Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day #26 - ZEUS

We’ve reached the last letter of the alphabet, which means we’ve reached the end of the First Annual 26 Days in July Poem-A-Day Challenge. Many people have stopped by since our first prompt on July 6th, and while I’m disappointed that more didn’t have the opportunity to participate, I’m at least proud of myself for sticking with it. When all is said and done, I’ll look back on July as a month in which I wrote 26 poems. Some are pretty good, some are just okay, and some are downright awful. But, from my own perspective, this Challenge has been a huge success. I’ve looked at words I might not normally think of as particularly poetic and tried to infuse them with my muse. I didn’t always succeed, but I had fun trying. I’m hoping to bring the poem challenge back next year in January and then, again, in July. Why, you might well ask? It’s all for the love of poetry … and why the Zeus not?


My well of creativity
has dried up from misuse.
I guess it’s time I face it:
I’m not cummings, Frost or Seuss!

The last prompt, and my muse is dead.
I’ve nothing to produce.
I’ve no words to inspire you,
enlighten or seduce.

And, so, I struggle with this prompt.
I guess I’m just obtuse.
But how can I write poetry
about the Greek god, Zeus?

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. I hope you’ve enjoyed our sojourn through the alphabet. See you back here on August 12, 2010, when we resume our regular weekly prompts, starting with the letter “S.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day #25 - YELL

24 days down. 2 to go. Can you feel the excitement build? No, I can’t either. But that’s neither here nor there. Today’s prompt is “yell.” Once in a while, you might yell at your kids; you probably wish you could yell at your boss; you might even yell at the talking heads on television. As for now, yell where it really matters … on paper, in a poem! As for my effort today: I’m using the mantra I repeated to my parents on a regular basis.


I could have done this better.
and I could have done that right.
I could have thought about it first,
and dodged my present plight.
I promise to reduce my wrongs.
On failures, please don’t dwell.
And while I beg for amnesty,
resist the urge to yell.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day #24 - X-RAY

Our prompt for Day #24 is “x-ray.” I dedicate my poetic effort for today to my mother and father, who passed away two weeks apart in 2007. Sometimes, I wonder if the pain of their loss will ever go away.


If you x-ray my heart,
you will see how it bleeds
from an unfulfilled promise
and from unfulfilled needs.

If you x-ray my soul,
you will find that it’s black.
There’s a dark, empty hole,
knowing you won’t be back.

If you x-ray my eyes,
you will see how they cried.
For the tears realize
what they lost when you died.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day #23 - WILLOW

We are now at Day #23 in the A Muse Fuse Poem-A-Day Challenge. Today’s prompt is “willow.” The kitchen window, in the house I grew up in, looked out upon our backyard. There, in the center of our outside oasis, stood a weeping willow tree. Many hours of my childhood were spent playing around, under, and on that tree. It was a source of safety and comfort in those days of my youth. It is now a pleasant and comforting memory as time moves forward.


I saw it from the window,
the tree so proud and tall.
It reached beyond the heavens
(so I thought, when I was small).
It reminded me of Daddy,
rooted firmly in the ground,
but was also like my Momma,
showing strength without a sound.
This tree will last forever,
though its branches gently sway,
for this weeping willow memory
is a part of me today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day #22 - VALOR

Today is the 57th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice. In World War II, my dad served his country as a plane mechanic, and my grandfather was wounded in France during World War I. We still live with the aftermath of the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. There seems no end in sight for the war in Afghanistan. Regardless of whether you are a hawk or a dove in military matters, there is no denying the courage of the men and women who regularly put their lives on hold to join the fight for freedom. With the prompt for Day #22 (“valor”), I take this opportunity to thank them all.


For all who answered quickly
and heeded duty’s call,
for those who put themselves at risk
and gave the job their all,
for those who fought for freedom
with their lives upon the line,
we thank you for your sacrifice.
Your valor withstands time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day #21 - UKULELE

I'm so sorry for the delay in posting today's prompt. Yesterday, a storm came through that took out our cable line, which caused us to lose the phone, internet and tv. But now we're back, up and running!!

The prompt for Day #21 in the Poem-A-Day challenge is "ukulele." I can't think of that word without thinking of Hawaiian Islands, which inspired my poem for today.


Beyond the western coast,
a paradise is found.
A daily dose of magic
brings enchantment all around.
So strum your ukulele
and dance in hula time.
The music of Hawaii
is a ballad so sublime.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day #20 - TINSEL

You’ve heard of Christmas in July? Well, incredible as it seems, this word and today’s date were not planned out ahead of time. My inspiration for today’s prompt “tinsel” comes from holidays gone by and good memories not lost in the passage of time.


