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Daily Poem Challenge

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In 24 syllables include the word “labyrinth


The golden labyrinth
beyond imagination threatens
a madness
from which there is no return.

                        ~~ jvg

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Write Halloween Tanka   

Tanka #7

Black Moonlight

Witching moon merges
into the starless night sky.
Vampire bats scatter
while gossamer ghosts float by.
Dare if you must, trick or treat.
                     ~~ Judi Van Gorder.

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Write a poem using synesthesia, a sensory experience described in a different sense.

Day’s End

Sunset sounds,
        the golden tones of an oboe,
play the melody of an ocean breeze
         with a crust of salt
riding the surf of its day end song.
                       ~ ~ Judi Van Gorder


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Write a poem about some every day task. Turn your imagination loose to guide your powers of association to several levels of awareness as did Carl Sandburg in Passers-By.

I wrote  An Apple a Day



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Write a  160.     This is not a form or a technique, it is a challenge.   Write a poem in exactly 160 characters including space between words and punctuation.  Meter, rhyme or not is at the discretion of the poet.    This is an exercise in paring down and it is harder than it may first seem.  

 I wrote   Wings

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For today Monday October 29, 2018   Write a Lento    

Use these prompt words within your poem: dormant - bonfire - cobwebs - sleep - hunt- pine cones - scarecrow

I wrote a double lento:

Fall's Fancy

Four busy grey squirrels hunt
dormant seeds amid the leaves to
store before first snow.
Chores to survive, a must do. 

Pine cones gathered,
nine in a row.
Sign of the season,
lined near a sad scarecrow.

In the early autumn morning
spinning spiders play,
thin lacey cobwebs
pinned and on display.

Keep the bonfires burning,
sleep when ere you can.
Sweep away lazy summer, 
leap into fall, be a fan.
            ~~Judi Van Gorder 

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Another prompt On Halloween, you (or your character) decide to hand out miniature tubes of toothpaste instead of candy. Write the STORY or POEM in the Comedy genre 


Daring digits chomp and chew,
you've no idea how vital to you.
Gremlin grunge around your gums
will drill decay into your porce-lum.    ?
So tonight when you trick or treat
looking for sweet goodies to eat
and minty goo that shines your teeth
is what you find beneath
the candy corn and Hershey bars,
know someday, you'll thank your lucky stars.
                         ~~Judi Van Gorder

Yes, I know how to spell "porcelain".   


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Prompt for Oct 31, 2018 write a poem using power words....

War Zone

Incendiary political speak,
     "invasion", "collusion",
     "impeachment", "conspiracy",
"deplorables", "elite", "socialist",
     "alternative facts",
     "racist", and "fake news",
are a springboard
       for pipe bombs,
       ricin mail, slaughter
       in a synagogue,
       and shots fired 
       at campaign quarters.

Rhetoric on both sides
is igniting violence.
But the true power word
       inspiring hope,
     Vote! Vote! Vote!
can lead to positive action.
              ~~Judi Van Gorder


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Prompt:  Describe an emotion through an inanimate object.

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Write an  Ode:  prompt "When my ship comes in."

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Today's prompt: Write a Grook , originally written as short clever poems that carried anti Nazi sentiment to the Danes during the Nazi occupation.  The originals were pithy, ironic and paradoxical.

Here is my attempt.  Perfect timing to parallel with the political climate of the day.


15000 troops deployed
to protect us from the hordes.
Caravan of families flee to avoid
hunger and homeland discord.
Maybe Trump should wait
try to greet with love not hate.
                      ~~Judi Van Gorder

Caravan II

Invasion of killers and thugs
disguised as hungry kids with their moms.
Swat them down like pesky bugs,
they're surely packing drugs and bombs.
Let's risk and listen to their plight
and do our best to do what's right.
                  ~~Judi Van Gorder

I am all in for securing our borders. But 15000 troops to greet a couple thousand families who won't even arrive for a month is a whole lot of overkill. And the idea that they are all thugs and killers and smugglers is stupid. This is just fear mongering. Will a bad guy try to slip through, very possibly but the vast majority are just people trying to flee poverty and violence. That's the real problem, can we care for all of the people in the world when we have our own poverty and violence? I believe we need to try. We are nation of laws, we must find a way to help within the confines of those laws.  We are also a nation of immigrants, all but Native Americans come from ancestors who immigrated here. Immigration is at the core of who we are. The caravan is a dilemma that is solvable but not with 15000 American soldiers and ads trying to scare citizens into believing that the immigrants are coming here to murder us.

These folks are a month away from even reaching our border, election day is 4 days away.  Let's vote and let our leadership know that we are not a nation of scared isolationist but instead we are strong and compassionate and willing to find a way to help those who seek asylum or just a better way of life.

