On her blog, A Different Perspective, my buddy Murisopsis laid down
a challenge for National Poetry Month: using the supplied prompts, in any order, write thirteen poems in 30 days (one poem each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through the month of April).  The first week, I managed to nail three prompts with one poem.  It was so much fun, I decided to choose three more and try it again.

1.  Write a limerick
6.  Write a poem about dogs
9.  Write an acrostic poem using an emotion

Without further ado, here is my blissful acrostic limerick about dogs:


Bold-nosed explorers are they
Lollygaggers at the odor buffet
In the grass, on a tree
Smelly poop, pungent pee
So strong I can’t pull them away

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Live pines and spruces come with baggage.
Add a few pets and you’ve got pandemonium.
The REAL question, dearest Shakespeare, is this:


Tradition calls for a live pine tree,
even one that’s severely crooked
or harboring dormant spider eggs
or shoved through your front door
by a charitable neighbor who refuses
to let the Grinch steal Christmas

The firry beast is more wide than tall,
flatly refuses to stand up straight,
and sucks down drinks by the pitcher
Pyromaniac can turn two dry needles
and a half-watt bulb into a house fire
if you leave him alone for an hour

The mesmerized cat toys with shiny
low-hanging baubles and freaks out
at his own reflection, entangling himself
in the tree skirt as he flees the scene
Then he turns a footlong strand of tinsel
into sparkle-poo he cannot quite shake

The dog is eager to come to his aid
in a canine sugarplum fantasy-come-true
He sniffs and pursues the trailing treat,
sending the cat scurrying up the trunk,
bending the Star of the East due west
The tree leans past the point of no return

And… over… she… goes… TIMBER!
The cat escapes before the crash landing
The guilty-faced dog hangs his head,
enduring a scolding as the tree is righted
When the coast is clear, he helps himself
to half the fresh water in the tree stand

The vacuum cleaner arrives on scene
The dog’s eyeballs float in their sockets
but his desperate pleas cannot be heard
over the clatter and hum of the machine
After it departs, the tree’s alluring trunk
becomes the target of his lifted leg

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LANTURNE seems the right form for this week; lantern-shaped verse to feed our longing for light as the days grow ever shorter.  A Lanturne has five lines, with a syllable count of 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 1.  Line 1 is a noun; line 5 is a synonym or metaphor of the noun.  According to some sources, the middle lines should describe the noun; others allow more carefree use of the syllables.




than nickel
in Grandpa’s hand





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In the good old days, when lactose intolerance was yet unknown to me, and local businesses gave things away for free, the mister and I used to hop in the old VW Bus and putter downtown for soft-serve ice cream:


The screen slides open
& out comes our order,
two super-sized cones
& a gratis puppy cone,
which our Lab devours.
Mimicking the sad face
of an emaciated orphan,
he eyes the twisty swirls
in our grip, mine… his…
attempting to discern
which of us is the sucker.
My husband caves first,
tilting his towering treat
toward the eager muzzle.
“Here Buddy, have a lick!”
Earnie’s jaws open wide
and crunch-munch-gulp!
it’s a done deal, leaving
one of us dumbfounded,
one laughing hysterically,
& one with brain freeze.

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We were out of town for Thanksgiving, so I had little time to prepare a new post.  Enjoy this updated version of “A DOG’S LETTER TO SANTA” which was originally published in Dec 2015, before I had any followers:

I was dusting the other day and found this lying on the printer:
letter to Santa
You’ve probably deduced that parts of this post are fictional.  The part about me dusting, for instance.  Congratulations, Sherlock, well done!  Now we can move on to more perplexing mysteries, like where Tailor learned to write.  And in outline form, no less!  Do you think he knows where I keep the envelopes and stamps?  Can he reach the flag on the mailbox?  What will happen when he finds out the truth about Santa?  And discovers that my credit cards are the key to the wonderful world of  What if he grows up to be a lawyer?  Like so many pet parents, I worry.  But for today, I’m content to let him revel in the magic of Christmas.  I’ll hug him tight for remembering Peaches and Callie in his letter and vouch that he’s a good boy if the North Pole should call me requesting verification.  Of course, Santa will bring him everything he asked for, except the heated indoor pool.  And that giant stick from the back yard, the one he knows he isn’t allowed to bring in the house. Maybe I’ll slip a Roomba under the tree, just because he was cheeky enough to go behind my back and ask Santa Claus for the stick!  After he and Roomba are done chasing each other, we’ll take turns bobbing for chicken, straight from the bucket, and flop down in front of the TV. From my cozy corner seat, I’ll count my blessings, beginning with the one wielding the remote control, the one sprawled across my lap, the one meowing to go outside, and the one snoring from the depths of an extra-crispy food coma.  If I start crying, you can blame it on Hallmark; those sappy holiday movies get me every time!

Wishing you a blessed season filled with laughter, love, and memories.

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After a week or two of sweltering heat, we look forward to the mid-summer rains that thunder down so hard and heavy that the parched ground can’t begin to soak it all up.  The runoff swells the placid creek, which rushes and foams through the narrows, then relaxes into a wide pool near the footbridge.  Our black Lab used to jump headlong into this opportunity every time it presented itself.  Just something in his DNA, I guess.  I would look on, petrified, as he fought to stay upright and keep his nose above water, and wonder if his heart was pounding
as hard as mine.  At the end of the ride, he would emerge on wobbly legs with this LOOK on his face… a look I could not fully identify with until I finished my first public poetry reading; as I headed back to my seat, the expression on my face felt strikingly similar.  This poem is a monotetra, by the way, a form I featured in a prior post on donuts.


