On her blog, A Different Perspective, my friend Murisopsis laid down a challenge for National Poetry Month.  Hers is easier than some I’ve seen as it requires the completion of only three prompts per week, which are announced at the beginning and can be completed in any order.


1. Write a limerick.
2. Write a poem about the changing seasons
3. Write a poem about angels (any kind).
4. Write a concrete (shape) poem.
5. Write a poem about signs of spring.
6. Write a poem about dogs.
7. Write a Quatern.
8. Write 4 haiku about favorite foods.
9. Write an acrostic poem using an emotion.
10. Write a Blitz poem.
11. Channel your inner Doctor (Seuss, Who, Frankenstein, Doolittle, Zhivago, McCoy… your choice)
12. Write a list poem about clothes
13. Write a poem using all of the following words: crow, sparrow, snow, chapeau, below, ginkgo, shallow, and solo.

The rules are simple.  Write 13 poems in 30 days (that comes out to one poem each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the month of April).  You may complete the prompts in any order.  Once written, post your poem on your blog and LEAVE MURI A COMMENT to let her know you have done so.  The point of the exercise is to have fun and stretch your poetic muscles.

OK, Muri, I figured I would start with the most difficult prompt, which I determined to be #13.  After I finished the poem, I realized it also fulfilled the criteria for #3 and #11.  So it may be a bit of a cheat, but here is my poem for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of Week One:


The spinster next door
a disheveled old crow
pulls on her wool cap
the season’s chapeau

fills her pockets, dons
galoshes, sets off solo
trudging ‘n crunching
over late winter snow

Her size 9 footprints,
cocksure but shallow,
stop short at a bench
by a knobbled ginkgo

Birdseed is scattered
on the ground below,
one angel’s provision
for hungry sparrows

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  1. L. T. Garvin, Author April 7, 2019 / 7:40 am

    What a wonderful picture I conjured of the disheveled old crow! I like how you used this comparison for an old caretaker of birds. There are some really cool words in here, Joan – chapeau and cocksure, I had not heard these before. I really like all the French words that we adopted in English, I’ve always been a bit of a Francophile. Nice work fitting all those words together, that was a task indeed. Beautiful work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 7, 2019 / 8:48 am

      Thanks, Lana. Chapeau was a new word for me, learning is part of the fun of these challenges. A chapeau is actually a fancy or ceremonial hat, it was used here in jest. My favorite part was the twist at the end, where the old crow is reframed as an angel for taking care of the birds. I like French words, too, but never get the pronunciations quite right. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu April 7, 2019 / 8:01 am

    Was it W.C. Fields who said, “Any poem worth writing is worth cheating at.” Or something like that. Anyway, I can envision the old crow invading the breakfast of sparrows. We feed our little birds in the morning, but sometimes a murder of crows swoops down and runs everyone off, while they steal all the food. They’re fun to watch, but I don’t think they’re very popular with the other birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 7, 2019 / 8:55 am

      Thanks, Tippy. In this case, the “old crow” is the spinster in her wool cap and galoshes, the angel who feeds the sparrows. I agree that real crows are greedy bastards. As are starlings. We fill our feeder, but also toss sunflower seeds around the yard so the little birds have a chance. 🙂 Cheating? I think not. See Muri’s comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. murisopsis April 7, 2019 / 8:23 am

    Ha! I ‘d say you hit it out of the park!!! Home Run! Take your bases and wave to the adoring fans (I’m one)! On the writing challenges I used to do that would have nearly a hundred prompts, I’d combine them. I don’t think of it as cheating but as economy of creativity!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan April 7, 2019 / 9:05 am

      Thanks, Muri. I like how you think, an “economy of creativity.” I usually post just once a week, on Sunday. My original idea was to put all three poems in one post, but that proved unnecessary. I shall take my bases and my bow and get back to work. How did you come up with the words in prompt 13, by the way? Just wondering. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. judyrutrider April 7, 2019 / 8:35 pm

    You’re a genius! Writing poetry is like writing music to me. It’s as unfathomable as writing in Mandarin. The genius in your poetry lies in making it understandable to a blockhead like me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 8, 2019 / 12:46 pm

      Thanks, Judy! Believe it or not, I never fancied myself a poet. I audited a college-level poetry class in 2015 because the class I was interested in (memoir writing) wasn’t offered that semester. The advisor I spoke to convinced me that “writing was writing” and I should go ahead and “dip a toe in.” My first poems were mediocre at best, but the prof was encouraging, pointing out the strongest parts (interesting metaphors, precise words, musical phrases) and challenging the weakest (clichés, redundancy, telling rather than showing). By the end of 12 weeks, I was off and running. I am a big fan of Mary Oliver, whose poetry is simple and understandable, yet insightful. I like writing about ordinary things–stubborn boogers, the challenges of the self-check lane, the contents of my handbag or my refrigerator door–stuff normal everyday people will understand. I’ve been told that I’m a hybrid writer, a poet-memoirist who uses form and verse to tell her stories. Yup. 🙂


  5. snoozing on the sofa April 8, 2019 / 9:03 am

    Great work, and nice consolidation. At this rate you’ll be done with the challenge by the end of the week. Maybe. I’m not sure – my math is about as good a my poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 8, 2019 / 1:33 pm

      Thanks, Snoozin. Muri (the issuer of the poetry challenge) called my consolidation “not cheating, but an economy of creativity.” For me, having to follow three sets of rules adds to the thrill of the chase. I’m currently working a few ideas for Week 2. Eventually, I will reach a point where I cannot combine prompts… for instance, a Haiku-based Quatern is a syllabic impossibility. Blitz is a strictly stream of consciousness technique; steering it to mesh with any other form would be a no-no. If I cross the finish line by the end of the month, I will be delighted. 🙂


  6. circumstance227 April 30, 2019 / 2:51 pm

    I’d say you lose a point for the cheating, (excuse me, I mean “economy of creativity”), but then earn it back for working in “chapeau”. Personally, I like it when you are uneconomical with your creativity – seems to me you have enough of it to keep spreading it around generously. Already looking forward to how you meet the next 10 challenges!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 30, 2019 / 4:49 pm

      Well, at least I come out even! Chapeau was a new one on me; I thought Muri meant “chateau” and misspelled it. When I looked up chapeau, I’ll be darned, it really was a word. I usually post only once a week, on Sunday. Satisfying three prompts with one poem allowed me to follow the challenge rules and post according to my established routine for as long as I could keep doing it. 🙂


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