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Embarking on a 30 Day Challenge, Here is the 2nd prompt and my response. (I posted Day 1 in Member Poetry} Feel free to join in.

"Day 2 Nov 24 Early prompt again :)" Prompt for: 24 November
Subject or Theme: Leftovers
Word(s) to Include: Leftovers. And at least three foods but not actually referring to food at a dinner. He was a total turkey while at our house is fine But we had turkey is not. (or any derivatives of these words)
Forbidden Word(s):No specific foods unless being used as above.
Additional Parameters: Rhyming or not. Min 12 lines.
Remember, do not use forbidden words ANYWHERE, including title or the brief description.

Remnants From the F Word

Thanksgiving break
and I have to spend it
studying because
I fudged
my way through my last exam,
fishing for answers
from my spaghetti brain
and praying for leftover
knowledge tucked away
somewhere between
my ears.

If I don’t get
at least a B on my next test,
I’m toast!
          ~~Judi Van Gorder

Notes: ▼
Written from the perspective of my granddaughter who has senioritis and failed (The F word) her last exam and was relegated to her room for the Thanksgiving break to study.

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Prompt for: November 25, 2018 (Ren)
Subject or Theme: Holiday Decorating - a source of joy or agony?
Word(s) to Include: 5 decorative items (e.g. wreaths, lights, Santa), appoint, red, green, glitter (or any derivatives of these words)
Forbidden Word(s): decorate, decorations, box, hang/ (or any derivatives of these words)
Additional Parameters: Must be a minimum of 125 words (please include word count at bottom of poem)
Remember, do not use forbidden words ANYWHERE, including title or the brief description.

Prepping for the Season

A nativity scene waits to be placed,
it's from here the season is based.
I'll buy fresh straw for the manger,
to which the Christ Child is no stranger.
The Wise Men will stay put away
until they arrive on Epiphany Day.

Grandma's Elves appointed in tacky green glitter
will adorn the shelf next to Rudolff.  A ladder 
is needed to accomplish this, mine's 
broken.  I have yet to take down the vines
autumn leaves currently on display.

Outside, I cut brush for garland spray,
and to make wreaths for family and friends.
I'm not much for modern day trends,
a tree with homemade ornaments, red
candles, poinsettias
and Santa by the shed.
Old country traditions with redwood boughs,
still warm my heart in the here and now.
                            ~~Judi Van Gorder



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Day 4  November 26, 2018

Theme: Personification poem. Pick one of the five items mentioned in yesterdays (green highlighted) poem and write from that object's point of view. Let it see and feel, have emotion.

BE the object. Words to use and Forbidden words: None this round; just make the object live and breathe; let it feel and be! Other parameters: Rhyming or not, minimum 24 lines.



My Celtic roots
sing in my soul,
I dance to the rhythm
of the sun and earth.
Round and round I go.

My evergreen boughs
waft with the essence
of the forest, fresh
and rinsed by the rain.
Round and round I go.

When I lie down, candles glow
showing the way for
the resurrection of Spring,
or the weeks of Advent's passing.
Round and round I go.

Suspended at entry ways
I welcome all who enter
with eternal joy, hope
and most of all, love.
Round and round I go.

My circle embraces
the universe, perpetual,
enduring and constant.
I am the earth and sun.
Round and round I go.
              ~~Judi Van Gorder

25 Lines

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epizeuxisI learned a new word today, Epizeuxis - Sound Element, a figure of speech referring to the repetition of a word or phrase once or twice in a row without other words between. example "Liar, liar, liar!"

Epizeuxis is a literary device wherein a word is repeated in immediate succession,   This device is very useful for emphasis, as applied in a popular beer commercial ( dilly, dilly, dilly) and can also be used to generate rhythm, as clearly demonstrated in the Everly Brothers' hit song All I Have To Do Is Dream or the original "dilly dilly" song Lavender Blue . Your assignment: Write a poem about some holiday experience or impression using the Epizeuxis technique.

A Visitor

Santa's here, Santa's here, Santa's here!
Sounds of hooves on the roof,
Eyes large with anticipation
the children quiver in excitement,
a Ho Ho Ho resounds.
                      ~~Judi Van Gorder

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Day 5 Prompt ▼

Theme: A wintery scene viewed.
Words to use: home, Christmas
Words forbidden: tree, field, street, car, road, lights, store, people, the
Additional parameters: At least 24 lines, rhyming or not.

My Neck of the Woods

Brisk winds,
cold soggy ground,
no more pink
or yellow blossoms
only holly berries,
white crocus
and crimson poinsettias
will be blooming now.

Redwood boughs
hang low
weighted with rain,
on our narrow byways.

Frequent showers
make asphalt slick,
our windy
mountain lanes
are dark and pot holes
are difficult to maneuver.

