Day Eight – Alter ego

(poem for my alter ego)

I think you are an inanimate thing
hanging on a wall.
Not that tall flowering Yucca plant.
Not the waves rolling in
there on the beach,
but the hint of them.
And in the background the cliff
or maybe the hint of the cloud
drifting overhead.
the gentle days
when lying sunning on the beach
far from the city.

The one moment the painter
ceased painting this picture;
or one of his many immediate scenes,
and made love.
The day you were everywhere for him
and not in his head.

Benita H. Kape (c) 11.4.2022

Prompt Notes: Darned hard to get going on this. Then I chose to be as abstract as I could be.

“And last but not least, here is our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt comes to us from this list of “all-time favorite writing prompts.” It asks you to name your alter-ego, and then describe him/her in detail. Then write in your alter-ego’s voice. Maybe your alter-ego is a streetwise detective, or a superhero, or a very small goldfinch. Whoever or whatever your alternate self may be, I hope this prompt lets you stretch both your writing skills and your self-knowledge. “


Across the Mountain – NaPoWriMo – Day One – 2022 (Story about the Body)

Across the Mountains

We are to be on the early flight I called after answering a late in the day call. You managed that; even rumbled up to the nurses station in a hospital right across the country. No one expected you upright, on your feet. Two days later that mountain began erupting. But I couldn’t say if it was the same day they operated on you. Smoke and haze drifted as far as that city and beyond. Your wound weeping. You thought the attention was on you. Well it was and it wasn’t; but a fair amount of it was and then we flew back home, on the far side of the mountain. The mountain smoked itself out and settled down. The wound healed. But what else did it premise. Never fully explained. We adjusted our bodies as lovers do when both had been lusty and able and then both remain lusty but one is not quite so able. They have one on one workshops for this sort of thing. In the workshops we laughed a little; alone we cried a little. You got used to the wheelchair. I got used to the wheelchair until one day the wheelchair was no long here and neither were you. The mountain is in the news again; rumoured to erupt. I’ll never be as close to that mountain as I was on the flight home. I still wonder how you walked up to the nurses station that day.

Benita H. Kape (c) 2.4.2022

“And last but not least, our optional prompt! I got this one from a workshop I did last year with Beatrix Gates, and I’ve found it really helpful. The prompt is based on Robert Hass’s remarkable prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.”


Basket – Emily – Early Bird 31.3.2022

holds – just – firmaments ….

Because at the moment, too many
Rainy day for me, and yet more rain.

Some said it went on for twenty days:
Others said only twelve.
Well t’was day two began the flooding,

Bridges washed away. Forty seven
Roads closed. The heavens just
Wept and wept and wept some more.

Sometimes heavy, sometimes slow
But it went on. The basket we call
Earth slipped and slid and lake upon

Lake – we felt no justice. Until finally
In April the rain eased. Though it was
A weak – entrance – the sun made.

Emily, such heavy baskets we produced.
It’s not by God, but human – climate change.
& I – being human – as guilty as the rest.

Benita H. Kape (c) 1.4.2022

I think this poem is too pragmatic for Emily. But with the line I chose: first line of a second stanza poem number 352 this is just what came to me. Wrote it for Early Bird the 31st March but only now got to post.

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Early Bird

Dickinson is known for her elliptical style, unusual word choices, and mordant sense of humor. Over the past year, I’ve experimented with writing poems based on, or responding to, various lines from her poems. Today, I’d like to challenge you to do the same! Here are a few lines of Dickinson’s that might appeal to you (the slashes indicate line breaks):

“Forever might be short”
“The absence of the Witch does not / Invalidate the spell”
“If to be ‘Elder’ – mean most pain – / I’m old enough, today”
“The second half of joy / Is shorter than the first”
“To be a Flower, is profound / Responsibility –
And if none of those inspire you, you can find many of her poems here.

I took the line “My basket holds – just – firmament – “


Crepe-Paper Dress

Crepe-paper Dress

There they bend;
crepe-paper spread
out across the kitchen
couch. My mother
and my brother
are struggling to make
a special dress for my
first fancy dress ball.

It didn’t go well. But
I never forgot their
endeavours. And
I love them for that.

