Magical Beasts – NaPoWriMo 2017, day 24 – ekphrasis poem based on marginalia

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Rutland Psalter, c. 1260. (British Library Royal MS


Magical Beasts – La Monde Reverse


Should you choose to convey many things,

all at the one time, give a creature, three heads:

a creature which is about to discard his blue

velvet pantsuit; a three-headed dragon and

his wacky companion marshaled to the marginalia

of a holy book. Monty Python genius sashays to mind.

Yes, he’s crazed by his options, his three faces displaying

three different emotions. (Definitely, scenes for John Cleese.)


How fierce can one be when you are a unicorn

emerging from an exceedingly curly snail tail?

This, even a bewildered Michael Palin, could not

achieve. Or was this abhorrent creature displaying

his anger, perhaps because he’s at the bottom of the page?

(Now that assuredly a Palin position.) Elsewhere,

in the marginalia, a surreal Graham Chapman. This team

queered our world and the full La Monde Reverse

of the medieval worlds was never beyond them. It’s

a cartoon world we can but guess at. It would take

a lifetime to unravel but let us look on.


A bespoke hare uses a man cum snail as his stead;

he carries a spear and a shield And balancing

on the vine a few feet in front of him, another

hare, a startled hare, startled because he carries

a monkey on his shoulder: a burden for any

startled hare. Did he not know the monkey was there?

Does he object because the monkey too has a spear

and a shield, about to take down the untroubled hare

from his vine balancing unbalanced snail?


Another vine sweeps over a forger and his forge,

a sweet cathedral to his humble labours. I imagine

he is used to his flimsy skirt, not fashioned to soak

up the sweat which trickles down his bare leg

dampening his pixie footwear while in the garden

his sister Nun plucks penises from the phallus tree.


I leave you with these two knights

swords drippings blood, each holding

their grotesque, blood drained heads,

in their hands. And the vine on which

they balance twitters profanely on and on;

in rich marginalia; strange playfulness

everywhere. If you’ve watched Monty

Python, this is where it came from.

Benita H. Kape © 24.4.2017

Blue pant suit

Blue Pantsuit

Magical beasts in the Rutland Psalter, c. 1260. (British Library Royal MS

. Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!


Harmonies – NaPoWriMo 2017, day twenty three – prompt: elevenies (double)

Harmonies – double elevenies (poem)



Main trajectory

Awesome scenic landscapes

Winged miles flash by




Tree lined

Beside the river

A place to busk


Benita H. Kape © 23.4.2017


And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above.

A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all. It might be fun to try to write your double elevenie based on two nouns that are opposites, like sun and moon, or mountain and sea.



The Leasing of The Top Paddock – NaPoWriMo 2017, day twenty two – prompt: georgic poem

The Leasing of The Top Paddock


There was always the kitchen garden.

but there was more than that;

Father leased the paddock,

that later we learned was never

in the full, small farm title. I remember

the farmer, from whom he supposedly,

purchased it, a man whose greater acres

and investments put him in good position.

He was kindly, never showed resentment

at the few extra shillings my father

managed to earn.


Not leasing the land he fairly owned,

Father ploughed it, and set his children

to planting and weeding and harvesting.

He rotated his crops and sold them

to small local outlets.


One year we picked and bagged peas,

the next potatoes, and then

there were onions. For many years

Father kept those georgic furrows tilled.


When he’d begun it was for cows

and the milking; the rich cream

collected for the butter factory.

And the side products, little piglets

who slobbered the full troughs of fresh

raw milk and the toss-outs. Whose

organic hocks were, by Father, made

into home-smoked bacon when later

slaughtered. It was all georgic,

all organic. Guinea pigs, as pets

came to the milking sheds, squeaking

and irritating the herd. They, sad little

creatures, died out in their own directions.

They just slowly disappeared.


There was a kitchen garden.

There was a leased paddock,

There were crops.


Now there’s a big storage shed

and yards. The small holding

merged back to the kindly farmer’s

descendants; their huge acres given

over to wheat. We complain

at genetic engineering. I think

the kindly farmer might also

have had concerns. That never

happened when Father leased

out his paddock. It was all georgic.

It was organic back then.

Benita H. Kape © 22.4.2017

Last but not least, here is our prompt for the day (optional, as always). In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge you to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.


Not Faces But Toes – NaPoWriMo 2017, day twenty one – prompt: overheard speech


Not Faces But Toes


It is what I would call

new country; these pictures

on my wall. We have no little faces.

Here we have tiny toes imprinted.

We have the full infant foot

for Angus at three months.

