Day 30   “The Return of Love: A palinode”    PAD 2023

“Painting my heart out”–acrylic painting by the poet

My poem for Day 30, the final poem of poem-a-day challenge, reflects a retraction of my position on disappointment in love put forward in many poems, including “Hyena,” (day 5); “Sonnet on Love,” (day 9); “Affairs of the Heart: Claims & Warnings,” (Day 16); and “somewhere i travelled beyond good sense,” (Day 25). As I retract my position on love, instead of bitterness and disappointment, I will reverse some of the lines from these poems. Why am I doing changing my tune? I am responding to the prompt below and writing a “palinode.”

Maureen’s prompt: “write a palinode – a poem in which you retract a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem. For example, you might pick a poem you drafted earlier in the month and write a poem that contradicts or troubles it. This could be an interesting way to start working on a series of related poems. Alternatively, you could play around with the idea of a palinode by writing a poem in which the speaker says something like “I take it back” or otherwise abandons a prior position within the single poem.”

The Return of Love: a palinode

I waved goodbye from the closed car window,

laughing like a hyena, louder than the wheels

humming on the highway.  Then,

the highway turns toward home & you.

Words don’t fit like a puzzle, but

drop like a stone & your once warm

embrace turns chill until sun slips from

behind the cloud & it’s all bright gold.

I asked a fortune teller if  I should

continue this time.  She predicted

an affair of endless love.  

I must retract my earlier bitter words!

My sword-pierced heart flip flops. So, i

send him these words that e.e. shared

“your slightest look easily will unclose me

though I have closed myself as fingers.”

I whisper “rose is a rose is a rose” & shout

“How do I love thee, let me count the ways?”

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/30/2023)

Day 28  Index poem    PAD 2023

Before we delve into day 28, I want to say that I am so excited to have been selected as featured poet for Day 27 by Maureen, the matrixmind of the Napowrimo site for my “Yellow Celosia of Hope” poem. Thank you Maureen! So happy I have persevered and wrote the poem as well as planted my Celosia in the garden yesterday (I really did!)!

Now, I’ve written a slightly playful, fairly esoteric poem in response to day 28 prompt. I used the interesting index in my old poetry handbook from a time when books still had an extensive index, copyright 1940! For those who would like a definition of the term consonance, here’s one from the poetry foundation.  I include one snippet from my index that inspired me.

A consonance to death

Did the Daemon Lover have dactyl words and feet?

Oh, no, he was just a daffy-down-dilly!

Villon’s Des Dames du Tempts Jardis would

not have a thing to do with that dilly!

“I can understand that,” said the

Daughter of the North as she danced  away

to “Danty Baby Danty”!

No worries, the Earth Turn South

by morning, if we can make it

through the night despite Eidolons

lurking over the bed. Eidolons—

Eidolons? Eidolons! Is there

an echo in here? No, it’s only

the baby’s Echolalia.

Yes, a baby, no death,

perhaps a consonance to death

will do, bath, myth, broth

or sleuth will suffice!

No death, just truth, after all,

it’s the end of a perfect day!

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/28/2023)

Day 25 somewhere i travelled beyond good sense PAD 2023

e.e. cummings, 1953

This poem, of all love poems, brought back a not so fine memory. Here’s the prompt and the e.e. cummings poem is below my original day 25 poem!

Napowrimo Prompt for day 25: “Begin by reading e e cummings’ poem [somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond]. This is a pretty classic love poem, so well-known that it has spawned at least one silly meme. Today’s prompt challenges you to also write a love poem, one that names at least one flower, contains one parenthetical statement, and in which at least some lines break in unusual places.”

somewhere i travelled beyond good sense

that rose like the “eyes deeper than all roses”

turned to a garlic or maybe worse,

a chestnut tree in bloom (have  you ever smelled it?)

in my naivete, i sent him–the scoundrel–these

lines in a letter, (little did i know):

“your slightest look

easily will unclose me/ though i have

closed myself as fingers”/i, too easily opened,

the experience, a rose turned garlic. Truly,

i cast e.e.cummings’ words before

swine. i apologize e.e. i didn’t know!

Jacquelyn Markham (4/25/2023)

link to this poem:

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

E. E. Cummings – 1894-1962

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Day 23 Someplace you don’t go anymore. PAD 2023

Slowly on prompt! This poem includes the point of view of the old house–in a manner of speaking. A surprise visit from a lightning rod suggests that it may become an important symbol in my rewrite.

