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Yippee! In honor of Poetry Month, Easter, and all things rabbity,
my free-verse picture book, To Rabbittown is now only 99 cents
on iTunes, Kindle, Nook--yippee! (Picture me jumping up and
down like an over-caffeinated kangaroo…)
Download the free Kindle for PC  if you don’t have an eReader.

.
And here are links to Poetry Month
in the Kidlitosphere–thanks, Jama!









Eli found Squirrel at the dog park.
Eli loves Squirrel.
Squirrel no longer squeaks. 
Eli removed Squirrel’s squeaker.
He couldn’t help himself.

Howdy, Campers and welcome to my 2012 Poem-A-Day Challenge!  Wowee–I can’t believe it’s here again!  This means I’ve been writing a poem a day since I took the challenge in April 2010.  Two. Whole. Years.  Over six hundred poems.

Ask any writer and I’ll bet 98% of us wonder if we deep-down really ARE writers.  Writing a poem a day has given me an amazing gift–I no longer doubt that I’m a writer.

This month, all the poems will be DOG POEMS, because the dog park is my new addiction.  So, let’s get on with the dog show–arf, arf!

 

April 30th

MAY DAY


MAY DAY
by April Halprin Wayland

James brought
Lacy and Chase.
Grace brought
Sadie and Payne.

Every dog learned to
shake, wait

and stay,
and then they all played games.

Later,
James and Grace
savored cafe au laits
as the canines lay in the shade.

If Creator were giving
out grades today,
all of them would’ve been
A
s.

Poetry Prompt:  This is the last day of National Poetry Month and tomorrow’s May Day!  Some poems just land in your lap.  I was hiking with my friends James and Grace and their dogs…and began saying all those names…all those wonderful A sounds!  So it landed in my lap…and then I worked on it for nine hundred years.

It’s your turn. Go about your day on high alert, repeating names, nouns, words you hear.  Hang on to a few that tickle you.  Can you create a poem playing off the sounds of some of today’s found words?

Thank you for stopping by.  Keep splashing in words all year long until we meet again next Poetry Month!  Stay in touch–I post every other Friday at TeachingAuthors.com!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 29th

WHAT HAPPENED?


WHAT HAPPENED?

by April Halprin Wayland

Everything’s changed.
She used to float above me like a soft, white cloud.
Now her voice is sharp with lightning strikes;
she thunders at me for little things.

What happened?
She used to be sunny,
scratching my rump
or giving me that bone stuffed with peanut butter.

Everything’s changed.
Now her voice is winter
and she only gives me a bone
when I’ve done all that sit-stay-down-roll over stuff.

What happened?
There are still storm clouds in her eyes.
I wonder if pulling all the stuffing out of her couch
had anything to do with it?

Poetry Prompt:  In this poem, the first line of each stanza alternately repeats.  Repetition is wonderful seasoning for poetry, songs, and children’s picture books.  This poem is also a mask poem. I love Mask Poems.  In a mask poem, I slip inside an inanimate object or animal.  (For more about mask poems, click on my 2011 poetry month blog and scroll down to April 14th.)

There are lots of metaphors in this poem.  My friend Bruce Balan, who critiques my poems on a daily basis, writes:

“My problem with it is you are trying to use your metaphors and they aren’t a dog’s metaphors. They are April’s metaphors.They are very poetic, and perhaps too complex, for a dog who doesn’t understand why everything’s changed.”

I think he’s right.

It’s your turn. Use repetition in a poem.  But don’t over do it.  Once you have a pattern established, consider breaking it once or twice to wake up your readers.


poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 28th

OUR DOG’S ADOPTION STORY


DODGER DOG
by April Halprin Wayland

Freshman Dodger John Ely is pitching his 2nd game ever in the majors
sending those balls skidding past every one of the Brewers,
making them spin like tops,
no one gets on—
what a great dance.

I was at the first game Dodger great Don Sutton
pitched for them, April 14, 1966.
I finger that small slice of history in my pocket
and sometimes bring it out,
turn it over,
smell those Dodger dogs still.

“Call us after 8 pm” they told us, “to see if
this dog has been taken or is still available.”
So in the middle of the game at 8:01, I dial
the Carson Animal Shelter,
Ely pitches another 1-2-3-and-they’re-out inning,
the crowd roars, and I can barely hear

“What? He IS?”

Colors vibrate all around:
the grass field is as green as Oz,
black sky, hot lights, red dirt,
our team’s white uniforms,
fans in Dodger Blue.

We leave before the game ends,
beating the traffic in the glint of night,
stars in the sky, we know we’re winning,
keeping those Brewskis at bay.

9pm, breezing down the 110 freeway,
we listen to the radio as the crowd gives young John Ely
a standing ovation;
then we toss out balls of our own:
Woody?
Dodger?
Skully?
or maybe just Dog.

