Day Twenty-Five: The Delightful Excitement of Uncertainty

Uncertainty by Maria L. Berg 2022


The fun of exploring abstract nouns is the area of uncertainty. They are not “ascertainable or fixed, as in time of occurrence, number, dimensions, or quality; not clearly or precisely determined.” They are “vague; indistinct; not perfectly apprehended: subject to change; variable; capricious; unstable: ambiguous; unreliable; undependable (definition of uncertain from”

Uncertainty can be exciting, it adds mystery, raises questions, leaves blanks to be filled. It inspires exploration, and promises adventure to the optimist. But uncertainty is also the breeder of fears. Absolutely everything is an uncertainty except taxes and death, as the saying goes, so how can I approach that visually?

I recently ordered four strands of clear lights. I was thinking of creating a grid on the porch and laying under it, but today it’s raining, so I think I’ll try surrounding myself with lights like a waterfall and see what happens. The effect is uncertain. How exciting.

Growing Uncertainty by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt, based on the “aisling” form, Irish for dream, is to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area where you live.

I created a character called the Lake Spirit years ago to explain why so many young, athletic men die in the lake every summer (it seems like every summer, but I don’t have data on that). Her origin story, “Deadly Again This Summer,” was published in America’s Emerging Fantasy Writers: Pacific Region in 2019. Her name is Ondinara, and she will be appearing in today’s dream poem.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a response poem. I think Ondinara might come in a dream in response to the events in my poem, “Suspending Belief,” from Day Fourteen.

Uncertain by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

A Desperate Hunger to Consume

With the feel of damp
carpet at my bedside
and a distant smell of fish
her haunting words return
“Help me. I’m so hungry.”
Coming back so vividly

Cold spots on my skin
as she dripped, dripped
hovering over me, so
close to my face
sharp teeth like
a tiger muskie
huge dark eyes
like a perch and
the mouth of a bass
and yet the sweet
visage of a girl
still echoed within

She said she had held me
and shown me the way
when I Iost my will to
surface and my lungs
began to beg

She said she felt my longing
to become one with the lake
and in that moment felt a kinship
and reflected on her fate

So she came to me in dreaming
so I might hear her water words
and understand her nature
before the hunger overwhelms
and she must consume

Day Twenty-Four: Sheer Villainy

This is the last Sunday of the of the month, and there is no A to Z on Sundays, so today’s photo-challenge is a little different. I’ll be using the photos I took this week to create visual poems guided by a homograph.

A Sheer Lack of Respect by Maria L. Berg 2022


Sheer has so many interesting meanings:

adjective – perpendicular; very steep; a sheer cliff

(of textiles) so fine as to be transparent

(prenominal: before a noun) absolute; unmitigated; sheer folly

noun – any transparent fabric used for making garments

verb – to deviate or cause to deviate from a course

(intransitive) to avoid an unpleasant person, thing, topic, etc (swerve)

When I chose this homograph, I was thinking of “shears,” as in scissors, and to shear as in cutting or trimming like shearing sheep which is a homophone to this homograph (oops). However, I’m glad for my mistake. I like the visual possibilities of “perpendicular” and sheer fabrics.

Sheer Wilderness by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write a poem with vivid similes.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a superhero or supervillain poem.

Sheer by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Your Favorite Supervillain

Every word he says
is a lie designed
to manipulate
through fear

He dresses to intimidate
like an electric-blue
frog, standing out
in contrast to the
forest, announcing
its poison

He wails demands
and commands like
a siren calling those
lost in the fog
to crash upon
the rocks

He directs attention
to his misdemeanors
while committing atrocities
where no one’s looking
like a magician whose
vanishing cabinet doubles
as an iron maiden

He twists and turns
a truth to a question garbled
never finishing, so blanks
are forced to be filled
like the tendency of
a fluid in exosmosis
substance flows lower and lower
and lower

He sticks his long fingers
into dark, damp holes
pushing and prodding
until the vile emerge
to do his bidding
echoing lies designed
to manipulate
through fear

Day Twenty-Three: Everybody Needs a Thrill

Thrill by Maria L. Berg 2022


The abstract noun “thrill” makes me think of the Prince song “Pop Life.” The chorus is:

Pop life
Everybody needs a thrill
Pop life
We’ve all got a space to fill
Pop Life
Everybody can’t be on top
Life it ain’t real funky
unless it’s got that pop!

