Full National Poetry Month List

National Poetry Month: The Man of Double Deed & There Was a Man a Man Indeed  

The Man of Double Deed   Thought to be the oldest poem ever written, “The Man of Double Deed” has many versions. One included in poetry.com includes a lion and an eagle. The one sung by children in Northern Ireland is shorter, leaving those two creatures out while changing the title.    In any case, the original poet is unknown, and can be added to or limited by the person speaking. This seems an excellent first poem to begin our observance of […]

National Poetry Month: A Promise 

A Promise   By Nancy Chesnutt Matsumoto   Distant trumpets herald the return,   as my eyes, eager witnesses to the scene,   scan the sky high above the tree-tops.   A chevron of bodies fills the air,   signaling a final destination.   Then my worn and winter-weary soul,   pauses, breathless, in silent awe.   Undisturbed by the turmoil below,   flying far above famines and feuds,   pandemics, politics and pain,   thousands of these wonders on wing,   announce the commencement of spring. 

National Poetry Month: Cloud-Followers

By Linda Varsell Smith    We head north on our Saturday ride.  Four hours under an ever-changing sky.  Billowy, white cloud sculptures mix  with banks of gray clouds bearing rain.     We drive up the valley with wide vistas,  of flat farm land, orchards draping  moss-covered trees with loped off limbs.  We are not able to detect what fruit will bloom.     Two bonfires burn branch debris.  Roadside and forest areas have  fallen trees from an ice storm. Limbs  litter […]

National Poetry Month: DIAGNOSIS: ALZHEIMER’S by Carolyn Powers

DIAGNOSIS:  ALZHEIMER’S By Carolyn Powers My brother, sitting beside me is going away. His body will remain, but his person– the very essence that is my brother– is leaving us both. There is urgency to speak, to share memories while we still can. Unspoken love must be made real, a lifeline to grasp before the heaving sea of disease engulfs us. What can I say? How can I comfort him–and myself? I want to grasp his hand and say “Before you go […]

National Poetry Month: Another Day in Paradise 2020

Another Day in Paradise 2020 By Keri Hakan In a quick rain; I am alone. I am not without friends, neighbors or family. I am alone in a new world of masks, no touching and inside voices.   I am a fortunate one. I have a home, a cloth mask, a soft voice. Somewhere out there in a cold rain— I have a friend playing guitar, another writing poetry; and another sipping coffee wishing it was with me. Somewhere— Out […]

National Poetry Month: Tater’s by Clemens Starck

TATER’S  by Clemens Starck    Country music and  bacon  are on the menu at Tater’s Café  along with a Denver, a Western, or a Florentine omelette.  I go there sometimes when I’m feeling low.  It’s surprising    what a three-egg omelette with hash-browns  and whole-wheat toast  will do.  

National Poetry Month: Two Poems by Rene Mullen

The Pandemic: A Memoir By Rene Mullen I learned, over time, I control almost nothing of what keeps me alive find yourself unable to protect what was built to save the hoards of nothing we hold so close No Such Thing As Vampires By Rene Mullen When the last woman, man, and child is safe One politician screams This garlic saved us from vampires! See, no monsters! The other cries We were lied to by scientists! See, no monsters! The […]

National Poetry Month: PANTLESS ROOSTER by Gary Custer

PANTLESS ROOSTER He rules the roost. Not a Charles Atlas kind of guy, but he rules the roost. His physique is odd for a ruler, better than average height but skinny legs. Body type not well defined. He works hard around the house, but never has a sweat producing profession. He wears suits, not sports coats, to work at the Cudahy Packing Company. Daily he prepares himself for his job, getting roused at 6 a.m. by the bell tower by […]

National Poetry Month: Two poems by Roger Weaver

What Smart Dogs Know  By Roger Weaver    When to sleep,  where to go,  what toys to keep,  who their friends are.  Leaving  By Roger Weaver    It was a quarter after  eleven and time  for him to go.   He who had bonded  with him was leaving.  Stubborn, I knew   it was coming,  his departure, but  when it came  I was elsewhere,   and most there  at the same time.   Parting without  departure and   welcome our  next time together.   

National Poetry Month: Following the Music by Betty McCauley

Following the Music By Betty McCauley    I prop the picture beside the phone.  In the black and white snapshot  Dad’s white hair shines, neatly parted, and he leans forward in the rocking chair, mouth organ cupped in worker’s hands.  Tommy, at his knee, clutches Grandpa with pudgy hands. Just big enough to pull himself up, he follows the music, face upturned and rapt.   Thirty-nine years later, Tom phones me in electronic excitement about his new studio, music they’ll record, […]