We drive away from this small slice of history
and maybe…
maybe we’ll go to the shelter tomorrow morning at nine a.m. sharp
and maybe we’ll get that lanky, licky, sweet-eyed teen-aged dog
and maybe
just maybe
we’ll name him Ely.

Poetry Prompt: This is our dog’s adoption story.  We changed the spelling of his name, but this is why he’s named Eli.

It’s your turn. Whose birth story do you want to tell in a poem?  Do.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “OUR DOG’S ADOPTION STORY”

  1. alene weldon rice says:

    Dolley sent us your site, April, and we’ve been so enjoying your month of dog poems.
    We hate to see it coming to the end.
    Your work really is amazing.
    Thank you. -=Alene and Ed Rice=-

  2. April says:

    What a lovely treat to see you here! Thank you so much, Alene and Ed! Rest assured Dolley will keep sending you the dog poems I send her…at least the better ones!

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April 27th

THE HANDMADE DOLL FROM THE MUSEUM SHOP…MEETS OUR DOG


THE HANDMADE DOLL FROM THE MUSEUM SHOP…
MEETS OUR DOG
by April Halprin Wayland

With birthday money,
I buy the one with pigtails
brown skin
white apron over her gingham dress
holding a pet duck.

I put them in the center
of our dining room table
so visitors can see her
and know how artsy
we are.

I stand in the sunny doorway
every morning
and look at her.
My whole body
laughs.

Our dog’s nose
is higher than the dining room table.
The doll’s left pigtail
comes loose from her scalp
in the encounter.

Now the doll and the duck live higher
on top of the dryer in our laundry room.
My friend Shirley sewed her left pigtail back on
and it looks fine
above her white bead smile.

No one knows how artsy we are.
I stand in the dark doorway
every morning
and my whole body
laughs.

Poetry Prompt:

A poem doesn’t have to have everything. Sometimes it’s just one thing: humor, language, image. Sometimes painting a clear word picture is enough.  I think that staying in the present tense can mean there’s no wall between the poet and her readers.

It’s your turn.  Draw us a word picture.

 

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 26th

VETERAN DOG TO COCKY PUPPY


VETERAN DOG TO COCKY PUPPY
by April Halprin Wayland

Take the leash, Kid, take the ride.
Yep—it could be to the vet.
Or maybe waiting in the shade.

Or a romp on the beach.
Heck—it could be a ham bone
after heel-sit-stay.

All within reach, Kid,
if you just
take the leash.

Poetry Prompt:  I love reading a book or a poem with attitude. The speaker has a pose, a point of view; you know that person, you know someone with that exact personality…probably someone in your own family.

It’s your turn. Think of someone with a strong personality–good or not-so-good.  See if you can strike a pose as you write a poem with that person’s voice.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 25th

EVENING IN PARIS…IN THE DOG PARK


EVENING IN PARIS…IN THE DOG PARK
by April Halprin Wayland

We are lucky
to have not one
but eight Eiffel Towers
linked by wires
marching over the dog park.

It’s so dark,
you can hardly see the four dogs
cavorting beneath them
but take my word for it—
they are cavorting,

galloping in huge invisible circles
drawn by Eli’s tinkling tags, Gracie’s snorting,
Emma Jane’s boisterous barreling over woodchips and mud,
and the wet sound of Duke
sliding across cement into the dog drinking fountain.

Could they be powered by these tall towers?
Could these towers be charging
not only the tangerine lights across the street
but these romping hounds
bounding in the blackness?

Poetry Prompt: My friend Sonya Sones has taught me so much about writing poetry.  One thing she’s taught me is the power of asking questions.

It’s your turn. Write a poem that includes some questions.


poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 24th

ADOLESCENT DOG — alliteration, assonance, and consonance


ADOLESCENT DOG
by April Halprin Wayland

You curl,
a cooked piece of pasta
on the round rug,
squeaky panda under your paw

You run,
flame on a rope,
focused, fast
chasing in the dog park

You play,
jumbo baby,
beguiling eyes,
lanky legs kicking in the air

Your whole
galumphing self
speaks loud, alive:
love me!

Poetry Prompt:  Alliteration, assonance and consonance are some of what Myra Cohn Livingston called the poet’s tools.

Each of these definitions and examples is from About.com:

Alliteration: The repetition of an initial consonant sound, as in “a peck of pickled peppers.”

Assonance: The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in neighboring words.  Example from a campaign button: I like Ike

Consonance:  Broadly, the repetition of consonant sounds; more specifically, the repetition of the final consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words.  Example from Dylan Thomas:  Do not go gentle into that good night.

Find examples of each in this poem.

It’s your turn. Write a poem using at least one of these poet’s tools.


poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 23rd

I HAVE NO


I HAVE NO
by April Halprin Wayland

I have no rain inside my house,
no grass instead of rug,
no tiny living dinosaur,
no belching monster bug.