But for his big sister;

soon to reach her third year,

she gives us the upper pad

of the mid-foot. And, there’s

the quirk, genetic history;

unusually long toes which

tells me as many stories

as their infant faces might.

All puns intended; each with

a strong foothold. But it is very

different to have photographs

of toes.


It’s what I would call new county.


Benita H. Kape © 21.4.2017

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates overheard speech. It could be something you’ve heard on the radio, or a phrase you remember from your childhood, even something you overheard a coworker say in the break room! Use the overheard speech as a springboard from which to launch your poem. Your poem could comment directly on the overheard phrase or simply use it as illustration or tone-setting material.


Some Unusual Rules – NaPoWriMo, 2017 – day twenty – prompt: using the language of a sport or a game

Some Unusual Rules


Ahead of us a month of handicaps.

There was my two-stroke poem for love.

You played the greens,

I played the bunkers.

Fortunate, to not only

practice but also experiment.


I found things were going well

until I reached the water hazards.

Oh, the stick and ball of poetry’s game.

How we see the words and charisma

rolling out along poetry’s fairways.


We’ve some unusual rules;

we play thirty-one holes.

The rules of poetry, or golf,

give us plenty of time

in the ubiquitous ninetieth.


We birdy, we bogey, we eagle;

a provisional shot. I checked my line:

my line of play. If you cheat here

it’s only yourself you cheat. Beyond

the ropes, our come and go audience.

A good lie/a bad lie, or the sand pit,

the grit that flies from the pen. There’s

dropped poems and loose impediments

until a full month of poetry comes to an end.

But does it ever end for a golfer?

Does it ever end for a poet?


Keep your poetry buggy handy

and practice. Nice; but seldom

a poem in one.

Benita H. Kape © 20.4.2017


prompt for the day. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. Your poem could invoke chess or baseball, hopscotch or canasta, Monopoly or jai alai. The choice is yours!


In Such Circumstances – NaPoWriMo 2017, day nineteen – prompt: myth


In Such Circumstances


The myth of her childhood;

for she thought of herself

as an only child. With

her foster father she lived

in a small Scottish Croft.

There was the sad loss

of her foster mother

when she was only six.


Then later, he remarried; step-sisters

with whom my mother never

was close. In time she moved

(or was moved) on, leaving behind

those happy times with a man who

had been left bereft.  But did she

know who she truly was?


It took years to unravel. It took

genealogy to uncover the mysteries

and the myths. Who was this woman,

her birth mother? Did my Mother know

she had emigrated to Boston? That was

not the first mystery solved. Though,

the eldest, my mother was one of many

born to this woman: and she carried

the same name at the time of her birth.


Many, were the women, who

emigrated to the colonies; and

who left behind them the myths

and the mysteries surrounding

their families.


We found the photographs of the man

who married the sweet-faced woman

I might have called Grandma, had

we ever been told;  that man who

took them to Boston. I look at the photos

of a kind foster father, and then at the

other man. And, to use a catch phrase,

I think my mother got the best end

of the deal. Though it is no myth, life

was difficult back then. I would be

given to myths in such circumstances.


Benita H. Kape © 19.4.2017

The prompt was to have been a creation myth. Would still like to do one. My interpretation of myth is a little stretched in the above poem.



My mother’s mother. Her passport photo




Horse Talk – NaPoWriMo 2017, Day eighteen – prompt: neoglogism/s

Horses out H.B. Memorial Lib. July 2014

Alert Ponies outside the city library. Ears raised like this indicate their alertness.

Horse Talk,


The voice raises and lowers;

depends on you

if you are attempting

to sound like a horse.


Hyyyrrrmmm, the sound

of a horse.  Therefore,

this is becoming a hymn

to a horse.


Hyyyrrrmmm! I am here

and I am happy to see you;

his head raised. Can you

read the language of ponies?


All horse snorts, sighs, and grunts

meanings to both horse and human.


But of course, they communicate

in many ways useful to such beautiful

creatures; hyyyrrrmmm.


They exude boredom by showing

one ear pointing forward and

the other pointing back.


All horse snorts, sighs, and grunts

meanings to both horse and human.


Watch those ears if they are stiff

and pointing forward. This indicates

your pony is alert. Not, in these moments,

his singsingsing hyyyrrrmmm.


All horse snorts, sighs, and grunts

meanngs to both horse and human.


Now, should his ears lie flat to his skull,

he is transmitting his profound displeasure.


Hyyyrrrmmm; his very best horse voice,

his stylish means of report. I am here,

I am a horse and I’m happy to see you.



Benita H. Kape © 18.4.2017

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word!