Mel's Napowrimo Blog

Thirty poems in thirty days

Boomerang Blues — April 30, 2020

Boomerang Blues

Hello, hello and welcome to the last day. I’ve gone for the most obvious choice.

And last, but not least, our final (optional) prompt! In some past years, I’ve challenged you to write a poem of farewell for our thirtieth day, but this year, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that returns. For, just as the swallows come back to Capistrano each year, NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo will ride again!

Happy writing!

Boomerang Blues

He calls her

His boomerang

She always returns

No matter

How hard he throws her

Against chairs

The table

The counter tops in the kitchen

She just bounces

Right back

Her impulse to return

to his hand

He calls her

his boomerang

she always returns

Never learns


Bruises come and go

Come and go

Like the blue boo-hoo of the sea

And she knows

she knows

how to not show

how to arc

grow wings

so the wind stings less

She’s birch wood

Good for making chairs


Counter tops in the kitchen

She’s aerodynamic

Made for flight

And fire-fist-fight

She’s a boomerang

She will always return

to pain

The Throne Wars — April 29, 2020

The Throne Wars

Hello, hello and welcome to day twenty nine. Today’s poem is based on our cats. Our elderly cat died on Monday and so it’s gone all Game of Thrones in our house as they fight to be top cat.

And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge you to write a paean to the stalwart hero of your household: your pet. Sing high your praises and tell the tale of Kitty McFluffleface’s ascension of Mt. Couch. Let us hear how your intrepid doggo bravely answers the call to adventure whenever the leash jingles.

The Throne Wars

The queen is dead

Her stone throne empty

Apart from raven hairs

she had shed yesterday

That coil together to form a crown

The Red Queen travels

From the north

She gave two gold coins

For a horse

The fool prince

Brings the severed head of mice

A dead crow

And five spiders legs as gifts

Offerings to support his claim

The eunuch

Chases black shadow knights into the sun

Lays down on his back

ten swords sheathed

Beneath his hood

The ancient sage

A slave to the red Queen

A warrior softened by love

And amber eyes

Now content to rest

Blood lust gone

In the courtyard

The fool and eunuch duel

More play than combat

The Red Queen sat

On the jester’s lap

Laughs loudly

As the fool and Eunuch drink

Milk from the crypt

Tricked into sleep

While the Red Queen creeps

Claim the stone throne

For her own

Long live the Queen

My Grandmother’s parlour — April 28, 2020

My Grandmother’s parlour

Hello, hello and welcome to day twenty eight.

Today’s (optional) prompt is brought to us by the Emily Dickinson Museum. First, read this brief reminiscence of Emily Dickinson, written by her niece. And now, here is the prompt that the museum suggests:

Today’s (optional) prompt is brought to us by the Emily Dickinson Museum. First, read this brief reminiscence of Emily Dickinson, written by her niece. And now, here is the prompt that the museum suggests:

My Grandmothers Parlour

I did not know my grandmother

She was not a woman who could be known

Not only because she died before I was born

But she was just a woman who could not be known

All I know of her is from her front room

A parlour preserved in gloom

A dour Irish woman

who made milk sour with with withering stare

which she bestowed from her parlour’s only comfy chair

An antique hard back armchair

carved from the wood of a walnut tree

She carried the chair strapped to her back

all the way from Killyleagh

She was not a woman for ornaments

trinkets or sentimentally

Bore ten babies before the age of thirty five

Not counting those who died

I’m told she gave her stillborns, the names of saints

but did not cry

Her ten children were not allowed in her parlour

Only for adult visitors and the priest

But she received no visitors into her room

kept no friends

Had no enemies

She was a woman who could not be known

After she died

My grandfather set fire to her antique walnut chair

Along with the only thing she had hung on the walls

A crucifix

At her wake there was a Guinness fuelled fight

her family thought it not right

to burn the only thing of worth

But he said to sell a thing she owned

Would be like telling the secrets of the dead

She was after all his wife

and a woman who could not be known

The man who sold the moon — April 27, 2020

The man who sold the moon

Hello hello, very much a work in process but I didn’t not want to miss a day despite not being well. Enjoy.

