2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

For today’s prompt, write a memory poem. Pick a memory, any memory. It can be a significant event, but sometimes there are beautiful insignificant moments (that ironically are very significant–quite the paradox). Mine your memories to come up with something good today.

*****

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*****

Here’s my attempt at a Memory Poem:

“where are you now”

the day began with a race through the woods
& ended in a random parking lot near the mall

he joked as the incense smoke filled his van
& she shared what she loved & hated & i loved

them both & still don’t know how we got there
or how we got home but that’s how it was

in those days one surprise after another &
feeling like it would never end or begin

every day an adventure that was destined
to end with him laying across the tracks

& she disappeared somewhere in texas
like smoke that drifts out a window

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He loved his high school days and friends.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

*****

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395 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. leatherdykeuk

    A View to Rowney Green

    The loft at my father’s house
    had no ladder
    just a dressing table and bookcase
    followed by a chin-up
    and a foothold on the picture rail.
    The room was vast,
    warm from the east-west windows
    and an acre of glassfibre matting.

    Dead flies crowded the windowsills
    their dying breaths looking out over the fields
    they would never visit.
    House spiders roamed among the mortar dust
    spinning webs across the steps between joists
    and shunning the dips of lathe and plaster
    of bedroom ceiling ankle traps.

    Old copies of Popular Gardening,
    my childhood farm and doll’s house,
    the metal trunk of my mother’s wedding dress
    and funeral veil. My sisters African doll,
    her dress grimy with unshod tears,
    still able to groan out Mama
    when tilted on her back.

    The open window
    and the drop to the pavement below,
    emptying the attic space for the house to be sold,
    the redemption of childhood
    under the hammer.

  2. JanetRuth

    A few of my cousins celebrated one cousin’s 50th birthday yesterday.

    Earmarked Landmarks

    We balance scars and stars
    And wonder how it is
    That Time, with nothing but its hours
    Has turned us into This

    We gather to compare
    Its echoes we hold dear
    To gaze on worlds etched on the air
    At faces gone, yet here

    We trace each tender while
    And travel back in years
    When grandma was more than a smile
    We cherish through fond tears

    Now we share middle-age
    And stare at childhood’s knell
    Cupping the sands of present-stage
    Like lands marked for farewell

    © Janet Martin

    1. MET

      By the way my father used to ask my preschool self … how many birthdays have you had? and I would answer… my age and he would say… no you have had only one birth day… all the rest are anniversaries…

  3. MET

    Clarity of my memory…

    My memory is like a file cabinet.
    All I have to do
    Is pull out a drawer
    Labeled work, childhood, and loss.
    I look thru the files
    Labeled by years,
    And close my eyes and watch
    The movie of the days
    I have retrieved.
    Sadly, a drawer
    Where I keep all the dark memories
    The ones that haunt me at night,
    And make my tears flow
    By those that should have been kind.
    I may not have been a whiz in math
    Or won any spelling bee,
    But I can see those days again
    With clarity.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 19, 2017

  4. PowerUnit

    White fields dotted with green soldiers
    an occupied land full of life, empty of thought
    the incessant blades mix fear and wonder
    and plug it deep for safe-keeping
    inside the aluminum Bear Skin

  5. Walter J Wojtanik

    MELTED MEMORIES

    The screen with its reflective qualities,
    perched at the end of the living room.
    The old blue monstrosity in opposition,
    her position dictated the size our memories took.

    It clicked and clacked, rattled and whirred
    as it stirred recollections and forgotten faces,
    places we had seen and all the people
    we had been back then. The bright lights

    bothered me, and I would have a fit of sneeze
    when these scenes that capture our lives
    came alive. But celluloid gets brittle with age, and
    eight millimeter features were delicate creatures

    of ancient technology. Amid excuses and apologies
    of the starts and stops and stars again,
    these contraptions would drive the old man to drink.
    I think I remember the day. The home movies would play

    with out a hitch. A switch from previous forays.
    Suddenly I heard the sound, a loud zip-like sound.
    The reels spun around spilling footage on the floor,
    but the film played no more. The heat from the big

    Sylvania bulb started to melt the strip of life
    held for our brief posterity. It bubbled and smelled
    and we were told that those days are now gone,
    to be forgotten because of a rotten movie projector.

    I now stand as the protector of the family archive.
    I have the tins of memories that will remain alive
    although unseen. Maybe I’ll transfer them to DVD!
    We’ll have to see.

    1. MET

      I can so relate… but I have slides… about 4000 and some are of family and some are of construction of our great parkways, and some are just wildflowers… and I need to transfer them also…

  6. MET

    Conviction

    It was my first big court case.
    I had been called as a witness.
    At the end of the day,
    I was called to the stand, and
    Told to raise my right hand.
    I glanced quickly to see
    Which hand had two rings
    So, I would not look as if
    I did not know my left from my right
    Which I didn’t.
    I answered the questions as best as I could, and then
    The Judge did something
    Quite alarming…He came down
    His stand… a pulpit of legality…
    And questioned me quite intensely.
    Since no attorney was there for me, and
    I had been told be respectful.
    Needless to say he made me look dumb,
    And inexperienced. The trial was over
    He said he would need a while
    Before his decision was rendered.
    He turned to me and said,
    “My chambers right now.”
    I felt like a child sent
    Down the hall to the principal.
    I put on my brave face…
    How could I have failed
    In this new career so quickly?
    I stepped into the office called the chambers.
    He closed the door behind us,
    And brushed my hair from my forehead.
    The warning like a siren
    Shrieked in me.
    He said in concern,
    “I know this was rough, and
    May a drink will help you.
    I am at the local motel here;
    Join me and my decision
    I will make later on tonight.”
    My instincts said slap him,
    But he was a judge and
    My word was all I had.
    He had all the power.
    I said as sweet as I could,
    “That is kind, but no thank you, sir.”
    His eyes narrowed, and he said,
    “You will answer for this.”
    I started to turn as he spoke to me,
    But I stopped and said, “I know.”
    I trembled as I walked to my car
    Of that encounter, but no matter
    What he would do,
    I had kept my convictions.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 19, 2017

