Hori Hori

I will give you the prompt for today from NaPoWriMo so you will know why I dare write after Sylvia Plath.  Her poem included.

And now for our prompt (as always, it’s optional!). In keeping with the mysterious quality of the number 13, today I challenge you to write a riddle poem. This poem should describe something without ever naming it. Perhaps each line could be a different metaphor for the same object? Maybe the title of the poem can be the “answer” to the riddle. The result could be a bit like our Day One poems of negation, but the lines don’t need to be expressed in negatives. To get you thinking, here’s one of my favorite examples of a “riddle” poem – Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors”:

I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.


Hori Hori

After Sylvia Plath

I’m a riddle in four syllables,

sharp as a Gemini.  I bite

like a dragon, teeth

serate or slice. I repeat myself.

Two of five elements,

I strike at your whim.

Dualistic but even tempered.

I am rigged for hard work.

Without me, tulips fail.

I’ve eaten grit in your honor,

am more practical than an averrcunator.

You think me foreign;

however, I assist earnest earth-workers

on bended knee.

~C.J. Prince


Vernal Yearning

Writer’s Digest Prompt:  today’s prompt, write a seasonal poem. This should be a snap for haiku poets; after all, inserting seasonal words is a rule for the form. However, you don’t have to write haiku to write a poem that references or happens in one of the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Pick a season or include them all.

2013.2 013

My desire for roses—

he promises spring

with radical whispers.

~C.J. Prince


A Kabballah of Stones

Prompt for Day 10:  Now for today’s prompt (optional, as always): Today I challenge you to write an abecedarian poem – a poem with a structure derived from the alphabet. There are a couple of ways of doing this. You could write a poem of 26 words, in which each word begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. You could write a poem of 26 lines, where each line begins with a successive letter.


A Kabballah of Stones



























~C.J. Prince


Visual Annual Exam

Today’s prompt:  Today, I challenge you to write a visual poem. If that’s not specific enough, perhaps you can try your hand at a calligram? That’s a poem or other text in which the words are arranged into a specific shape or image. You might find inspiration in the famous calligrams written by Guillaume Apollinaire. And a word to the wise — the best way to cope with today’s exercise may well be to abandon your keyboard, and sit down with paper and pen (and maybe crayons or colored pencils or markers!)

I thought I’d need help with this, computer help from one of the family experts.  Instead I played and this is what happened.  Let’s see if I can not load it here where the lines are always altered and I can’t figure out how to amend unless I sit with Laurel Leigh or Lish Jamtass.  (I actually wanted to eliminate the grid but haven’t figured that out either.  However, it is interesting this way.)  Drat.  The art did not transfer.

Visual Annual Exam

What day is it The doctor asks A test
Day of week Month Year
Like a year Means Anything
Except How many More
Years or months Or day And then
She asks The mental Acuity test
Remember These Three items
Tree Ball Chair
She Says Which
Are the Last words I say to her
Instead of Goodbye I
Can Still Touch
My Toes And
Practice Tai Chi
Does It Matter
My Matter When
Yours Is Eaten
By Leiomyosarcoma ?

~C.J. Prince

Copyright 2015

Zero at the Bone

Today’s prompt:   is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson.  Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!

That’s the prompt and here is the poem I chose:

A narrow fellow in the grass (1096)


A narrow fellow in the grass

Occasionally rides;

You may have met him—did you not

His notice sudden is,

The grass divides as with a comb,

A spotted shaft is seen,

And then it closes at your feet,

And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,

A floor too cool for corn,

But when a boy and barefoot,

I more than once at noon

Have passed, I thought, a whip lash,

Unbraiding in the sun,

When stooping to secure it,

It wrinkled and was gone.

Several of nature’s people

I know, and they know me;

I feel for them a transport

Of cordiality.

But never met this fellow,

Attended or alone,

Without a tighter breathing,

And zero at the bone.



Zero at the Bone

     After Emily Dickinson

Too cool for corn, a boggy acre, unattended and alone,

I more than once at noon have passed.  This time

my hair, a whiplash unbraiding in the sun—

when stooping to secure, his notice sudden,

a shadow closes at my feet.

I feel for him a transport of cordiality

but never met this lad,

a narrow fellow, a boy and barefoot.

His pants divide as with a comb.

A spotted shaft is seen,

and then it opens further.

He rides me

on the grass his dirt feet know.

I thought, it wrinkled and then he was gone.

May you never may have met the fellow

in the grass  lest  people I know, and they know me

should know corn will not grow here.

Never should I pass here, without

a tighter breathing and zero at the bone.

~C.J. Prince


Iambic Smash: If you would put the key inside the lock

saddest night

Iambic Smash: If you would put the key inside the lock
Hello, my friend. What are you doing here?

I see the wrinkles in your suntanned brow.

Excess in drinking could be bad for you.

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste

’tis not so sweet now as it was before.

I see the wings of eagles flying by.

