Day 3 Opposite Poem PAD 2023

Hello poets and those who love poetry!

Thank you for reading. This Day 3 prompt from Maureen Thorson at NaPoWriMo is linked here, but the short version is to take a “shortish” poem and rewrite it by using the opposite word for every word in the poem. It is not as easy as it sounds, but I sort of like this poem I wrote with that crazy prompt: “You aren’t Somebody! Who am I?” Of course, the famous poem by Emily Dickinson, “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” was the inspiration and I included it below.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Image courtesy of

You aren’t Somebody! Who am I?

You aren’t Somebody! Who am I?

Aren’t you Somebody either?

Then there is not an only you!

Tell everyone! We won’t advertise—I don’t know!

How lovely—not to be—Nobody!

How private—like a bird—

Not to tell one’s name—the fleeting December—

To a damning sky!

Jacquelyn Markham (4/3/2023)

I’m Nobody! Who are you? (260)

Emily Dickinson – 1830-1886

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Emily Dickinson

Day 2 Surreal poem PAD 2023

Yes, readers, you know of the surreal painter Salvador Dali, but do you know the name of Remedios Varo, the Spanish/Mexican woman artist whose work only recently is being recognized? Like the artists, poets were influenced by the Surrealist movement. You may want to check this out from the Poetry Foundation.

Well, the poem prompt for day 2 was for a surreal poem, a bit complicated but interesting. Read the Day 2 poem prompt here, but the quick version was to choose some words from a list, ask questions for each and answer them. Those answers were worked into the poem. Below is my effort! I have actually created two line stanzas (couplets), but the WordPress format is not cooperating as yet. The poem is all there though!

Remedios Varo, La llamada (The Call), 1961, courtesy

Ghost Lover

A ghost lover hovers over her

like a loco Luna moth

while an owl stares in silence,

Athena’s secret deep in its yellow eyes.

The fog wraps itself around the riverbank,

a gray net of heavy dew

while the river flows north & south at the same

time, a wild woman beating her head against a tree.

That song goes around & around in her mind—

Big wheel keeps on turnin, proud Mary keeps on burnin

Rollin, rollin, rollin on the river

Thunder shakes the sky a hundred miles away.

I never knew that woman was

as elusive as a hummingbird.

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/2/2023)

Day 1 Book Cover Poem PAD 2023

Launching the Poem-a-Day challenging this April 1, we begin with celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Na/GloPoWriMo this April. Today’s prompt from the NaPoWriMo is below:

“And here’s our own prompt (optional, as always) for the first day of Na/GloPoWriMo. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they never said you can’t try to write a poem based on a book cover — and that’s your challenge for today.”

What are the chances that I would be visiting my sister on a south Georgia lake covered with Gallinules and reading a book of poetry to review for The Polish Review titled Yours, Purple Gallinule? Because of this serendipity, I chose for my prompt the cover of this beautiful book of poems by Ewa Chrusciel, Omnidawn Press, 2022. 

So here’s my poem today!

Goodbye Gallinule

Once a river before the dam,

this wide slate water now a lake,

today runs upstream.

In the fast moving current,

bobbing Gallinules, like a carnival game,

pick one and win a prize.

The  Bald Eagle plays the game

each white head disappears in deep blue

to avert the death beak and talons one more time. 

In a floating cluster, against the wind,

the birds swim, splash, fly, cry in unison

until a lone Gallinule cries out having

lost its tribe as dark clouds cast

shadow threats on the fast rolling river,

push the Gallinule gaggle upstream,

out of my sight, now and quiet

as if to say upon departure,

Yours, Gallinule.

Jacquelyn Markham (April 1, 2023)

Thinking about poetry and peace

Denise Levertov, has said in “Work and Inspiration: Inviting the Muse,” that “poems come into being in two ways.” She goes on to say, there are those poems that are “inspired” and those much more common, poems created by the poet’s conscious process that eventually leads to “unpredictable inspiration.” I have experienced both, but as she says, we would not write many poems if we only counted on the “given” or inspired poems. Instead, most often, we must mine the gold!

Although I have not found the quotation, I know it was Levertov who advised we think about poetry everyday, so until I find it, please take my word for it. So, today, just a few days before the poem-a-day challenge begins, I am consulting Denise Levertov and thinking about poetry and its process. I hope you will too.

I am sharing with you her poem, “Making Peace.”

Making Peace

By Denise Levertov

A voice from the dark called out,

             ‘The poets must give us

imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar

imagination of disaster. Peace, not only

the absence of war.’

                                   But peace, like a poem,

is not there ahead of itself,

can’t be imagined before it is made,

can’t be known except

in the words of its making,

grammar of justice,

syntax of mutual aid.

                                       A feeling towards it,

dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have

until we begin to utter its metaphors,

learning them as we speak.

                                              A line of peace might appear

if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,

revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,

questioned our needs, allowed

long pauses . . .

                        A cadence of peace might balance its weight

on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,

an energy field more intense than war,

might pulse then,

stanza by stanza into the world,

each act of living

one of its words, each word

a vibration of light—facets

of the forming crystal.

Denise Levertov, “Making Peace” from Breathing the Water. Copyright © 1987 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Breathing the Water (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1987)

“Begin Again” Poem-a-Day 2023

Poster compliments of Academy of American Poets (

Hello Poets & Poetry Lovers,

Welcome to my blog/website

Let’s talk poetry! It is not too early to prepare for the April Poetry Month Poem-a-day challenge. In fact, it’s only a week away.

Do you know why we celebrate April as Poetry Month? What is the Poem-A-Day Challenge?

Much thanks goes to the Academy of American Poets who in April 1996 launched National Poetry Month.  Its website,, is a wealth of information and inspiration for poets and appreciators of poetry. The Academy of American Poets explains that poetry month was founded as “a special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters.”   And this was way before the pandemic when we learned again and again, that “poetry matters!”

The Academy sponsors Poem-A-Day, but that’s an already written poem in your inbox, not in your outbox! Sign up with the Academy to receive a previously unpublished poem by your favorite poets for inspiration and your personal enrichment.

But, what about **WRITING* a poem-a-day? Are  you serious? Yes, I am! It’s a challenge!

**START HERE** As far as the Poem-A-Day Challenge, there are many avenues to choose from. I have enjoyed following along with NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, an annual project encouraging poets to attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. Read more about Maureen Thorson’s project on the links I’ve provided. It’s fun and inspiring! There are other sites that provide prompts or you may use your own, but stay with the spirit and attempt a poem a day!

If you are on Facebook, check out the Poem-A-Day’s new FB cover photo Celebrating 20 Years, Writing 30 Poems in 30 days!

Let’s do it!

Jacquelyn Markham

Poet Voice

Think About Poetry Everyday!