    1. MET

      I was 26 when this happened. I had been working about six weeks as a foster care caseworker… and was testifying on a home study…. he ruled against my recommendations and I was ordered to write him a three paged letter every month on what I had did for this family and deliver it by the seventh of the month… or I would be in contempt of court. He was from another county and there was at least once or twice I drove that month’s letter to where he was serving that month to make sure he received it… he could have fined me or thrown me in jail for a year for contempt of court… He didn’t get to do it… fast forward about 18 years and he was retiring… and he had told people that he wanted to throw one caseworker in jail before he retired, and the evening before the hearings… our attorney called me to her office to tell me that I was most at risk, and whatever I did do not say the word policy… and it was going to be a policy kind of case….and while on the stand I was able to step carefully around the landmines the attorneys and Judge planted for me…. as I was heading back to my seat… this judge said… you have two hours to get the children back to their grandmother which thanks to good foster care providers I was able to do. Thus once again thwarted his chance to throw me in jail.

      1. trishwrites

        Every time I read your stories I have two thoughts – you are an incredibly strong principled woman and how lucky this system, these children are to have you. Well that’s more than two thoughts and I hope you see this b/c its late for me reading tonight

  7. Daniel Paicopulos

    Being Remembered

    The trick is to live a good life,
    without worrying about rewards,
    be it from friends or your gods.
    If they judge you and are fair,
    they’ll admire your effort,
    even when you fail.
    If you have no gods,
    the trick is still to live a good life.
    If you have only a few friends,
    or even no friends,
    you can still live with charity.
    If you are steadfast in your goals,
    devout in your goodness,
    true in your loving kindness,
    someone’s memory will hold you dear,
    long after you are gone.

  8. MichelleMcEwen

    Been Gone

    Eddie’s Fruit Stand
    been gone

    but I can still see
    mama digging

    deep down
    in her purse

    for some
    loose change

    to get daddy
    a peach

    or two.

  9. MET

    My Dyslexic Life

    The teacher told me
    I was lazy and dumb
    For I couldn’t master
    The times tables.
    How could I explain
    To her who would not hear
    That the numbers like some letters
    Danced and turned while
    I studied them.
    Is it a six or a nine;
    Is the one first or is it last;
    Did the p just become a b?
    Why is left and right exactly the same?
    The questions I asked
    In spelling and math
    While asking why
    Was I so dumb?
    I defeated the times table test
    Memorizing each line
    To perfect time.
    The teacher
    Said see what you can do
    If you weren’t so lazy.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 19, 2017

  10. Margot Suydam

    The Matter of Memory

    I could create another bridge
    to forgetting, leave behind

    ageless eyes that still wrinkle
    with past mistakes, that twinkle

    anger into mean jokes and jabs.
    I am singed in small tokens

    of loss that still seep tinged
    in some fading rainy gray kiss.

    Touch to an elbow held back
    I kneel to smell the damp

    watch my neighbor slip home
    from the night shift looking

    for medicinal sips like shoe
    polish to shine the morning

    before sleep, how I did as a child
    surfacing my father’s bureau nosy

    to locate his smell: minty
    inhaler, crisp handkerchief

    the dangling of pocket change
    how I always knew it was him.

  11. Anthony94

    Into the Side of the Mountain

    I see the door, tilted almost
    face up to the sky, the skew
    of boards framing its face

    weathered and seamed
    paintless from so many
    years it’s a new shade

    of gray. The maw yawns
    darkly, blacker than any
    dirt or coal melted into

    the scraped and scaled soil
    so I pull back as always,
    hesitate to explore

    these mined memories
    fear finding more than
    I want: that flooding from

    groundwater I didn’t even
    know could seep again,
    the sifting onto my head

    of tiny particles of truth
    bathed in light from a
    shattered seam that fails

    to illuminate but sets
    my tentative shadow swaying
    up the walls until I am this

    tunnel. How these mines lure
    with an odd bit here and there
    a remembered conversation

    the shape of a cloud moving
    west, the sough of wind
    enough to trick me so I

    step farther inside where
    even my breath echoes.
    I touch damp walls, trail

    my fingertips until I’m
    cavewriting like I want
    someone to know I was

    here to leave some memory.

  12. April_H

    Memory Set In Hamilton Elementary, Time: The Fifty-Somethings

    As if I were seeing myself in a dream, looking down
    at my hands from over my shoulder, I am not
    a pudgy seven, dress tied with a white bow,
    but someone competent, tall as I am.

    Standing at a shelf under the windows that make up the school room’s
    long exterior wall, what I’m looking down at is a puzzle
    of the forty-eight United States. The puzzle is wooden,
    the states are the colors of crayons,

    and from beyond the dusty glass a towering sheet-metal sliding board
    reflects the sun. But it is cool in the wooden room that is
    exclusively mine because I am a liar. The hands
    deciding whether or not to upend the puzzle again

    are–almost as if in a dream–undeniably mine.