It seems like only yesterday,
when I was all of three,
I’d run and tumble down the stairs.
I’d squeal with childish glee.
And long before I saw the gifts
my eyes went wide to see
the gaudy balls, the bubble lights
and tinsel on the tree.

Through magic of home movies,
I can watch my family
enjoy the pleasures of the day.
But sadness smothers me.
For how I miss those moments
and how much I’d love to see
the gaudy balls, the bubble lights
and tinsel on the tree.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day #19 - SUPREME

The prompt for Day #19 is: supreme. One definition is "greatest, utmost or extreme." And that pretty much summarizes the weather today here in Baltimore. Not quite 11:30 in the morning and our temperature, with the heat index, is already at 101 degrees. While that may not explain my late post today, it certainly explains my inspiration!


Temperatures soar
higher with humidity.
The supreme heat rules!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day #18 - ROT

Here we are at Day #18 of the Poem-A-Day Challenge with the prompt: rot. What a wonderful opportunity for me to, once again, stand tall upon my soapbox. Nothing irritates me more than people taking what the media says as gospel. Which brings me to my offering for today’s prompt.


While others have a lot to say,
infallible they’re not.
Opinions must be researched well.
You’re not a mindless bot.
If you don’t exercise your brain,
your brain will surely rot.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day #17 - QUEUE

There are now only ten days left in our poetic journey through the alphabet, and what a journey it's been. The prompt for Day #17 is: queue. This word can mean a braid of hair hanging down the back, a file or a line of people waiting for something, or (for our beloved computer geeks) an organized sequence of data or messages. How does "queue" infuse your muse? Below is my lyrical attempt.


A sale would start in minutes.
For shoppers old and new,
like pilgrims on a sacred quest,
anticipation grew.
Before the doors were opened,
a booming voice rolled through:
“Settle down, wait your turn,
and form into a queue.”

A ticket window sign said “closed”
and all who stood there knew
that when the tickets went on sale,
there'd be a ballyhoo.
A giant man approached the crowd
his job was to subdue:
“Settle down, wait your turn,
and form into a queue.”

An unexpected tragedy
brought death to quite a few.
The angry mob outside the Gates
could not believe it true.
But trying to restore control,
St. Peter’s whistle blew:
“Settle down, wait your turn,
and form into a queue.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Day #16 in the Poem-A-Day challenge brings us the prompt: pirouette. Born with a total lack of coordination, I've never been able to master the art of dance. My inspiration comes from a gift I wish I'd been given.


A tiny girl in leotards
awaits her turn to dance.
She watches those who go before
a child within a trance.

From first position, it is clear
she’s worth more than a glance.
This tiny youth has much to share,
a talent far advanced.

But gifts arrive at any age,
and hers was not by chance.
She shows the beauty of ballet,
a pirouette romance.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day #15 - OCEAN

The prompt for Day #15 calls me back to the place I just left. Four glorious days immersed in total relaxation where water meets land. I am hopelessly addicted to white, sandy beaches, the smell of salty air and the majestic roar of the ocean. Only one question bores through my soul: when can I go again? Enjoy the prompt. Enjoy the summer. And enjoy the moment.


I sit content at the shoreline.
The waves roll in.
The waves roll out.
Mesmerized by the scene,
nothing more important seems possible
than that gentle rocking back and forth.
As the wind picks up,
white caps appear
and the ocean begins to pummel the beach
with fierce determination.
Slow and steady, the waves come
closer and closer
to my sanctuary in the sand.
Retreat is not an option.
I surrender to the encroaching water
that envelops my toes in its salty wetness.
And still, I sit and ponder
those things that beach bums do:
much of nothing
and nothing much.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


There is a quote that reads, “the only constant is change.” Such is the case here at A Muse Fuse. When I first began organizing the July Poem-A-Day Challenge, I had no plans to be out of town during the month. So, of course, that has changed. I will be unavailable from Friday, July 16th through Monday, July 19th. But to stay (albeit slightly) within the rather loose parameters of this alphabetical challenge, I have posted below all the poetry prompts for these four days. Choose one, choose two, choose all, choose none; whatever your schedule allows will be appreciated. I will see you back here, "live", on Tuesday, July 20th around 10:00 am with the prompt for Day #15. Have a good weekend, and be safe!

