Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 18, 2018

April 17, 2018

 “A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.” ― Dylan Thomas

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 18, 2018

“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” ― Isaac Asimov

Welcome to day 18.  British philosopher writer and speaker, Alan W Watts, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience, ‘advice quote’ seems particularly apt to share:

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

― Alan W. Watts

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 18, 2018

From prompt meister extraordinaire Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen :  Imagine you are at the beach and you find a message in an old bottle. What does the message say? Write a response the message as a poem.

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”  ― Virginia Woolf

Keep Writing!

“What’s writing really about? It’s about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life.”― Ted Hughes

Prompt 16 poem–  Write a poem that evokes or is about Sam Hamill.

The River Crossed (for Sam)

By Christopher J. Jarmick


The river crossed

washes away the dirt of the journey.

Stand a moment

be clean, reset.

Breathe deep.


Stay a moment in a safe place.

The teaching surpasses the teacher.

Discipline must be learned

and is necessary.


When you must eat bitter fruit

to survive,

when isolation brings peace

but the world gets smaller,

louder, meaner;

when the hand you reach for

is no longer near

and you stumble in the mud

let the river crossed

wash away the dirt of the journey.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 17, 2018

April 16, 2018

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”― Stephen King

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 17, 2018

Welcome to the 17th day of NaPoWriMo 2018. The quote speaks:  “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” ― Anne Lamott

Have fun!  Write every day.

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 17, 2018

 “Poems are never finished – just abandoned” ― Paul Valéry

Oh yes… another prompt courtesy of  Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen:  Listen to a song you know you do not like, or from a style of music you don’t normally listen to and write a poem in response.

 “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ― Richard Bach

Keep Writing!

 “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” ― Ray Bradbury

Note:  An excellent poetry reading is taking place this Thursday April 19th at the Edmonds Bookstore at 6:30pm in beautiful downtown Edmonds Washington featuring short readings from  Janee Baugher, Victoria Ford, Michael Hickey, Christopher Jarmick, and Michael Spence  hosted by David D. Horowitz.  Hope YOU can be there.  EdmondsBookStore Calendar of Events here

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” ― E.M. Forster

Prompt 15  The I O U poem prompt from Brendan McBreen  Using only the I O U vowels and…

Not Hot Cross Buns

By Christopher J. Jarmick


I O U this Mr. McB.

It is a lousy, lousy

lousy thing to do

this prompt.  (Not!)

On off,

in out,

who knows

do U?

I thought not. (Rust.)



uh uh,



Must I?

Oh, must I?

Ok, I must.


Is it itsy bitsy sociolinguistics or microsociolinguistics you sing out loud

with or without our crowd of two plus you know who?


Goofy stuff I know.

Your doing Mr. McB.

Or U’r doing if I might – right?


Not so good but I’m lost without first two vows…

which is short for. . .oh, you know.

Oui, I O U

lots of words

Ok, I know this in or I know it out,

I know how to do much more.

Critic might not put up with using Y though

Oh sh*t. . .Tough nuts.  Sorry old nuns. So sorry.

Now you must sing Glycophosphoinositol without burping.

Don’t know how to sing much.

Don’t punch clock, no OT

Hours doing this

Um, uh, not too dumb though, no.

I’m plumb worn out; your doing

So F. . .  it

I O U nothing now  Mr. McB

tossing this off to you.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 16, 2018

April 15, 2018

“Tears are words that need to be written.”― Paulo Coelho

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 16, 2018



From Sam Hamill“Poetry transcends the nation-state. Poetry transcends government. It brings the traditional concept of power to its knees. I have always believed poetry to be an eternal conversation in which the ancient poets remain contemporary, a conversation inviting us into other languages and cultures even as poetry transcends language and culture, returning us again and again to primal rhythms and sounds.” ― Sam Hamill

If you haven’t heard, we lost Sam Hamill April 14th.  He was born of unknown parents in Utah in 1942 or 1943 probably September 5th.  Quite the early life but ‘poetry and Ken Rexroth saved him’.   Poet, Translator, Copper Canyon Press founder, poets against the war and much much more. Do read about him. Poetry Foundation Biography here   I was fortunate enough to have interviewed him, and hosted a few events that he was involved in.   R.I.P. Sam!    Hayden Carruth wrote: “No one — I mean no one — has done the momentous work of presenting poetry better than Sam Hamill. His editing and publishing, his criticism and translations, his own very strong and beautiful poems have been making a difference in American culture for many years.”

