Monthly Archives: April 2014

Fifteen words or more

I’ve written before about participating in Laura Purdie Salas’ 15 word-or-less challenge.  It’s the one challenge that I try to do weekly.  Thursday’s prompt was a picture of colorful rubber bands, which made me think of braces.  I remembered the taunts that some kids faced after getting braces, and thought about how a shy kid might reply.  Here’s a revised, fifteen-word-or-more version of my poem:

After the Orthodontist Appointment

“Metal mouth,
tinsel grin,
to your chin!”

Should I act like
I don’t care,
or give those beasts
a bracing glare?

Then I started thinking about a more self-confident kid considering her new look (and that kids now get to choose the color of those braces!) I wrote a second, less-autobiographical version that I think I prefer:

After the Orthodontist Appointmentchicago-braces

I’m metal-mouthed,
to my chin.

At least my bands
are pretty pink–
Our bracing kiss
will clink, clink, clink.

Head over to The Opposite of Indifference, where Tabatha’s hosting today’s Poetry Friday Roundup (warning: you might be wandering for a long time through Tabatha’s directory of Imaginary Poems!)18923_original

The Progressive Poem is Here Today!

April 20, 2014


I’m happy to host day 20 of the Kidlitosphere PROGRESSIVE POEM, the brainchild of our poetic community organizer, Irene Latham. Nineteen poets have taken us on a line-by-line reflective journey that began with peacock strutting and elephant trumpeting, denied the fate of stars and stones, rode whirlwinds on eagle wings, stopped to pick up sage advice from Irene, and acquired maps and warm sapphire eggs from merry hens.  As we started toward the coast, Julie invited the birds and beasts to accompany us.

And I suppose it’s my job to give their answer.  Can I match the dreamy, mysterious quality that the poets before me have set in motion?  Or will my realistic bent creep into the reply? Perhaps a bit of both…

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let’s get practical! What’s needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I’ll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams —
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene’s
“Each voyage starts with tattered maps; your dreams dance on this page.
Determine these dreams—then breathe them! Engage your inner sage.”
The merry hen said, “Take my sapphire eggs to charm your host.”
I tuck them close – still warm – then take my first step toward the coast
This journey will not make me rich, and yet I long to be
like luminescent jellyfish, awash in mystery.
I turn and whisper, “Won’t you come?” to all the beasts and birds,
and listen while they scamper, their answers winging words

I’ll leave it to Renee to translate those scampering, winging words.  Or to take us in another direction altogether!  For a complete itinerary of our poem’s travels, please click on the links in the sidebar.


Puzzling Poems

I’m trying to keep up with my RhyPiBoMo pledge to write a poem a day for April.  I’ve got a poetry project that I’m hoping to finish this month, but those are poems that I’m not always able to draft in a day.  So I’ve also been finding inspiration in some online challenges.

Last week’s challenge at The Miss Rumphius Effect was to write a homophoem.  That’s a form invented by J. Patrick Lewis, and is “a two- to ten-line poem that contains at least one homophone, preferably as the surprise end-word.”   I discovered the challenge by following a link that Kate Coombs posted on facebook.  When I read Kate’s amazing homophoem I was daunted.  But then I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  I found a terrific list of homonyms, and started jotting down likely candidates.  After a couple of false starts I found that I needed to plan the ending first.  Here’s the second poem that I wrote–with a bit of a groaner for an ending:

The Tragedy of Sunny Placed

Photo from

Photo from

Jack’s hen was a gem that he called Sunny Placed.
He took her on rides at the track where he raced.
The hen was content to attend Jack’s event,
believing that Jack was a singular gent.
He fed her fine seeds and he bathed her in dust—
She never suspected he’d serve Miss Placed, trussed.
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

My original homophoem took quite a bit of revision–it’s not a poem that I would normally write. AND IT IS NOT AUTO-BIOGRAPHICAL!  Okay, I’ll admit it–I did have cold feet thirty years ago, on the day of my wedding.  Mostly it was because I’d gotten a baby-breath tiara, and I wasn’t sure I could wear it.  And I didn’t know why we hadn’t just gone off by ourselves to get married, as I’m not a center-of-attention type of gal. And why were we bothering to get married when we were perfectly happy living-in-sin, as we called it back in the dark ages?  But I didn’t regret my choice of spouse, as in the poem below. There was a string quartet playing, but no Wagner. Both my parents walked with me down the aisle–and Jeff’s parents walked with him.  Too much explanation before the poem?

Photo from (we rode a tandem on our honeymoon, but not at the wedding!)

Photo from (These folks rode a tandem to their wedding–we rode one on our honeymoon, but not to the wedding!)