No piano-playing fish with wings,
no daffodils on skates,
no snowmen in my bottom drawer,
no unicycling kings.

But do I have
a waggish dog?
Oh, yes, I have
a dog.

So, there’s no end of wonders
nor subjects
for a poem
in our exciting, topsy-turvy, dog-invaded home.

Poetry Prompt:  Sometimes you have to get your sillies out.  And look what I discovered: the word waggish means “ roguish in merriment and good humor; jocular”…how perfect is that?!?

It’s your turn. Get your sillies out–write your own silly poem.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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− three = 6


April 22nd

ENORMOUSLY TOUCHING REUNION FROM A DOG’S POINT OF VIEW


ENORMOUSLY TOUCHING REUNION FROM A DOG’S POINT OF VIEW
by April Halprin Wayland

They went away.
They came back today.

Life is complete.
I’m going to sleep.

Poetry Prompt: We just got back from a few days at UC Berkeley.  The weather was perfect, we went on a dream hike with our son, I am swooning with happiness.  When we picked him up at our dogsitter’s, Eli seemed glad to see us.

It’s your turn. I have nothing to say to inspire you.  Write a funny poem, maybe?  See things from another point of view?  But I’ve said that before.  How about this: play, play, play!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “ENORMOUSLY TOUCHING REUNION FROM A DOG’S POINT OF VIEW”

  1. Ha ha, Jeff. Enormously appropriate.

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+ three = 11


April 21st

DOGSITTER


DOGSITTER
by April Halprin Wayland

Our dogsitter knows
just enough
to wonder
why
the dog
looks
so
guilty.

Poetry Prompt:  Our student dogsitter took an adorable photo of Eli stretched out, asleep on our living room couch.  It was adorable…except that Eli’s not allowed on that couch.  And he knows it. She didn’t.  I changed the story in the words above, but my intent was to paint a picture in as few words as possible.  I admire so many of  Valerie Worth‘s Small Poems–a whole world in a few words.

It’s your turn. Can give your readers a complete picture in just a few words?  Try.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 20th

FROM A CAT’S POINT OF VIEW…


MINE
by April Halprin Wayland

Here in the piano room,
I purr on a lap.
This is my lap,
no one else’s lap,
mine.

So even that large chasing dog
who has recently taken over this house
cannot have this lap
because, as I have said, it is
mine.

My chin rests on her arm.
Her arm rises and falls
as she types on her laptop.
Her laptop sits on top of her lap
which, as I’ve stated above, is
mine.

Poetry Prompt:  View point!
Sometimes when I can’t think of how to approach a poem, I stand on my head and try to see it from other points of view.  If you write about music from the pianist’s view point or the piano’s or one finger’s or a note’s or a cat’s or the floorboards’ or a child’s, listening in bed…each would be a different poem.

It’s your turn. Brainstorm, scribbling down every image floating around your brain.  After five minutes, circle one of the phrases or words you’ve scribbled, one that intrigues you.  Write a straightforward narrative poem about it.  Now, look at the same word or phrase from a different point of view and write that poem.

Happy Poetry Friday!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 19th

FOCUSING ON RHYTHM IN A DOG POEM


DOG LOOKING DOWN FROM A SECOND STORY WINDOW
by April Halprin Wayland

dog lifting ear
wrinkling wet nose

whistle of man
done with day’s work

twitching the tip of a tail
putting big paws on the ledge

shoes on cement
key metal gate

dog looking down
man looking up

wiggly rump
galloping over the hall

tearing down all of the stairs
bounding outside

tangle of legs
plough into man

crash to the ground
licking this most beloved shoe

Poetry Prompt:

Eli waits for Gary to come home every night.  Eli’s exhilaration lends itself to a short, clipped rhythm.  In poetry, a stressed beat is noted with a slash (/) while an unstressed beat is merely a period.

The rhythm I use in this poem is mostly: /../  (Shoes on cement  /../)

But sometimes I change it up: Putting big paws on the ledge /../../)

It’s your turn. Think about someone coming home.  Can you put it into a poem?  If the rhythm I used feels appropriate for your poem, try it yourself.  (For more guidance regarding poetic meter and rhythm, see Myra Cohn Livingston‘s wonderfully clear and basic book, Poem-Making.)

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 18th

SPRING EVENING AT THE DOG PARK


SPRING EVENING AT THE DOG PARK
by April Halprin Wayland

Warm yellow light
spills over all of us,
dogs and humans.

A black setter, a tan lab and my own goofball
whirl around the park
like speed skaters in a roller rink.

Wildly happy eyes,
tongues flying behind
like pink flags,

long legs flying,
Eli in the lead.
Here they come!

