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Happy Mother’s Day, 2019!


An Abecedarian of Thanks for Mothers


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Adopted children give generous thanks to Mother.

Baby at Mother’s breast coos tender, loving thanks to Mama.

Children with special needs harmonize with special gratitude to special Mothers.

Daughters and sons of all ages and stages of life lavish thankful praise on Mothers.

Elderly children still remember the enduring , loving appreciation of Mothers.

From Florida to Alaska, so many fondly give floral thanks to Mothers.

Godchildren, from near and far, are grateful for Godmothers, too.

Homes are where we find the heart of motherhood.

Indiana to Italy are where we find the family tree of our ancestral mothers.

Join hand in hand to circle mothers with thanks and love on this holiday.

Kisses for the mother who taught us to be grateful, kind and caring.

Loving appreciation to Mother who gives unconditionally.

Many gather around tables of thanks for special meals on this Mother’s Day.

Notes and cards of thanks laud and applaud Mothers on their special day.

Oversized hugs are the order of this Mother’s Day.

Pink roses or carnations brighten the gratitude for Mothers on this Sunday.

Queen for a Day” is the status of all moms today.

Ribbons of thanks adorn other gifts for Mother.

Sweet and soft caresses symbolize unspoken gratitude for Mom.

Tulips represent how gratitude grows annually for Mother.

Unexpected, little “thank-you” –phrases that mean so much to Mother.

Vases of cut flowers hold hearts of thanks for Mother.

Words of gratitude, mailed in letters, bring smiles to Mother on this day.

X” is the first mark of thanks the youngest child writes for Mommy.

Yellow peace roses memorialize thanks for Mothers whom we can only remember.

Zinnias and zesty thanks for all Mothers whom we honor on this Mother’s Day!


To my mother and six aunts (in Heaven), Aunt Kathy (in Minnesota), my sister (in Colorado), my cousin Carole (in Florida), other cousins (throughout the United States and Mexico), nieces (in Michigan and Colorado), friends and writer friends, readers of WORDWALK–

Happy Mother’s Day!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


May 12, 2019, Sunday



A Prayer for Poets


Poetic Day 30 of National Poetry Month:  April 30, 2019, Tuesday


Confetti!  Cheers for all who have participated in National Poetry Month by reading, writing, and/or sharing poems during this month of April!  Thanks to each of you–what a successful salute to poetry this month has been!


For facilitating the reading of today’s poem, I will share a historical note with you.  Saint David of Wales–whose feast day is March 1, the day of his death in the year 589–was a Welsh priest and bishop who became a patron saint of poets.  For my final post for National Poetry Month of 2019, I am sharing with you a poem-of-the-day in the form of a prayer.  For the final set of five NPM writing prompts, check the closing of this WORDWALK post.



A Prayer for Poets


poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Throughout this April Parade of Poets

and through all four poetic seasons of the year,

please, dear Lord, bless the poets

whose words and  rhymes

build for readers a home of hope,

provide a poetic pillow where we can rest,

throw us poetic balls with which we can play,

squeeze poetically sweet and sour juices for our toasts to life,

gather us into comforting gardens and meadows,

allow us perspective from the tallest tree or a mountain peak,

encourage us to be bold and persevere,

set the sail toward gentle forgiveness,

underscore the ultimate goal of understanding,

echo the whispers of love,

stimulate our flight of fancy,

catch a cloud for both our youthful and aging dreams.


God bless the poets’ hands

that write and type from morning to midnight.

Heavenly Father, bless the computers

of the high-tech and low-tech poets.

Saint David of Wales,

bless the poets’ minds

so that positive and wonderful ideas

will float over writers’ desks

as confetti and fortune cookies.

Dear Lord, bless the poets’ eyes

with an ability to translate vistas, seen or unseen,

into welcomed word portraits.

Saint David, bless the hearts of poets

so that these poets may mirror

the emotions of masquerade

we embrace as life.