National Poetry Month: A Second Marriage Gift by Peggy Mullett

A Second Marriage Gift  By Peggy Mullett    A coming together of lives,  A helping, a healing,  Together with feeling.  The real meaning of husbands and wives.    Of long walks and honest talks,  Of repairs and no “airs”  Songs on a hillside,  And always side-by-side,  No more alone but now “pairs”.    Of Christmas trees and memories,  Dutch plates and lunch dates,  Flights of fancy and real.  The way to a heart can be part  Of a start and […]

National Poetry Month: What Is Poetry by Ann Staley

What Is Poetry  Charles says it’s about “the lining” and “directional flow,”    By Ann Staley  Robert Frost says it’s “What gets lost in translation.”  He also said, “Like a piece of ice on a hot stove,  the poem must ride on its own melting.”  That funny poet who wrote as an insect, Don Marquis  says “Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.”  And Gwendolyn Brooks said, “Poetry is life distilled.”  The “Fog” poet said, “Poetry is the […]

National Poetry Month: Stinging Nettles by Charles Goodrich

Stinging Nettles     By Charles Goodrich        Murky water in the slough,  the oily sheen and bitter smell  of herbicides and sewage.  That deeper stink  is the natural putridity of drowned fescue  decaying anaerobically, and it rouses me  like a whiff of sulphur from hell.  I’m here for nettles, for a spring  slumgullion of bitter herbs, and the edges  of swampy ex-river bottoms  are where to go with gloves on and rose snips.     The osoberry bushes  are leafing out beside heaps  of broken […]

National Poetry Month: Two Poems by Terrance Millet

The Operator’s Daughter    Sometimes    a moment opens in her mind and  she is little     when winter comes her  father puts storm windows up where summer screens   once were     at the bottom of the frame   a wooden flap seals off three ventilation holes     and in the morning she pushes up the window to   lift the flap and press her nose   against the holes      and breathe   cold winter air that smells (she   knows) of ozone       she     holds her hands up […]

National Poetry Month: Seven Scraps of Sunlight by Gregg Kleiner

Seven Scraps of Sunlight     By Gregg Kleiner    Below her apartment window,  the woman stands alone in the fragile light of dawn,  waiting for the monks – shrouded in saffron – to emerge  from the mist that settles this time of year  along the river flowing through her village.    She knows she will see their black bowls first,  then their bare feet and ankles,   then the golden yellow of their fluttering robes.    It’s her birthday today and […]

National Poetry Month: Our Mother Earth by Orion Olson

Our Earth Mother  By Orion Olson      Our Earth Mother is ill   She is sweating   Burning up  She has a high temperature  Affecting each and every one of us    Her perspiration it falls fast  Freezing everything in its path  She still needs to cool herself down  Weather patterns have been disrupted  By what we put in her clouds    Man’s carbon waste clogs her sky  Poking holes in her shield   Used to protect you and I  Mankind needs to […]

National Poetry Month: Two poems by Nathan Tompkins

Muted  By Nathan Tompkins    No aerial chants  through the window  honour another morning,  just the canine chorus   clog dancing,  outside the bedroom…again.    Lips, yeah,  I read them  but that damned book  is heavier than a feather,  the tonnage wears  down the   bloodstream.    Living  in a muted world  where  captioning  flares on a tv screen,  it’s a comfort  like  watching   winter fire  drink oxygen.    Moulded         amplifiers  wired    down ear canals  paint shadow pictures  of sound  on the […]

National Poetry Month: Two poems by Larina Warnock

Stream of Consciousness By Larina Warnock  When dust settles over the settlement over  the mountain towering between   the lovers no one knew were lovers   and the others no one wanted   to know, a single-lane road will travel  from the canyon to the chasm   to the hell no one believes   in, and they will say that road was paved   with good intentions, and tent cities   will spring up on either side of the road  while someone loads trucks and trucks  and […]

National Poetry Month: Circus 2021 by Lynnette Spicer

Circus 2021  By Lynnette Spicer    The circus of old,   Shy, quiet, unnoticed.  The circus today,  Trending, viral, the great big show.  The circus come tomorrow,   Bleak, with cold bodies lining the streets,  Cold souls bouncing out of heaven’s gates.  The circus of nevermore,   Shows us, we are nothing more than upright animals. 

National Poetry Month: humpty dumpty by dinaz rogers

humpty dumpty  by dinaz rogers     On a very high wall  nice and tall  sat Humpty Dumpty  painted up like a doll;  poor egg … a sight  it looked a fright.  Cheeks: two dots of pink  Eyes: in deep-black ink  Lips: all blue  one black felt shoe  other a bright ecru.     Then came  all the  King’s horses  and all the King’s men  who stood as guards  lest Humpty fell  and broke in shards.   ‘Cause Humpty without:  health coverage, catastrophic […]

National Poetry Month: Two Poems by Louise Cary Barden

Sonnet to a Viral Spring  by Louise Cary Barden      These days will leave their mark one-hundred years from now:  this time of dark, even in the sun, when we know death   appears around the corner with a simple cough   before a flash of fever and a sudden loss of breath.   Some days we sit trembling at home, in isolation  without escape. We’re marked. Doctors say  we will fall victim to inevitable contagion  in a week, a month, maybe […]