Day #14 - NOCTURNAL (for July 19, 2010)

Yesterday’s prompt brought us to the half-way mark in the Poem-A-Day Challenge. Yay for us! Only thirteen days left. We can do this!!

For Day #14’s prompt, we are given the word “nocturnal.” Many of nature’s beings are driven by the night. We have both dogs and cats in our household. The dogs sleep on their people’s schedule. Not so much the felines, which makes them an appropriate subject of my haiku for today’s prompt.


Nocturnal creatures
romp through their darkened playground.
At sunrise, they crash.

Day #13 - MOLTEN (for July 18, 2010)

Day #13 of the Poem-A-Day Challenge gives us the word: molten. Now, I know “molten” is most often associated with volcanoes, but anyone who knows me is aware of my need to forage for food. No surprise, then, at my poetic attempt for this prompt!


It sits there in its pristine form,
a chocolate lover’s dream.
But once the fork has broken through,
a lovely, chocolate stream
of rich and gooey fudge-like sauce
flows freely from inside.
Enjoy this molten lava cake,
where calories abide.

Day #12 - LOBE (for July 17, 2010)

At Day #12, we have the prompt: lobe. Not that many places to go with this, and one of Lynda’s more difficult word selections. But I was fascinated this week by a restaurant server who seemed to have little bits of jewelry coming out of every conceivable, visible place (and I didn’t want to think of the invisible places). Sometimes, I appear to be a grumpy, old lady … and sometimes I really AM a grumpy, old lady.


What is this fascination
with body mutilation
in places holes are not supposed to be?
The trend goes round the globe,
and not just in the lobe.
They’re piercing things we’re not supposed to see!

Day #11 - KIPPERS (for July 16, 2010)

I don’t profess to know how Lynda’s mind works. So I have no explanation (or any apology) for Day #11’s prompt:  kippers. All I can say is “have fun with it.” I tried to!


On a trip once to Merry Old England,
a big English breakfast I ate.
Boiled egg with strong tea,
but no kippers for me,
though the hot, crispy rashers were great!

Day #10 - JACK

The prompt for Day #10 is:  jack. At, there are 30 definitions of this word, some of which I'd never heard of before. When choosing which one to use, I kept coming back to an idea that sparked the poem below. Perhaps a sense of nostalgia for days that were or should have been contributed to my effort for today.


Jack and Bob and Teddy,
a band of brothers three.
The eldest, Joe, died in the war,
to keep his country free.

And then, stood Bob and Teddy,
a band of brothers two.
A killer’s gun took Jack away
before his job was through.

And then alone stood Teddy,
the last remaining son.
His brother Bob fell victim
to another selfish gun.

And through his years remaining,
the youngest Kennedy
worked hard for silent voices,
to win them liberty.

Jack and Bob and Teddy,
a band of brothers three.
They strove throughout their lifetimes
to keep this country free.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day #9 - ISLAND

I had little trouble with the prompt for Day #9:  island.  At some point, every day, I find my thoughts driving to a tropical location with white sand, warm sun, and gentle breezes.  Instead, I'm sitting in my office, staring out a window at summer thunderstorm skies, waiting for the downpour.  Thank goodness for dreams!


The sun sitting over the ocean.
The sound of an island steel drum.
The seagulls above gently soaring.
My glass filled with rich, island rum.

The ocean is doing its bidding.
It’s calling my name loud and clear.
But swimming takes way too much effort.
I’m more inclined just to sit here.

From here, I can watch all around me.
From here, are the sounds of the sea.
From here, is the fresh smell of ocean.
And all come together for me.

Renewing the best that is in me,
the pace of this place never stops.
The days of unwinding are endless.
The dress code requires flip-flops.

Bring me one more bottle of lotion.
Bring me one more drink with a lime.
With sand in my toes, I’ll keep dreaming
of more days in sweet island time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day #8 - HECTIC

Our prompt for Day #8 is:  hectic.  Sometimes, our lives seem jampacked with things that must be done.  We run from here to there and back again.  How do you interpret the prompt?  If you're like me, you're well acquainted a daily, hectic schedule.  Here's my offering for today's prompt:


I thought I was retired.
A magazine to prepare,
A radio show to write.
One book to promote,
another to create.
And what about the poetry prompts?
Mercy, mercy, me!
Should this hectic pace continue,
I’ll need to retire from retirement.
But what can I do
when those things that take so much time
are the things I so love doing?
Hectic my life may sometimes be,
but it’s a life I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day #7 - GOWN

Seven days into the Poem-A-Day Challenge brings us the next poetry prompt:  gown.  This is one of those prompts that caught me staring at my computer, confident that I would never be inspired.  But somewhere, from my inner muse, the following found its way onto the page.