As buckets tumble from the sky
and supersaturate July
the lazy creek runs fast and high,
a water slide, a water slide

Our Labrador cannot resist
a thrill so serendipitous
One daring leap and he’s adrift
the current swift, the current swift

Pumped with pure adrenaline
he rolls and bobbles as it wends
hanging tight ’round curves and bends
until it ends, until it ends

Then up the muddy bank he climbs
all lolly-tongued and starry-eyed
Delight and terror, when combined
can be sublime, can be sublime

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Yesterday, we celebrated Earth Day and today, I’m due to introduce a new type of poem, so I’m aiming to score two goals with a single tool.  Dig it?  The “GOLDEN SHOVEL” sounds like a gardening award but is actually a contemporary poetic form created by Terrance Hayes.  And
a clever way to pay homage to a favorite poet.  Here are the rules:

1. Borrow a line from a poem you admire.
2. Use the words of the borrowed line as the end words of your lines.
3. Keep the end words in order.
4. Give credit to the poet you borrowed from.

NOTE:  Your poem need not be about the same subject as the original



He is there for me every
single minute of the day
Even in the bathroom, I
am never alone, you see,
he provides company or
protection or whatever I
require as if he can hear
my thoughts, something
he does with an ease that
mystifies. But he is more;
my soulmate perhaps, or
a shrink who charges less
and really listens. He kills
me with hilarity, slays me
with tricks, fells me with
love, buries me in delight

*A Golden Shovel from Mindful by Mary Oliver

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dog days 5

I am NOT a summer person.  The light is too bright and direct.  The sun is too hot.  During these long stretches of 90-degree days, I stay inside feeling sorry for the crunchy brown lawn and wilted flowers.  One daily outing, however, cannot be avoided.  Both dogs go bananas when it’s time for their walk.  We climb into the car and drive to an unpopulated farm lane where they can frolic for fifteen or twenty minutes.  One has a reflective light brown coat; she could stay out all day bouncing back whatever the sun throws at her.  The other is a Lab mix whose black fur absorbs the heat.  In minutes, he’s feverish and his hide is on the verge of spontaneous combustion.  It takes him a few hours to recover from all that fun, but by the next afternoon, all is forgotten.  He is raring to go again and simply won’t take no for an answer.


A touch of heat exhaustion on a walk is
a minor sacrifice in service of a major treat,
like scorching our thighs on the vinyl seats
of Mom’s Buick on trips for ice cream

At the farm lane, he bounds out of the car
dancing with and dodging the sweltering sun
flitting in and out of the cornfield, wallowing
in the creek, flopping under a shady pine

On the ride back, he claims the armrest,
slyly elbowing toward the dashboard until
his long tongue hangs an inch from the vent
panting and gulping the refrigerated blast

He slurps long and deep at his water bowl
as if he has discovered an oasis in the desert
He withholds the last mouthful in his jowls
and dribbles it across the cool ceramic tile

to his favorite spot, where he collapses
onto his side and remains for a long time
underfoot, motionless, barely breathing
a stiff-legged silhouette waiting for

the canine police to draw a chalk line
around him and question the witnesses
He blinks back to life, shaking off his coma
long enough to relocate to the couch

Tomorrow, if I say there will be no walk,
it is far too hot for a black dog to be out,
he will whine that I am overprotective.
Don’t I know he was only playing dead?

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It’s hard to believe we’ve had Callie four years already.  Even harder to believe that the first two families she was placed with returned her.  In a short time, she has grown into a wonderful dog:  sleek and beautiful, alert to every unusual noise in the neighborhood, a well-matched mate for her brother, Tailor.  She had a little slip-up in the beginning and for
a long time afterward, she distanced herself from us, waiting anxiously for the other shoe to drop.  When she finally figured out that this is her “forever home,” she let her guard down and beautiful things started to happen.  She loves belly rubs now, gives spontaneous kisses, lays her head on my lap when we watch TV, and curls up next to me under the covers each night.  I think I could safely say she’d take a bullet for me,
if it ever came to that.  This is Callie’s story, told in her own words:


A shelter’s a shelter
But not really a home
You’re surrounded by dogs
But so very alone

People look, pass you over
It’s so hard to cope
You pray for your “freedom ride”
Your ticket to hope

Maybe so, maybe not
I’ve had two such before
But I didn’t fit in
And they showed me the door

One called me “too timid”
The other, “too bold”
Now I’m eight months and counting
And likely too old

I’ve outgrown puppy features
My bloodline is clear
My “mix” contains pit bull
A breed that they fear

I sit oh so pretty
And plead with sad eyes
But they see what I am
And they pass right on by

Then a dog and his people
Walk up to my cage
He’s a black and white bulldog
They won’t be afraid

For a place in this family
I’d give my right arm
They ask for a meeting
Maybe third time’s a charm?

Then away we all go
In their green SUV
On the dash are signed papers
Declaring me free

My new house is perfect
And nothing is barred
Couch and bed are pet-friendly
There’s a big fenced back yard

I try hard to play Beta
I want this to last
And my drive to be Alpha
Has checkered my past

But my tomboy side beckons
And we wrestle and race
My teeth “slip” and cause damage
In a fast game of chase

It’s a big gaping wound
And it looks really bad
But my brother forgives me
He’s not even mad

He nurses it bravely
And tries to keep mum
But our folks see and scold me
My future looks glum

I’m so very sorry
And I cry half the night
Knowing just what will happen
As soon as it’s light

I dream of the cuffs
And the ride back to jail
But I wake and they hug me
While bro wags his tail

I thank God for my family
The kind we all need
Ones who love and accept us
Despite our misdeeds

And I adore every inch
From nose to tail-end
Of the world’s greatest brother
And my very best friend

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