It Helps If I Know (Day 5 NaPoWriMo)

It helps if I know

what direction to follow

composing a new song to sing.

Leading me onward or back

Image and sound

brushing by me

a heartbeat, a message,

a ring of roses.

Relive or relinquish:

loquacious the melody

roves in my mind

over a bottle of wine.

Benita H. Kape (c) 6.4.2021


I took as my example (not exactly after therefore) Elizabeth Smither’s poem “To a Friend With Osteoporosis”: which is a condition I myself have. However, I found myself wanting to take a happy, positive direction. Hence lots of scratching out, especially in the middle stanza. An exercise I thought would flummox me left me a little deflated at how quickly I got there. But I like. But looking back I am a bit short on line length as per ES. I’m short on time for close of Day 5. And I do like to go within that 24 hour timeframe.

“And now for our prompt (optional, as always). I call this one “The Shapes a Bright Container Can Contain,” after this poem by Theodore Roethke, which I adored in high school – and can still recite!

This prompt challenges you to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem. If I used Roethke’s poem as my model, for example, the first line would start with “I,” the second line with “W,” and the third line with “A.” And I would try to make all my lines neither super-short nor overlong, but have about ten syllables. I would also have my poem take the form of four, seven-line stanzas. I have found this prompt particularly inspiring when I use a base poem that mixes long and short lines, or stanzas of different lengths. Any poem will do as a jumping-off point, but if you’re having trouble finding one, perhaps you might consider Mary Szybist’s “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes” or for something shorter, Natalie Shapero’s “Pennsylvania.” “


Three Lives of a Cheese Board – NaPoWriMo, 2017 – day twenty six – item from an archaeological dig. Haibun


Three Lives of a Cheeseboard


The site of this excavation, a humble cottage, late twentieth century. It seems the item handed me is in the shape of a bottle, dark green glass, and I deduct it as having originally contained local wine. Looking at it closely we doubt we will find any possible traces of wine.

Further study is warranted as it is clear this item had gone on to a second, creative use. Under heat, yet retaining the original cylindrical shape has been flattened. What was the upper neck, of the bottle, has been wound around with twine which appears in excellent condition. Though it appears that this item hung on a wall, perhaps as decoration, the outer limits of objet d’art, we believe its true function was as a cheese board, a lovely simple functional cheese board. (There are moments when doing our excavations I just want to tuck a found item into my rucksack.)

The hour to drop our tools for the day grows near. A wine or two before dinner will relax me.


the moon a tipsy green cheese

found items

held up to the late sun


Traces of cheese were found in the twine.

Benita H. Kape © 26.4.2017

And now for our (optional) prompt! Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.