There’s a pithy phrase attributed to T.S. Eliot: “Good poets borrow; great poets steal.” (He actually said something a bit different, and phrased it a bit more pompously – after all, this is T.S. Eliot we’re talking about). Nonetheless, our optional prompt for today (developed by Rachel McKibbens, who is well-known for her imaginative and inspiring prompts) plays on the idea of stealing. Today, I challenge you to write a non-apology for the things you’ve stolen. Maybe it’s something as small as your sister’s hairbrush (or maybe it was your sister’s boyfriend!) Regardless, I hope this sly prompt generates some provocative verse for you.

Happy writing!

The Man who stole the moon

Dennis Hope, the shoe-salesman who made a fortune

By exploiting a loop-hole and sold the moon

Borrowed a book from his local library

Found the flaw in the space treaty

exploited the loop-hole and sold the moon

Selling acres of his celestial property

For twenty dollars to Presidents, public and celebrity

Dennis Hope, shoe-salesmen who made fortune

Entrepreneurial genius or simply a crook

So infamous they wrote a book

About Dennis Hope who made a fortune

By exploiting a loop-hole and who sold the moon

Tess —


Hello. It’s a very sad day today as we lost our beloved cat. I don’t really feel like writing a poem so I’m just going to write a review of her:

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in the form of a review. But not a review of a book or a movie of a restaurant. Instead, I challenge you to write a poetic review of something that isn’t normally reviewed. For example, your mother-in-law, the moon, or the year 2020 (I think many of us have some thoughts on that one!)

Happy writing!


Spent most of her life in a vegetable rack

Wasn’t really a cat’s cat

Hissed at chair legs

Chewed hair

Caught magpies

Independent and aloof

Loved only one man

Hymn — April 25, 2020


Hello hello and welcome to day twenty five. I loved this prompt but didn’t want to spend too long on it for fear of overthinking so I many have missed one or two items of the list. Enjoy my small offering

Because it’s a Saturday, I have an (optional) prompt for you that takes a little time to work through — although you can certainly take short-cuts through it, if you like! The prompt, which you can find in its entirety here, was  developed by the poet and teacher Hoa Nguyen, asks you to use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem. (You may remember James Schuyler from our poetry resource for Day 2.) This is a prompt that allows you to sink deeply into another poet’s work, as well as your own.

Happy writing!


Love comes in through the eyes


In through sight to soul

Bite to bowl of hope

From white to gold

We see love

Yet we can never see love

Made up from a hundred thousand

Insignificant moments

Does anyone really know?

Sometimes it grows like tall trees

like the Coast Redwood

Or the Yellow Meranti

Sometimes love is tornado

Moves a photograph in silver frame

From one place to another

Bubble baths

Laughter when it was not expected

Passport stamps from Morocco

Himalayan salt lamps

and a wild wanton sea at high tide

Love comes in through the eyes

But comes out

Ebbs and flows from the mouth

In hymns

And in the singing

And in the rapturous praise of him

The Buddha’s hand — April 24, 2020

The Buddha’s hand

Hello, hello and welcome to day twenty four. Just a quick one today.

And last but not least, our daily (optional) prompt! Today’s prompt is a fairly simple one: to write about a particular fruit – your choice. But I’d like you to describe this fruit as closely as possible. Perhaps your poem could attempt to tell the reader some (or all!) of the following about your chosen fruit: What does it look like, how does it feel, how does it smell, what does it taste like, where did you find it, do you need to thump it to know if it’s ripe, how do you get into it (peeling, a knife, your teeth), do you need to spit out the seeds, should you bake it, can you make jam with it, do you have to fight the birds for it, when is it available, do you need a ladder to pick it, what is your favorite memory of eating it, if you threw it at someone’s head would it splatter them or knock them out, is it expensive . . . As you may have realized from this list, there’s honestly an awful lot you can write about a fruit!

Happy writing!

The Buddhas hand

Far away in other lands

There grows a spiky yellow fruit

called Buddha’s hand

Given as gifts for new Year

For when the yellow fingers close

they symbolise the Buddha in prayer

Om mani padme hum

Rare in the Western World

but can be found

in Malaysia, China and Japan

Brought by Buddhist monks

From the Indian trees of Guwahati

A fruit of good fortune

With fragrant perfume

It is mostly ornamental

Kept in flower boxes

and pots beside the door

But it’s medicinal properties


Like the prayers of the Buddha

It can bring the heart-rate down

to a zen state

Om mani padme hum

The Universal Language — April 23, 2020

The Universal Language

Hello, hello and welcome back to day twenty three: I think Isolation is getting to me so I succumbed to writing about isolation. I did want to avoid the subject as I wanted to remain positive but it is what it is.