Prompt from Napowrimo:   “. . .our optional prompt for the day! Start off by reading Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s “Lockdown Garden.” Now, try to write a poem of your own that has multiple numbered sections. Attempt to have each section be in dialogue with the others, like a song where a different person sings each verse, giving a different point of view. Set the poem in a specific place that you used to spend a lot of time in, but don’t spend time in anymore.”

She never goes there anymore


Cold & creaky, the house resists

concrete & wrought iron—

“modernizing” father does each weekend.

Mint green trim, never finished,

contrasts peeling yellow paint.

Lightning rod safely routes destruction

to the ground, but supercharged bolts

are not the only danger.


She was only five, wandering

through the meadow,

goldenrod & cattails

higher than her head.

No one noticed she was missing

until the dinner bell.


Mary, Dina, Linda, where are you?”

Come here now. We’ve got corn to husk,

beans to snap for dinner.


Follow me to climb this tree. I’ll help you

up to the big branches. Keep climbing.

Climb, climb, climb the cottonwood tree.

Look at the leaves shimmering,

keep reaching up. Climb until the branches

are so spindly, I’ll have to stop. You can go alone,

you sway with the wind. Until like a cat,

she was so high into the spindly branches,

she couldn’t turn around or

back down. She heard her mother call.


“I don’t hear it,” the sleepy sister, just

awakened, whispered. Turning on her

pillow to go back to sleep, bells in the

Christmas box from the closet jingled.

Sisters pull covers over their heads.

Thump, thump, thump, the man with

a wooden leg in the attic!

They jump from the bed, streak

down the hall, down the steps, & into

mother’s room. She sends them

away back into the dark.


Heading to hide in the apple tree,

she takes her mystery book

to the meadow, the house behind

her. Startled from her wild

flower reverie when pheasants

fly up in her face.

Jacquelyn Markham (4/23/2023)

Day 21 Courage         PAD 2023

Storm, photo by poet

From the list, I chose “courage” because we all need so much of it everyday! Let’s hear it poets! Does it take courage to write a poem-a-day in April?

Prompt for Day 21 from Napowrimo: “Last but not least, here’s today’s (optional) prompt. Begin by reading Sarah Gambito’s poem “Grace.” Now, choose an abstract noun from the list . . . , and then use that as the title for a poem that contains very short lines, and at least one invented word.”


to face the cliff,

cave musk,

tower trees,

bridge over



Braven enough

to carry on,

to heal,

to begin



head on,

not flinching,

just moving


force against


rising water.

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/21/2023)

Day 20 Found by a Future Scientist PAD 2023

To appease my grumbling muse, I decided to delve into a stanza pattern to write today’s poem.  The “Terza Rima” (a poem with interweaving rhyming triplets or tercets) is a form that poets have used for long poems or as a stand alone short 3 line poem.  One famous example of Terza Rima with three tercets and a final couplet is Shelley’s of “Ode to the West Wind.” It has a specific rhyme pattern that goes like this: 1,2,1; 2,3,2; 3,4,3;4,5,4 and the couplet uses the rhyme sound from the central line of the preceding triplet, so it goes 5, 5.

Shelley’s poem has five sections, however, and you may want to check it out here.

Below is my poem, “Found by a Future Scientist,” that responds to Napowrimo’s prompt “Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.”

Found by a Future Scientist

What thing is this,

a pendulum moving to and fro

in perfect rhythm, yet tedious?

The weighted piece—a rod of sorts—must go

ticking, tocking, ticking, tocking torture.

My science sees no purpose in this show.

Back and forth ticking I must endure

as I study this strange artifact.

In this task, my expertise looks amateur.

Yet, after hours, days, months—to be exact,

I warm to this past piece as treasured bric-a-brac.

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/20/2023)

Day 18 Abecedarian-by the alphabet PAD 2023

I definitely got carried away with this poem as my idea took me on a long ride. I used gems in alphabetical order and then had to figure out a way to make a poem out of it, simply titled “Gems.”

And here’s the prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. You could write a very strict abecedarian poem, in which there are twenty-six words in alphabetical order, or you could write one in which each line begins with a word that follows the order of the alphabet. This is a prompt that lends itself well to a certain playfulness. Need some examples? Try this poem by Jessica Greenbaum, this one by Howard Nemerov or this one by John Bosworth.”

Day 16 erasure/negation poem   PAD 2023

Affairs of the Heart Claims & Warnings

Gypsy Cat fortune teller (credit

The Academy of American Poets defines “Erasure poetry” as “a form of found poetry wherein a poet takes an existing text and erases, blacks out, or otherwise obscures a large portion of the text, creating a wholly new work from what remains.” (

It seems to me that erasure poem could be considered a form of “negation”–the challenge of today’s prompt explained by Maureeen at Napowrimo:  “Today’s prompt is a poem of negation – yes (or maybe, no), I challenge you to write a poem that involves describing something in terms of what it is not, or not like.”

