Day Seven – Turn a Proverb around!

Spare Us Your Elaborations

That guy who wrote about a Grecian Urn
never required a thousand words to get
a good story across. And think how many
poets were inspired, with few words,
to write on a lad falling from the sky
in a Bruegel masterpiece.

And U.A. Fanthorpe emerged with
a fine anylsis of the deformed neck
and hooves of a horse in full less
than half those thousand words.
She took only one stanza to declare
Knights out of fashion and rave
on about the sexiness of dragons.
Gave us a mini lecture on Dragon
Management and Virgin Reclamation.

Fewer words spell not failure
but success. I don’t believe
it was a poet who gave us
the proverb; “a picture is
worth a thousand words.”
Sometimes the one word
will do: WOW

Benita H. Kape (c) 8.4.2022

Prompt Notes:

“And now for our (optional) prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that argues against, or somehow questions, a proverb or saying. They say that “all cats are black at midnight,” but really? Surely some of them remain striped. And maybe there is an ill wind that blows some good. Perhaps that wind just has some mild dyspepsia.  Whatever phrase you pick, I hope you have fun complicating its simplicity.  “


Harry Harris Never Serious

Wiggly, woggly, Harry Harris
Set out to walk to Moscow.
Wiggly, wobbly, giggly goggly.
He got no further than the terrace.
None of which did dampen his spirits.
Harry Harris never serious.
Wiggly, woggly Harry Harris.

Benita H. Kape (c) 18.1.2022

This time we are to take on some narrative nonsense. I can recall how great my brother was at this kind of narrative when we were kids. Just trying to get him serious for a family photograph was almost impossible. So I guess I’ll dedicate this one to him. It took me a little while to get here but glad Harry Harris got to be.


Timothy Spence – Day 26

Timothy Spence

Timothy Spence climbed the fence
As school was about to commence.
I must go to school said Timothy Spence.
To go to school makes a good deal of sense.

Timothy Spence learned his past tense.
And learned, when told, not to be absent.
But his Mum and Dad were not convinced
Their Timothy should be climbing the fence.

At the beginning of each week; over the fence
Came the Nerd we call Timothy Spence.
Now for his Dad a growing expense.
Argue as he may, his Dad had no defence.

So Timothy Spence said: “Father it makes sense,
And though I know you grow daily more tense,
I will not stop climbing the fence
As school is about to commence.”

Benita H. Kape (c) 26.4.2021


Today’s poem for me is a parody on the poem Michael O’Toole which was written by Phil Bolsta.

It begins …

“Michael O’Toole hated going to school,
He wanted to stay home and play.”

“And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content. Just find a poem – or a song – that has always annoyed you, and write an altered, silly version of it. Or, alternatively, find a poem with a very particular rhyme scheme or form, and use that scheme/form as the basis for a poem that mocks something else.”


ANZAC DAY 2021 – Day 25

Two years in a row, April 25th:
the crowds in our small country
could not gather. One year due
to terrorism (the Christchurch
massacre:) and in Twenty Twenty,
no gatherings due to Covid- 19.

But this year, again the crowds
come out to honour
all service men and women
who have been there
for our country in war.
World War 1, World War 11,
Vietnam, Korea, Malaya,
and Afghanistan. Old wounds
are opened for ‘The Land Wars,’
once called The Maori Wars.

Red poppies are worn.
And in another beautiful
autumn April, New Zealand
along side Australia reflects
on those who serve and those
we lost. ‘We will remember them.”

Benita H. Kape (c) 26.4.2021

Notes: Our prompt for today (optional, as always) is to write an “occasional” poem. What’s that? Well, it’s a poem suited to, or written for, a particular occasion. This past January, lots of people who usually don’t encounter poetry got a dose when Amanda Gorman read a poem at President Biden’s inauguration. And then she followed it up with a poem at the Superbowl (not traditionally an event associated with verse!) The poem you write can be for an occasion in the past or the future, one important to you and your family (a wedding, a birth) or for an occasion in the public eye (the Olympics, perhaps?).

Postcard my beloved Uncle Paul, my godfather sent from Passchendaele to my father in New Zealand and who was only eleven years at the time in 1916. – Dear Brother Benno


Millions and Millions of Stray Tears – Day 24

Millions and Millions of Stray Tears
Ode to Cats

My tears, the domestic species.
Only one in the family? We have wild tears.
There are house tears, farm tears. We have feral tears:
about sixty different breeds. (But truly I’d say many
thousands more.) Tears are so social. Oh dear, tears;
secreting; showing signs she perceives pheromones.
Giving birth to infant tears from spring to late autumn.
An estimated 480 million stray tears in the world.
And our failure to control breeding of pet tears, results
in large number of feral tears. Tears which contribute
to the extinction of birds, mammals and other species.
Vocalization from this, my tears; you should hear
tears meowing or purring, trilling and yes hissing.
My plea: be careful how you breed tears.

Benita H. Kape (c) 24.4.2021

Today’s (optional) prompt is a fun one. Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.



Romance and Realism – Day 15

Romance and Realism

to: mother

blue paper –

love stories

your small writings

stories and poems

sad stories

so different from mine


that urge

to get it down

I caught it

from you.

Benita H. Kape (c) 16.4.2021 (almost a day late)


And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt comes to us from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.


Minerva & Metis – Day 12

Minerva, you arrived with weapons 
so let's keep up with the story.

I was singularly unimpressed
with your birth, other than
you beat Jupiter at his own game.
But it was then, Metis, your mother
who kept up with the forging of tools
during your gestation in Jupiter's belly.
Because of her, you made entrance
fully prepared for your life and times.
A full grown maiden, you had 
already gathered wisdom. Ovid
called you “goddess of a thousand works”.
Medicine, arts, handicraft and poetry.

