Tag Archives: Poems

Video of the Week: Poetry Reading


Presented by the Academy of American Poets in November of 2021.

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 31 and Update


Today’s prompt is Goodbye, train.

train wreck 

low-speed train
fading in the distance
chugging off to points unknown
taking away my last opportunity for love

leaving me alone on the platform
staring at the vacant tracks

I thought that when he left I’d feel sadder

though my heart registers loss
it’s the loss of a dream
more than the loss of him

we had potential together
but he said I was holding him back
I guess we wanted different things
no, not exactly
I wanted to love him
and he already loved him(self)
no love left to send my way

maybe he will find what he’s looking for
what am I looking for
why am I standing here

our relationship was a train wreck


My intention for the month of October was to participate in two different challenges on alternating days: OctPoWriMo by writing a poem on odd-numbered days, and Octangling by drawing a zentangle design on the even-numbered days. I hoped I’d get 14 of each done.

I got mixed up and worked on the wrong challenge on some days, but I did manage to write 16 poems, and I drew 14 zentangle designs. I participated in one challenge or the other for 30 out of 31 days, probably my best October ever.

My most-liked poems this month were “Sonoran Desert, October” and “Retirement.” Have you read them yet?

The ones I liked the best were “It Was a Hospital Room,” “West Side Story,” and “disappointment and despair.”

And please, if you see anything you like on ARHtistic License, please click the “like” button. It makes my day.

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Eight


Today’s Writer’s Digest prompt is metaphor.


sometimes it goes smoothly and effortlessly and
you take it for granted

but it doesn’t always move in the direction you expect
sometimes you fall when you really need to get up

sometimes your progress comes to a halt multiple times
before you reach your desired destination

sometimes it gets stuck and there’s no way of escaping
all your best efforts have no effect

you think you’re in control
but you’re really not

life is an elevator


Assumption vs. Deduction


In response to The Daily Post prompt: assumption.

Empty bench aaron-burden-398673


I assumed you were right.
You were always right.
At least, I always trusted you were right.
I never thought to question.

After you left,
I deduced you were wrong.
Worse than that.
You lied.

I assumed you were my friend,
But I deduced I was only means to an end.
Once you got what you wanted,
You misted away like a mirage.


Three Poems


Here are some poems based on actual events:


Meeting my Mother-in-Law at the Supermarket

Turning into the cereal aisle
I catch my breath—
In front of me a familiar form seen from behind
The exact stature
Gray hair styled in a narrow flip
My heart pounds with joy—
It’s been so long since I’ve seen her

Then I remember why:
She’s been gone 38 years
A casualty of cancer

The woman turns
She looks nothing like Mom
My shoulders bow

My mother-in-law would be well over 100 years old
If she were still alive


Essence of Lemon

The tree the landscapers planted
already dangled little green lemons,
a tantalizing promise of sweet sour delight,
tempting us to pucker up.

Little by little, green warmed to a yellow glow,
whispering, come and eat,
you know you want to.

Finally, the green disappeared from the fruit’s cheeks,
and pluck them we did,
To slice them into our water glasses
and drink their exotic nectar.
What a treat!


Thar Be Spiders

“Here.” My mother handed me
a 16-ounce tumbler.
“Fill this with raspberries.”

I went outside to the raspberry patch
Behind the garage. I paused at the edge.
Thar be spiders.

But I knew what my mother would do
With the berries.
She’d mash them with sugar and serve them
Over vanilla ice cream.

So I braved the jungle of
Raspberry canes and plucked the fruit
between the thorns, using my elbow to
Bend back the encroaching vines.

Occasionally I felt the whisper of
A daddy-long-legger on my skin.

Poems ©ARHuelsenbeck




In response to the Daily Post Prompt:

Strategy—the human attempt to attain desirable ends through available means. (~nod to Max McKeown)

I will
Make you mine:chess-1215079_640

Diagnose the problem
Gain perspective
Formulate a plan of action
Utilize whatever ploy necessary
Consider the consequences
Implement my schematic
Proceed from the status quo
To the desired position

Make you mine I will.

poem ©ARHuelsenbeck

My Pain in a Black Disguise


In response to today’s Daily Post promptFaint.

My Pain in a Black Disguise

On my failed canvas I overpaint
This time allowing myself no preconceived expectations
Mindful only of each stroke of the brushblack square
And selecting only bright colors
Straight from the tube, no muting

The movement on the surface pleases me
Draws my eyes ‘round
Never lingering for long
Until I see it: the faint outline of the portrait
I’m trying to forget

I take my palette knife
And scrape off the layers
Intended to hide my pain
Pain is inevitable
I paint the whole thing black

© ARHuelsenbeck


More OctPoWriMo Poems

More OctPoWriMo Poems

October is Poetry Writing Month. I shared some of my OctPoWriMo poems a couple weeks ago. Here are some more.

Day 19’s prompt was fox or foxy:fox-317023_960_720

Encounter with the Fox

On a walk down our dirt road I spied a fox
I felt so honored to meet her
She swished her fluffy red tail
And pranced on her tiny little feet
I stepped toward her and she danced away for a measure
Then turned around to check on me
I stood still and held my breath, no threat to her
She ignored me and went about her business
Hiking off toward the trees

Day 21’s prompt was nothing remains the same; suggested form: abecedarian.