To write this poem, I grabbed the text from a bottle of hand sanitizer and wrote not about hand sanitizer but about past love affairs. (Does that qualify as a negation poem?)

Affairs of the Heart Claims & Warnings

That love affair killed 99.99% of my

heart chakra. Based on a

comparative study, he succeeded

eradicating most of my heart strings.

For external use only, the warning reads!

Keep those affairs outside of yourself.

Keep out of the reach of your inner child.

Do not internalize narcissistic, cruel, or

indifferent behavior. If a severe

reaction occurs, stop & ask a

fortune teller if you should continue.

She may predict next time, with these

precautions, the affair will destroy

only 55.55% of your heart.

Jacquelyn Markham (4/16/2023)

Day 14 Parody or Satire Rewrite    PAD 2023

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (

Today’s prompt is another rewrite.  Thorson says: “And now for our (optional) daily prompt. Hopefully, this one will provide you with a bit of Friday fun. Today, I challenge you to write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. It can be long or short, rhymed or not. But take a favorite (or unfavorite) poem of the past, and see if you can’t re-write it on humorous, mocking, or sharp-witted lines. You can use your poem to make fun of the original (in the vein of a parody), or turn the form and manner of the original into a vehicle for making points about something else (more of a satire – though the dividing lines get rather confused and thin at times).”

My attempt at the prompt on day 14 has an interesting twist. The poem is not so famous, but the poet is—Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  In 1856, Barrett Browning published Aurora Leigh, a “novel in verse” that follows the title character, an aspiring poet, through several pot-boiling twists. In one revealing passage, Aurora’s cousin and would-be suitor, Romney Leigh, summarizes his attitude toward her and women writers of that era in a passage that I quote below. I rewrote that passage.

So, I rewrote the poem from a feminist perspective and titled it “Woman Poet Extraordinaire”

Woman Poet Extraordinaire

Therefore, this same world

that you understand and influence

with your strength and courage will

always be changed by you and  

women of the world. Women brave,

strong, and at work in the world

will always change it by their very presence.

You are more than a doting mother and a wife!

You are more than a sublime Madonna ,

a seductress, or an enduring saint.

You are divine!

You are woman!

You are leader, artist, writer,

inventor, healer, builder.  

You are poet extraordinaire!

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/14/2023)

Here’s the original in which her cousin addresses her, knowing of her aspirations to be a poet:

Therefore, this same world
Uncomprehended by you must remain
Uninfluenced by you. Women as you are,
Mere women, personal and passionate,
You give us doting mothers, and chaste wives.
Sublime Madonnas, and enduring saints!
We get no Christ from you,—and verily
We shall not get a poet, in my mind.

The Poetry Foundation explains: “As starkly sexist as the above passage might seem to contemporary readers, the idea that women and female experience were incompatible with poetry continued to hold sway for the next 100 years, until second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s brought a political and cultural watershed. Women fought for equal treatment and civil rights; meanwhile, women poets created structures to support one another while profoundly changing poetry itself.” (

We only have to look at the last two United States Poet Laureates to see “women poets extraordinaire”! Currently, Ada Limon and former, Joy Harjo. Two of my favorite poets.

Day 11 Overheard Language PAD 2023

Maureen Thorson, the master mind behind Napowrimo says: “This prompt challenges you to play around with the idea of overheard language. . . Now,  write a poem that takes as its starting point something overheard that made you laugh, or something someone told you once that struck you as funny.”

The overheard language around me today did not make me laugh or inspire me, so I dipped into a journal and found another one of those many prose practice writings and transformed it (I hope) to a poem.

Rain Again! Yes!

Rain Again!

“Oh no, rain again,” someone said.

Rain, Spain, main, shame, blame—

my mind reels. What rhymes

with rain? The rain I am grateful for

as it nourishes my flowers, my garden,

plants, trees, birds, fills the rivers.

A rain dance, my tarot card proclaims I can do

as an archetypal witch, so I claim the rain power.

For like the rain, I can nourish, surprise,

make happy, drench away sad.

Oh, it’s raining on the parade (so we all run

laughing, splash in puddles, take off our shoes,

get lost in the parade crowd, tears in the rain.

Some say the rain puts a damper on,

some blame the rain, but I resolve

never to shame myself for dancing for rain

on behalf of moon flowers, oleanders, doves,

nuthatches, owls, hawks, farmers—

Dance witch woman!

Dance wildly for the rain.

You really don’t have to explain!

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/11/2023)

Image courtesy of