  13. Daniel Paicopulos

    I don’t know if this is a memory or not, but Facebook says it is, so it must be (or, at least, it’s a memorable response to a prompt from years past)…

    The Other Side of the Pillow
    Cats are way cooler than dogs,
    with rituals and gestures,
    less obvious, more ironic,
    in the way that hipsters
    out-cool hippies.
    Thinking about that,
    it comes to mind that
    spring is way cooler than summer,
    with breezes and colors,
    less potent, more subtle,
    in the way that autumn
    out-cools winter.
    And hey, snowmen
    are way cooler than sand castles.
    But, that goes without saying.

  14. Walter J Wojtanik

    OUT THE BACK WINDOW ACROSS THE CREEK

    Every morning, I would peek through the blinds to check
    the weather and what not, and got a sense of how the day
    would play out. The short trek to school wasn’t fooling
    anyone. On a rainy day it would seem so long. No twenty miles
    uphill both ways, but it stays in my irascible memory.
    Through the cherry tree branches, the blossoms enhanced
    the visual; the usual clear sky across Smokes Creek
    to the church and school at St. Michael’s. No lie!
    (No parochial Pinocchio am I!) Out the back window
    across the creek and I heard the creak from home.
    A last look at the steeple ablaze and through the haze
    of smoke and ash, and I saw the school was almost gone.
    A place where my youth took a turn, and I yearn for
    these sad memories to fade. But they cascade, this flood
    of which I speak, out the back window across the creek!

  15. JRSimmang

    NOT UNTIL WE CROSS THE LINE

    We stood at the ends
    of the
    linoleum drawbridge,
    volume blasting
    from our
    ego’d trumpets,
    smashing plates and platters
    of
    sense and silence.

    Then, we scooped each other up and settled into our sofa, content with the knit-work patterns in the Civil War quilt left behind from vows made to one another.

    We buried our youngest among
    the
    overgrown grasses
    during the
    opaque mourning,
    dragging our knuckles
    in the
    soft soil
    tearing the lawn
    into
    stripes.

    Then, we scooped each other up, and carried each other on the last ray of sun as it bolted through the gravestones to find us and lift us to our doorstep. There we found that we could still stand and dance.

    We spoke
    the
    other night
    about
    the visions we had each night since.
    We decided, together, that what we make
    should
    be made
    in the future.

    -JR Simmang

  16. Uma

    Museum of Memories

    The days we existed
    in the same orbit
    many moons ago
    when our spaces collided
    No trace is left of them

    The sun
    that shone on us
    has set
    The moon
    in whose gentle glow
    we sparkled
    is eclipsed

    The time we shared
    obliterated
    by the years
    that have since
    piled up
    Who is to say
    it was ever real

    But it was. Look,
    I tucked every second
    under my skin
    buried all the shared moments
    in my heart
    nurtured the shadows
    of wonderous days
    in the fertile soil
    of my soul

    I bring them out
    when I am alone
    gaze lovingly at each one
    dust them off with my breath
    polish them with my love
    They live and thrive
    to this day
    A treasured collection
    of memories
    in the museum
    that is me

  17. Pat Walsh

    Horses Don’t Live This Long
    By Patrick J. Walsh

    I don’t remember
    if it was at Saratoga
    or maybe that summer
    up in Maine at the fair

    he is gone now
    I was young
    and horses don’t
    live this long

    he seemed happy
    when I touched his nose
    I remember his eyes
    as he stood in the field

    the hay fresh cut
    the air warm
    I was young
    he seemed content

  18. Eileen S

    Stay At Home Mom

    I had two girls and stayed home when they were little.
    They loved each other and enjoyed being sisters.
    I enjoyed being a stay at home Mom.
    I enjoyed watching all their achievements.

    As a family we went on many adventures.
    One time we went to Antietam Battlefield
    We have a picture of the girls climbing on the cannon.
    The South will never be the same! That was a lot of fun.

    While they were growing up, I put my career on hold.
    I worked part-time and as a volunteer for their school.
    I made sacrifices to be home with them.
    I immersed myself in their activities.

    Now they are grown and on their own.
    I returned to the work force.
    Some of my colleagues didn’t think I would make it.
    But I proved them wrong.

  19. Nancy Posey

    I Wake, Remembering

    The irony does not escape me.
    David Cassiday—Keith Partridge—
    reveals his battle with dementia,
    and here I am, lying awake, trying
    to remember the song I once loved,
    despite my stronger allegiance
    to the Beatles and Stevie Wonder.

    Riding in the church van, teens
    willing to be entertained, skating,
    bowling, even singing every Thursday
    at the Rolling Acres Home for the Aged,
    we celebrated our youth. The AM radio
    blared the soundtrack of our lives:

    Cher and those Gypsies, Tramps,
    and Thieves, In the Summertime,
    by Mungo Jerry, but that one song,
    the only one we admitted we liked,
    the one we sang so loud, we drowned
    out the splattered speakers, but now
    it’s gone, the name, bubblegum lyrics.

    Only the tangible memories surface,
    the little dotted Swiss dress I wore,
    waiting in the back row on the van
    for that first kiss that meant everything
    then and then meant nothing. I wake
    suddenly from the edge of a dream
    remembering at last: I Think I Love You.

  20. taylor graham

    SHOPPING BY THE LABEL

    Early Saturday morning, three decades ago.
    In this little foothills town, supermarket
    almost empty. I’m accosted by a woman –
    urgent, intense, face screwed like she
    just sampled the drain cleaners. She points
    toward produce. A neatly-dressed Black
    man is putting red potatoes in a plastic bag.
    “You don’t see THAT
    very often around here,” she whispers
    loud enough for the cabbages to hear.
    Enough to make the man feel not welcome.
    In the Gold Rush, a hodgepodge of colors,
    most folks more intent on striking it rich
    than on social conscience. Chief
    Coppa Hembo made friends with all but
    Slave Traders. Still I remember thirty years
    ago, being hijacked by a stranger
    pointing at another stranger as if that was
    all I needed to know, shopping by the label.

