How to Write a Poem in 2021 by Carol A. Stephen (HOW TO Series)

My poem appearing on Silver Birch Press on my birthday! What’s better than that! Carol

Silver Birch Press

writing-2005How to Write a Poem in 2021
by Carol A. Stephen

Ten a.m. Sit at your desk, assemble writing tools.
Start computer. Don’t write yet. First,
check fourteen emails and five unrelated subject links.

Time for coffee, tea if you prefer.
Sit at your desk. Play two computer games.
Make it three. Oh, just one more for luck.

Search computer for a prompt. Send an email
telling your friend how you have writer’s block.
Bathroom break. Sit at your desk.

Make a list of words to include in a poem.
Ten words. Strike out five. Add another ten.
Lunch break.

Sit at your desk. Read through other poets’ poems
for inspiration. Gaze out the window, check the weather.
Write a line.

Aha! We’re getting somewhere! But— it’s now 5 p.m.
Spend 15 minutes writing. Sign your poem.
Done for today.

PAINTING: Writing by Zhang Xiaogang (2005).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

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Visit to a Small Hospital in the Time of COVID-19 by Carol A. Stephen (PRIME MOVERS Series)

A poem to honour the staff of our local Emergency department, who put themselves at risk on a daily basis during this pandemic. The nurse’s name is not her real name, to protect her privacy. But she is very real, warm, friendly, caring- all the things you might need when you are high-risk and in harm’s way. Thank you to the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital, for always being there. Carol A. Stephen

Silver Birch Press

castaldostudio licensedstephen textPhoto by Castaldo Studio, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have advanced kidney disease, which also causes anemia. I have to monitor my hemoglobin on a regular basis. Last year, an internal bleed sent me to the hospital for almost two months. When I learned two weeks ago that my hemoglobin had dropped very low again, I immediately thought “Here we go again!” But the idea of going anywhere near a hospital right now was frightening too. Usually, they want a referral at the hospital, but this time, thanks to the wonderful nurse who took my urgent call, I was taken right away.  I spent about eight hours there altogether, but it would have been much longer in normal times. The wait is not usually five minutes; it is usually several hours. I cannot thank the staff at the hospital enough for their care, their professionalism, and for…

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A Wander in Roma by Carol A. Stephen (LANDMARKS Series)

My poem at Silver Birch Press today

Silver Birch Press

licensed nerifyA Wander in Roma
by Carol A. Stephen

These soles have sweltered in unforgiving sandals as we wandered
streets of an August Rome, stood outside the Colosseum, paced
patterns on Capitoline Hill, then thankful to ride the street car
from Piazza Venezia to the Spanish Steps. Happy too, for
running shoes from Seoul in a Roman shop, that cushioned bunions
as they complained with every step on St. Peter’s marble floors.

PHOTO: The Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy, by Neirfy, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, climb a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti Church at the top. Designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi, the stairway of 135 steps was built in 1723–1725 . (Source: Wikipedia)

Colosseum Rome EditNOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My late husband was a refugee from…

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In a Time of Hidden Faces by Carol A. Stephen (WEARING A MASK Series)

My poem for the Wearing a Mask series on Silver Birch Press.

Silver Birch Press

StephenIn a Time of Hidden Faces
by Carol A. Stephen

This face, my mask of age, slips south
into my neck, wrinkles drawn down by time
and gravity into folds, creases, wattle.
Still, when youth shines forth in my smile, wrinkles
tighten. Years slip away. Or they did—

Now, a different mask, a swath of black cloth
covers dimples, highlights the slight droop
of lower eyelid under my glasses.

Over my shoulder, masks of the past
stare blank-eyed from the wall, and I remember
those days in Venice, that long-ago night in Rome,
the sweetness of a kiss by the Trevi fountain.

Those kissed lips hide now under my new mask, worn
for your safety. I cannot offer you a grin, but
I offer the people of my world my respect,
expressed by this black band across my face.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As we all consider social distancing, and…

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