NaPoWriMo Day 2020 – Day 23: Why

For Day 23 of NaPoWriMo 2020, the challenge is to write a poem about a particular letter of the alphabet, or perhaps, the letters that form a short word. Y(Why) comes to mind.
He rests
in the shadows
of the night
his hands
like a “Y”, raised
in the exasperation
of not knowing.
Why does day
follow night?
Why is the quiet
of first light ripped
to shreds by the
blinding light
of the noon day sun?
Why does pain persist?
Is it the messenger
of healing or its foe
which we feel as
it is driven off?

NaPoWriMo 2020 – Day 22: Distanced

Day Twenty-Two, for which the prompt is to find an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture, and use it as the jumping-off point for your poem. Something about the Kazakh idiom Сенің арқаңда күн көріп жүрмін (I see the sun on your back) which means “Thank you for being you. I am alive because of your help” seemed particularly apt for the times in which we live. Sourced from this list on the TED Blog.

When we –
like two stars
whose arcs just escape
the gentle tug of gravity –
nod as the path squeezes
the distance between us,
I see the sun on your back,
and remember to be grateful
for the things that distance preserves.

NaPoWriMo 2020 – Day 21: Mistranslated

The Day 21 prompt is to find a poem in a language that you don’t know and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. I’ve chosen the first stanza of Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali’s Umalasi Nomhlambi Wakhe (The Shepherd and His Flock). Doesn’t  make sense but.. *insert shrug* 


I miss being yellow with anger
if Anna never sends chillies. I am callow,
seasick with a broken mala.
My scent attacked Ursa; I see from back here.

Imisebe yelanga
ifana nembaxambili yesikelo
sisika isibhalala
sentathakusa esibhakabhakeni.

NaPoWriMo 2020 – Day 19 – Found Things

Today’s prompt is to write a poem based on collected things which reminded me of a picture I took a few weeks ago in the middle of packing up my house ahead of a move abroad which is now on hold thanks to the CV-19 induced shutdown.

I am finding
lost joy in found things,
each object saved
from the detritus
of a past life,
a reminder to remember,
to imagine again
past seasons of loving
and of losing. Of losing
oneself in the delight
of being, and feeling.
Each page revisited
is a present from the past
to the present, a tribute
to the loves that
once lived here.

NaPoWriMo 2020 – Day 18: The Joy In Small Sips

For Day 18 of NaPoWriMo this year, the prompt is to write an ode to life’s small pleasures. My first cup of coffee of the day is one of those for me. Loosely inspired by what is becoming one of my favourite poems, Wendell Berry’s The Peace of Wild Things.

When the darkness of night lifts
and I awake to the dreariness
of existing in this place,
forgetting where Yesterday ends
and Today begins to slip into Tomorrow,
I reach for this worn mug,
its stained sides and chipped edges
reassuring in their durability.
At first light I lose myself
to the muscle memory of returning
and find joy in small sips.

NaPoWriMo 2020 – Day 17: A Farewell for My Walkman

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to move backwards in time away.. to write a poem that features forgotten technology. For me, it was my first Walkman.

Farewell, Walkman
protector of my ears
and overcomer of my fears
with soothing sounds.
Farewell, Walkman
the opener of my eyes
to worlds unknown,
translator of songs,
from thin tape
to all engulfing sound.
You may have gone
the way of all
frail things
but you live on
in the soundtracks
of my life.