Where’d they go?
Then—
bam!

I wake in dust,
open my eyes to faces
partly blocking a softening sky.

Exhuberant dogs
took me out at the knees;
I stay down for a few more minutes

to make the ground
stop waving;
the roll of an earthquake.

Someone
hands me my glasses…
then a dusty lens.

Someone
asks if I know my name
I do

I laugh
because I know
my goofball’s name, too.

Poetry Prompt: I love metaphors in poetry–in all literature–and don’t use enough of ‘em.  So I made a point to stretch my brain and include metaphors in this poem (speed skaters and pink flag.)  I find that if I’m tired, I can’t seem to find metaphors.  A good night’s sleep and they come more easily.

It’s your turn. Describe a scene and include metaphors.  Break up the lines into short stanzas. Eliminate as many “the”s and “and”s as you can.  Does it feel like a poem?

 

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 17th

WHEN ELI TURNED TWO


WHEN ELI TURNED TWO
by April Halprin Wayland

Before, as if he hadn’t heard,
my memo slowly fluttered down.  The words
which bid him to obey
would float above his brain all day.

My doofus dog who chewed my shoes
so long ago (before he grew),
now hears when I command him,“Stay!”
and as my jaw drops—Eli stays.

Poetry Prompt:  I’ve never had a big dog before.  I’d never had a galumphing, doodle-brained mutt who smacks into a door at full speed; an adolescent canine who turns every day into Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Everyone at the dog park told me that a big dog calms down around the time he turns two…but I didn’t believe it.  Oh, ye of little faith!  On his second birthday, it was as if Eli walked through the door marked: Calm Dogs Only Beyond This Point.  Amazing.

The pattern of a rhyming poem–its rhyme scheme-is written in a kind of secret agent poet’s code. In the poem above, the pattern of my quatrains is aabb, ccbb where each letter stands for the sound of the end rhyme.

It’s your turn. Play with rhyme schemes!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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× six = 36


April 16th

YOUNG DOG DASHING ~ imitating a poem I love


YOUNG DOG DASHING
by April Halprin Wayland

Young Dog Dashing, how do you run
With Greyhound and Husky in the dust and the sun?
     In circles and twisting around the trees
     Gathering others for the widening game.

Young Dog Dashing, east and west,
How long do you race and when do you rest?
     For ages, for eons, as long as we please
…..Deep in our bones we will never be tamed.

Poetry Prompt: I have copied the sound and meter of a wonderful poem by Russell Hoban, which, like my poem on April 6th, is an apostrophe poem–one in which the poet talks to an inanimate object.

OLD MAN OCEAN
by Russell Hoban

Old Man Ocean, how do you pound
Smooth glass, rough stones round?
Time and the tide and the wild waves rolling
Night and the wind and the long gray dawn.

Old Man Ocean, what do you tell,
What do you sing in the empty shell?
Fog and the storm and the long bell tolling,
Bones in the deep and the brave men gone.

Imitation is a marvelous teacher.  Art students copy the masters, and I was taught to imitate the rhythm, meter and rhyme of poems I admired.  I love this one.

It’s your turn. What poem do you love?  Type it out.  Then choose your own topic and imitate the sounds, meter and rhyme of the poem as closely as you can.  After that, play with your new poem. In the end, you may stray from the original, which is fine.  Sometimes it’s just a jumping off point.  Enjoy the leap!

 

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

5 Responses to “YOUNG DOG DASHING ~ imitating a poem I love”

  1. I love BOTH of these and may have to try an imitation of both of you. Our dogs will never be tamed in their bones either… a.

  2. April says:

    Thanks for reading these, Amy :-)

  3. Tabatha says:

    Yes, they are both wonderful! I’m enjoying browsing around in your dog month poems. We lost our 17-year-old dog this month, so it is a bit bittersweet.

  4. April says:

    Thanks for reading these, Tabatha. Two years ago we lost 17-year-old Rosie. I’m there with you. So empty…and so lucky to have known her.

  5. April says:

    Amy! I JUST learned how to comment on people’s comments in this newly set-up blog space. Thanks so much for reading these. <3

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− 5 = one


April 15th

POOP PATROL


POOP PATROL
by April Halprin Wayland

Eli is hunching near the fence
on a patch of grass
by the third tree
from the tool shed.

“Against the fence,
patch of grass,
third tree,” I say,
picking up the pooper scooper.

“Patch of grass,
third tree,” I say,
standing against the fence,
looking around.

I squinch my forehead,
turning in one slow circle.
Then I begin walking the area in a grid,
like a search and rescue team.

“Against the fence, patch of grass,
third tree?” I ask myself,
wondering if it was, perhaps,
the second tree.

Or maybe it was further
from the fence?
I open my nose.
Still no luck.

