcher

Is this a qualified vessel, floating past, on the waves?
Bobbing Mylar, passion pink mystery of lost love loose
caressed by surface tension and kissed by a summer breeze

Well, if I have to rant about something . . .

I just enjoyed the first presentation of Crime Writer’s Week with author Leigh Russell. She had lots of tips for writers and mentioned poetry often. I’m looking forward to the next panel. I hope you will find time to enjoy some of this free conference this week. I have crime in each of my novel manuscripts from literary fiction to science fiction and even in some of my poems ;). And I’m having fun thinking about all of them.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a humorous rant.
The PAD challenge is to use an animal title.
My Janus word for the A to Z Challenge today is the phrase “put out” which can mean to create or produce, or to extinguish (a flame) or injure.

A perch inspired my story “More than He Could Chew” which is available in the Anthology Writer Shed Stories (Volume 1).

Put Out by Perch

There you are
swimming to the surface
as I want to dive in
Laying some eggs
–that will be tiny
fish by the thousands
soon swarming the ladder–
leaving a trail of excrement,
flaunting your occupancy

You slimy, slippery, carnivorous
cannibal, yeah, I saw you
slipping into shallow waters
under children’s feet to
freak them out with your
slithering slime, then
shimmering off to hide
in the shadow under the dock

Don’t you know that’s why
you’re so easy to catch?
but that’s another tease
isn’t it? The excitement
of the tug on the line
then your scales are sharp
and cut and you’re so full of
bones, not enough to fry
you’re only good for
choking on

You swim in a school,
but you skipped class

Who were you in my dream collage

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to find inspiration from a chapter title in Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan G. Wooldridge.

The PAD Challenge is to write an ekphrastic poem.

I was inspired by the chapter “collage” to look at some collage programs online. I had a lot of fun with Word Art, creating a shape for each line of my poem, starting with another chapter title, “Who were you in my dream?”

Then I put those images into another program called ribbet to make a shape collage. I didn’t enjoy ribbet as much as it made me sign up for a 14 day trial and wasn’t as simple and straight forward as Word Art. But, it made a fun collage to illustrate my poem.

Last Night I Dreamed of You

Who were you in my dream?
I search for you through the seaside
house with so many rooms
ocean spray salts my face
and the curtains, a storm is coming
Are you the air or water,
sifting sand, or my guiding flame?


#SoCS: Stream of Consciousness helped me write a moon poem

There’s a lot going on today. The Write Hive Conference has workshops and presentations all day and it’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) with the prompt “mash,” so that should be an interesting combination (a day of stream of consciousness while attending a conference).

One of the sponsors for Write Hive is Prowritingaid which will have another free conference next week. Crime Writer’s Week starts on Monday and has interesting presentations and events all week. The Networking events look like fun.

Now to some poetry~

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a moon poem.

The Poem-a-day challenge is to write a waiting poem.

Over at the A to Z Challenge they are asking what you do on your “Off Day.” I really like today’s Janus word, overlook (1) To watch closely; (2) to fail to notice

Time for some stream of consciousness. Hopefully, there will be a poem in there.

It worked! All of the prompts came together. Even “mash” got into the poem. Just for fun, here’s a section of my stream of consciousness before I got to the poem:

. . . “mash”: a pulpy mass. I mash black beans, then fry them up for my feta and beans on toast. That’s pretty much the only thing I mash. I just mashed a tiny, black sugar ant that crawled on me, that’s what my summers are about” mashing ants. Not this year. This year I will win the battle somehow. . .

The battle plan for the ants goes on for a while then I get to the poem when I write, “What does any of that have to do with mash or overlook or the moon or waiting?” Then the poem kind of spilled out.

Reflected moonlight – bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg 2020

He is a Selfish Moon

Am I waiting for the moon,
so I can mash his stupid,
smug face in–
the way he overlooks the pain
he brings, the tidal pull
of our waters, powerless
to the moon’s whims

that peeping moon’s
bright light, pouring
across the lawn,
and streaming through windows
in the middle of the night,
does he think I don’t see
him reflected in the water
in the morning?