  21. timphilippart

    The Memory Key

    I still carry the key
    to your fourth-ago apartment.
    When you moved, I lied–
    said I lost it.
    Why do they want the key,
    don’t they really change the locks?

    Sent you a check 
    to cover key deposit.
    It came back in an envelope
    addressed by your hand to me–
    no return address, 
    no note.

    Keys accumulate.
    The envelope sits
    in my desk drawer
    along with 26 keys
    I can’t remember.
    I carry the key I can’t forget.

  22. serenevannoy

    It was twenty-five years ago,
    and you grew out of it,
    that thing where you literally
    held your breath,
    turned blue,
    like the brats in the comic strips.
    Now I can tell it like it’s
    no big deal,
    but so many times — and I don’t
    tell you this — I look at you and
    see your infant face, cyanotic, greyish,
    remember screaming at you,
    “Breathe, goddammit!”
    which you eventually did,
    and then cried,
    and then slept,
    peacefully,
    breathing evenly,
    like you hadn’t just
    threatened to turn my life
    upside-down.
    After, I recall
    slumping in the corner of
    your sh*tty apartment,
    shaking, my back against the cold,
    white wall,
    calling my mother
    to come and watch you,
    take you out of my arms,
    because I was afraid
    that my touch
    wouldn’t be enough.

    1. Marie Elena

      I read the first half of your poem, nodding my head in memory of the one and only time my first baby held her breath and passed out. Five weeks old. Five. Weeks. Old.

      But my baby girl became mentally ill later in life, and the second half of your poem broke something loose in me, and I had to stop sobbing before I could respond. I pray your “baby” is well now. Mine is ever-so-much better, and I am grateful every day to the God who holds her hand.

      1. serenevannoy

        My heart breaks for us both. The child in this poem has struggled with mental illness, too, and that makes me wonder if it’s all related. He’s a lot better now, though. So glad we have the love to sustain our families.

    2. MET

      I never had children of my own but I know that feeling… I had one baby who I had to drive long miles to his doctors and I prayed every mile that he would not stop breathing… Often I would be stopped along some interstate. because I was afraid to drive another mile…, and the second part…. I have seen those places and I know it broke your heart.

    3. tripoet

      This is truly beautiful. The way you use time in this piece is so well done allowing us to enter in several different places. Your poem left me curious but also at peace.

  23. serenevannoy

    It was twenty-five years ago,
    and you grew out of it,
    that thing where you literally
    held your breath,
    turned blue,
    like the brats in the comic strips.
    Now I can tell it like it’s
    no big deal,
    but so many times — and I don’t
    tell you this — I look at you and
    see your infant face, cyanotic, greyish,
    remember screaming at you,
    “Breathe, goddammit!”
    which you eventually did,
    and then cried,
    and then slept,
    peacefully,
    breathing evenly,
    like you hadn’t just
    threatened to turn my life
    upside-down.
    After, I recall
    slumping in the corner of
    your shitty apartment,
    shaking, my back against the cold,
    white wall,
    calling my mother
    to come and watch you,
    take you out of my arms,
    because I was afraid
    that my touch
    wouldn’t be enough.

  24. MET

    The Swinging Bridge

    The mountain morning air was sweeter
    That mountain honey, and the sky
    A welcoming hue. Da called me
    Time for breakfast. His biscuits were thick
    The drop biscuit kind…nothing fancy
    But the best there ever was.
    “Sis,” he said as he handed my nine-year-old self
    A cup of coffee, cream made it a light mocha tan.
    “How about you going fishing with me?”
    “You know I don’t like to fish.”
    He smiled for that was true.
    “I would like your company.”
    He was worried about me
    For fear was now in his fearless girl.
    I nodded cause I loved to be by a river, and
    Off I danced to get ready.

    We played the game
    The one he taught me to observe
    The world around me.
    As we rode a familiar road,
    He asked me what has changed.
    I told him a house had been painted
    Newly white, and looked someone had a new car.

    He fished along Greenbriar,
    And he told where to play.
    I built dams out of stones
    I was an engineer’s daughter.
    I crossed the river in a shallow place
    To play house in a rhododendron thicket.
    I heard saw Da move up the river
    For he had not caught his limit.
    I follow him up on the other side
    Always sure to stay close, but
    Not to close. I waded in among the stones
    To play in the water, but the river had
    Quicken its roll over the stones
    And to the edge I followed.

    Then Da called to me,
    “It is time to go, I have caught my fill.
    Come cross on the old swinging bridge.”
    I looked to see the terrible thing.
    My fear had gripped me.
    One time there had been a house on this side,
    I could see the chimney still standing.
    The water ran fast in a white-water rush,
    and the bridge was in disrepair
    The ropes still strong but some of the boards
    Had fallen to the river below
    A warning I thought to those who would cross.

    My eyes pleaded to him
    Please don’t make me.
    He stood on the other side,
    And said, “I know you can do this
    Don’t let fear take you.”
    I stepped up and felt my stomach lurch
    Tried to will that river calm below me.
    Da firmly said, “I will hold still for you.
    You have climbed trees higher than this.
    Don’t let fear break you.”
    I took one fearful step,
    I felt the tears pushing to come, but
    The man holding the ropes
    Never dropped me.
    I got to two the place the boards had fallen out,
    And Da told me to walk the rope
    Because I could walk on the tiniest limb
    Surely this would be no problem.
    The rope was steady and still
    And I felt that I was almost flying.
    Back on the boards I tripped to the end
    My heart lighter, for I knew fear
    Would not defeat me.