I'm home after
a week long visit down south.
Content, I sit
near a crackling fire
wrapped in my snuggly throw,
writing this poem
instead of
planning for another
Christmas holiday.
I'll have to get on that soon..
             ~~Judi Van Gorder

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Notes: ▼
Day 6 Ren wants a haiku . Just 1 haiku.
Theme: Winter or Christmas Haiku. 1 (ONE) singular.
No specific words to use or not use -
Additional parameters: title must include the specific word: Essence

OK, I have to admit this prompt bothered me a bit. Normally haiku are untitled. But I went with the flow and besides my "title" helps my images in this case.

Essense of Hope

a humble stable
far away and long ago
a wee babe is born

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Form of the Week - The Aquarian

Notes ▼
Aquarian Verse
The Aquarian is a simple form of quatrain (four line) stanzas contrived by A Maris Mazz with a structure of 2, 4, 6, and 2 syllables per unrhymed line, as demonstrated in the following links:

The Aquarian
Rainbow Communications - Aquarian
Poet's Collective

Thanks for the Rain, Lord

For now
no more wild fires.
Paradise burned to ash

Rain storm
hammered the night.
Welcome relief for drought
parched earth.

of soggy leaves
cushioned my morning walk
              ~~ Judi Van Gorder

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Prompt: ▼

"day 8"
Theme: A special face at Christmas. A loved one: a best friend, a child, a spouse, a parent. A person who is real; not a book character. Someone you see, if only occasionally. Someone alive. Write it TO that person, FOR that person specifically. Use their name as your title. IE: My husband - Ken or My Child - Rob. ( or some variation along those lines that gives the relationship in some form.)What do they look like? What about their face gives you joy? Makes you feel some emotion? (safe, warm, loved?) Tell us about them by how they look. (When looking at you, laughing etc.) NOT what they do, but what you see and how they make you feel when you look at them.

Words to use: no specific ones today.

Forbidden words: face, you, (changed my mind after an hour and a half trying not to use that word.) <---NOTE lined out word!

Additional parameters: Rhyming or not, (or a combination) and at least 20 lines.

George, Mi Amigo

I'm missing you.
      Hermano to my son
      Godfather to my grandchild
of choice and friendship.

I'm missing you.
      Your laughter that fills a room
      Your teasing with a twinkle
      Your sincerity I trust
      Your tall tales that so entertain
      Your generosity with all you have
      Your BIG smile
      Your traditions
so different from mine.

I'm missing you.
      My chest fills 
      My smile broadens
      My mother tiger wakens
      My toes tap
      My family grows
when you are around.

Feliz Navidad.
              ~~Judi Van Gorder

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Day 9
Theme: Christmas Traditions Around the World. (go for the obscure!)
Pick somewhere you've never been. Research and then write your poem about a Christmas tradition (up through New Year's) practiced there now or in the past..
Words to use: The name of the country you pick, the tradition
Forbidden words: none but be creative!
Must rhyme

Merry Christmas from Estonia

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Notes: ▼
Day 10

Prompt for: December 2, 2018 (Ren)
Subject or Theme: Pick a winter or winter holiday song then use it to inspire you to write your poem. Do NOT do a parody, write something based on your song.
Word(s) to Include: none (free day)(or any derivatives of these words)
Forbidden Word(s): none (free day) (or any derivatives of these words)
Additional Parameters: at least 30 lines.
Remember, do not use forbidden words ANYWHERE, including title or the brief description.

Wonderland Dreams

I'd love to hear
      "Sleigh bells ring"
and I've listened.
      "snow is glistening"
a rare sight here but I can dream.
      "A beautiful sight"
The pristine magic
of a white, sparkling sheet
blanketing autumn's messy
fallen leaves
           and muddy earth
sparks a cleansing, refreshing and ready.
In my mind snow looks like the song,
I admit, I don't really
want to deal with the slush
                and mush,
the reality of living in snow,
but the ideal dazzles.

      "Gone away is the bluebird"
but hummingbirds still hum,
      and a colorful jay just strutted
across my footpath.
Bluebirds are ceramic
      birds of happiness on a shelf,
I always loved the metaphor.
The lyric sings joyfully in my ears.

"Later on we'll conspire
      As we dream by the fire"
Ah yes, there is something about
a fire in the hearth, warm, inviting,
     to reflect, to plan,
            read or write.

"Walking in a winter wonderland,"
Romantic dreams of the perfect winter
      captured in a song.
           ~~Judi Van Gorder

35 Lines of Text
Song: Winter Wonderland by Aretha Franklin (I love Aretha but this will always be a song sung by Johnny Mathis to me.)