Benita H. Kape (c) 22.3.2022

De Jackson is taking us through today’s PAPER quadrille (44 word poem.) To say I had a complex relationship with my eldest brother is an understatement. But I cherish this memory of my mother and my brother, neither of whom were creative in such matters. Both have passed away now. Bless them.


To Two Different Hats at a Christening

In the very top shelf of the wardrobe

I have several iconic handbags

from the seventies;

a soft lemon; a tan leather; embossed.

But have I a hat? I don’t know

if I kept a single one

from the days when hats were

the ‘in” thing. Though for nostalgia

and hoarding of memorabilia

I almost wish I had.


Looking back even further

Yep, year ‘fifty five’

a photograph with the in-laws.

Nan holds her cherished grand-daughter;

a child christening photo-op.

My dress has a seeping stain.

Need I tell you it was near (whisper)

her feeding time.


Oh, the hats.

Something like an upside down fruit

bowl with a wide sloping brim

makes Nan’s face look sterner

than stern. (Which she bloody well was.)

And being almost a recluse, it was most unusual

to have her accompany us that day.

Perhaps she felt a little less

revealed under that stern brim.


Yes, I too wore a hat;

a little shaped black; clapped close

over mid-skull and held in place

with a pearl tipped hat pin; minimal

for a hat even in those times.

Obviously I want

to show my curls,

so unusual for me.

(Like leaking milk, the curls;

another of the temporary changes

during child bearing years.)

But really I’m not a hat person.

Nan, I think, was.

I have few stories about hats.

But I’m about to raid the top wardrobe shelf

and check if I actually did keep the burgundy

robin hood with it’s small feather.


And talking of feathers,

I have a small fascinator

that I seek out from time to time.

I can hear Nan scoffing at that.

Benita H. Kape (c) 16.3.2022

A conversation about hats tonight. Thanks Mish. I got a little carried away when I started out thinking I could go nowhere with this. But that’s poetry. Meant to surprise us even as we write.


Hard Truth

I cannot sleep
but thoughts
of you nibble
into my soul.
Every night
you are there
in my dreams.

Where shall
we go tonight
my love? Another
flight of pure fancy.

Yet again I wake
to the hard truth;
you are no longer

Benita H. Kape (c) 8.2.2022

Tonight for d/Verse We are given the word nibble to make a quadrille: a 44 word poem.


Child in Chair Gazing

Today in d/Verse a poem of our own choice. This poem originally appeared in ‘a fine line’ New Zealand Poetry Society’s bi-monthly journal. The little girl is my great-granddaughter. I’ll let the poem tell the story. She still looks at me like this. To me an old soul been here before. I adore her.

for Riria

It’s not just your red shoes
with their black soles,
your pretty tulle skirt,
gold embossed stars;
your little white top
with airy cap sleeves
so suitable for a warm
Christmas Day. Reindeer
head and antlers, sequinned
in red. Or your white,wide-
brimmed hat, (how come,
that at two years, you didn’t
throw it away) a halo surrounding
your dark curls, brown eyes.

It might be your serious
contemplative, kaumatua like gaze,
that fixes in our minds
the child’s wicker chair;
an antique sitting in Uncle’s house.
No great exertion to climb into
and there sitting so still, no smile,
hardly aware of us all. Even when
the other children ran in
and out of the room you’d
found your exact spot, you
didn’t nod off, nor did you
alter your gaze for such
a long time for one so young.

Sitting minus cushions
never bothered you, nor
did it call for adjustments
once you’d settled there;
Christmas Day portrait
of child in a chair.

© Benita H. Kape December, 2017/January 10? 2018


Directions – Day 30

Journey: The Part I Love

Move across the kitchen to the back door.
Ooops, the cat under my feet.
She’d open the door if she could.
She has this habit of when it comes
time she wishes to go outdoors
she doesn’t actually scratch, she
paws at the door in a little knock,
knock sound. (I know, she’s clever.)

Now she is nosing at the security door.
How many times a day do I open it
just for her? But a Kitty Latch Door!
No, we have strays who have seen what
a good wicket this little cat is on.

Down a couple of steps, cat not sure and tries
to herd me in the opposite direction.
Round the side of the house we go:
walk the metaled metres down the path.
Past hibiscus, roses and Japanese anemones.
All I see of cat is a tail among the day lilies.