It crossed the gloaming skies above the roofs.

You watched the aging people gently rock.

I saw you yesterday, your features grinned.

So tell me, what is life if not for this?

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

Now is the winter of our discontent.

This myth reflected what would happen if

the rain began with striking thunder noise.

~C.J. Prince


River of Syrup: a homophonic translation April 23, 2014


Today’s prompt (optional, as always), is an oldie-but-a-goodie: the homophonic translation. Find a poem in a language you don’t know, and translate it into English based on the look of the words and their sounds. For example, here are three lines from a poem by the Serbian poet Vasko Popa:

Posle radnog vremena
Radnici su umorni
Jedva cekaju da stignu u barake

I might translate this into English as

Post-grad eggnog, ramen noodles.
Nikki in the morning,
jacket just stuck with brakes.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it does give me some new words and ideas to play with. 


I selected an Urdu poem by Noor ka Noor, a rather long poem, and “translated” by sound the first two verses.

The Original verses:

Main nay kaha mayray liay kuch dua karo 
Uss nay kaha dua pay na takkia karo 

Main nay kaha zehan pay rehta hai bojh sa 
Uss nay kaha chup kay kaheen ro lia karo 

River of Syrup:

A homophonic Translation

  After Noor ka Noor


Main man says no kasha when manray stingray lies much two syrupy

Unless no kasha two pays no tekkie syrup hero

Main man says river pays rent high both yes

Us we no kasha chomp ok sheen rose like syrup


C.J. Prince


POV: Future Step Brother 20 April 2014

4.20.14  NaPoWriMo PROMPT:   Our (optional) prompt. Today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of a member of your family. This can be a good way to try to distance yourself from your own experience, without reaching so far away from your own life that it’s hard to come up with specific, realistic details. But watch out! This type of exercise can also dredge up a lot of feelings. So if you think writing in the voice of your grandfather will be too heavy, maybe try the voice of your four-year-old niece. Four-year-old problems might be a little lighter in scope.


POV:  Future Step Brother

Why doesn’t she leave us alone?

Stupid tagalong girl.

I’ll show her with my BB gun.

I’m a good shot as I stand

on the edge of the  frog pond

where we built the raft.

It was not her idea.

Stupid girl can’t take

yellow frog guts gushing out.

Can’t play marbles with her.

She wins and hides them.

Plays up to my mom

who thinks she’s a nice girl.

Stupid girl with red braids.

Good at mumbly peg too.

Where’s she get that stupid knife?

I hate the dumb girl.

She sleeps with a fake

German Luger

under her pillow.


C.J. Prince


4.19.14  NaPoWriMo PROMPT:  today’s (optional) prmpt. This is a bit silly, but it’s Saturday. I recently got a large illustrated guide to sea shells. There are some pretty wild names for sea shells. Today I challenge you to take a look at the list of actual sea shell names below, and to use one or more of them to write a poem. You poem doesn’t have to be about sea shells at all — just inspired by one or more of the names.

Peruvian Hat
Snout Otter Clam
Strawberry Top
Incised Moon
Sparse Dove
False Cup-and-Saucer
Leather Donax
Shuttlecock Volva
Striped Engina
Tricolor Niso
Triangular Nutmeg
Shoulderblade Sea Cat
Woody Canoebubble
Ghastly Miter
Heavy Bonnet
Tuberculate Emarginula
Lazarus Jewel Box
Unequal Bittersweet
Atlantic Turkey Wing

One never knows where a word will guide you.  Join me.


Unequal Bittersweet Quest


You clam up when I yearn

for dialogue.  What do we do

with this forbidden subject?

Is it just an American thing?

We are culturally unprepared?


We will all do it so why not

scamper along the options road.

Death.  It is our end gift.

Do we want to go with earth

or fire?  Our bone sacks

already sag.  Where do they

want to be?  Liberated

by fire so friends can take

chunks of bone and ashes to toss

over mountain tops and rivers?


Or settled sweetly beneath earth

where roots can bind 

and earthworms rid us of the unnecessary?

Perhaps near a towering cedar

where ravens will sing my name in sunbreaks

and owls will remember me into the night.


It is part of the aging conundrum,

this resting place, the cave that tends

the final inert body. 


Where shall we be, my Love?

Together always in spirit

even if one is earth and the other fire.


C.J. Prince


Ruba’i of Expectation

4.18.14        NaPoWriMo PROMPT:  Our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to write a ruba’i. What’s that? Well, it’s a Persian form — multipe stanzas in the ruba’i form are a rubaiyat, as in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Basically, a ruba’i is a four-line stanza, with a rhyme scheme of AABA. Robert Frost’s famous poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening uses this rhyme scheme. You can write a poem composed of one ruba’i, or try your hand at more, for a rubaiyat. Happy writing!



Ruba’i of Expectation

Always exists with never—

a place without ever—

where change will not die.

Lost to now, I burn with fever.


C.J. Prince