National Poetry Month: Death by Sally K Lehman

Death  By Sally K Lehman    Soylent this or that doesn’t have nothing on it  Life afters and life durings and ping-ponging your way through life  Intruders in the soul cavity of every man,  Any man, my man, her man  Jesus, man, just hold it up a minute    Look at the dead guy in a coffin  Let’s prop him up sitting so we can all see   Maybe take a poke  Maybe he flinches  Dead men telling tales of Lazarus […]

National Poetry Month: Hit or Miss by Jessica Rich

Hit or Miss  By Jessica Rich  (For Richard Finney, 2009)    We are always hit or miss, you and me.   Hot and cold.  Sometimes we talk for hours, discuss philosophy,  music, art.  Laughter filled our mouths as quickly   as your whiskey glass emptied.  Other times,  most times,  conversation was a shy child  in the company of too-friendly adults-  silent and awkward.    As I lift you into the passenger side of the truck  and take my turn in the driver’s […]

Poetry and Literary Education in the Words of Linda Varsell Smith

“Poetry is paying attention, sharing discoveries with word-play”Linda Varsell Smith  True to her poetic heritage – family members in the USA and in Sweden wrote poetry – Linda Varsell Smith spoke in rhyme at three years old, dictated rhymed quatrains to her mother at six, and finally illustrating her poetry booklet.   With a degree in Elementary Education from Central Connecticut State College in New Britain followed by a master’s in Educational Psychology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Varsell […]

National Poetry Month: Upon The Dawn of Winter… by Simon Diamond

“Upon The Dawn of Winter”…   I. Upon The Dawn Of Winter, I held the satellite Deimos In the palms of my hands As you radiated,the magnetism of Phobos.   I am an infant. Of what language do you metaphysically speak? Vietnamese? English? Japanese? Are you raw, like me? A hard rock, compressed by the atmospheric density of Love’s Resident Goddess?   What is this feeling? I hate it. It tastes like Arm & Hammer Baking Soda… Guide me, guide […]

National Poetry Month: How to Swing It on a Rainy Afternoon by Brigette Goetze

All it takes is a long coat, a large umbrella, and rubber boots. It doesn’t matter if it is a drizzle or downpour, just swing with it: through the stippled curtain notice the deepened green of the wet hills, the darkened trunks, the dripping, moss-covered branches, swing your head right to left: savor the scent of fir, of mushroom, molder, even that trace of far-away wood smoke, swing your arms as you splash through the muddy puddle, your feet’s drum […]

National Poetry Month: Two Poems by Peter Burke

Freshly Poured   When past depresses and future frightens, when news is bad and weather dreary, morning coffee, fresh from pot, makes my life feel good and cheery.   ~ Peter Burke Beyond Gender   At a poetry celebration I spy a slender youth. Reserved, watchful, black vest, white shirt,   bright eyes, pale skin, hair like fine fur. He or she? I cannot say. I choose a name – Morgan.   Morgan stands and speaks. “I am a trans […]

National Poetry Month: Lucero Non Uro by Be Davison Herrera

What  Are  Your  Challenges  Here  Perhaps    Like  Dante’s  Seeker    You      Safely  Masked  Staff  In  Hand  As  Vaporous  Discharges  from   Mountains  of   Piled  Detritus  obscure  Your  Passage    You  Respond  To  An  Ultimate  test  Descend  To  the Inferno  Followed  By  Wonderings  Through  the Purgatorio    until  Purged  triumphant  Ascent  to stellar reaches  the Paradiso  where   You  Hold  True  The  Medieval  Maxim  lucero non uro  I shine not burn 

National Poetry Month: Digital Dilemma by Betty McCauley

Digital Dilemma  By Betty McCauley    Brendan has a new watch.  “Hurry,” I say.  “It’s almost a quarter to eight –  we’ll be late.”    “No Grandma – it’s only 7:43.”  He examines his digital watch  with grave certainty.    Years ago his Grandpa Jim,  whose clock ran down before Brendan was born,  prophesied concerning digital clocks.  “They’ll never learn cycles,” he’d say.  “How will they understand   unending circles of nature?  How will they know that next year’s buds under […]

National Poetry Month: Three final poems from three remarkable poets to end National Poetry

Liberty Tree By Rene Mullen Gardener protects plastic perennial for winter, cuts plant at its base, discards elm sucked clean of liberty to repress urges to overthrow itself. Thinks it’s bootstrap bee balm, economy says it’s nepeta. Each hibernating life born on this land plowed into concrete, called native, called something else. Told it was cut down in 1775. Driving Dean Martin Downtown By Jessica Rich Our voices are vines on buildings that are too grand for anything other than […]