Rantings of a Geezer, in Alphabetical Order

Aging is for the birds.
Balance isn’t what it used to be. I’m afraid to climb a ladder.
Contemporary church service makes me long for the old traditional ones.
Doctor sees me more often than my children do.
Eyes see better than ever after my cataract surgery. Ha! Score one for old age.
Friends are dying one by one.
Graying, thinning hair.
House is falling apart faster than we can put it back together again.
I need ibuprofen to get through the day.
Jogging hurts my poor bones. Can’t do it anymore.
Knees hurt.
Laughing makes me pee.
Memory plays tricks on me. What day is it? What did I come in here for?
No one cares about my aches and pains.
Old, older, oldest.
Prunes keep me going.
Quick, answer the phone—you’re closer.
Retirement is a mixed blessing: I like my little pension, but I miss my colleagues.
Senior discounts! Now, that’s a good thing.
Television is a waste of time. These days there’s nothing to watch but junk.
Useless. I can’t do what I used to.
VPAP helps me breathe while I’m sleeping.
Who is that old woman who stares back at me from the mirror?
X-rays show arthritis.
Yearning for the good old days.
Zero—that’s how good I feel on a scale of one to ten.

Day 25’s prompt was taste of satisfaction:

A Writer’s Progression

























If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’m obsessed with the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters, the medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I’ve visited them there a few times, and they always take my breath away.

When I saw that the prompt for Day 29 was breathtakingI knew my poem had to involve a unicorn somehow. The form is a villanelle.

The Quest

For one objective was I born,
One purpose is my earthly goal:
To find the elusive unicorn.

I search for his majestic horn;
His horn is my magnetic pole;
For one objective was I born.

True to the oath that I have sworn,
Toward this I pour my heart and soul:
To find the elusive unicorn.

My search is futile, wise men warn,
While I perform my sacred role:
For one objective was I born.

And, so, I blow the hunter’s horn
To fill my destiny’s gaping hole:
To find the elusive unicorn.

My journey stirs up naysayers’ scorn,
Yet still, I search the hidden knoll.
For one objective was I born:
To find the elusive unicorn.

Poems © by ARHuelsenbeck

Did you write any poems in October? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Weekend Writing Warriors #77: The Taste of Toasted Marshmallows, Revisited

Weekend Writing Warriors #77: The Taste of Toasted Marshmallows, Revisited

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Today I’m reposting one of my OctPoWriMo poems. I wrote this in response to Day 3’s prompt: the taste of metal, which made me think of shish-kebobs, which of course made me think of toasting marshmallows. The form is cheritahanna-morris-278272

The part of the barbecue I like the best.

I select a skinny branch on the tree and snap it off.
I peel off the bark, and I sharpen one end of my stick to a point, rubbing it against the concrete back porch steps.

I stick a marshmallow on my homemade skewer, and hold it over the smoldering coals.
There is an art to this: too close, and it burns; too far away, and it takes forever.
Just right, and the sugary white blob turns brown, like deep suntan, the innards sweet melty goo.

Any suggestions on how I can make this poem better? Please comment below.

I may drop off Weekend Writing Warriors for a while. All my stories are in the midst of rewriting. The stories you haven’t seen yet are too raw for human eyes right now; they need to stew awhile.

It Could Be Verse

It Could Be Verse

Reading a good poem makes you stop a moment and savor the images and emotions you just experienced.

That’s what happens to me when I read from Good Poems for Hard Times, collected by Garrison Keillor. It’s my favorite poetry book. I refer to it often, and I reread it cover to cover every few years. The Minnesota author who spellbinds us with his tales from the fictitious Lake Wobegon is a genius when it comes to selecting poems.

Good Poems

Divided into categories such as “Kindness to Snails,” “Deliberate Obfuscation,” and “Here It Comes,” the poems resonate with me. For example, here is the beginning of “Ordinary Life” by Barbara Crooker:

This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the square of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch’s little scraps…

That poem launches memories of my own days as a stay-at-home mom of five. Or how about this one:

The Yak

Hilaire Belloc

 As a friend to the children
commend me the Yak.
You will find it exactly the thing:
It will carry and fetch,
you can ride on its back,
Or lead it about
with a string.
The Tartar who dwells on the plains of Thibet
(A desolate region of snow)
Has for centuries made it a nursery pet,
And surely the Tartar should know!
Then tell your papa where the Yak can be got
And if he is awfully rich
He will buy you the creature—
or else
he will not.
(I cannot be positive which.)

The combination of the rhyming, the meter, the indentations in the original (WordPress will not allow me to duplicate the formatting), and the absurdity delights me.

Drawn from works ancient and modern, serious and comic, this anthology includes poets well-known and obscure. I love the mini-bios of the writers in the back of the book, each ending with a quote:

Wallace STEVENS (1879-1955, Reading, PA) was a Harvard man, a lawyer and vice president for 20 years of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. He wrote poems on his way to and from the office, based on ideas he usually came up with on his long walks. [Note from Andrea: I get ideas for poems on walks, too!] The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens was published in 1954 to mark his 75th birthday, and he died the following year, the same year he won a Pulitzer. “It gives a man character as a poet to have this daily contact with a job.”

Who is your favorite poet? Why? What is your favorite book of poetry? Why do you like it? Share in the comments below.