    We stopped at a white clapboard
    Country store where we had us a moon pie,
    And each a soda… mine orange and his grape
    And both with salty peanuts afloat…
    On the ride home I curled up and slept
    As he told me one of his stories.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 19, 2017

  25. tripoet

    Fulcrum

    As I think about it
    in the end
    every thought
    that passes
    through my mind
    conceives
    a memory.
    Impossible
    to store them all.
    Which ones
    should I keep?
    Which ones
    do I pick out
    of the air
    hold arm’s length
    away
    and let go?

    As on a teeter
    totter, I calibrate
    the weight
    to stay
    balanced,
    moving
    the deep memories
    to the center,
    placing
    the lighter ones,
    out,
    to where
    the child sits,
    holding on,
    striving,
    to maintain
    Equilibrium.

    1. saymwaHolly

      Absolutely! That’s why I’m not so keen on recording events with photos–I prefer the embroidery of time. Hey! I think I’ll write my poem about that. Thanks!

  26. Summerspoet

    Heritage

    Now the dead past seems vividly alive.
    These moments that, as a few stones link
    a stream’s sylvan shores,
    span the banks of day and night,

    the golden time, the orange sky.
    Myth seeps from the earth,
    springs of water, softens this soil,
    inviting old stories to creep,

    steal away from where time
    has buried them. Trolls shed their sleep
    and bludgeon stones cushioned
    with moss as a child bangs a set kitchen pots.

    Dragons empty their lungs of heat and rage,
    as the air trembles, cracks.
    Fairies, with silver wings, waltz
    with fireflies, hover near my ears

    to whisper reminders. They remember
    from whence I came.

    http://www.inkhammer.wordpress.com

  27. Connie Peters

    Pappap

    He was the greatest grandfather of all
    We would run to keep up with his strides
    He cheerily whistled a bob-white call
    He was the greatest grandfather of all
    He had a trace of a southern drawl
    With tractor and wagon, he gave us hay rides
    He was the greatest grandfather of all
    We would run to keep up with his strides

  28. Connie Peters

    Childhood Home
    To me, it was idyllic—
    my childhood home
    set in the P-A countryside
    with pine, shade, apple and nut trees
    and several large gardens
    Acres of grass
    which we weren’t all too happy to mow
    surrounded by hills and woods
    creeks, relatives, friends
    along a curvy country road.
    The distinct seasons provided entertainment
    Vibrant springs, puddles to splash and play in.
    Toasty summers, cold creeks to wade barefoot
    Crisp autumns, brightly colored leaves to jump in
    Cold winters, snow for sled riding and snow forts

    To kids, our neighborhood was a giant playground.

  29. Connie Peters

    The Farm Set

    When I was a child
    at Christmas time,
    we had a farm set
    to put under the tree.

    I’m not sure what a farm
    had to do with Christmas,
    but it grabbed our attention
    during the holidays, every year.

    We’d set up the red metal,
    two-story barn with all the
    light yellow plastic fence
    and figures all around.

    The yellow plastic farmer
    carried a yellow plastic bucket
    to feed the yellow plastic cows,
    chickens, sheep, pigs and ducks.

    There were even yellow plastic cats
    to put in the barn to chase away
    the imaginary mice among
    the yellow plastic hay bales.

    I don’t know what happened
    to the farm set.
    Probably tossed on the trash heap
    like so many things of the past.

  30. timphilippart

    Safeguarded

    Then, there is this memory
    of a memory,
    I like to think
    I had.

    Of a key to
    open
    answer
    illuminate.

    Emphemeral, precious,
    I locked it safe away,
    to always remember this,
    memory of a memory of a memory.

     

  31. Tom Hayes

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    Was it the day?
    April sun with spring promise
    Perhaps the place?
    hillside chapel, high above the Bay
    Or the occasion?
    joyous gathering of friends and family

    It was something special.
    A moment so easy to recall,
    painted, framed, and hung in my mind.
    Eyes closed, I can still see it all.

    Your hair, brown and flowing
    framing that face, so beautifully glowing.
    Hazel eyes with flecks of gold,
    concealing mysteries not yet told.
    Your form, cloaked in ivory lace,
    inviting my life-long embrace.

    Yet there was something else.
    Something more that special day.
    two hearts trusting fate,
    two souls finding mates,
    hoping just to find our way,
    together.
    Something special !

  32. pipersfancy

    1954

    There’s my father standing in the surf, an image
    captured in graduated shades of grey with “David—
    1954” written on the back. He is at the beach and
    smiling for the camera. The sun is setting behind
    his left shoulder. I can see how he enjoyed the day,
    his tanned body relaxing from long summer hours
    of sunlit sand and waves. He looks athletic and strong.
    I was not yet born and this is a much different version
    of him than I ever met. Still, I recognize his face.
    —Christina Perry

  33. Walter J Wojtanik

    MONKEY’S UNCLE

    My uncle came from the Kalama Zoo,
    as all us “chimps” surely recall.
    At least the rumors I heard are true,
    my uncle came from the Kalama Zoo.
    He had the last cage near the Kangaroo,
    and the two of them had such a ball!
    My uncle came from the Kalama Zoo,
    as all us “chimps” surely recall.

    1. De Jackson

      Well, I’ll Be

      As all us chimps surely recall,
      (if memory serves us quite well,)
      he worked at that place in the mall
      (as all us chimps surely recall)
      in the Frozen Banana Whip Stall.
      When he sold one, he would ring a bell
      (as all us chimps surely recall,
      and memory does serve us quite well!)

      1. Walter J Wojtanik

        WHAT DOES “CATS” KNOW?