So what makes life pop? What does a thrill look like? I think of roller-coasters and fireworks, but I get as much of a thrill from making a new shape and taking photos in the mirrorworld. For today’s images I tried taking pictures of flowers using the “pop” effect in my camera. The effect is supposed to create a vivid look by emphasizing color tones, but all I noticed was brighter reds and pinks which did not thrill me. So I added the center circle to yesterday’s shape and headed for the mirrorworld.

Thrill Ride by Maria L. Berg

The Poetry Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan. I’ve actually done this before because I liked her poems so much. Here’s one I did last year:

Rearrangement II
~after Kay Ryan

As crafty as
a grifter who
knows where
you got your shoes
is the slight of hand
of rearrangement

In the wee hours
among the lip-loosened
marks, he plies his
trade unnoticed

until the tourists
are sorted from
the locals

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a conspiracy poem. I like how Kay Ryan’s poem Blue China Doorknob fits with this prompt.

The Poem

Thriller Night
~after Kay Ryan

Monsters may be
dreaming us. We
the detritus of
a long day’s worries
sloughed off
in REM sleep. We
may be the the nightmares
of Nessie snoozing
deep in the Loch
watching us acting out
her surreal conflicts
and fears. And if
we’re the Boogie Man’s
daydreams, or the
chaser to an ogre’s
free fall–before
shuddering awake in
his cave in a cold
sweat or a deep
sorrow of regret–
do the monster’s
ever linger at
the edge of sleep
to stay with us,
try to get us back,
catch a glimpse
before we fade

Day Twenty-Two: The Secret of My Success

Success by Maria L. Berg 2022


If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I thought this morning’s images would be easy. I received some new lights I ordered yesterday, so I figured anything that came from playing with them would be a success. Like any experiment, the results, whether proving the hypothesis or not, are a success because they lead to the next hypothesis.

This morning, however, was not a success. The lights were garbage (three bulbs dead and hot the instant plugged in, even smelled hot=fire hazard) and the only thing I achieved was to get a return code. So what does success look like after disappointment and frustration? I could take a nice picture of the cat or a flower and call it a day, but I would not see that as a success.

Is success the color of money, of gold and jewels? Is it seeing a goal to completion, an accomplishment? What does that look like visually? Perhaps a loop, or a bullseye. I have an idea.

Today’s successful images were all about perseverance.

Finding Success by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Yay, a repetition prompt! Today’s prompt is to write a poem that repeats “a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.”

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is an Earth Day prompt to write an organism poem. Happy Earth Day!

My Idea of Success by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Our Living Organism

in relation

gentle pets produce purrs

relative to being

I place my head on his furry brow

being composed of the parts

below his ears, above his whiskers

the individual moving

I breathe with him, in sync with him

parts of the whole organic system

and listen, absorbing the vibrations

structured, living entity, complex thing

and feel calm; but don’t trust it

a networked system, organic whole

watch for the flick of the tail

parts of the moving organized

signalling the coming pain

individual being

of grasping claws

complex living creature

and piercing teeth

networked entity

his wild


Day Twenty-One: With Respect to Respect in Some Respect

Respect by Maria L. Berg 2022


When thinking about “respect,” I was so focused on an attitude of deference, admiration, or esteem; regard, that I was surprised to read its definition as:

A particular, detail, or point (usually preceded by in): to differ in some respect. To me, this definition connects respect to quality.

Relation or reference: inquiries with respect to a route. Of course I use the phrase “with respect to,” but I guess I forgot about it with my thoughts going to “respect your elders” and “respect the power of nature” relating respect more to awe and deference.

I’ve been wanting to play with my spirals on the lake, but living in a place that is rainy and overcast, I’ve had to be patient. As such, I respect any moment of sunlight. Thus, these images
captured when the sun broke through this morning, represent respect in that respect.

In That Respect by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is a combination of things: “Write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.”

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a sound poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

Today Björn challenges us to write our poem as a riddle. I didn’t think I would try it, but my poem turned out to fit the prompt, in some respects 😊

Some Respect by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Following a Sound through a Dark Wood

A kind word or harsh
A belly of jelly laughter
quick to grab the wooden
paddle hanging at
the front of the class
the cry, the smack
the very first year
of lessons in respect
A command or request
clicks and clacks
of keyboards
all the keyboards
lined up with barely
elbow room to spare
as we stare not hearing
the scratching pencils
the grinding teeth
the turning stomachs
but assign them numbers
we don’t hear the moans
of despair, or cheers
of passing success
The clap of a slap
The coo of canoodle
faceless strangers
click and clack all day
we spray judgement
from a distance
like the splat and splash
drip of Pollock’s
paint, we are but numbers
but not number one,
not even number five,
not even whole numbers
like number 17A
those subtle stripes
like fingers plucking
at destiny’s strings
What does respect sound like?