Past the orange tree, then the lemon tree
and then push aside the jasmine I’ve
been meaning to cut back: how can the
post-person even see our lovely ceramic
street number screwed on the post under
the box? But he seems to. (Been known
to put mail in that’s not for me. I re-direct.)

I lift the tight closed flap of the letter box.
Today’s mail in hand I stop to smell the roses;
wave to my neighbour out for a stroll. Mail
deliveries cut back to three times a week.
(That was gonna happen Covid or no.)

And this is the part I love; when cat comes
galloping around the corner, comes
to an abrupt halt —
and waits for me to take the steps.
Holding back the security door
I turn to her saying, “Coming?”
And just like that we are back in
our warm kitchen.

Benita H. Kape (c) 30.4.2021

Note: I couldn’t seem to get started on this prompt and really contemplated doing a haiku or tanka. They weren’t working for me.

Notes: “And now for our final (still optional!) prompt. Today’s prompt is based on a prompt written by Jacqueline Saphra, and featured in this group of prompts published back in 2015 by The Poetry Society of the U.K. This prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like. “


Window (2) – Day 29

Window 2 poem Day 29 NaPoWriMo 2021

Space; Breaking a Ceiling
to: Mother

Neighbour stands near the window, bent
over, absorbed in what she is doing. I used
to watch the two of them. Now there is
only her; and the grandson who comes
in at odd times to replenish her empty
woodbox. He lives next door.

Set close to the window, she checks
her new acquistion: the arm, the needle
of a second-hand gramaphone. Almost
child like listening to musicals, opera,
orchestrations. Innocent smiles, as she
masters this beast; this beast.

And it will be a beast to her. Where
once a devoted DIY husband took
charge. (Not today. But she’ll be thinking
of him. It hits her, this new adaption
to her own space.) While he might have
found a reason not to play, or indeed, not
have his wife play her new acquisition.
Not that he wasn’t a kind man.

I say “Make the most of it.” Yow, such
quality of sound issuing forth, is not quality
at all. But to the leaves of the hedge,
again I say “Make the most of it.”

There she is, eyes shut working her way
through a little guilt! Out of her comfort
zone! Back and forth. Back and forth.
I hope not. But that’s her nature.
Will this be as far as it goes
with any new steps in her widowhood?
Even to walk up the road is a challenge for her.

Then grandson arrives to set up that woodbox.
How hastily she moves to lift the gramophone’s
arm; knocks over her pile of records spoiling
her moments of joy.

Before I return to my gardening I see the lad’s
made his Nan a cup of tea. Not the best
way to distract her attention. I must
have a word with him.

Benita H. Kape (c) 30.4.2021

Notes: Notes: “And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?”

Second poem on the same Day 29 prompt.


Window – Day 29 NaPoWriMo 2021

(WARNING: adult material, no swearing but reveals a distressing scene – see note at bottom)

Stretch Marks

Easy man, to step up onto that veranda.
Saw that sash window pushed up. Such a
stinking hot night. Someone wanting some air;
or maybe forgot to close it. Such a stinking
hot night. Not much dew on a night like this.
Don’t usually come this close to the inner
suburbs. Main road, is my route out of town.

Most yards have a fence; always
one or two that don’t. A low garden verge,
and then quick jump over that lawn and up
on that veranda like I was dancin’. Curtains
is drawn, though this, the only room with
the lights on. And again I see a flicker
of a shadow other side of those curtains.
Curtains I’m so close to now. And edge
a curtain corner back. I see a man fast
asleep on the far side of a bed. She; the
shadow I saw as I came ‘cross the lawn;
is stepping close to the dresser, her back
toward me, naked as the day she were
born. I could touch her, even as she turns
and I see stretch marks on her belly. Hot
nights do strange things to people.
Lookin’ at herself wearin’ nothin’
but a smile.

She’s turning now; my way. She’s seen
my hand and she screams. I’m gone from
there, over the lawn, the garden even;
almost before that front door opens.
I’m back on the main road by the time
the cops and their dog sniffed me out.

Benita H. Kape (c) 29.4.2021

Notes: “And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?”


I was crying by the time I finished writing this poem. I hesitated about bring it to the web. But poetry is about taking risks. And I took the risk.

Photo by Masha Raymers on