        Memory does serve us quite well!
        Just as long as we can keep tally!
        And it depends on the memories on which we dwell,
        memory does serve us quite well!
        And they seem to saturate every cell,
        akin to the cats filling the alley!
        Memory does serve us quite well!
        Just as long as we can keep tally!

        1. De Jackson

          Remember That Time We Tried to Do a Feline Roundup?

          Just as long as we can keep tally,
          we might even be able to herd them.
          Herding cats is quite the rave-rally,
          but just as long as we can keep tally,
          and don’t dawdle or dilly-dally,
          those tabbies’ll be tallied – we’ll merge ’em!
          Just as long as we can keep tally,
          we might even be able to herd them.

          1. Walter J Wojtanik

            TIN ROOF UNDER A CAT IN HEAT

            We might even be able to herd them cats.
            Have you heard their caterwauling lately?
            It reminds me of a flock of bats,
            we might even be able to herd them cats.
            They howl and moan, their in heat and all that!
            They don’t sound the least bit stately!
            We might even be able to herd them cats.
            Have you heard their caterwauling lately?

          2. De Jackson

            What’s all that racket?

            Have you heard the caterwauling lately
            of the cattywampus animal squall?
            Their calling has disturbed us greatly,
            all that caterwauling we’ve heard lately
            and their night-songs quite ornately
            having us moaning and climbing the walls.
            have you heard the caterwauling lately?
            Oh, that cattywampus animal squall.

          3. Walter J Wojtanik

            SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING YETI

            Oh, that cattywampus animal squall,
            a sound quite unheard until her wail,
            Sister Sasquatch ten foot tall!
            Oh, that cattywampus animal squall.
            And no one’s seen her since last fall,
            when that photog spotted her and she turned tail!
            Oh, that cattywampus animal squall,
            a sound quite unheard until her wail,

          4. De Jackson

            Are We There Yet-i?

            A sound quite unheard until her wail
            (remember how we turned it to a song?)
            A mysterious meandering traveler’s tale,
            that sounded quite unheard until her wail
            reminded us to set our wings assail
            and follow what our hearts held, all along.
            A sound quite unheard until her wail
            (remember how we turned it to a song?)

          5. Walter J Wojtanik

            MEMORY MELODY

            Remember how we turned it to a song?
            We sang the refrain again and again,
            but the bridge went on a bit too long.
            (remember how we turned it to a song?)
            We got Finnegan to sing along,
            but now it just repeats in my brain,
            Remember how we turned it to a song?
            We sang the refrain again and again.

          6. De Jackson

            Remembered Refrain

            We sang the refrain again and again
            so we wouldn’t forget the (heart) beat.
            To a score of salt and the rhythm of rain,
            we sang the refrain again and again.
            A lull of laughter, thump of pain,
            like all things, a circle complete.
            We sang the refrain again and again
            so we wouldn’t forget the (heart) beat.

          7. Walter J Wojtanik

            I SING YOUR NAME

            So I wouldn’t forget the (heart) beat,
            I kept whispering your name.
            The tempo of it sounded so sweet,
            so I couldn’t forget the (heart) beat.
            It made the song sound so complete,
            the rhythm of you and it was the same.
            So I wouldn’t forget the (heart) beat,
            I kept whispering your name

          8. De Jackson

            Body, Electric

            I kept whispering your name
            (like stars upon my tired tongue.)
            To make this world grow tame,
            I kept whispering your name.
            Remember, no two skies are quite the same,
            and sorrow’s bite’s already stung.
            I kept whispering your name
            (like stars upon my tired tongue.)

          9. Walter J Wojtanik

            LIKE STARS

            Like stars upon my tired tongue,
            the sweetest kiss is from your lips.
            Comprised of memories unsung,
            (like stars upon my tired tongue.)
            Where with the moon and clouds are hung,
            to fill the skies with tender sips.
            Like stars upon my tired tongue,
            the sweetest kiss is from your lips.

          10. De Jackson

            A Taste of the Past

            The sweetest kiss is from your lips;
            it sparks my memories, like fire.
            Oh, never have I felt such bliss
            as the sweetest kiss from your lips.
            I must remember it’s just a kiss
            that’s made my heart a Judas, liar.
            The sweetest kiss is from your lips;
            it sparks my memories like fire.

          11. Walter J Wojtanik

            LIKE A BURNING EMBER

            it sparks my memories like fire,
            smoldering embers that spark and glow.
            remembrances like a funeral pyre,
            it sparks my memories like fire.
            yet, thoughts like these rife with desire
            serve to make these memories flow,
            it sparks my memories like fire,
            smoldering embers that spark and glow.

          12. De Jackson

            Fire Dance

            Smoldering embers that spark and glow
            remember us to a fading sky.
            The stars above, the beach below
            with smoldering embers that spark and glow.
            You kissed me, once, and then did go
            and left me here to wonder why,
            as smoldering embers spark and glow,
            remember us to a fading sky.

          13. Walter J Wojtanik

            MEMOIR SIGHS

            remember us to a fading sky,
            recall us to the rustling wind,
            deliver us when night is nigh,
            remember us to a fading sky.
            calm our hearts with a fervent sigh,
            memories we’ll not rescind,
            remember us to a fading sky,
            recall us to the rustling wind,

          14. De Jackson

            The Secret Life of Breeze

            Recall us to the rustling wind
            (it whispers, if you listen deep.)
            When someday wondering where we’ve been,
            recall us to the rustling wind
            and to a restless moon, hearts pinned.
            When days are long, and ways are steep,
            recall us to the rustling wind
            (it whispers, if you listen deep.)