Finally, God bless poets, past,

whose pages we lovingly preserve,

and the poets, present and future,

whose poetry we will gratefully read.


* * *




  1. Write your own poetic prayer for poets.
  2. Write a poetic prayer for mothers (since Mother’s Day is near).
  3. Write a poetic prayer for another group of individuals or for a particular group of animals.
  4. Write a poem about being on Cloud Nine.
  5. Write a poem about your poetic wishes and goals for the remainder of 2019.


NOTE:  With this final post of April, I am delighted to have met my goal of posting a new poem and five writing prompts for each weekday of National Poetry Month–totaling twenty-two poems of various types and themes, as well as 110 writing prompts.  I set forth this goal because of the example set by poet D.P. Lyons, whom I was privileged to know as a friend and with whom I was honored to collaborate on two poems. Recently, I was happy to learn that Maine’s Kennebec Valley Community College established the Deon Lyons Scholarship in memory of Deon.


* * *


This post and each WORDWALK post of National Poetry Month of 2019 is dedicated

in memory of Deon Patrick Lyons–

poet, novelist, blogger, and friend.


Until my next WORDWALK post on May 8, when I will return to weekly Wednesday posts,

many thanks for taking a WORDWALK with us each weekday of National Poetry Month!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 30, 2019, Tuesday



An Acrostic Trilogy during National Poetry Month


Poetic Day 29 of National Poetry Month:  April 29, 2019, Monday


On this eve of the final day of National Poetry Month, are you ready to try a different approach with your poetic creativity?  Take a simple, one-word acrostic; and by using the same stem word three times, turn the piece into a trilogy of poems which are somewhat thematically related and held together by the stem word of the acrostic.  For example, in the following poem, each of the three parts is an acrostic based on the word “humanity.”  Although each eight-line acrostic could stand alone as a poem, the three parts may also be interpreted as forming one poetic work–a trilogy.  By sight, magnification, or braille–you will read vertically down the left column of the page or screen the stem word “humanity” three times.


The length of a line of an acrostic poem may be only one word, a phrase, or a complete sentence.  When you are writing an acrostic, the line length and rhyming pattern or lack thereof are the choice of the poet; the only criterion of the acrostic form is that after the first line begins with a word whose initial letter is the first letter of the stem word, each subsequent line must begin with the next letter of the chosen stem word (as demonstrated below).


Beware!  This poetic endeavor for the poem-of-the-day, mostly written last October, may not be as quickly understood as all of my other poems.  Take a leap of poetic fancy, and try reading (an possibly explicating) the following trilogy.  Then, please consider the five writing prompts at the end of this WORDWALK post.  (Prompts three through five may also serve as a guide for reading this trilogy.)



Trilogy:  An Acrostic Trinity of Humanity


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Part 1.  The Clockwork of Humanity


Hold on, hold on–






teardrops and



Part 2.  Acrostic Crossroads of Humanity


How can we







yields to other choices?


Part 3.  Untangling Humanity








torn pages from



* * *




  1. Select a word to be used as the stem of an acrostic poem; use this stem word in three acrostics forming a trilogy of thematically-related acrostics.
  2. Write a poem–in a form other than an acrostic–to explore the topic of humanity.
  3. In the first part of the trilogy, angels come to someone through teardrops and yawns; write a poem in which you describe how and where you think angels enter a life or soul.
  4. The second part of the trilogy poses a question about the crossroads of negativity and tenderness; write a poem about this “Crossroads of Understanding.”
  5. In the third part of the trilogy, hope untangles the wonders and challenges of life; write a poem in which you reveal what you believe untangles the high points and low points of life or the blessings and “bumps-in-the-road” of life.


* * *


This WORDWALK post and my other posts of National Poetry Month are dedicated

in memory of Deon Patrick Lyons–

poet, novelist, blogger, and friend.


