In symbols, clustered stars, far meaning hides

In poems, wordless messages reside

literal sense afloat or cast aside—

And sometimes words and form together glide

In serendipity gates open wide.


This is my response to Jane Dougherty’s 50th Poetry Challenge: ‘Fifty’.  She will be taking a break from hosting challenges for a while.  I would like to express my profound gratitude for the challenges she has offered. For me it was a weekly writing workshop, an opportunity to learn and experiment with aspects of form I would not have tackled on my own.

The form proposed for this week is called a ‘Fifty’:  five lines of 10 syllables each. Each line must rhyme.  Combining a long syllable count with rhyme requirements was by no means effortless for me.  My topic was partly inspired by the image provided with the challenge, but as the poem is not about the image I have not shown it here.

Hearts’ spring

Early spring in Central Park by Paul Cornoyer
Lost and lonely, wound up like a spring,

sad torrents flow a river storm,

we huddle close in pouring rain.


As confusing mist and pressures rain,

tender hearts break in early spring

not tempered yet by fierce storm.


Relentless time brings chill and storm,

We run from love, and cower in rain,

Still many a heart awakes in spring.

Let’s wake and spring toward the storm, we can dance together in the rain.



This is a  Tritina attempt for Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #47. An important feature of this form are the three line endings in the first stanza–in this poem ‘spring’, ‘storm’ and ‘rain’. These words are  used in a specific order in each stanza and the closing line.  Jane’s challenge post describes the form in greater detail and offers the above image, a painting by Paul Cornoyer (American Painter: 1864-1923) as a source of inspiration.


Star gazing

Tents with the Milky Way|Credit NPS/Emily Ogden|License: CC 2.0 Generic.

The sky unfurls its gems at night,

oceans of swirls and specks of light,

Our centers shift, recalibrate

as clouds of stardust undulate,

Our humbled heads fall back in awe,

the sky unfurls its gems at night,

They softly hint a spiral path,

a billion stars eons away,

Oceans of swirls and specks of light,

with bodies moored by gravity,

our minds soar high to starry seas,

our centers shift, recalibrate.


This week,  Jane Dougherty’s Challenge is an invitation to focus on meter–something I’ve been wanting to know more about.  Here are her words:

This week’s challenge is more about the sound of the poem than the content. Sometimes it seems to me that we work hard to get our thoughts either into rhymes or simply into the right line lengths, and don’t listen to the sound it makes. This week, I thought we could concentrate on listening to the beats in the line rather than simply count syllables or find an appropriate rhyme.

Tetrameter (four beats to the line) and pentameter (five beats) give a rhythm that helps to make a line memorable. Try to think more of the way the stress falls than the number of syllables. It will inevitably mean shuffling word order or occasionally choosing a synonym, but you will end up with a poem that flows like a song.

To see her poem with the strong beats highlighted in bold type, please visit the challenge link above.

My poem is an attempt to maintain Tetrameter using a form called ‘Cascade’.

Summer storm: when it rains it pours

Photo credit: Pixabay

Summer downpour

Thunder growls, flashes descend,

Summer downpour

Seeds burst open, buried dreams soar,

Stale hearts waken, new hopes ascend,

Wily winds blow as time warps bend,

Summer downpour.

For more summer storms, please visit  Jane Dougherty’s challenge post #45.  This week she invited us to try a Rondelet using ‘summer storm’ as inspiration. For those wanting to know more about Rondelets, here is an informative Shadow Poetry link.

Poem ©2016 all rights reserved by

Troubled mind


Sometimes life wheels grind and strain my tenacity,

Lost in clouds my troubled mind grasps for sanity.


Are my heartfelt words enough or excess chatter?

Even minor rebuff shakes my strained sanity.


I trundle on, an inner GPS is my guide

sending me back along a path to sanity.


Enjoy moments, release selfish concerns, allow

it all to float away–then I’ll find sanity.


No formula cures a restless spirit more than

love, giving love, our foundation, our sanity.


∼  ∼  ∼  ∼ ∼

The ghazal is an ancient form of Arabic poetry originating in the 7th or 8th century.  Centuries later, English writers experimented with the form using free verse and recently, favoring uniform measures and use of rhyme.  When Jane Dougherty invited us to write a ghazal this week I hesitated, but after stumbling on a fascinating article about the form I realized that I wanted to make an attempt.

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Green shoots inspire hope for the future

Timing is everything in the spring.  If bulbs sending up green shoots are confronted with freezing temperatures at the wrong moments, their fresh growth can perish.  I photographed the appearance of garlic and daffodil shoots in March and April, but neither have progressed–due to a switch from warmer weather to snow and cold.  I covered the garlic with a frost blanket and cross my fingers for future daffodils.

As spring progresses, my first instinct is to wish for flowers…I wrote a poem for the daffodil shoots:


Rise up

through frost and chill

stretch upwards to green, then

yellow, flourish sweet daffodils,


Then I thought, encouraging premature growth may be unwise…so I wrote a poem urging the fresh garlic shoots to proceed with caution:



patiently wait

for a perfect moment,

then proudly show your destiny,



My poems are cinquains inspired by Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #25: ‘Cinquain’.  I am also linking to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Future’ –as buds and green shoots inspire hope for future beauty.

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Morning frost

My home/household consists of six beings:  2 humans, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. We recently had to adjust our sleeping arrangements, as one of the cats is sick and could be injured if he mingles with other animals.  This poem, about this morning, is my attempt to write a rhythmic rhyming poem in a form called a ‘Nove Otto’ in response to Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #23: Nove Otto.

Crusty morning, frost all around

Chilling a home, not just the ground

Tabby rests, a king on our bed

He’s on meds and needs a safe space

where Mae, Pop, and Bud can’t give chase–

We five crammed  on a couch instead

Tangled stiff is no way to wake

Not enough room for goodness sake

Yet sun melts pain and frost is shed.

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