Day Twenty: Searching for Quality

Quality by Maria L. Berg 2022


What essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute belonging to or What will make today’s images high grade; superior; and excellent? What qualities in my images will produce or provide merit: a claim to respect and praise; a claim of worth?

And here’s another circular definition: What is quality? As an adjective it means producing or providing products or services of high merit. What is merit? a commendable quality.

What qualities define a quality image? Is it mathematical; a version of the golden mean? Is it structural, following the law of thirds? Is it an emotional response, , something that makes us feel? Or is it simply a realistic, detailed capture of subject matter we relate to, something we want to see? As with all of the abstract nouns I’m exploring, the answers may be different for each person. It could be any of the qualities above or combinations of them and may change with our moods.

In photography, the qualities I admire are: light/shadow; sharpness/blur; color/contrast; composition/balance; texture; and depth. I had hoped for some sunshine to try my spirals on the lake, but the weather is not cooperating, so I think I’ll explore quality through the built in effects in my camera.

One quality I changed this morning was cleaning the dust off the mirrors. Odd how dust can accumulate even when you use something every day. Qualities I can play with to change the quality of my images are: White Balance, ISO (light sensitivity), flash and exposure, Creative Style (I can adjust contrast, saturation, and sharpness), and Paint Effects ( I’ve shown the posterization, and single color effects before, but I’ve never tried them in the mirrorworld.

A Rosy Quality by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write a poem that anthropomorphizes a food.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is a word prompt. The challenge is to use at least three of these words:

  1. Content
  2. Double
  3. Guide
  4. Meet
  5. Pump
  6. Suit
So Many Positive Qualities by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

She Brings Out My Best Qualities

Most people say
they don’t like me
I’m not much in
my birthday suit
dirty and earthy
veined and tough
They don’t see me
like she does

She chooses me
cleanses me
dresses me
dries me
and I change
for her I am the best
that I can be
I become the life
of every party

When we meet
they can’t go wrong
can’t answer questions or
fumble through small talk
with a full mouth
they can’t tell lies
white or otherwise
while chewing

She knows my contents
by heart and shares
them every time
like a guide
through Flavor Town
to my garden
I am enough
but sadly not more
for she never gets
to take me home

Day Nineteen: Trying to be Patient

A small foil covered bunny surrounded by colored lights.
Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022


The bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.

Patience and perseverance are important when working on large projects and when trying something new, but also during daily interactions, and growth and self-discovery.

To explore patience visually, I used a tripod and slow shutter speeds, exploring light and shape over time. Talk about needing patience; nothing wanted to cooperate today.

Patiently Awaiting Spring by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write a poem that begins with a command.

Poem A Day

Today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompts:

  1. Write a What’s There poem, and/or…
  2. Write a What’s Not There poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s Poetics prompt Merril provided a list of Country Garden Roses and challenged us to choose one or more to use in the poem or for the title.

A glass ball surrounded by colored lights.
Trying to be Patient by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Twice in a Blue Moon

Be patient
each second screams
into the hours
as Monday becomes
Sunday raindrops
filling rivers flowing
eroding earth
into canyons

Be patient
each breath whispers
lungs swelling with oxygen
feeding the blood
aging each cell
rusting old swing-sets
and winter-salted
vehicles, crumbling
what was once
holding strong

Be patient
each heart beat signals
skipping into its pulse
fluttering, flushing
deep breaths don’t
stop the pounding
pounding on the door
to the unknown
it will come
and you will
face it whole-

Day Eighteen: Everybody Has One

Opinion by Maria L. Berg 2022


“I’m going to become wild, and eccentric, and full of opinion.” ~Amanda Kendall (Grantchester Episode Six)

An opinion is a view or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty; not necessarily based on fact or knowledge; a personal view, attitude, or appraisal. Opinions are made of so many connections: perceptions, histories, judgements, situations, moods, first impressions, instincts. How do I put all of that into an image? What does the point of connection that forms an opinion look like?

I know I want to play with my spiral filter again. I find the way the spirals overlap exciting, and that may be the best way I can capture opinion. I’ll try it in the light today instead of the dark.