“I believe the poem is a sacramental act, pure devotion to whatever may be revealed only through the music of intuition. The dance of the intellect, the dance of wild imagination, illuminates what cannot otherwise be known.”Sam Hamill

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 16, 2018

Write a poem that evokes or is about Sam Hamill.

Poetry is a very large house with many rooms, closets, attics, basements, bedrooms and kitchens. For me, the practice of poetry is a way of life–as it was for many of the ancient Chinese and Japanese poets I have translated. For me, poetry is for re-reading, a world to be explored and revisited, a world that enriches the quality of one’s life.  — Sam Hamill

Keep Writing!

“I write in my notebook with the intention of stimulating good conversation, hoping that it will also be of use to some fellow traveler. But perhaps my notes are mere drunken chatter, the incoherent babbling of a dreamer. If so, read them as such.” ― Sam Hamill, The Poetry of Zen

Septolet Prompt 14  Write an informal and formal septolet.  I wrote 2 of each.

Formal syllable Septolet 1

Syria Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick




without long

term strategy.






Formal syllable Septolet 2

Bookstore Blue Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick



truly love

indie bookstores

so many great books


Wish there was

time to



Informal Word Septolet 1


In under three, Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick


I really

only need

three words

make that two.


Simple, direct


love you


Informal Word Septolet 2

Scribbled Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick


Another NaPoWriMo

Septolet scribbled quickly

to meet daily



can’t use

too many



NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 15, 2018

April 14, 2018

“I just filled out my income tax forms. Who says you can’t get killed by a blank?” – Milton Berle

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 15, 2018

NaPoWrimo Half over… and I’ll be you can guess the gist of the prompt for today!  Congratulations if you’ve been participating in this madness and if you are just starting today… welcome.

“Isn’t it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool’s Day and ends with cries of May Day!” – Robert Knauerhase

“On my income tax 1040 it says “Check this box if you are blind.” I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away.” – Tom Lehrer

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 15, 2018

“If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead — if you strike oil.” – J. Paul Getty

From Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen –  IOU, its tax time so lets write an IOU poem. The only vowels you can use are of course, I and O and U. I would suggest using them in that order repeated throughout the poem if you can, try for eight lines.

Keep Writing!

“This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher.”Albert Einstein, on filing tax returns.

Prompt 13  poem a write inspired by Seamus Heaney  (his poems Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication; Casualty, Blackberry Picking and Clearances had something to do with this write)

Seamus remembers

By Christopher J. Jarmick


History offers no lasting words

buried and marked with marble gravestones

celebrated with toasts and boasts

then forgotten within hours

after its news passes.


In the eyes of the living

lies clues to harvests past

the hardships, the labor

the loss, the friendships

like shores the ships

slipped by.


Most of the songs fading

like faint echoes on frost-bitten

moonless nights.

A smile is exposed

and lingers sweetly

without surrender,

like a blemish on a fingertip

that won’t be washed away.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 14, 2018

April 13, 2018


“I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky. ”― Sharon Olds

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 14, 2018

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ― Pablo Picasso

Write two different types of Septolets today.  (Sep-toe-lay) 1- 14 words – 7 lines 2- 7 lines 16 syllables.


Septolet 1: Total of 14 words in 7 lines, no line should have more than three words. The poem should relate to one subject, object, thought or feeling. The first four lines create a coherent picture or thought, the last three lines create another. Each could stand separately, but both are related.


Septolet 2: Line 1 has one syllable, Line 2 has two, Line 3 has 3, Line 4 has 4 syllables, space, Line 5 has 3, Line 6 has 2, Line 7 has one syllable. Poem should relate to one thought, feeling, object, place.




Formal Syllable Septolet                                          Informal Word Septolet


One                           1 syllable                                          “This


Second                      2 syllables                                       is easy


Or perhaps               3 syllables                                 anyone can do


Four ticking bombs     4 syllables                                  it,”


   Blank space


Reminder                  3 syllables                                said


That you’re               2 syllables                                tightrope walker.


Late                              1 syllable                                 “but don’t look down!”


The example on the left side is the more formal syllable Septolet.  The one on the right is made up of 14 words. You don’t count syllables.  4 word maximum on one line.


Keep Writing!

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”― Thomas Jefferson

Prompt Poem 12 –  (from Brendan’s suggestion:) Pick a scene from said movie. switch the genders of the involved characters and write a poem.

Animal Crackers  –  Groucho and Margaret Dumont have switched personalities

by Christopher J. Jarmick


I’m glad you dropped by Margaret

It’s good to see you.

What color is that garnet?