          15. Walter J Wojtanik

            HEART WHISPERS

            it whispers, if you listen deep.
            The murmurs of hearts in unison beating,
            (you’ll even hear it in your sleep)
            it whispers, if you listen deep.
            Do not fear it, do not weep
            the whisper flow and are repeating,
            it whispers, if you listen deep.
            The murmurs of hearts in unison beating,

          16. De Jackson

            Whispered Waves

            The murmurs of hearts in unison beating,
            the call of ocean, pull of shore.
            These are the things that keep repeating –
            the murmurs of hearts in unison beating,
            the way the night sky is completing
            this memory of our love, restored.
            The murmurs of hearts in unison beating,
            the call of ocean, pull of shore.

  34. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a “creation myth”. That’s a little hard to reconcile with a “memory” poem, unless it’s about a memory that’s become mythologized, so to speak. Anyway, mine is based on fact rather than myth, though romanticized a bit.

    Creation Story

    1. In the beginning
    there was a young woman
    and a young man.

    2. And it came to pass
    that she came to pass him,
    slumped and pensive in a chair
    in the student lounge,
    wool navy watch cap pulled
    over his head, and one day
    she paused and came back
    and spake with him.

    3. And Lo, she found him deep
    and dark and he found her
    sweet and innocent, with the
    birth of Heaven in her blue eyes,
    and one day after a long conversation
    he said unto her, “Willst thou come
    with me to the cinema?”
    And she said yea.

    4. And it came to pass they did date,
    and verily they did fall in love,
    and soon they were wed, and
    they begat three handsome sons
    and brought another into their home.

    5. And one son and his mate
    begat two lovely girls, and
    they all lived happily as a family,
    all created because one evening
    she was brave enough to say hello.

  35. Joseph Hesch

    Recreating Recall of the Priceless

    Age can be a terrible thing, what it can do
    to a man’s body and mind that he once thought
    invulnerable tothe degradation of disease
    and his ownmisuse over time.
    But along comes the day when his shoes
    become too far away to tie and the chasm
    so great between the desire to remember and
    the clear view of actual recall, it renders
    memory nothing more than a museum ravaged
    by the temblors of time. Now the picture
    I hung of you is not much more than a frame
    surrounding empty desire, one I must fill
    or you’ll finally be lost to me forever.
    And so I scour this shattered space for bits
    of the ancient and arcane. With pieces of lapis
    set in shards of Delft blue glass I fashion
    your eyes, with flaxen threads of fine
    Irish linen and crushed Etruscan alabaster
    I formed your face, and with countless strands
    of gold and brown silk, your hair. It’s an
    imperfect portrait, true. Though, created
    from treasured bits of my life and the echoing
    music of your voice, I once again can hang
    my invaluable memory of priceless you.

  36. MaggieIrene

    Angling At Hickory Grove

    It is a fascination, sitting
    around the old family dinner table
    together with several siblings —
    remembering — as we focus on
    one moment seen through
    one specific window in time.
    No two will select the same
    specific tidbit of data; each
    saw it, absorbed it, stored it,
    from their own place in the
    lineup of an even dozen.
    As each retells their version,
    both the memory and the convo
    grow…like a little fin-tail sunfish
    caught on a lovely lazy day
    at the pond down in
    Hickory Grove.

    Maggie Westvold

  37. Jezzie

    I REMEMBER

    I remember the days when
    we used to talk not text
    and we wrote thank you letters
    to our uncles and aunts
    instead of just saying “ty” or “ta”

    I remember the days when
    we used to relish school dinners
    of meat and three veg
    and we walked to school
    instead of being driven by car

    I remember the days when
    we used to have one best dress,
    the rest were cousin’s cast off clothes
    and we had one pair of good shoes
    instead of the latest designer trainers

    I remember the days when
    we used to be able to spell,
    we could do sums in our heads,
    and we had our heads buried in books
    instead of digital entertainers

    1. MET

      I know that is exactly true and why so many people after a loved one has died… smell the clothes they left behind… sometimes we are not aware of the smell but when they are gone we miss it…

  38. Walter J Wojtanik

    MY HAIR

    My hair glowed
    when it was blonde.
    From the day I sprouted follicles
    I carried a golden hue.
    It’s true. Those Aryan looks
    (as seen in history books)
    make my blue eyes bluer.
    No words spoken were truer
    when my comb had an upper hand.
    But I never brandished it in spite.
    (Just to remind them I was bright!)

    My hair fades.
    At sixty, I’d become a shaded gray.
    Had I heeded my father’s warning,
    I would have seen this coming.
    Age has a nasty way of relegating
    us all to the same playing field.
    Every patch of gray should yield
    a wisdom beyond our years.
    But it just makes my ears seem
    to protrude a bit more. Not such
    an eyesore to what was in store.

    My hair departs
    and is becoming a memory.
    Hair today; gone tomorrow!
    Such is my sorrow since
    my hair has gone on hiatus
    and now takes the color of skin
    as in, “Why in the hell didn’t
    my father tell me of THIS cruel joke?”
    It’s like a craggy jab at my virility!
    My pate craves for warmth, instead
    I gear for a buff and polish. Soon to shine
    despite my stressed tress whine!

