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)

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 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)