But, I ask, is Metis still around?
Something tells she might be.
Did she have a hand in forging
a vibroblade, a new weapon
that I, in this poem, choose 
to put in your hands? Not that
I want to set you to old wars,
or new ladies. Let us be done
with that and with wisdom,
better things to do. I beg of 
you a great deed. Wave that
vibroblade as sisters in arms
to the new pestilence. In the
service of medicine for all-kind.
We would welcome it as yet
your greatest battle.

But rather, keep you both 
a steady hand as vaccinations
go on. This is our future
and beyond.

Benita H. Kape (c) 12.4.2021


For me Minerva is a goddess of weapons, but only after her wisdom, medicine, arts, poetry and handicrafts. Perhaps there were items in the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction for arts and handicraft but this is what my eyes lighted on:

vibroblade  =  a weapon or tool having a blade that vibrates rapidly: not something Jupiter could have coped with very well at Minerva's birth. So better an axe for that event than a vibrating blade.

"Finally, our prompt (optional, as always). I’m calling this one “Past and Future.” This prompt challenges you to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction. A hat tip to Cathy Park Hong for a tweet that pointed me to the science fiction dictionary and to Hoa Nguyen for introducing me to the Classical Dictionary. "

NaPoWriMo Day 1 (2021) Fantasy

In The Desert

(based on animated version

of “Seductive Fantasy” by

Sun Ra and his Arkestra)

round the moon

in any shape



blowing apart



back in its



each note

each beat



going on


round the moon


a raindrop

in the desert

from a corner

I’ve never been




round the moon

and more

in so many many many

shapes shapes shapes

and colours colours colours

Benita H. Kape (c) 1.4.2021

Notes: And without further ado, our daily prompt (optional, as always)! Sometimes, writing poetry is a matter of getting outside of your own head, and learning to see the world in a new way. To an extent, you have to “derange” yourself – make the world strange, and see it as a stranger might. To help you do that, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by this animated version of “Seductive Fantasy” by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. If you don’t feel after watching it a little bit like the top of your head’s been taken off, and your thoughts given a good stir – well, maybe you are already living in a state of heightened poetic awareness!


Leader – A Calm Persona

cooking hands handwashing health

Photo by Burst on

Leader:   A Calm Persona is What We Have


We feel safe; well, as safe as one can be

under the climate of Pandemic Covid-19.


We feel safe; well, as safe as one can be

under a leader whom the country trusts.


Groups over 500 persons may not congregate;

as yet, small groups, remain at liberty to meet.


All persons arriving from other countries,

other than the Pacific Islands, must self-


isolate for the next fourteen days. Haeremai,

we welcome those who respect the care


and the rights of all: here or abroad. Just read,

listen, put in place, quick shifting emergency rules.


And we will feel safe under a leader we can trust. She,

who advises, that rather than shaking hands we might


do what is known as the East Coast Wave like so:

a raise of the chin, then drop, quick and slight


and which indicates all is cool. It’s an Iwi thing

or you might like to do the Kahungunu Wave;


the difference being, that here you raise

your eyebrows in greeting, in affirmation


in exasperation or, in seduction. We feel safe

with these new/old ways of interaction suggested


to us by our leader, P.M. Jacinda Ardern: the leader

we know we can trust with her calm, confident persona.


I know all the instructions around self isolation.

I’m in an age group within high risk. But tomorrow


my favourite community group (all at high risk);

U3A Poetry Appreciation, and we have approval


to proceed. Our subject will be Flight and Transportation

chosen many months ago though I cannot see our members


giving either the East Coast or the Kahungunu Wave

as we assemble. I’ve chosen three poems, all of them dark.


Where are the poems for Twenty Twenty: a world now in pandemic;

our unbelievable world of fear and flight;d never again the same.


Benita H. Kape (c) 16.3.2020


Haeremai = welcome

Iwi = Maori tribe (specific)

Kahungunu = an East Coast (N.Z) Tribe


Burnished Clay – Eyebrow – a little heavy to raise.


Looking for Sceptres I got Carpet Cleaners – Day 24

GloPoWriMo 2019


Looking for Sceptres I got Carpet Cleaners


Having no real part in this medieval ceremony,

they though are now recorded; the carpet sweepers.


So with respect: first the cloak and then

Her Majesty turned around that all may

see. And now the Sceptre and then the Rod.

And load thus up the crown comes next.

The world for a second held its breath.


So long after a Queen looks upon and

has a conversation on the beautiful tools

of her office. Magnificent, even to her.

How much water under the bridges

of the Thames.


Watching a video today someone:

(amused no doubt) recounts

how a full  to overflowing Cathedral

awaited the coming Queen to be crowned.

Anything at this stage might arouse them.

And so it did: some movement or other

and eight thousand subjects stood up

while out of the organ loft came

four cleaners with their carpet

sweepers. And here in video,

a medieval ceremony of power

and commitment was coupled

with the extraordinary every day.


Not quite the expected scene

of path-sweeping for a monarch

but history has it now

by way of video.


Benita H. Kape © 25.4.2019

Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a poem that, like “Dictionary Illustrations,” is inspired by a reference book. Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem. For what it’s worth, my 1961 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 11, has just informed me that despite “his beauty,” the “profligacy” of the Emperor Heliogabalus’s life “was such as to shock even the Roman public,” while also presenting me with a lovely little line drawing of a variant of heliotrope, the flowers of which are said to smell like cherry pie.

Decided not to do a visual for above today.