The gown, itself, was lovely.
A beauty to behold.
It brought to mind the future
and dreams that would unfold.
But something stole the moment --
a hidden lie ungloved.
The gown hangs in a closet now,
abandoned and unloved.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day #6 - FRAGILE

As we come to the prompt for Day #6, we are faced with a variety of choices for inspiration.  Many things are fragile:  glass and china, to name but a few.  But, perhaps, the most fragile thing of all is our heart.  Which is where I drew my inspiration for today.


My heart was often broken,
Its pieces cracked and chipped.
In seeking out relationships,
my quest was always gypped
from finding what I looked for,
until you came my way.
And now this fragile heart of mine
grows stronger every day.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day #5 - ELITE

The A Muse Fuse Poem-A-Day Challenge greets Day #5 with the poetry prompt “elite.” Of all the things I could be called (and there are a great many!), elite is certainly not one of them. Which is why, I guess, I’m on my poor man’s soapbox, waxing poetic about the haves and have nots, with my offering for today.


I’m not one of the elite.
I’m really kind of ordinary.

No private education.
No six figure income.
A house and bank account
that both show signs of wear.

In my life, I find contentment
through the simple act of being
with the love I cherish,
and enjoying the abundance of blessings
that are showered upon me daily.

I’d rather look up toward the heavens
than look down at the earth below.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day #4 - DELUGE

Day #4 of the A Muse Fuse Poem-A-Day Challenge brings us the poetry prompt "deluge."  After so many days of record-breaking heat, without a rainy cloud in sight, it seems an appropriate choice.  Let your inspiration pour down from the skies as you create from this prompt.  Preoccupied with our lack of rain, here's my offering for today:


Brown grass and dead plants.
A deluge might be welcome if
it would revive us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day #3 - COWBOY

On the third day of our Poem-A-Day challenge, we find ourselves saddled with the prompt:  cowboy. When we think of cowboys, we often think of the wild west, the romance of riding toward the sunset, gunslingers and herding the cattle. Rustle up whatever images come to your mind. Let the cowboy infuse your muse!


Out in the wide open spaces,
a place that the cowboy calls home,
he rides through the plains and the mountains.
To an unknown location he roams.

To some, he might seem like a drifter.
To some, he’s a scary, old man.
But the cowboy has lived several lifetimes
with the aimlessness part of his plan.

For the cowboy has always been better
with his stallion, his heart and his gun
in the battles that somehow escaped him,
and that battles he artfully won,

than he ever would be in the city
where society’s habits seem strange.
So he rides all alone on the prairie
and he rides all alone on the range.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day #2 - BRAG

Day #2 of the A Muse Fuse Poem-A-Day Challenge brings with it the prompt "brag." Sometimes, we have much to brag about; sometimes, not so much. I found myself rather introspective on this one. See how your own, inner muse responds to this prompt. Here's my attempt:


Do I have anything to brag about?
I could talk for hours about myself:
what I’ve done, where I’ve been,
where I’m going.
In the overall scheme of things, though,
my accomplishments are few.
For example, as an author and poet,
I’ve written things I’m proud of
and things that were best left unread,
not to mention, left unwritten.
My achievements are better defined
if I’ve been there for a friend;
if I’ve heeded the call of a worthy cause;
if I can lend a hand to a stranger.
And if I can do all those things,
without the need for self-promotion
without expecting something in return,
that would be something to brag about.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day #1 - ALONG

Hello, everybody! Today, we start our 26-day journey through the alphabet with our Poem-A-Day Challenge. We welcome all who choose to participate, as well as those who just drop by to read our words. We hope you have fun on this trip. Let the creative sparks fly as you infuse your muse!!

As a reminder, the prompt does not have to be part of your title, but it must be included in your poem. Also, if some prompts work better for you pluralized or in another tense, you can certainly alter them as the need arises. We’re pretty flexible here at A Muse Fuse! The idea is to write a poem per day, or at least as many as you can.

So, let’s get started on our poetic, alphabetical odyssey. The first prompt is “along.” Here’s my offering for Day #1:


We travel along down this road
that winds throughout unchartered land.
Our thoughts and emotions explode
when pencils and pens are in hand.
United in poetic voice,
we eagerly set the muse free.
The style and the meter our choice,
these poems define you and me.