NaPoWriMo Prompt Seventeen

Day Seventeen On April 17, 2022

“…here’s our daily (optional) prompt. This is a fun one – it’s a prompt developed by the comic artist Lynda Barry, and it asks you to think about dogs you have known, seen, or heard about, and then use them as a springboard into wherever they take you.”


Well, I’m mostly a cat person, so…but there is one dog, lives next door. Still a puppy, but the voice is well-developed by now.

No Life for a Sled Dog

Mornings, early, he’s let out

into the yard near my kitchen window.

Not much to amuse him: a water bowl, bricks,

planters filled with dirt to scratch in.


He whines. And whines. Then breaks into a howl:

the kind of sound you hear out in the woods

when there’s wolves about. He holds a note

like an opera star: high-pitched and sorrowful.


Dog’s too big, too full of energy for a townhome.

He ought to be out running, not tied up in a sparse

yard. Not held on a short leash when it’s walk time.

I feel sad to hear him sing his dog song.


Evenings, he accompanies the piano I can hear

through the living room wall. Sometimes the sound

rises to the bedroom, but faint, and I wonder what

the words might be if he had words to sing.

Carol A. Stephen

April 17, 2022

NaPoWriMo Prompt 15


…”Finally, here’s our daily (optional) prompt. This one may seem counter-intuitive, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in. This isn’t quite the same, I think, as something you’re indifferent to. For example, I have absolutely no interest in investment strategy. Anytime anyone tries to tell me about it, I want to put my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalalala.” My brain tries to shut down! This is honestly kind of funny, and I think this prompt has value precisely because it invites you to investigate some of the “why” behind resolutely not giving two hoots about something.”

So, for this prompt, I did have a couple of things that make my mind go blank, but they never really made me write a poem about them…

My Mind Goes Blank

at the mere mention of numbers

that can’t be divided equally, long numbers

the kind you can’t play with in your head.


I know how to do the math; just don’t want to,

that is what calculators are for, and mental

calisthenics just hurt my grey matter.


Same for physics. No need to go on about

quantum this or theoretical that. Let the experts

twist their theories into ordinary English.


Even then. My brain just says, no thanks,

none of that needed or wanted on the voyage.

Even the words lie flat, splat on the page.


My mind just goes blank.

Carol A. Stephen

April 23, 2022

April 2022 Poem 14

Catching up has been more challenging than I expected, with conflicting demands on my time, and recovering from the arm surgery. So, rather than stress and fret to match the daily prompts, I am going to use the occasional poem if I write one, outside that constraint.

Last night at a reading, someone mentioned thinking poetry was something written by dead white men. I sometimes have a quirky sense of humour, and it struck me that writing while, or after, you are dead, might be a rather unattainable goal. I mean, you’re dead, right? That led to this:

Dead Men Don’t Write

poems, or anything else, I suppose—

not about clouds, nor daffodils, nor

the slick silver fish that takes the bait

and flips off the hook, then flips his tail

and disappears below the river’s surface.


Dead men don’t write stories, though

there may be tales to tell about them,

rough and tumble tales, oh-my-gosh

that can’t be true stories, and ones

that go bump in the night.


Dead men don’t write memoirs,

yet their lives may have been filled

with adventure, fortune, perhaps fame.

Most just lie there, dead in their little plot,

the earth a dark cover above their last rest.


Dead men have lost any inclination,

any ability to hold a pen or tap a key.

Their stories have all unfolded, then

folded up again, a soft shroud around

their molder, there in the ground.

Carol A. Stephen

April 22, 2022

April Thirteenth

Day Thirteen On April 13, 2022

“And now for our (optional) prompt! Today, in honor of the potential luckiness of the number 13, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like the example poem here, joyfully states that “Everything is Going to Be Amazing.” Sometimes, good fortune can seem impossibly distant, but even if you can’t drum up the enthusiasm to write yourself a riotous pep-talk, perhaps you can muse on the possibility of good things coming down the track. As they say, “the sun will come up tomorrow,” and if nothing else, this world offers us the persistent possibility of surprise.”

April Thirteenth

Gonna be my lucky day every single

year. My birthday. How else could a birthday be?

Well, it could be raining. Those April showers, ya know.

Could be snow. Ottawa, after all. Or it could be just plain

beautiful. Was hoping to go for dinner, after all this time

pandemicked and isolated, Zooming everywhere, going

nowhere. Didn’t happen. Still, the thought of those fajitas…

well mouth watered anyway. So I look on the bright side—

I could be dead. Makes slightly under the weather look okay!

Healthy, even!  I could run a marathon!  Oh. Maybe not that,

but I could watch a marathon of tv shows, binge Netflix,

chow down on choco and corn puffs, live it up, girl!

But next week, fajitas for sure!

Carol A. Stephen

April 13, 2022