Seagull Dreams

To see a gull means
adventure is long and longing
When white wings expand across Pacific blue skies
escape lies on the horizon
If on one leg he stands balanced on a rock
life is safe, solid is your walk, steady you go
With two orange feet planted at the surf’s ragged edge
your steadfast determination will clear a turbulent past
If he squawks or barks or laughs at the wind
abandon agenda, explore new ideas, enjoy the flow
If he rides warm currents rising on the drift
growth is a gift that comes without trying
If a powerful rouge gust blows him to the side
it is time to change your plans


Happy Saturday and welcome to Day 14 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge. Today’s challenge is is to write entries for an imaginary dream dictionary. Dream dictionaries have been around as long as people have had dreams. Interestingly, if you consult a few of them, they nearly always tend to have totally different things to say about specific objects or symbols. For the challenge, pick one (or more) of the following words, and write about what it means to dream of these things:

Ballet slipper
Wobbly table

Life and Death

Lose yourself in Death. It’s the final chance to destroy your enemies.
Its highest value comes when you look the other way
Lost in hate, Death will never return
It is so confusing. Pretending it’s easy is easy.
Stop expecting so much of Death. It’s scary. Get over it.
It is quick and short and meaningless
Until then horde all you earn for your well-being is not guaranteed and people will laugh if you have too much fun
Death waits to laugh at you too.

But, if you live a significant Life death is meaningless
Life’s a little scary but it’s worth the ride
Your light will shine the higher you climb
Chaos gives way to Life’s peace
As each new birth brings new potential for great caring
And age knows the truth; Life is for living right now
Though evil people live on, history will bury their shadows
So live a courageous Life. Living in fear will prepare you for nothing.


Welcome to Day 13 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge. The challenge today is to write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase get up-ended. For example, if you chose the phrase “A stitch in time saves nine,” you might reverse that into something like: “a broken thread; I’m late, so many lost.” Or “It’s raining cats and dogs” might prompt the phrase “Snakes and lizards evaporate into the sky.” Those are both rather haunting, strange images, and exploring them could provide you with an equally haunting, strange poem (or a funny one!)

I started with finding sayings about Life and then sayings about Death and then upended them to be the reverse. Here are the original sayings:

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
An unexamined life is not worth living.
I have found that if you love life, life will love you back
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated
You get in life what you have the courage to ask for
It is not the length of life, but depth of life
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans
Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one is watching
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.
I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
Six feet of earth makes us all equal.
To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
Death is a distant rumor to the young.
Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.


The monster lurks in a green shroud of waxy leaves. Crouched in stillness she lies in wait mindful not to rustle the bed of pine needles mounded like hay at her feet. The slightest whisker twitch would surely give her away. Carelessly lilting above her steady gaze the flutter of an orange breasted oriole skips in and out of the pink azaleas. The monster steadies her sights.  In anticipation her shoulder twitches as she prays for a landing. Rapt in joy to greet the morning sun the oriole misses the monster’s glitch and with a chirp lands bouncing on a lower branch. A shower of pink petals, green leaves and brown needles swirl in the air as a blur of orange breast feathers head skyward.

under every bed
monsters wait for morning rise
early birds survive


Day 12 of the NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a haibun, a poem that mixes a paragraph of prose followed by a haiku. Today’s challenge takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. It may be the high sierra, dusty plains, lush rainforest, or a suburbia of tiny, identical houses – but wherever you live, here’s your chance to bring it to life through the charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun.


He thinks that I don’t see him
Coming down the stairs
Bowing branches in filtered light
Casting shadows on the wall
Creeping by, he creeks a step
I close my eyes
I hold my breath

Water laps against the hull
My hatch secure with mental clout
Gentle waves replace self-doubt
I trim my sails in full control
Chose which way my wind will blow
Eyes wide open
I’m captain now

Day 11 NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”

Umstead 100

Bitter cold in pouring rain
Keep dry, keep warm, stay fed, stay sane
The finish line calls my name
The clock, keep pace, to win the game

Through sleet and snow and blister pain
Head up, form straight to minutes gain
Time check, split count, now light a flame
For buckle pride is why I came


Today is Day 10 of the 2018 NaPoWriMo Challenge. I’ve missed the last three days because I’ve been busy running and recovering from Umstead 100 Mile Ultra. The challenge for today to write a poem of simultaneity – one in which multiple things are happing at once. The hundred is a great example of this and I’m sure I could have written about much more simultaneity if I wasn’t now simultaneously suffering from post-100 brain.


Were it not
For empty spaces
Longing looks on book end faces
Meet and greet in office places
Stolen glances
Handshake plans rolled out in blue
Negotiations to build it big, build it new
Brush by shoulder
Contract signed, scope defined, schedule set
Ribbon cut in time for press, suit and tie and fitted dress
Late night smolder
Ought not share with all stakeholders


Today’s challenge is to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two. You might break to emphasize (or de-emphasize) sounds or rhymes, or to create a moment of hesitation in the middle of a thought.



Look at the landscape for ruins of the open
can. Beware the vermin whose goal dare dip in man’s sweet blossom tea
Bolder than a goat to overdose in blossom

Not you goat that wonder to water. The can in your lunchbox
Smitten to touch. Embolden that drop tin.
The wasteland along for a beating

Trek the terrain guided by your instinct
Halt at deep addition. Dampen your wonder for the flow of nature
Deep in this ‘hood should only be vermin


The Day 5 NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know. Now start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.

This was an interesting challenge for me as I had originally hoped to write about an isolated mountain saddle above Maligne Lake in the Canadian Rockies. I stopped here alone last summer for a lunch break in the middle of a hike. It was peaceful and beautiful. As I unwrapped the lunch that I’d carried for ten miles I was greeted by a Pika who scampered nearby begging for bits. As I worked through the original poem it steered mine towards the pika and away from the breathtaking view before me.

Here is the poem in a foreign language (my guess is that it’s German.)

Das Boot 4

Ook in een landschap dat te ruim is of te open
kan je verzuipen, zoals de man weet die diep in een bos
ten onder gaat aan een overdosis bomen.

Net zo gaat het onder water: je kan in een luchtbel
zitten en toch voelen hoe de druppels
weifelend je longen betasten.

Trek je terug in je gedachten als in een instinct.
Haal er diep adem. Dompel je onder in flarden natuur.
Diep in je hoofd schuilt de ongerepte variant.

Here is the translation. I did not read this until my poem was written.

Also in a landscape that’s too wide or too open
you might drown, like the man knows who deep in the woods
succumbs to an overdose of trees.

The same applies to the underwater: you can be in an air pocket
and still sense the droplets
hesitantly feeling out your lungs.

Retreat into your thoughts as if into an instinct.
Take a deep breath there. Submerge yourself in scraps of nature.
Lying hidden deep inside your head the untouched variant.

It’s interesting that the original poem could have stood alone to describe the feelings I wanted to share about the first photo.  Somehow in my translation the pika insisted on being seen.