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Celebrating National Poetry Month, Part 2

April 14, 2021

More Poems to Celebrate National Poetry Month!

                Now in the middle of National Poetry Month, I am pleased that I have written at least one poem for each of the first fourteen days of National Poetry Month.  Once again, in this post, I am sharing with you several poems which I wrote during this past week.  Besides posting my poems on WORDWALK, I post one each day on a writers’ list, along with prompts from the earlier shared “2021 Calendar of Prompts for National Poetry Month.”  All of the following poems are products of the prompts which I created at the end of March. 

                Additionally, on this past Monday, I was delighted to moderate a Readers’ Workshop with twenty participants who celebrated poetry with fifteen poetry presentations and one prose presentation.  On Tuesday, I was pleased to co-host a “Poetry Party” for the Writers’ Circle of the Hadley Institute for the Blind which brought forth 38 participants/poets; 24 poets presented their original poems.  April is a happily busy month for poets.  Thanks to Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate, poetry has been in the spotlight more than usual.  Poetry is, indeed, dazzling and shining during this silver anniversary of National Poetry Month.

* * *

Willow’s Philosophy

Poem for the tenth day of National Poetry Month by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

On yet another rainy day in Milwaukee,

upon her “My Pillow” pillow–aka dog bed–

Leader Dog Willow is not currently guiding:

she is philosophizing.

“If my handler is perhaps a poet,

then, besides a remarkable, blue-ribbon  guide dog,

what am I?

My Labradorable self is thinking, thinking …

Oh, yes!  I must be a PAW-et laureate!

[In the above poem, “My Pillow” should be accompanied by the trademark symbol.]

* * *

NOTE:  In January of 2013, I wrote “Big Shoes on Little Feet” as a personal essay for my first post on WORDWALK.  This month, I converted the prose piece into the following poem.

Big Shoes on Little Feet

Poem for the eighth day of National Poetry Month by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

A half block ahead of my guide dog and me,

as we walked on the sidewalk along State Street,

echoed alight patter of

clippity-clop, clippity-clop.

Quickly I realized the sound was emanating

from the too-large shoes of a

toddler–probably about three years old.

As my Leader Dog Heather and I drew nearer

the mother and poorly-shod little girl,

I could hear the mother’s impatient words

that tried to hurry the pace of the child.

Walking east toward the lake,

I wondered.

Was the mother late for a job interview?

Was she taking her little daughter to day care

or just for a daily stroll?

The mother seemed determined;

neither mother nor daughter appeared happy.

Still the little feet

in the too-big shoes hurried down the State Street sidewalk.

Were the clippity-clop shoes

her Play shoes or all she had to wear?

I wanted to give her something

for new well-fitting shoes–

but did not dare.

More than two decades later,

I do wonder what shoes the former toddler

is wearing now.

Ballerina slippers, jogging shoes,

stilettos, flip-flops,

steel-toed work shoes,

ruby slippers?

I hope she is happily

Making strides in life and

Wearing shoes

That fit her perfectly.

NOTE:  Heather, my second Leader Dog, mentioned in this poem, became a part of my life on April 15, 1998; thus, tomorrow marks 23 years since our meeting and beginning ten amazing years of working together and more than eleven years of gratefully living together.

* * *

A Cinquain of Seagulls

Poem for Day 9 of National Poetry Month by Alice Jane-Marie Massa


are plentiful

throughout Milwaukee skies,

peal disturbing cries in night air.


* * *

The 1957 Flood of Brouilett’s Creek

Poem for Day 11 of National Poetry Month by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

In 1957, when the rains came plentifully and long,

the waters of Brouilett’s Creek,

which formed the northern border of my hometown,

gradually spilled into the Jackson family’s farm fields

and then over the blue highway Number 163.

Standing on the once-upon-a-time state road,

my dad, my cousin Donald, and I joined the onlookers

and witnessed the amazing news story.

Our meandering creek was now a lake as far as a Blanford resident could see

on the gray day

between rainstorms

and between thoughts of suspended disbelief.

The arching blue-green iron bridge seemed to rise above the water–roadless.

the second bridge on the northwest edge of town

became the “bridge-to-nowhere”

because a huge chunk of Indiana Highway 71

was washed away by the muscular waters.

For many months, our only passage to

the remainder of the Hoosier state

was via the old brick road–well,

one side was brick, and the other side was gravel–

west and then south Through Edgar County, Illinois,

to backtrack east to other parts of our Indiana.

Rather than recalling much of the inconvenience

of the substantial detour,

I clearly remember the massive sight of the flood

and then, on dryer days, riding my lavender bike down the big hill

of State Road 71, alongside the old Black Diamond Mine,

to play tennis with my cousin Carole or my sister

on the flat patch of blue highway, south of the closed bridge

that for a season of my life

did not lead to neighboring St. Bernice,

but led back only to an even closer-knit small town–Blanford.