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Day 11 Notes ▼
Theme: A visit to the North Pole --what is it really like?
Words to use: ambrosia, Q-tip, charcoal, impossible
Forbidden words: Santa Claus, workshop,
Additional parameters: Be descriptive! Do not repeat any words.
Min 20 lines

You don't realize how much you depend on words such as, a. the, and, for, is, my, I, and with, until you try to use them only once in 24 lines.   It does make you reach for alternative words with is a good thing.  But often the syllable of a "the" or an "and" makes the poem run smoother.  This was a real challenge. 

Returning Home

Back from my trip planning a route,
preparing landing I give out shout,
thankful children believe without doubt.

I've always loved the golden glow
reflecting off pale, silver snow.
Welcoming warmth waits below.

Fluffy ambrosia-like mounds
circle love's little compound.
Holly berries, mistletoe abound.

Helpers bustle, polish yon sleigh
next to rustic stables, there reindeer stay,
so able, ready, soon, "up and away".

Studio sanctuary where magic gets done,
hums with sounds of laughter, much fun,
designing presents for everyone.

No charcoal this year, forgiveness is best.
last finishing gifts receive Q-tip test,
near time earnest elves have well earned rest.

Some say "one night", an impossible feat,
millions, both boys plus girls deserving treats.
I'm not swayed, listen, you'll hear hoof-beats.
                             ~~Judi Van Gorder

24 lines
Classic Triplets

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Day 12

Notes: ▼
Theme: Something, anything to do with a particular Christmas.
No restrictions - just make it real. And at least 20 lines long.

Christmas Blurred

Over my 77 years,
no one Christmas
stands out.
Most of my childhood years
are pretty much a blank slate.
I do recall one Christmas morning
sitting on the policeman's desk
my legs dangling
while Mama bailed out Daddy.
And another Christmas the police
brought Daddy home,
the cuts on his face
and his guilty smirk scared me.

I know I have cooked
the holiday meal
the giant portion
of my years,
sometimes more than once.
Even as a kid I peeled potatoes
and other easy tasks,
by my teens I always baked the pies.
(I had a knack.) Since I married, 55 years ago
I have never not cooked
for the special day.

One year I cooked a full feast
for my brother and friend
at home, before joining
my husband in Baja
where I helped cook
Christmas dinner at the kayaking school
for 40 people on El Coyote Playa
where we anchored.
Then two days later prepared
another Christmas dinner
for our Irish friends
who were at sea on Christmas Day.
One other Baja Christmas
I cooked the turkey and pies
and campers on the beach
brought side dishes
for a potluck.
Locals brought traditional tomales.
We strung colored lights on the tenders
and trolled the shoreline
playing Carols on a boom box
while Santa buzzed the beach
in an ultra light.

But my favorites
are Christmas at home
Midnight Mass,
family and friends
at my table.
Just the unremarkable
comfort of Christmas.
                      ~~Judi Van Gorder

56 Lines

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Day 13

Notes: ▼ Theme: Put someone on 'the naughty list' and tell us why. NO SPECIFIC NAMES, not even names like wife, daughter, friend, spouse, aunt, uncle, cousin or man at the corner. Him, her, she, he etc. are fine.

Words to use: coal, flamingo, list, naughty, why, mayhem,something 'deleted' as in crossed out.
Words forbidden: Any identifying names, (to protect the guilty and/or the indignant)
Additional parameters: Rhyming,


He sat there, slumped,
arms crossed in petulant pose
among dignified leaders
to honor a great man in repose.

Clearly he'd rather be off
playing golf in flamingo land
or creating mayhem for coal miners,
or to be anywhere he can grandstand.

I'm reluctant to deem him damned,
his office demands our respect.
Why, some supporters are my friends,
but for me it's hard to connect.

I wonder when it is all over and done
will he be on the naughty or nice
list. Only history will tell.
Perhaps the FBI will investigate check it twice.
                               ~~Judi Van Gorder

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Day 14

Notes: ▼

December 6, 2018 at 8:49am Preview:
Theme: Colors
Words to use: Minimum of five colors used in new connotations. Use at least one other sense besides sight.
Forbidden words: the
At least 24 lines, free verse - rather than highlight your colors in green (per usual) list them after your poem.

Rainbow of Possibilities

Waking light
fills my rose dusk mind
with golden thoughts.
I see familiar tree tops
change to forest towers
and open sky
becomes a wash
of powder blue possibilities.
Prinked by prompts
and bold “must does”
I begin my day.

I flip on TV
for company
and see
a starburst
stained glass window
beaming down
a rainbow welcome
a simple casket,
wrapped in
red, white and blue,
a life
and mourning
a loss
of a president.

His sage legacy
is a reminder
to live
with love and respect.
Today I strike
a candle to join
your "thousand points
of light".
George Herbert Walker Bush,
Thank you for your brilliant service.
                 ~~Judi Van Gorder

37 Lines
Colors used, rose, golden, forest, powder blue, red, white, blue, sage, (and maybe "rainbow"}

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