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 29 Pierogi Speaks to Babcia        PAD 2023

Pierogi image courtesy of

The prompt: “Start by reading Alberto Rios’s poem “Perfect for Any Occasion.” Now, write your own two-part poem that focuses on a food or type of meal. At some point in the poem, describe the food or meal as if it were a specific kind of person. Give the food/meal at least one line of spoken dialogue.”

In 2022, I was pleased to be featured by Maureen and Napowrimo with my poem “Kielbasa Speaks to the Vegetarian of Polish Descent,” so for this food poem, I wanted to stay with the Polish theme and Pierogis came to mind. Here’s what came out of my meditation on Pierogis! I wish I had some sizzling in butter right now!

A Pierogi Speaks to Busia

Soft & creamy, cheesy potatoes,

wrapped with a dumpling dough,

love at the heart of the delicacy,

sauteed in butter, Pierogi soothes

everyone’s nerves & makes them smile.

What does 30,000 Pierogis look like?

Pierogis in piles to please the crowd

at Krakow’s festival.  Air smells

sweet like Babcia’s kitchen.

“Busia,” says the pierogi from the bowl,

“make me buttery, tasty & savory—

smaczny* enough to win the prize.”

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/29/2023)

*Polish for “tasty”

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 27 Yellow Celosia of Hope PAD 2023

Update: I was so pleased that Maureen & NaPoWriMo selected “Yellow Celosia of Hope” as the featured poem of the day! Thank you, Maureen! It was an honor!

So close to the end of this challenge, we need hope, so hope is the topic of my poem today. And here is the prompt from Napowrimo, day 27: “Today, begin by reading Bernadette Mayer’s poem “The Lobelias of Fear.” Now write your own poem titled “The ________ of ________,” where the first blank is a very particular kind of plant or animal, and the second blank is an abstract noun. The poem should contain at least one simile that plays on double meanings or otherwise doesn’t quite make “sense,” and describe things or beings from very different times or places as co-existing in the same space.”

Photo courtesy of

Yellow Celosia of Hope

I lose hope when the world

loses compassion.

I lose hope when I lose myself or

a belief in the invisible.

I lose hope when I don’t see

love, a solution, or an end.

When I lose hope,

I listen for my heartbeat.

I listen for the wren

announcing dawn.

I look for pinpoints of light

sparkling on the river,

galaxies in the dark sky.

When I lose hope,

I listen to music—loud.

I read the poets, I eat, I drink,

I pace, I cry, I imagine

hope returning.

I cook rice.

I bake biscuits.

I sweep the floor.

I plant Yellow Celosias,

golden feathers of hope,

waving from my garden.

            Jacquelyn Markham (4/27/2023)

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 24 Doodling the Milky Way PAD 2023

Image courtesy of

As Maureen Thorson, our fearless prompt leader says, “Here’s one from the archives” (Napowrimo). The planets are acting out right now! It’s Mercury Retrograde, among other unusual circuits. It could be that or maybe just day 24, a book launch on the horizon (for my book Rainbow Warrior), gardens to be planted, guests arriving, etc. etc., but whatever the reason, my muse has literally sat down and refused to budge. So, all to say, though I have been faithful to 2023 prompts until now, here’s one out of the archives, Poem-a-day, 2017. I think the prompt was doodling!

Doodling the Milky Way

spirals and curlicues

start my doodling

but what’s important about doodling

is not what I absentmindedly draw

or write, but that doodling

allows me complete abandon

of sensible things

or things on the “to do” list

instead, my mind goes

nowhere or somewhere

spiraling inward



deeper, deeper

out to the universe

tripping on the Milky Way

swinging on the moon

leaping star to star

with no real intentions of ever coming

back to sensible things

and bills to pay

                        Jacquelyn Markham

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 22 The Moon is Sister to the Sea              PAD 2023

Ocean Moon, photo by the poet

The Moon is Sister to the Sea

after Emily Dickinson’s “The Moon is Distant from the Sea”

The moon is sister to the sea,

with amber hands she leads the

seeming docile sea along appointed

sands. The sea never

misses a degree, obedient

to her sister moon’s eye, she

comes just so far toward the town &

just so far goes away.

Oh, yours, the amber moon &

mine, the distant sea, obedient

to the least command

the seas impose on you & me.

Hello readers! Have I stolen Emily Dickinson’s poem? No, today’s prompt requires it. You will see the prompt below as well as the original poem. In the original by Dickinson, she made the sea male and the moon female. Although both entities in nature are without a specific gender, I couldn’t imagine the sea as male, so I revised it to make the moon and sea sisters! (poetic license!) Jacquelyn

“Today’s prompt. . .is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson. As you may know, although Dickinson is now considered one of the most original and finest poets the United States has produced, she was not recognized in her own time. One reason her poems took a while to gain a favorable reception is their slippery, dash-filled lines. Those dashes baffled her readers so much that the 1924 edition of her complete poems replaced some with commas, and did away with others completely. Today’s exercise asks you to do something similar, but in the interests of creativity, rather than ill-conceived “correction.” Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!”

The Moon is distant from the Sea – (387)

By Emily Dickinson

The Moon is distant from the Sea –

And yet, with Amber Hands –

She leads Him – docile as a Boy –

Along appointed Sands –

He never misses a Degree –

Obedient to Her eye –

He comes just so far – toward the Town –

Just so far – goes away –

Oh, Signor, Thine, the Amber Hand –

And mine – the distant Sea –

Obedient to the least command

Thine eye impose on me –

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)