Wedding Interrupted

The string quartet plays Wagner.
She heeds her father’s smile.
He holds her trembling hand
and leads her down the aisle

past closest friends and cousins.
They’re dressed in splendid style.
All watch her slow procession,
each step that’s like a mile.

She stops. She backs away.
They’ll judge, but that’s her trial.
She’d rather live alone
than on this desert aisle.
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

David Harrison has a fun challenge on his blog this week, also from J. Patrick Lewis, to write “mini-mini-book reviews.”  There are some very clever examples on the blog post.  Here’s my attempt:

Bargain after Bargain

A foolish miller’s claim:
His daughter’s skill–a wonder to behold!
A greedy king’s demand:
Spin the straw, convert it into gold.
A bargain for her life:
A chain. A ring. Her future child sold.
A deal to save the child:
Find the name that no one’s ever told.
Rumplestiltskin’s fate:
Torn asunder, raging uncontrolled.
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

Head over to The Deckle Edge where Robyn has all this week’s Poetry Friday goodness.  And 18923_originalplease come back on Sunday when the Progressive Poem visits my blog.

A Predatory Walk

I wish I had had a camera with me on my walk the other day.  A cooper’s hawk flew low over the road (practically over my head) with a screeching squirrel squirming in its talons, the squirrel’s tail thrashing from side to side.  We followed the hawk to where it landed and watched it for a minute.  When we tried to get closer the hawk took off, carrying its meal to a more private place.  It was amazing to watch this forest hawk zip through a suburban neighborhood.

I tried to capture the moment in a poem, and am not quite satisfied with it.  I wrote a tanka–a thirty-one syllable poem.  Traditionally a tanka is a lyrical poem that savors beauty, first used between women and men in courtship.  It is supposed to include a turn in the third line from an image to a response to an image.  Watching a hunting hawk and its struggling prey is awe-inspiring to me, and I find a certain beauty in it–but I’m not sure a form that celebrates lyrical beauty and courtship is the appropriate one!  And I really wanted to keep the focus on our observation, not on an emotional response (because then the world would know how strange I truly am, relishing the sight of a squirrel’s demise!)  Perhaps I’ll find a better form for this, but for now here’s my poem:Juvenile-Coopers-hawk-in-flight

cooper’s hawk flies low
weighted with a screeching squirrel
whose tail flails and jerks
—we gape while hawk lands atop
its now silent, limp-tailed prey
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

Happy spring!  To find all of today’s poetry posts, visit Today’s Little Ditty where Michelle is celebrating her birthday bash and Poetry Friday.18923_original

Happy Poetry Month!

So many exciting poetry events online in April!  If you have not yet perused all of this month’s poetry goodness, check out the full list at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

My first stop for poetry inspiration this month was 100 Scope Notes, where Travis is inviting folks to write book spine poems.  I did not take many books with me for our North Carolina sojourn so  I wasn’t sure if I had enough titles on hand to make a sensible poem, but I managed to put two together with my large stack o’books from the Durham County Library:


IMG_7964Catching fireflies on a summer night ranks high on my list of favorite activities.  Inspiration for this poem came from: Flicker Flash, a wonderful collection of light-related shape poems by Joan Bransfield Graham; Fireflies at Midnight, an animal poetry romp from dawn ’til dark by Marilyn Singer; and Starry Safari, a charming picture book for the youngest set by Linda Ashman.

Did you know that garter snakes swim in ponds and catch fish? Titles for this poem came from three exquisite poetry books: Splish, Splash, another book of shape poems by Joan Bransfield Graham, Tamera Will Wissinger’s Gone Fishing, A Novel in Verse, and Kate Coombs’ Water Sings Blue.  And look, my Garter Snake book is snuck in among these poetry greats!

I’m aiming to write at least one poem and read a poetry collection or picture book every day in April as part of the Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo pledge.  Usually I fall behind on internet challenges, but maybe I’ll keep up with this one–so far, so good.

Here’s my April Fool’s Day poem, inspired by Miss Rumphius’ Monday Poetry Stretch, which in turn was inspired by Laura Purdie Salas’ project of writing riddle-ku (riddle haikus) every day in April.  Can you guess the answer to my riddle?

Fuzzy scrolls uncurl–
spring spirals of greenery
wave and greet the sun.
–Buffy Silverman, 4/1/2014

Here are a couple of photos that I took this week to help you out:IMG_8059


The fiddleheads are up!  It must be spring.



In other April news, I’ve got a story this month in Click Magazine about nesting trumpeter swans.  Grab your favorite six-year old and listen to it here:

Check out today’s Poetry Friday links at The Poem Farm.