Wishing you a spring of poetic wonders,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 29, 2019, Monday


Poetic Keepsakes during National Poetry Month


Poetic Day 26 of National Poetry Month:  April 26, 2019, Friday


After searching the Family Tree and the Tree of Life for poetry topics yesterday, let us now take a look in the cedar chest, hope chest, or other treasure chest of family keepsakes.  Can you find a poem inside one of those chests?  Can you pull out a keepsake, hold it in your hands, and allow the object to become your muse for another poem?


I try to use most of my keepsakes–at least, seasonally or periodically–in my townhouse.  I like to enjoy the keepsakes; and I enjoy further preserving these keepsakes with poetry, as the poem-of-the-day demonstrates.  For additional writing ideas concerning your family treasures, refer to the five writing prompts at the end of this WORDWALK blog.


Aunt Zita’s Checkered Tablecloths


poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



My north-facing kitchen

catches little sunshine,

but catches many memories.

Atop the maple table–

once-upon-a-time my parents’ table in Indiana–

is a green-and-white checkered tablecloth

that had lain on one of the smaller tables

at my Aunt Zita’s Italian restaurant.

Numerous platters of spaghetti and meat balls

once decorated this tablecloth.

Aroma of my aunt’s sauce and Italian veal

still arise from this tablecloth.

Happy conversations echo over

and around this keepsake cloth at every meal.

Starched, ironed, and blessed many times

by Aunt Zita’s hard-working hands,

this green-and-white checkered tablecloth

lies softly and casually in my kitchen.


Born in 1908, Aunt Zita–

modern, ahead of her times–

would smile at seeing atop her cloth

a Downton Abbey teapot

on a dinner plate from my mother’s china set

and a silver-blue vase filled with pink silk tulips–

because my aunt had a splendid garden of tulips.


As I drink my herbal tea

at this table of memories,

I am nourished by the love and strength

of my beloved aunt and other ancestors.


From Aunt Zita, I have one other tablecloth–

the red-and-white checkered one,

which is always on my table

for the Fourth of July and Festa Italiana.

Oh, what a time to celebrate

food and family!


* * *


Writing Prompts for Day 26 of National Poetry Month


  1. Write a poem focusing on a keepsake which you use.
  2. Write a poem concerning a keepsake which you keep in a cedar chest or other closed space.
  3. Write a poem about a keepsake which was lost or broken.
  4. Write a poem about giving a keepsake to someone of a younger generation.
  5. Write a poem about a cedar chest, hope chest, or treasure chest.


NOTE:  As previously in April, I will not post on WORDWALK during the weekend; however, please return to WORDWALK on Monday and Tuesday for the final two posts for National Poetry Month.  In May, I will return to my traditional practice of posting only once a week–each Wednesday, beginning with May 8, 2019.


* * *


This WORDWALK post and my other posts of National Poetry Month are dedicated

in memory of Deon Patrick Lyons–

poet, novelist, blogger, and friend.


Enjoy this poetic weekend (as we, in Milwaukee, await an April snow)!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 26, 2019, Friday


Mr. Payton’s Poetry


Poetic Day 25 of National Poetry Month:  April 25, 2019, Thursday


Sometimes, when you need an idea for a poem, look at the leaves of your Family Tree and also at your Tree of Life.  Who are all those people on your Tree of Life?  Can you use words and verses to paint the portrait of one of those individuals who has become an important part of the growth of your Tree of Life?  From my Tree of Life, I chose Mr. William E. Payton, who was a teacher and principal for many years in the rural townships of Southern Vermillion County, Indiana.  He is the focus of my poem-of-the-day, and the five writing prompts at the end of this WORDWALK post will be stems from these trees.



Mr. Payton’s Poetry


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa


At Van Duyn Elementary School,

each Friday of seventh and eighth grade,

Mr. Payton placed on his desk a three-ring binder.

We all knew

what was coming–


I fondly recall those Friday afternoons

with Mr. Payton and poetry …

and twenty-four quiet students–

listening at various levels of attention and understanding.