Some call it “Dog Park Cap and Trade,”
Penny calls it a poop exchange.
While Eli is joyously chasing a golden retriever,
I am picking up someone else’s poop.

Poetry Prompt: There is so much humor in our everyday lives.  The trick is to recognize it.

It’s your turn. What do you do in your daily life that might strike others as funny?  You may need to stand on your head to even see this.  Or ask someone who loves you–they’ll know.  Now have fun showing it in a poem.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 14th

IN POLLIWOG PARK


IN POLLIWOG PARK
by April Halprin Wayland

One middle school kid,
talking cocky
commandeers the outdoor glider.

A gawky squirt
in a shirt that’s khaki
tries high five but he’s an outsider.

Cocky kid won’t meet his palm.
Khaki kid
just shuffles home.

He’s all whine—has no big bark.
Just like puppies
in the big dog park.

Poetry Prompt: Yes, we have Polliwog Park in our town.  How you could not love a park named that?  I was watching kids establish hierarchy on the gym equipment in the park; the parallel was obvious.

It’s your turn. Parallel Play.  Think of a topic that means something to you.  Now…look around, think about your life, your town.  What can you compare it to?

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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+ 6 = eight


April 13th

TV COOKING SHOW


TV COOKING SHOW
by April Halprin Wayland

He teaches us
how to cook chicken.

My dog and I
are mesmerized.

Poetry Prompt: I’m going to come out of the closet and say I don’t think I’m the only one who stays up late to watch Chopped.  Am I right? And I’m not writing down the recipes.  Instead, I’m transfixed by the challenge, the drama, and the extraordinary creativity each chef displays under pressure.  It reminds me of the TV show Star Trek…when Scotty only had sixty seconds to save the Enterprise from blowing up.  All the contestants drip buckets of sweat–and so do I.  Eli pants.

This was originally written as a haiku…with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.  But it just didn’t read right.  So I’m calling this a haiku in disguise.

It’s your turn. Is there something you do that you’re just a teeny tiny bit embarrassed to admit?  That’s often a good starting point for a compelling story or poem.  It’s exactly the thing I don’t want to tell you that hits a nerve with readers.  It’s called telling the truth.  Tell us the truth in a haiku…or a haiku in disguise.

 

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

3 Responses to “TV COOKING SHOW”

  1. Edna says:

    Hi April,
    LOL… I’m a big Chopped fan, myself. Once when I was at a seminar and I was stuck in the hotel room I found myself glued to a Chopped marathon. Is that crazy or what? Hehe
    Love your prompt for a poem. I’ll take you up on it and post it somewhere. Thanks for the inspiration!
    :-)

  2. Laura Shovan says:

    So few words, but I can picture the scene, April. We don’t watch Chopped (no cable), but my family also loves cooking shows. Jacques Pepin is our favorite.

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Edna and Laura. I woke up this morning knowing I’d written this ALL WRONG…decided the chicken should be FRIED to rhyme…but then your comments…so I’m leaving it as is…
    Here’s to cyberfriends united by cooking shows!

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− 2 = six


April 12th

DOGS DON’T GO TO FUNERALS


DOGS DON’T GO TO FUNERALS
by April Halprin Wayland

Dogs don’t go to funerals.
They follow behind ghosts,
sniff empty slippers,
tilt their head in question,
pause to gnaw fleas
between the toes of a paw.

They note how quiet it is—
no steps creaking across wood floor,
no smack of closed front door
no rustling in the kitchen
putting soup, cinnamon
and kibble on shelves.

Dogs seek out
the round, red rug of the den,
turn around three times,
rest their head
on their paws,
sigh.

Poetry Prompt:

Sometimes the most effective way to show sadness or that someone is missed is to come at it sideways.  Maybe no one parks in that parking space anymore.  Or the cheese grows mold because the missing person was the cheese eater. I liked playing with the sound of words in this one.  And for some reason, I always love words that have an “s” sound at the beginning, middle or end.

It’s your turn. Who do you miss?  What is different because that person has moved or died or is no longer in your life?  Consider using words that sound like the the mood you want to create.  Splash around a little…draw outside the lines!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

One Response to “DOGS DON’T GO TO FUNERALS”

  1. Oh, I love this… Once my posting settles down this month, I look forward to coming back and reading all of your dog poems. I’m sending my mom-the-dog-lover on over too! Woof! a.

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+ nine = 18


April 11th

SIX WORDS ABOUT THE DOG PARK


SIX WORDS ABOUT THE DOG PARK
by April Halprin Wayland

Dogs!
Dogs!
Cats
would need
therapy.

Poetry Prompt:  I’m not known for being concise.  But that’s exactly what I admire: a few brush strokes to suggest a cat sleeping, a few ingredients to make a meal, a few words to tell a story.  That’s why I love writing picture books and poetry…and why I thought it would be fun to write greeting cards, once.  But it was harder than it looked!

