NaPoWriMo: The Home Stretch!

If I can write two more poems before midnight tomorrow, I will have completed my first successful NaPoWriMo.

In an ideal world where there is always enough time for writing, my fiction would not have had to take such a blow so I could write poetry this month. But the truth is, I haven’t worked on Rapunzel or Rumpled a bit. This would have bothered me more in the past than it does now. After all, I consider my fiction to be my “serious” writing, the writing I hope to actually do something with. But I think there’s something valuable to be learned in immersing yourself in an unfamiliar form, and hopefully that will benefit my other writing. Writing poetry has been strangely freeing simply because I take myself less seriously as a poet; I don’t plan to publish poetry, and so I am able to write it for the sake of writing it. It also helps stretch my creative mind to remember that there are many ways to capture an experience or to tell a story, and I hope focusing on poetry for a month will help me remember that it’s there if I need it in the future.

With all that said, I find that NaPoWriMo gets more difficult as the month goes on, as though I have a finite number of poems within me, and at the end I’m starting to dry up. This is probably why I’ve abandoned NaPoWriMo about halfway through the month every other time I’ve tried it. So today, I’m going to share two of my poems about how difficult it’s been to keep writing poems!

Poem #26 – Dried Up

I hesitate to go to the river tonight,
fearing it’s all dried up
like the brown grass last spring,
died early in the South Dakota sun
and we didn’t have to mow the lawn
all summer.

Perhaps prayers, long walks, feminism,
Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson
can get the water to flow.
Night falls quickly as I
wait for those first drops,
crunching too many coffee beans
and trying not to look at the dishes.


Words flow more freely from my husband’s mouth
when he is talking in his sleep
than when I pick up my pen.
He says, “Think of it like a stream,
all these words, and you’re
looking at it from above—and then,
from the side.”

I mumble, yes, yes, yes,
only longing for his silence
so I may sink back into sleep.
Now, I wait for him to come home,
hoping he remembers the way
to that incoherent stream,
all those letters rattling by
like bones.

For poem #27, I experimented with the poetic form of the triolet for the first time. It’s a poem consisting of eight lines, all of 10 syllables, with a very specific rhyme scheme. I do like the discipline that writing within a form can provide.

Poem # 27 – More Than Poetry Do I Love Sleep (Triolet)

Far more than poetry do I love sleep.
I find my blankets much warmer than words.
So this is a promise too hard to keep,
far more than poetry do I love sleep.
I silence the alarm’s insistent beep.
I am unimpressed by the songs of birds.
For more than poetry do I love sleep.
I find my blankets much warmer than words.