Always in a dark royal blue suit

with white shirt and sedate tie,

Mr. Payton read aloud and turned the pages

onto which he had beautifully written

in perfect cursive

stroked with a fountain pen  containing royal blue ink.


He was partial to rhythm and rhyme.

Longfellow must have been his favorite–

at least his favorite to read aloud.


Since Mr. Payton was also very patriotic,

he treated the lyrics

written by Francis Scott Key

as teachable poetry–

all verses.


Mr. Payton taught so much

to so many.

Then, one summer, he taught even more.

After a seven-mile trip to town,

on a hot summer day,

I saw Mr. Payton leaning against

the outer wall of the Harris Food Store.

Wearing a white T-shirt

and dark slacks,

he waited for a rider.

To make extra money during summer months,

to help feed his large family,

he drove a taxi cab

as a second job.

In a small town of seven thousand,

he drove the one cab.


On rainy summer days,

when he sat inside his cab

and waited for a customer,

I wonder if he read poetry

on days other than Friday.


* * *


Writing Prompts for Day 25 of National Poetry Month


  1. Write a poem about one of the oldest persons on your family tree.
  2. Write a poem about one of the more influential people on your Tree of Life.
  3. Write a poem about the most humorous person on your Tree of Life.
  4. Write a poem about your Tree of Life.
  5. Write a poem about a tree which you planted or a tree which has or had special and/or sentimental meaning in your life.


* * *


This WORDWALK post and my other posts of National Poetry Month are dedicated

in memory of Deon Patrick Lyons–

poet, novelist, blogger, and friend.


Wishing you a peaceful and productive Poetry Day,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 25, 2019, Thursday


Poetry Critiques during National Poetry Month


Poetic Day 24 of National Poetry Month:  April 24, 2019, Wednesday


With fireworks over Lake Michigan (near my townhouse) last evening and sunshine over the big lake (and through my windows) this morning, another poetic day has dawned.  Have you taken or given “The Poetry Challenge”–“Willow’s Poetry Challenge”?  If not, please read my post of April 23, Monday.  By the way, in that Monday post, “P.C.” may represent “Poetry Challenge” or “Poetically Correct.”


Should “P.C.” also stand for “Poetically Critiqued”?  Placing one’s poem in public–no matter the forum (blog, other online publication, magazine or journal, book, critique session, other literary meeting, open microphone session, poetry workshop, classroom, etc.)–opens the door to being critiqued.


The critique may range from a positive and easily accepted suggestion to a much too harsh negative comment, from an overly flowery compliment to an unfair criticism.  With such a broad spectrum of possibilities of shared perspectives, the best response from the poet is merely to say, “Thank you.”  Later–the next day, week, month, or even year–the poet can give the comment or suggestion a fresh consideration.  Time gives the possibility to be able to revise with a fresh poetic approach; on the other hand, time, experience, and self-awareness of one’s poetic goals allow the poet to choose to dismiss, hopefully wisely, a comment or suggestion.  While we learn from others, we must also learn to grow from re-evaluating our own writing.  The poetic highway is a two-way thoroughfare.



To the Poem, Lying in State at the Rhyming Rotunda


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



About a delicate, innocent, little poem of mine,

someone quite creatively knowledgeable

and widely and wildly well-published

said in passing at her presentation:

“I like her poem, by the way;

but I don’t know if it is finished.”


“Finished.”  Finished?

Is that poem lying in state in the Rhyming Rotunda?

Is the poem draped in the flag

of the Pickled Poets’ Society?

Are there Grammar Guards standing watch?

Are there Punctuation Patrols ready to present the Colors?

No?  No.  No!

Then, I assure you the poem is not finished.

It is just at a stage in its poetic life

when it can appear on a poetic platform.


Dear Little Poem of mine,

At any time, each of your little words is not safe;

some will be unceremoniously plucked away from you.