Myra Cohn Livingston used to make us write haiku after haiku after haiku.  I called them “poetry scales,” writing them to get my poetry chops.  Since then, Smith Magazine has championed the six word memoir; these little guys are a CHALLENGE!

It’s your turn. Try your hand at a six word poem or, as Smith Magazine calls them, a six word memoir.  And g’luck!

You can say so much in six words…

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

3 Responses to “SIX WORDS ABOUT THE DOG PARK”

  1. Lyra Halprin says:

    Sad? I’d say hilarious!

  2. I meant that the DOGS DON’T GO TO FUNERALS was sad…oops!

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April 10th

DOG PARK SPRING QUARTET


DOG PARK SPRING QUARTET
by April Halprin Wayland

1.
Dogs frisk in dust,
birds choir on wires.

2,
The sparks of spring
bring racing things
on paws
and wings.

3.
Dog’s full-stretch yawn.
The chill?  It’s gone.
Instead, the crazy sting
of spring.

4.
Our park is full of
barks that mean g’morning, howdy, hi!
My heart is full of wagging tails
and hope and song and sky.

Poetry Prompt:

Sometimes I get flashes on a topic.  Pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together with that satisfying click no matter how I look at the pieces.  Most days I discard all but one and work out a poem from that.  But today I wanted to keep them all.  This is one way to organize ideas.  It’s almost like a strobe light, flashing on one idea at a time in a black room.

It’s your turn. Pick a big topic–spring, love, Paris, mother–whatever it is, scribble down metaphors, words that sound like your feelings about the topic, etc.  Create a quartet of poems.  And remember to breathe.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “DOG PARK SPRING QUARTET”

  1. Joanna says:

    You are inspirational!

  2. Wow, Joanna–thank you!

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April 9th

GROOMING


GROOMING
by April Halprin Wayland

One mud-spotted,
monkey-vomit-yellow,
XXXXL, men’s hooded sweatshirt:
check.

One pair of paw-stained,
dull blue,
quilted men’s sweatpants:
check.

One pair of
indeterminate-colored
extra-thick men’s socks:
check.

One pair of dusty grey,
fifteen-year-old running shoes,
tossed in the Goodwill bag, then retrieved:
check.

One pair of old guy
scratched black, wrap-around plastic sunglasses
that Uncle Davie gave me when he moved:
check.

One bouncing-off-the-wall,
lanky, licky,
too-tall teenaged dog:
check.

There’s no disguising it:
I’m a dog park dork.

Poetry Prompt:

Observation, said my mentor, Myra Cohn Livingston, is the key to good writing.  One day I looked, really looked at what I wear at the dog park in winter–oy!   Check all fashion sense at the double gate.  Your best friends there are wacky, passionately friendly, and they have big, muddy paws.

It’s your turn.  Slow down.  Be present.  Observe one facet of your life.  How do people in your galaxy dress?  Or look for one color all day long.  What’s bright yellow?  What’s your attitude about this thing you’ve observed?  Does it make you laugh?  Make you feel self-conscious?  Make you want to run out of the room howling?  Write a poem so that we see it through your eyes.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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April 8th

CIRCLING THE DOG PARK


CIRCLING THE DOG PARK
by April Halprin Wayland

“Circle,” James says.
So we walk the perimeter.
“You’re their Alpha Dog—they need to know where you are.

They have to look up, find you,
every few minutes.
It keeps ‘em out of trouble.”

So we walk laps along the border of the dog park;
and sure enough, Lacey and Eli check on us,
just as he said they would.

Eli licks my hand and runs off,
Lacey barks happily,
chasing Eli back down to the last bench.

I suppose it’s like God,
circling the perimeter
of my life.

I have to look up, to find God,
religiously.
It keeps me out of trouble.

Poetry Prompt:

The dog park is a wonderful metaphor for life.  A metaphor compares two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as”.  For example, her smile isn’t like the sun (that’s a simile).  Her smile is the sun.  Dog park = life.  Dog owner = dog’s God.

It’s your turn.  Look for a metaphor in your life.  Write a poem.  Write with joy.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “CIRCLING THE DOG PARK”

  1. Hannah Ruth Wilde says:

    Sammy
    is the ringmaster
    guarding
    the perimeter
    of a circus
    of dogs.

    Hi April – your poem reminded me of my silly old dog, sam, who sniffs and hobbles around the perimeter of the dog park, while an exhibition of pure breeds and curious-looking mutts carry on in the center. – Hannah

  2. Love this image, Hannah–thanks for stopping by!

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9 + one =


April 7th

PASSOVER AT THE DOG PARK


PASSOVER AT THE DOG PARK
by April Halprin Wayland

Eli rests in the dust by the stone bench
on the east end of the dog park
chewing a disgusting tennis ball.

