Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #7 is “Write a poem using the words – stars, pine, sky, wind, chill.”

I tried to use these words in a less straightforward way, in a poem that wasn’t about nature, but they twisted around like a ornery tornado and rearranged themselves into a morningtime scene I’ve experienced a few times while dashing out to get the paper.  No Weather Channel forecast is necessary.  Every sense is on alert, urging me to do what I came to do and hightail it back inside.

The poem is a Shadorma.


Pine trembles
Stars have turned their backs
Wind quiets
Sudden chill
creeps up the sleeves of my coat
Sky glows yellow-green

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22 thoughts on “BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!

  1. slmret April 15, 2020 / 12:23 am

    Oh, my — that gives me a chill! Is the green sky typical of tornado weather?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 15, 2020 / 10:52 am

      For sure, Slmret. As a kid, we’d hear the beep… beep… beep… of the National Weather Service interrupting our TV show. The sky would turn that eerie yellow green, everything would go still and quiet (probably where the saying “the calm before the storm” comes from). We’d hunker in the basement with the transistor radio as the wind howled and the rain hammered on the roof, praying it was a false alarm and waiting for the NWS all clear. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan April 15, 2020 / 11:42 am

        Every place has something scary… hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes. Guess we just have to be aware and do our best to stay safe. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • slmret April 15, 2020 / 11:48 am

        I’m glad to read that you have a good shelter!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. murisopsis April 15, 2020 / 12:53 am

    Yes! I know that ominous yellow-green sky. It always sent me running for cover and a radio as a kid. In short order the wind would whip the trees and rain would lash the window. *sigh* brings back Midwestern springtime…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 15, 2020 / 11:09 am

      I’ve been an Ohio girl all my life and can “read the sky” as well as (and sometimes better than) the weatherman. When the forecast says 0% chance of rain and the sky says “don’t bet on it,” I don’t hang the laundry out and I don’t go water the garden. My sister’s neighborhood in Tennessee got hit by a tornado years ago–it hopscotched around and missed her house but demolished the homes of several of her neighbors. A friend’s house got flattened last spring. They had been moving stuff to their new house all day. She wanted to go back for one more load but her son talked her out of it. Instead, they took a break and ate strawberry pie. She credits that pie with saving her life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tippy Gnu April 15, 2020 / 8:56 am

    Better nail the roof down. This poem leaves me wanting to run for the basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 15, 2020 / 11:13 am

      Me too, Tippy! Our new house has the perfect storm cellar–just like Auntie Em’s in The Wizard of Oz. It would be tight for two people, two dogs, and a cat, but it’s sturdy and safe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 15, 2020 / 11:16 am

      Thanks, JR. Threatening indeed–makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! Nothing says “run for cover” quite like a yellow green sky. 🙂


  4. murisopsis April 15, 2020 / 9:59 pm

    We lived on a cement slab – no basement. We’d pile into the car and race to my grandmother’s house and into the basement we’d go. It was a solid place and the horse shoe over the door was our good luck charm. It was equipped with a toilet (up 3 steps like a throne!! – my grandfather had a sense of humor), a radio and a bunch of batteries in case the electricity went out. There were even a couple flashlights. The old trunk that was down there is now in my guest room – a favorite perch during bad weather…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 16, 2020 / 12:19 pm

      Sounds like an ideal place to go. When I was a kid, we had a tri-level house with a half-sunk basement. There were a couple daylight windows through which we could see what was going on outside. Half of the basement was our family room, the other half was a “utility room” where the furnace, water heater, laundry, and a cement block shower were located. We had to go to the next floor to use the toilet, or in dire circumstances, use the shower. I got a transistor radio for Christmas when I was 6 or so, that’s what we used during storms. I felt very important retrieving it from my dresser drawer… everyone depended on MY little radio to tell us when it was safe to come out. During the 25 years we lived in Yellow Springs, we had no basement (built on a slab, like your house). We would huddle in the tiny bathroom because it was sturdy, windowless, and equipped with a cast iron tub. Here, we have a storm cellar like the one in the Wizard of Oz, metal doors that open over a stairway leading to a small enclosure of roughly hewn stone. I should put some emergency equipment and supplies down there, camp chairs, blankets, flashlight, radio, batteries, bottled water, food…


    • Just Joan April 17, 2020 / 4:54 pm

      This color is common in Ohio during tornado season. A harbinger of destruction, you might say. 🙂


      • circumstance227 April 17, 2020 / 5:01 pm

        We had tornadoes in Wisconsin too, but I don’t remember the sky turning yellow. Maybe we were just too close to the Lake.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan April 17, 2020 / 5:15 pm

        It is a thing here. You know “red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning, red sky at night, sailor’s delight”? In Ohio, it’s “yellow sky ever, run for cover!” The total hush before the storm is even eerier. 🙂


  5. Chevvy April 21, 2020 / 10:58 am

    Challenges are really great stimulation for the creativity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 21, 2020 / 12:32 pm

      I agree, Chev. Getting inspired is often the hardest part. Prompts can be helpful as a starting point to take in whatever direction you choose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chevvy April 21, 2020 / 4:11 pm

        Well, when you visit me, you’ll see that I was prompted by your challenge. I managed to retrieve that month of challenges you followed so closely:-)


      • Just Joan April 21, 2020 / 5:38 pm

        You’re going to do it again? That rocks! I’m following, and have you on my Reader, so I’ll see whatever you post. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chevvy April 22, 2020 / 1:34 am

        Oh no, I don’t have energy for that but I have been able to resurrect my blog and it was great to read through all of them again most of which you commented on.


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