    1. Marie Elena

      HAHAHA! How do you come up with this quirky fun stuff so quickly?? 😀 Loving being poetic neighbors this morning. And perhaps I should say my “recessed reminiscence” reference is, well, serendipitous? 😉

  39. Piddleville

    History’s Old Houses

    Remembering you, I remember
    wallpaper. And sanding a floor
    because it was old. And worn.
    And you were determined
    to make it all new, and I
    went right along, puzzled—
    I still am—how you got a man,
    a man such as me, a man
    as good as hammer for baking a cake,
    to help you breathe life into a house
    left on its own by people
    who had moved on,
    out of Smiths Falls, Ontario’s east,
    where history’s old houses wait
    for one such as you, a woman
    skilled in the art of raising from ruin
    the old; the neglected and lonely;
    the countless forgotten.

    wlw

  40. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    The Look

    The moment was life-changing,
    although she didn’t know it yet.
    He sat in the back to the room,
    denim and cowboy boots,
    leaning on a guitar.
    She was reading poetry,
    simple verse for children, really.
    Looking up, their eyes met –
    time stopped like a run-away train
    that hits the wall with everything
    crashing in behind.
    Pulling off her glasses,
    explaining that she couldn’t
    read with them on,
    apologizing for missing a line
    or two,
    she continued.
    When she was done,
    she fled the room like
    someone fleeing a storm.

    Years later, long after
    the stranger appeared in her life,
    again,
    did she realize that something
    more powerful than words
    had been drawing them together
    since their youth
    when paths crossed in the darkened
    halls of a project building.
    They had missed each other by minutes,
    but his essence remained
    to wrap around her dreams
    appearing in poems
    she couldn’t quite understand
    but that came pouring out
    late at night and during early morning hours.

    Now, she looks up into those eyes –
    time still stops
    but she no long flees, rather,
    she falls headlong
    into his waiting embrace.

    1. Marie Elena

      So much meaning in your emotive piece. For me, especially,
      “his essence remained
      to wrap around her dreams
      appearing in poems
      she couldn’t quite understand
      but that came pouring out
      late at night and during early morning hours.”

  41. Walter J Wojtanik

    8 X 10 GLOSSY

    Long ago it must be
    I have a photograph
    Preserve your memories
    They’re all that’s left you

    Simon And Garfunkel – Bookends Theme

    A picture.
    A photograph kept
    beneath the drawer liner
    for lack of a finer resting place.
    Traces of tears dropped in perpetuity,
    pocking the still portrait of you when life
    bloomed in your brilliance. A static image left
    in constant memory, a reminder that the remainder
    of my days will be without your smile, your loving wile.
    It lays still as you lay still. It is buried as you have been buried.
    Well preserved save for this random pattern of droplets left in your
    wake. I take your memory within my heart. And I do miss you. Still.

  42. bxpoetlover

    Double Dutch

    I didn’t have a jump rope for our field trip but
    one of my girls suggested telephone wire.
    Ran to the corner store, got a black one.

    Went to the park.
    In groups of three, we took turns, and
    I was back on my courtyard,
    rocking back and forth to the beat of our canvas rope hitting concrete
    before jumping in,
    praying the ropes wouldn’t hit me in the face,
    knock off my glasses.
    I was one of those lateral jumpers–side to side–
    wasn’t quick enough to skip,
    clap my hands and tap on my knees or ankles,
    hop over those ropes with just one foot,
    was just trying to get to one up, two up,
    maybe turn around once or twice,
    hop up in the air, land, resume the jumping.
    Never seemed to get past three up
    before I stepped on one of the ropes,
    and had to wait for my jump back in
    or be one of the turners.
    Had to count out loud to keep my arms swinging the ropes on beat.
    To be double-handed was sin.

    With my girls, now,
    I turned the rope in perfect time,
    kept perfect count:
    One up 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    Two up 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    and
    when it was my turn to jump in,
    I rocked back and forth to the beat,
    held my shirt down like we used to so our breasts wouldn’t bounce,
    hoped they’d see me as an older version of one of them,
    fight our reading and writing together
    a little less

  43. Arash

    Memories
    by Arash

    memories are bones we find
    inside unmarked burial ground
    when digging for fresh water

    memories are Frankensteins
    fragments forced into sense
    their last words your lips her scent

    memories are misleading brochures
    tales with no beginnings and no ends
    sickly ghosts needing doctors or priests

    memories are abandoned rusting rails
    they’re circuses of snapshots and sounds
    floundering zoos of beauties and beasts

    memories stretch from depths of the brain
    through blood and flesh and through bones
    like a meandering poem looking for home

  44. Janet Rice Carnahan

    This is dedicated to Walt Wojtanik, who was the first poet I read years ago on this site and who encouraged me to keep writing and posting! And I still, ‘Write on’! Thanks, Walt, you are a man of your ‘word’!

    THE NIGHT POEMS CALLED

    I was awake and restless
    As if something was waiting
    Checking all the usual items
    Nothing was amiss
    Yet something familiar called
    An unheard expression
    Niggling, wiggling to be said
    Announced, declared
    Dared to be put into print
    Ok, ok, I remember saying
    Where exactly do you belong
    In a song, maybe
    The title came
    Words lined up
    Like letter and sound soldiers
    Off to a distant war
    Determined to do
    What they came to do
    Turning on the computer
    Quietly, not to disturb
    The sleeping hubby
    Up came this site
    Like it had been waiting all night
    As I clicked through it
    I saw the November contest
    Started the next morning
    How ironic, I remember thinking
    What timing
    I’ll start rhyming
    One poem would not go
    Silently into the morning’s light
    I gathered courage and wrote it
    Hitting ‘submit’ I admit
    I could finally breathe
    By noon
    Someone had seen it
    They liked it
    And they left a comment
    I knew my poems had found a voice
    Their choice to find their place
    Further there was a community
    Such poetic unity
    Each April and November
    I fondly remember
    That very first ‘Yes,
    Keep writing’
    I still delight
    In that night
    The poems called themselves
    Home

    1. Walter J Wojtanik

      I am so honored and humbled. And happy I found your words as well. Your poems shine with the brilliance of Venus in the late night sky. That’s what drew me to you. Your words are my morning valedictory. Thank you, Janet.

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