Hello Mr. Rittenhouse

I believe its scarlet



Goes with the blouse

I hope you can stay for a while.



Well Hello… hello

that makes me smile

I’ll stay the whole night through

Perhaps I’ll stay a week or two

But I must be going.



Oh no, Stay please

don’t go.



I may.

I like the way you look

I can picture you in the kitchen ,

burning the Ham,

you can’t cook,

but it’s the thought that counts.



What’s that you say?



I can picture you bent over the hot stove

I can’t see the stove anyway, but I’m thinking

what’s the plumber doing looking at the stove?



I don’t understand, your confusing me.



Easy to confuse a man.



Oh you shouldn’t say that

I’ll try to understand


You’re right.


I am.



Well it’s possible…not looking for a fight,

I was looking at your face

Wondering if it could really stop a clock

And then I realized the clock would still be right

twice a day, and I thought, that’s something nice

I could say to you.

You’re right at least twice a day!

And then I think

your rich and I sort of like

younger men



Would you holler

If I loosened my collar?

It’s suddenly a little hot in here



Please get comfortable

I’ll try not to leer.



I could get used to

Having you near.



Well I wish I could stay,

But now I must go away.

I’ll think of you every month.



Not every day?



Maybe but not unless

I stay.



You may

You know



You really don’t want

me to go?



I have been saying so



Then that settles it,

I refuse to stay

if you won’t tell me to go away.

Then I fear

I must certainly disappear.



Oh dear.

This is so sad



No tears young boy, don’t cry

I would quickly tire of you being my toy

Be glad, be happy, you amused,

I must fly,

you weren’t abused,

Time to run along,  Goodbye.


Some Groucho and Dumont scenes to enjoy here!


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 13, 2018

April 12, 2018

“If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.”― Seamus Heaney

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 13, 2018

“I can’t think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world.” ― Seamus Heaney

“All I know is a door into the dark” ― Seamus Heaney

It’s Friday the 13th.  Feeling lucky?  Feeling Irish?  Hopefully your developing a habit of writing every day.

By the way, on Friday evening at BookTree in Kirkland you can ‘Meet the Artists (5 to 7:30PM) and perhaps start writing your own Ekphrastic poem ( details on this Facebook Event Page Here).  

 “Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.” ― Seamus Heaney


NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 13, 2018


Happy Birthday to Irish Poet and 1995 Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney (1939 to 2013) Honor him with your poem today. Let a few of his poems, or a few of the quotes on this page become part of the poem you write.  And if you aren’t familiar with his work, I hope you’ll discover and immerse yourself in it soon!

Keep Writing!

“I rhyme

To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.”

― Seamus Heaney


Poem Prompt 11  – Write a poem honoring evoking Mark Strand


Poetry Eater (for Mark Strand)

By Christopher J. Jarmick


He’s been eating poetry


in the library, in the café

with tea.


Gorging himself on the stuff

Ink stains on lips, on his

shirt, indiscriminate



Some are embarrassed

look away

some call the police

this can’t be!


But I don’t worry

at all.

He just needs to



The great, the good

some bad

It’s vital, it’s real



It is what he does

who he is.

It is part of his process

let him be.


He’s Baudelaire drunk.

Taking a stand

on poetry, on life;

it’s Mark Strand.



April 11, 2018

 “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”― Mark Twain

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 12, 2018

It’s my birthday which means we have a prompt related to movies today (because I’m also a movie-buff).  Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen came up with one that I didn’t think of, involves movies and could be challenging and fun.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”― Jack London

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 12, 2018

From Brendan –  Pick a movie. Pick a scene from said movie. Now switch the genders of the involved characters and write a poem describing the revised scene.

Keep Writing!

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”― Ray Bradbury

Poem for Prompt 10  –  Write an Ekphrastic poem.  (written about Starry Skies a work of art currently on the walls of BookTree bookstore in Kirkland.  (see below for photo of it)

Under Starry Skies (Ekphrastic)

By Christopher J. Jarmick


It isn’t stained glass.

Diamonds of colors,

along the borders

stars looking at you

square through



Imagining a clear night sky

lit up by suns

millions of miles away.

The view, my imagination,



Pick yourself up.

If you don’t believe

in the bottom of a barrel,

there is no bottom,

no cask,

always infinite stars

twinkling above

creating northern light art

in night sky.



Poem Starter 1411

by Christopher J. Jarmick

45 was momentarily calm

as he announced he’s working on his new book:

The Art of the Comb Over


his mood grew sour when he was told

of Michael Wolff’s new book:

The Art of the Comey Over.


Photo of Starry Night

starry night