Some of your longer lines

may be limited or lifted right off your page.

Some of your seemingly once vivacious verses

may fall victim to the poet’s carving knife.

Some of your stanzas may not stand the temporary test of time.

Even your precious title may be revised

when re-read with later eyes.

Your sweet, but weak little comma

may soon be replaced with that stronger semicolon.

Watch out! That exclamation point

of which you are so fond

may promptly be deleted!


Dear Critic, I assure you,

the poem will never be completed!

As long as you now understand, I will not stress:

Poetry is now and forever more a work-in-progress.


* * *




  1. Write a poem about your participation in a readers’ workshop, open microphone session, poetry slam, or other poetry presentation in which you have participated.
  2. Write a poem about revising and/or editing.
  3. Write a poem about sharing poetry or sharing your love of poetry.
  4. Write an epistolary poem, in which you address your “letter poem” to a poem or poet.
  5. Write a poem in which you detail your goals as if you were Poet Laureate of either the United States or your own state.


With more cheers for poetry,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 24, 2019, Wednesday


Walking in Zoe’s Pawprints during National Poetry Month



Poetic Day 23 of National Poetry Month:  April 23, 2019, Tuesday


455 years ago on April 23, William Shakespeare was born.  The 23rd day of National Poetry Month also marks the twelfth anniversary of the birth of my third Leader Dog, Zoe.  How I wish I could have seen her and held her when she was a puppy in 2007!  Nevertheless, her being such an important and loving part of my life from June 6, 2009 through March 16, 2016 inspired many poems and still brings forth a multitude of precious memories.


The poem-of-the-day is written from a different perspective because the guest blogger is my fourth and current Leader Dog.



Walking in Zoe’s Pawprints


poem by guest blogger Leader Dog Willow,


as expressed to Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Walking in Zoe’s pawprints,

sleeping in her doggie beds,

playing with some toys she left behind,

catching whiffs of her

in these rooms I now call “home,”

being trained by Sue as Zoe was,

guiding someone Zoe once led,

loving the someone Zoe so loved

has been my remarkable life for almost three years.

What lies ahead?


On days like these,

these special days,

I am caninely content

being surrounded with thoughts of

and tears for the practically perfect Zoe

because her scented trail

helped me to learn

these once new, unfamiliar paths,

the tricky routes around construction,

the entry doors to each usual destination.

Walking in Zoe’s pawprints,

I learned my way around Milwaukee

so very quickly and efficiently.


If Zoe is now an angel–

and we like to think she is–

we know she is watching over us,

still helping to lead the way.


I am not a replacement dog.

Who could replace the beautiful  and bright, extraordinary Zoe?

I am a successful successor dog

who takes pride in and enjoys

walking in those almost perfect pawprints,

being tremendously cared for

(just like Zoe was),

hearing the praise from the someone

who highly praised her Zoe,

being petted by the hand

that once stroke my predecessor,

sharing the enormous and forever love

with another Leader Dog named Zoe.


What lies ahead for me?

Sweet memories of looking behind,

the joy of the journey,

and the hope of being an amazing Leader Dog

for many more happy and rewarding years.


* * *




  1. Write a poem which is from a different perspective, a point of view other than your own.
  2. Write a poem about a guide dog or pet who is no longer with you.
  3. Write a poem about reading, studying, or watching a play by William Shakespeare (since today is the anniversary of his birth in 1564).
  4. Write a poem about the record-breaking JEOPARDY! contestant James Holzhauer, whose winnings are over a million dollars.
  5. Write a poem about something you won, almost won, or you wish you had won.


* * *


This blog post and my other posts of National Poetry Month are dedicated

in memory of Deon Patrick Lyons–

poet, novelist, blogger, and friend.



Lovingly remembering Zoe on this anniversary of her birth and

once again abundantly thanking trainers Sue Hackman, Jessica Bimmerman, and Christie Bane–

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 23, 2019, Tuesday