* * *

NOTE:  The following poem was once part of a travel article; thus, the piece is another sample of progression from prose to poetry.

A Rose from the Astor Garden

Poem for Day 12 of National Poetry Month by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

On a bus tour of New England in 1979,

I was the youngest tourist–most probably

the only non-senior citizen.

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House,

Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables,

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn,

Walden Pond, The Old North Church,

Sturbridge Village were among the stops.

Relishing history, architecture, and authors–

I greatly enjoyed the tour.

However, while touring mansions of Newport, Rhode Island,

memorable moments came my way

at the former property of John Jacob Astor.

the lady-of-the-house who was conducting the tour

paused in the Astor Garden

and gave to me a sprig of honeysuckle

which she had just plucked from the manicured garden.

Then, near the end of the tour,

inside the expansive house,

the son, in Prince-Charming fashion, presented to me

the largest, most beautiful,

abundantly blossomed, variegated pink rose

which I had ever seen or touched.

For many years, I saved

the dried, pressed rose and honeysuckle

in an oval, gold frame

to recall my one Cinderella moment of life.

* * *

A Grandfather’s Journey

a family-tree poem for Day 13 of NPM by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Born on the 12th of April in 1879,

in the Levone Valley of Northern Italy,

Giacomo grew up with eleven siblings,

among whom were two sets of twins.

Ready to work,

he hiked over the Alps to work as a lumberjack

in the forests of Switzerland.

Eventually, his dreams took him to the departure point of Le Havre, France,

from where he set sail for the hope of America–

to work in the coal mines of a place called Indiana.

After establishing himself in the USA,

he arranged a marriage with the sister of a co-worker.

When Liza immigrated to America,

the two married in June of 1910,

raised four fine sons and one beautiful daughter.

On the farm in Klondyke,

Giacomo, then “James,” insisted that none of his sons

would ever step foot into a coal mine.

None did.  They journeyed elsewhere.

All four served America in Europe

during World War II, returned safely and well

to go on to other careers.

The years passed on:

my grandparents left their picturesque farm

to re-settle in a more modern house

in my family’s hometown of Blanford.

Late into his 80s,

my grandfather still cared for his large garden.

Three months before his passing, my grandpa

had to endure the unexpected passing

of his beloved, eldest son, Charlie, age 57.

In 1968,

shortly before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.,

at the onset of the last semester of my senior year of high school,

after James Massa’s journey of nearly 89 years,

my grandfather’s journey ended.

However, his dream of America

lives within my family and me

and grows in gratefulness.

* * *

Enjoy the upcoming third week of National Poetry Month!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

April 14, 2021, Wednesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. Carole permalink

    Alice, your gift for writing, especially poetry, is so amazing! May the remaining days of National Poetry Month continue to offer you, your fellow poets, and the WORDWALK followers a platform of pleasure in sharing and/or enjoying such extraordinary efforts. Kudos for another week of poetry perfection!

    • Carole–Special thanks to you for your especially nice comment and the “like” on this second post of NPM!  I am pleased that your name is in one of the poems.

      Enjoy your company!  “Hello!” to all–Alice and Willow

  2. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    Once again, you have gifted your readers with heartfelt daily poems to enjoy! The “poems from prose” were very effectively changed from favorite stories to equally excellent poems. The same images of your experiences that I had when I read the prose returned to my mind. Pictures of the massive flooding also came to mind as I remembered the awesome sights at both creek crossings! The account of our dear Grandfather’s journey brought tears to my eyes. What a wise man he was to keep his beloved sons safe and healthy by not allowing them to work in the coal mines like so many others in the area did at that time! While Grandma Farm was the one who always entertained us by making flower crowns and playing games, Grandpa sat quietly in his arm chair or lawn chair observing the activities and seeming very content with his world. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories!

    All the best to you and to your PAW-ET laureate,

    • Mary–Many thanks for adding your comments on this post.  A shorter poem or relatively short poem often seems to me like a capsule:  not all recollections can fit into the creative capsule.  Thus, at times, only selected parts become the poetic lines.  Perhaps, the other tidbits will appear in another poem in the not-too-distant future.

      Enjoy writing acrostics with all five of your grandchildren!

      Alice and the PAW-et Laureate, Willow

  3. I enjoyed my visit to your blog tonight – you are certainly prolific this month.
    Thanks for sharing the many poems over this month-long poetic holiday.

    • Hi, Lynda–Thanks so much for your comment!  I do like your term “poetic holiday.”  I truly feel that April is a “poetic holiday” for many of us writers and readers of poetry.  During this month, I have realized that I can write a poem a day or write the poem one night and polish it the next day.  Certainly, working on the list of prompts in late March has also facilitated the poem-a-day goal.  Well, time will tell if I can

      manage to poetically persist for the remaining two weeks of NPM.

      Take care, and thanks for keeping in touch–Alice & Willow

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