Forming an Opinion by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write five answers to the same question without ever identifying the question.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a poem with We (Blank) as the title.

Full of Opinion by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

We All Have Opinions

I. On a cold day in hell
when pigs fly over the
frozen lava and the fish
and cats and dogs
falling from the clouds
all say your name

II. Will you be there?
Will you hold my hand?
Stare into my eyes
and smile a pleasant
distraction while
we fall

III. Of course, in a snap
as quick as lightning
in a heartbeat
no arm-twisting
necessary I’m
already there

IV. That’s a crazy idea
why would anyone
want to throw
precious life away
for fleeting thrills
of adrenaline’s rush

V. I guess I’m game
explain it again
I want to understand
every detail
preparations is key
for me to be in control

Day Seventeen: Mysteries of the Mind

This is the third Sunday of the of the month, and there is no A to Z on Sundays, so today’s photo-challenge is a little different. I’ll be using the photos I took this week to create visual poems guided by a homograph.

In Mind by Maria L. Berg 2022


Looking back at this week’s abstract nouns, my mind has been filled with: ideas, joy, kindness, luck, motivation, and need. That’s a lot to keep in mind, but I don’t mind.

For today’s visual poetry, I played with an old image of a phrenology map.

Of a Mind by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to think about dogs you have known, seen, or heard about then use those thoughts as a springboard for a poem.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a mad poem.

I’m afraid today’s prompts didn’t work for me. Dogs, especially mad dogs brought up bad memories and made me unhappy, so I’m going off prompt (mostly, a little bit of a mad poem) today.

Minding Manners by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Sunlight = Chainsaw

It always does
The snow on the mountain
finally clear against the blue
and shining bright


Each wave tip caught like
a star in the glare of a spotlight


Each blade of grass gleaming
more yellow than green


The warmth on my skin
eyelids closed and patterned
arms raised in ecstasy
trying to grab it all
and quicken absorption


Through every bit
of possible pleasure
the mind is ripped,
torn, hacked
then felled.

Day Sixteen: Touching Need

Need by Maria L. Berg 2022


When thinking about need, the easiest to define are physical needs: hunger, thirst, sleep, shelter, etc. American psychologist Abraham Maslow presented the theory that human actions are motivated by certain physiological needs in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Maslow presented a hierarchy of needs and postulated that when a lower level of need is filled, attention is focused on the next level.

Plateresca / Getty Images from

Need and want are easily confused. Even with our most basic needs, we eat when not hungry because of a craving, or drink when not thirsty for energy or to stay alert. Need is an ache. Need tugs and gnaws. Need can cause people to act in unpredictable and irregular ways.

When I think of need visually, I think of a spiral, the way a person can spiral when needs aren’t met. I tried both a spiral-cut filter, and a wire spiral in a square filter, for the idea of three square meals, and getting square. Though I like the symbolism of the spiral in the square, I am in LOVE with my new spiral filter.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness is “nose/noes/knows .”

Here’s an excerpt from my journal this morning:

“When I need to sneeze, when I feel that tickle coming, I touch the tip of my nose with the pad of my right index finger and it usually stops. The sneeze just dissipates, disappears, goes back to wherever those violent, explosive, breath-stealers originate. How do I know to touch my nose just so? When did I learn to say no to my nose when it wants to explode? I don’t know. Perhaps it was ancient knowledge asleep in my cells that awoke one day when I wanted to stay quiet at a lecture or in a concert hall, and felt threatened by an approaching sneeze, or perhaps I was holding someone’s hand and liked the texture and pressure of touch and didn’t want to jerk my hand away to cover flying spit, didn’t want to wipe snot on my sleeve, so I tried to wiggle my nose like in Bewitched but didn’t have control over the small muscles in my face so I used the index finger of my free hand to manually move my nose to make magic with but a touch.”

— Maria L. Berg

Needs Triumvirate by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poetry Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write a curtal sonnet.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a touch poem.

Spiraling by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Needs for Sale

A vacancy needs filling, this ache
tugs with gravitation, black-hole torn
the roof away gives to stinging hail
a brittle grasp on reason’s crumbs to break
the barren seed now sprouts with thorns
and vines woven into storm-drawn sail
the spiral swirls when need’s a deep bruise pressed
hunger turns to feed on its own tail
but finds a nub, the point through worry worn
on a bed of nails, sheets held with claws caress
when need’s for sale