The Stilled Tiller

April 27
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “…we challenge you to pick a card (any card) from this online guide to the tarot, and then to write a poem inspired either by the card or by the images or ideas that are associated with it.”

TarotMoon

The explanation of “The Moon” I worked with for the prompt can be found here.

The Stilled Tiller

Through the last lock, proceed.
Heed neither choppy sea
nor howling wolf; Moon

plots only golden headings.
The tiller will point right
into the cabin, for you to rest.

Night will stand watch.
Snug in your bunk,
it’s safe to dream deep:

Dewy thoughts tumble
with Sun’s last raining rays
through open portholes.

A clear message appears:
The abyss beneath has ceased!
Be still, Dear One. Peace.
 
by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018 

This poem is dedicated to my mother, Eve Joanne Hamblett Cassatt, who wrote many poems about the moon. Here’s a short favorite she wrote, “Moon Games.”

 Winter moon comes peeking thru
            my window trying to see
Playing hide & seek behind
            black spruce trees
Pillows are dappled in light
‘til a cloud pulls down the shade –
            Good Night!

Why Pigs Fly

April 22
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “…to take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens…”
The sun can’t rise in the west.
A circle can’t have corners.
Pigs can’t fly.
The clock can’t strike thirteen.
The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.
A mouse can’t eat an elephant. 

Pigs can’t fly.

There once was a pig who could fly.
Right through the sky he would go.
This pig flew by ground
right into our town
and not once did he stub his toe;
it wasn’t quite right
when he took off in flight —
the runways were always too low.
 
The clock can’t strike thirteen.

Swiss clockmakers’ clocks strike thirteen
at midnight in digital dreams.

The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.

Nowanights, lost stars
twinkle north, south, east, AND west
thanks to GPS.

 

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

Capricious Narcissus

April 21
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt “… is based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way.”
As luck would have it, Luna and I found a narcissus in the garden this morning. Photos below.

Capricious Narcissus

Just this morning, I found him plunked
right in the middle of a dandelion party
rocking my blackberry patch out back.

Kneeled weeding, between the sprawl
of it all, I heard a meek screech,
Nooo! Please! Not meeeee! Luna heard it, too.

She sniffed and stared. In retrospect, to be fair,
I suppose, that, maybe Luna, really-truly, you
could say, actually, technically, found him first.

Anyway, I was the fool who waved away the
masses to get to him. After such a wild night,
the sudden rush of spring light mummed him.

He said nothing to me when I revealed his presence
but Luna’s ears pricked up; he only had words for her
and she, eyes for him. In she leaned for a whiff.

I’d just been used in a ruse to get to her; I cannot
blame him. And, normally, I would never blame lovely
Luna for anything at all. But her muzzle nuzzled him.

Right. in. front. of. moi. I plopped down, right on
the spot to consider a plot. When the PDA didn’t stop,
when Luna tilted her head for a lick, I plucked him.

by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018
Before photo — Luna with Narcissus in garden this morning
After photo — Narcissus, plucked, in vase with no water

LunaNarcissus

NARCISSE

 

Carrying the Ashes

Thrilled that this poem was featured 18 April ’18 by National Poetry Writing Month – Global Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo – GloPoWriMo). The generative prompt for it appeared the preceding day.

April 17
NaPoWriMo’s prompt: “…write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time.” This poem was inspired by, and is a take off of, “Directions” in Sailing Around the Room, by Billy Collins.
 
Carrying the Ashes
dedicated to Nanci Hamblett Wilson

You know the granite chunks on the beach,
the ones you see from the dinghy,
the ones that wend their way to
the path?
And you know how if you follow the path
up the steepest part of the slope
and climb up into the woods you might
have to grab hold of saplings until
you come to the raspberry patches, picked over
by each of us every summer
right under the grove of tall pine, dripping now
with grandfather’s beard?
And farther on, you know how the path
twists to the left and narrows between juniper
and if you go beyond that you arrive
in the clearing with the long stone ridge
bordered by the small field
followed by the big field that tumbles
right back down to the sea
just to the left of the cabin
where there was the singular chair?
That’s a fine place to stop
and catch your breath.

Of course, the journey’s best done with
your hands free. But you know when
you have a load to carry and your hands are so full
you can’t even grasp a sapling?
Just remember that the beginning of the path
is the steepest and, with each step,
the raspberries are getting closer.
And it helps if you have someone
to chat with when you take breaks
and can switch the load from one to the other
up the path to the singular chair.

So, let me know before you set out next time.
I’ll row the dinghy and you can put your hand
on my shoulder as we cross the granite chunks.
Bring a bowl for the raspberry patch
and I’ll bring an old blanket
and we’ll nibble away an afternoon
where there the singular chair once sat
and catch our breath.

By Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018, inspired by “Directions” in Sailing Around the Room by Billy Collins.

 

‘Twas the Night

6 April
NaPoWriMo prompt: “…write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks…” Well. This certainly stretched my comfort zone! How is it that even the most innocent childhood poem can turn so dark and erotic with few line breaks and a bit of erasure? Twas the Night, with thanks to Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from Saint Nicolas

stirring
stockings
visions

danced
in her ‘kerchief
a flash

the sash
the moon
the breast

a lustre below
wondering eyes
a moment

he whistled
shouted
called
Now!
Now!

they meet
bound
flung on his back
opening
encircled

shook
in spite
a twist of his head

dread
stockings
a jerk

a whistle
out of sight
night!

 

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

The Gecko

4 April
NaPoWriMo prompt: “…write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns….” This poem is dedicated to the concept of New Hampshire.

The gecko can’t stop squirming
on its mossy sofa in the terrarium.

Linty daylight streams through the scratched glass
as the little boy peers in, hands cupped.

He steps back, aims his index-finger gun.
It wills him to shoot

the lid right off — or its brains out —
either one; live free or die.

 

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018