Today’s prompt (optional, as always) asks you to write a poem about a particular letter of the alphabet, or perhaps, the letters that form a short word. Doesn’t “S” look sneaky and snakelike? And “W” clearly doesn’t know where it’s going! Think about the shape of the letter(s), and use that as the take-off point for your poem. Need an example? Here is my down-and-dirty translation of Eduardo Galeano’s “The letters of the word AMOR”:

The A has its legs open. 
The M is a seesaw that comes and goes between heaven and hell. 
The O is a closed circle, it will choke you. 
The R is scandalously pregnant.

All of the letters of the word AMOR are dangerous.

The Universal language

I is tall thin man

Standing in a doorway

Saying get back

Remain indoors

S is the cotton bedsheets

She has knotted together

Her escape route from the living-room

As she makes a ladder to the moon

O is the world at home

Growing rounder

More rotund

Social distancing of the stomach

Belt two metres wide

L is a woman in a blue ballgown

Sat at her dining table desk

Second guessing

Wondering what working from home should look like

Typing in comic sans

love letters to her fish

A is the wide-legged policeman

Standing outside the shops

Arms folded across his chest

To stop, arrest and enforce

T is a man in a Pilgrim hat

Preaching on the street

Screeching of plagues

Crushing locusts in his teeth

I is a teenager lazing in bed

Who just can’t seem

to get out of his head

Paints pictures of houses without doors

in green crayon

Draws the sun in a mask

O is a clock

Stopped in lockdown

Time is told

In the unfolding of flowers

today is a yellow daffodil

Tomorrow is a daisy

N is for men in formation

A mother in a queue

Little brother making pancakes

For the very first time

The world in a orderly line

One by one into the Ark

Yet in this dark of isolation

The lines meet

Neighbours greet each other diagonally

At last, a truly human race

Every single person facing the same fate

as we wait for the gates to open

with tolerance and grace

and the knowledge of a new alphabet

for a new universal language

Light in the darkness

The fall of Troy — April 22, 2020

The fall of Troy

Hello, hello and welcome to day twenty two. I hope you are all well. I went with the idiom never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Our (optional) prompt for the day asks you to engage with different languages and cultures through the lens of proverbs and idiomatic phrases. Many different cultures have proverbs or phrases that have largely the same meaning, but are expressed in different ways. For example, in English we say “his bark is worse than his bite,” but the same idea in Spanish would be stated as “the lion isn’t as fierce as his painting.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to find an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture, and use it as the jumping-off point for your poem. Here’s are a few lists to help get you started: One, two, three.

The fall of Troy

The seers sneered

Never look a gift horse in the mouth

A gift is a gift

But the prophets were blind

Failed to see the signs

An eagle flying high

Omen from the skies

Sometimes a gift is not really a gift

And you could miss

The heavy breath

Of men inside

As death rides

Gallops into the city

Troy falls

Despite the eagle calls

Always look a gift horse in the mouth

Harvest Moon — April 21, 2020

Harvest Moon

Hello, hello and happy Tuesday. I did this without cheating and then I read the real translation: I’m afraid I got it wrong. Oh so very wrong. The original poem is called Nocturne. I just called mine Harvest moon

Today’s optional prompt asks you to make use of today’s resource. Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. What does that mean? Well, it means to try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind up with a credible poem at the end, but this can be a fun way to step outside of your own mind for a bit, and develop a poem that speaks in a distinctive voice.

Slverskira månskenskväll,

nattens blåa bölja,

glittervågor utan tal

på varandra följa.

Skuggor falla över vägen,

strandens buskar gråta sakta,

svarta jättar strandens silver vakta.

Tystnad djup i sommarens mitt,

sömn och dröm, —

månen glider över havet

vit och öm.

Harvest moon

Silver skin moon skin skull

Natures blue howl

Glitter fades to black

Life vanishing

Shadows fall over town

A stranded busker plays guitar

Singing of silver stranded Gods

Tyrants who steal all tomorrow’s

Sombre and bloodthirsty

The moon glides over the harvest

Cold and alone