“C’mon, Eli—we’re in the dog park
chase someone for heaven’s sake!” I yell.
There’s a man on the bench.

“I’m Eli, too.”
I just told him to chase someone
so I apologize.

“It’s short for Elijah,” he says.
I didn’t know.
My Eli was named after a baseball player.

This Eli says he’s always wanted
to walk through
a random open door

on Passover
and say,
“Hey!  It’s me!  I’m here!”

poem (c) 2012 April Halprin Wayland

Poetry Prompt:

Another true story from the dog park.

During the Passover seder, our family pours a cup of wine and leaves the back door open for the prophet Elijah.  I always loved the idea that one day, a man dusty from an unimaginably long walk across the desert would come into our house through that door.

Now it’s your turn.  Stand on your head and write a poem for Passover or Easter or Spring.  Be unpredictable–come at this topic from a completely different angle.   Have fun with this!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “PASSOVER AT THE DOG PARK”

  1. Lyra Halprin says:

    Hi Eli! & Hi Squirrel! xxx

  2. Hi back to Taj and all his furry friends!

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+ six = 8


April 6th

DOG PARK TREE APOSTROPHE


DOG PARK TREE APOSTROPHE
by April Halprin Wayland

Hello, Tree.
Thank you for your upright trunk—
it’s fabulous to sniff.

I love that I don’t have to beg,
when I line you up against my leg
…..and lift.

Poetry Prompt:

There aren’t many trees in our dog park, and I was thinking about how grateful Eli must be to the few that are there.

Now it’s your turnAn apostrophe poem is one in which the poet talks to an inanimate object. Write your own apostrophe poem.  Write with joy!

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

6 Responses to “DOG PARK TREE APOSTROPHE”

  1. Hee hee! April, we dropped out dogs off at the kennel last night and just sighed as we pulled out. My husband said, “Breaking up the pack is hard.” This is funny, and now I want to write a couple of these! (Our last dog’s name was Eli too.) Happy Poetry Friday! a.

  2. Laura Shovan says:

    Hi, April. You’ll have to stop by Author Amok this weekend. I have two back-to-back dog//poem posts.

    I love the rhythm in your poem. Adorable!

  3. admin says:

    I love dog poems. I’m really a cat person so I think I like dog poems more than dogs in person.

  4. janet wong says:

    I just finished reading the whole blog page of these and I love the fact that each one is so different from the others! What do I remember? The “memory lapse/optimist” line, the line about launching a cheeseburger with the tail, the cleverness of the baby’s tooth being a canine, the shuffling the dog’s head between your hands, the poor peed-on tree…Am looking forward to more of these!

  5. April says:

    Amy–your last dog was Eli, too? No way! Laura–I just stopped by–what a wonderful table you’ve spread for us about poets and their habits. And it’s nice to meet Sam!
    Admin…thank you, thank you, thank you.

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April 5th

DOG BIRTHDAY


A LONG TIME AGO
by April Halprin Wayland

a long time ago
i chewed you out
for chewing my shoe

well.

the other day
you leaped in the backseat
i rolled down the back window
you leaned out, singing, all the way to the dog park

well.

today
you s—t—r—e—t—c—h   out   on   the    rug
like an abused slinky
snoring
while i click clack these keys

well.

well, well, well.

happy birthday, baby dog.
you’ve grown on me.
you’ve grown up.

you’ve grown
all over
me.

lucky, lucky
me.

Poetry Prompt:

Sometimes I don’t want to make sense.  I don’t want to capitalize.  I don’t want you to understand me, not completely.  Fine, fine!  Poems are about making rules, breaking rules, howling at the moon, and not necessarily capitalizing the word “I.”

The Poetry Foundation’s page on e.e.cummings says: “No one else,” Randall Jarrell claimed,”has ever made avant-garde, experimental poems so attractive to the general and the special reader.”…Between the ages of eight and twenty-two, he wrote a poem a day, exploring many traditional poetic forms. By the time he was in Harvard in 1916, modern poetry had caught his interest. He began to write avant-garde poems in which conventional punctuation and syntax were ignored in favor of a dynamic use of language. Cummings also experimented with poems as visual objects on the page.

I love his poem,  [in Just-]

It’s your turn.  Play with word placement, let your words, their sounds and their meanings do the funky chicken on your paper.  Write with joy ~

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “DOG BIRTHDAY”

  1. And lucky, lucky Eli! Happy Birthday, Pup.

  2. Thanks, Robyn ~ Actually, lucky, lucky us that we’re in this rich kidlitosphere galaxy!

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+ 3 = six


April 4th

WRITE AN AUTOPILOT POEM


YES, IT’S WEDNESDAY
by April Halprin Wayland

Every Tuesday night I tell myself:
tomorrow is Wednesday.