He is not camouflaged
in a cloudless sky.

A Pretend Trip to Palouse

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to relax with a Skeltonic.

The Poem-a-Day prompt is to write a city poem.

Over at A to Z Challenge we’re reminded that this is a challenge and to Never Give Up! The Janus word is nonplussed.
It can mean so surprised and confused that one is unsure how to react or not disconcerted, unperturbed.

A Skewed View

completely nonplussed
this trip to Palouse is a bust
everything covered in dust
and the haunt cancelled, I trust
curse this wanderlust
but if I adjust
my view just a touch
to the rolling hills of lush green and rust
swirling and diving in natural flux
the sun piercing the clouds makes the dust
in a gust
sparkle like stardust

I Couldn’t Think of Anything: ended up with way too much

Every photo in this post is a micro-mystery that starts with “M”

I can’t believe we’re already at the halfway point. The days are flying.

There’s a free online writing conference this weekend starting tomorrow called WRITEHIVE. I signed up yesterday. There are free workshops and presentations all weekend. Did any of you attend last year? I hope you’ll join me. Let me know in the comments and I’ll look for you. Now to poetry!

Can you guess them all? Post in the comments.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to a small habit picked up from a parent. Pushing through while journaling really got me somewhere I hadn’t looked before.

The PAD prompt is a title prompt “(blank) Story.”

Over at the A to Z Challenge they have a fun game of Magnifying Glass. I think I’ll get in on that as a fun photography challenge.

I present two Janus words today: mad and mean

mad can bean both in love with/crazy about, and very angry at

mean can mean a lot of things, but as a Janus it is both average and superior 😉

Our Projects’ Story

Dad had two private spaces
the den and the garage
I wanted in, to watch
but wasn’t allowed
I thought he was mean
I was mad I was a girl

His spaces were messy
his messy, our kind of messy
everything had a plan, a purpose
yet to be accomplished
a spark of an idea
that would be

What if he was protecting me
he worried the moment that I might
see there was a flaw
an issue for him alone
or he listened to voices
on that raspy radio

that he didn’t want me to hear
having adult, contrary thoughts
I wasn’t ready for, or
it’s very possible,
that both of Dad’s places
were experiments

full of his projects
and work and ideas
were his systems of
controlled chaos
competing experiments
engineered to find order

A girl-child–
a precocious, curious, tomboy
with her own creative mess
would be an added variable
a deviation, produce an outlier
muddle any useful findings

irreplicable results
rendering any formulas useless
The math, but a recording
of a wish unfulfilled
or rather an algorithm
for lies forgotten



From Where I’m Sitting, I Fill Up the Sky

Berg in Immediate Surroundings – by Maria L. Berg 2021

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem about the meaning of your first or last name.

The April PAD prompt is to write a poem inspired by your immediate surroundings.

My Janus word for the A to Z Challenge is left.
As a past tense verb, it means “to have gone”; as an adjective, it means “remaining.”

Because I’ve often written about the mountain (Berg in Swedish means mountain), I thought adding a structure or form would help inspire something unique, so I took a look at the Poetics prompt from yesterday over at the dVerse Poets Pub.

I’m glad I did, because it got me thinking about all the fun adventures I’ve had on the mountain and the animals I’ve met there. Kim’s prompt was inspired by the poem The Print the Whales Make by Marjorie Saiser as was my poem.

close-up photograph of Mt. Rainier
Berg – by Maria L. Berg 2021

Black Bear’s Branch

I freeze. You haven’t seen it yet
the thick, dark fur tucked among the fir trunks
We are too close, my heart jackhammers
with fear and fascination
Is that how we are:
a dangerous shape
a few steps off the path?
Too late. Can’t go back.
But looking up at those sky-filling slopes
with awe, I remember
the deer and the fox prancing
also encountered there
and the way the bear licked
at the grass, not bothered
by the branch still attached
to his bum, so peacefully grazing
I didn’t notice him
until I had left him behind
on the return path
he wasn’t interested in me
and my fear of black bears
in dark forests of fascination
on the sky-filling slopes
slanted sunlight on snow
glinting promise
of new bear sightings
another day