The dog park is closed on Wednesday.
Do not go to the dog park tomorrow.

And every Wednesday morning
I rub Eli’s tummy,

shuffle his nose
between my hands,

and sit on the bottom stair
to put on my socks.

Then we both run to the car
and drive to the dog park.

Every Wednesday.
Without fail.

Inside every memory lapse
is an optimist.

poem (c) 2011 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved

Poetry Prompt:

What can I say?  It’s true!

Now it’s your turn.  What habit do you do every day without thinking?  Write about it.  Or write about a time when you were on autopilot and shouldn’t have been.

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

2 Responses to “WRITE AN AUTOPILOT POEM”

  1. Kat says:

    Just said good bye to my favorite furry friend today and felt most sad that our “every morning” walk has is no more.

  2. April says:

    So sorry to hear that, Kat. I know that heavy heart. Remember to breathe.

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seven − 4 =


April 3rd

THIS BABY COMES TO THE DOG PARK TOO OFTEN


THIS BABY COMES TO THE DOG PARK TOO OFTEN
by April Halprin Wayland

At the dog park grows a howl!
Brighton’s mommy takes a towel
and she wipes her baby’s chin.
Brighton’s tooth is coming in!

First it’s just one baby’s yelp.
Next, the small dogs yip, to help.
Now the big dogs join the din—
Brighton’s tooth is coming in!

Suddenly her whole face flushes.
All the caterwauling hushes.
Brighton smiles—her tooth’s in fine!
Naturally it’s her canine.

Poetry Prompt:

Yep–Brighton comes every day in a front facing baby carrier. When I made the connection between her teething and which tooth it might be, it made me laugh.

Now it’s your turn: Some of what makes a funny poem is the meter.  This one is bouncy–it  has predictable rhythm and rhyme.  Humor is often the art of surprise, with a twist at the end.  What situation in the last week made you laugh?  Can you take us back to that scene and make us laugh, too?

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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+ two = 5


April 2nd

DOG WORD, GIRL WORD


DOG WORD
by April Halprin Wayland

When I am very good,
She tells me
excellent.

When I sit crisply?  Excellent.
When I walk without pulling? Excellent.
When I don’t chase the cats?  Excellent.

Sometimes
excellent
is followed by a meaty bone.

Excellent
is definitely the most beautiful word
in the whole world.

GIRL WORD
by April Halprin Wayland

Every Wednesday,
Lara makes us do fifty sit-ups
with our knees in an L position,

fifty with our left leg in the air,
fifty with our right leg in the air.
and fifty with both legs straight up.

Every Wednesday Lara gaily chirps,
“20…30…40…50”
as we do another 50 and another and another

Every Wednesday her counting
rips into my stomach
with venomous fangs.

Finally Lara says,
“Done.  Done-done-done!”
in her sing-songy way.

Hear the harps
and the horns?
See the confetti spilling out of the sky?

Done.
the most beautiful word
I’ve ever heard.

Poetry Prompt:

My favorite part of a workout is when it’s over.  Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going at my gym class is repeating the following over and over in my head: “If Nelson Mandela could be in solitary confinement for 27 years, you can do this for 50 minutes.”  What a glorious word “done” can be!  It got me to thinking about favorite words.

Now it’s your turn.  This is a mask poem.  Become an animal or an object.  What would your favorite word be? 

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

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× six = 48


April 1st

WHEN I AM A DOG


WHEN I AM A DOG
by April Halprin Wayland

When I am a dog,
I will have a major tail

that wags like Goliath
conducting a deafening marching band,

that fans sweltering July
into blustery October,

that is a circus
all by itself.

When I am a dog,
I will have a major tail

that launches a cheeseburger off the table
without anyone noticing.

Poetry Prompt:
Um…well, I usually write some behind-the-scenes cool detail about the poem here.  But the truth is, I was looking at Eli’s strong, long tail and suddenly I had a teeny case of tail envy.

Now it’s your turn. What animal or inanimate object do you secretly wish to be?  And when you are that animal or thing, what would be the coolest thing you could do?

poem © 2012 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

4 Responses to “WHEN I AM A DOG”

  1. Gary Larkin says:

    when I see a squirrel, I bark it

    then I go in the house and pee on the carpet

  2. Richard Moore says:

    wagwagwagwagwagwagwagwagwagwagwag
    twisttwisttwisttwisttwisttwisttwist
    turnturnturnturnturnturnturnturn
    jumpjumpjumpjumpjumpjumpjumpjumpjump
    Oh! Being a new Poodle is the Best!
    BestBestBestBestBestBestBestBestBest!

  3. April says:

    Hey, Gary! Thanks for stopping by! Ha ha. You know dogs too well…

    And Richard–you ARE a dog!

    xxx,
    a

  4. Richard Moore says:

    WOOF!

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nine − = 4


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