Category Archives: National Poetry Month

LA Traffic: NPM #10

I have a love/hate relationship with LA freeways. They are constantly unpredictable, predictably overcrowded, unnecessarily complicated, outdated and constantly under construction…and they connect me to my children and grandchildren.

Maybe this poem begins to capture some of those contradictions.

LA Traffic

The stutter-step of LA traffic

inches along

ribbons unspool

crisscrossing the city

braided twisted snarled

Arteries, veins, capillaries

lifeblood of connection

flows along miles of roadways

lub-dubbing in time

to the city’s breath

You can hate it, avoid it

or go with the flow

especially when family

is at the other end

®Douillard

Photo by Tamara Menzi via Unsplash

Climbing Poems: NPM #9

Climbing Poems

I climb

rung by rung

collecting words

wearing them like necklaces, strung together like pearls

I stretch higher

one foot pushing

one hand reaching

the blues:

cobalt, cerulean, azure

sing to me

a poem painting a layer of calm

a soothing lullaby reaching my ears and eyes

waves hush and roll onto the shore

step, reach, step, reach

breathe in the blue

and sing out nature’s wonder

as I climb poems

®Douillard

Circles: NPM #8

A walk on the beach also means noticing all the ways that people use the beach. There’s recreation, meditation, entertainment, sun bathing, fishing, castle building, rock stacking…and art. Today I came across some temporary art, raked into the sand. And later, farther down the beach, came across the artist creating another piece. And these circles, carved by an artist, became the basis for today’s poem.

Circles

Circles and circles and circles

around, round, rings

no beginning no end

bubbles bursting

balls bouncing

concentric layers

measuring time

scraped into sand

a canvas smoothed

by wave after wave

running up, retreating

an offering, a gift

space for imagination

to bubble and bounce

just a glimpse

at circles and circles and circles

until the sea

wipes it clean

to start fresh

with the next turn,

the next circle around the sun,

coming full circle

®Douillard

Cloud of Birds: A Slice and a Poem (NPM #6)

After more than a year of staying close to home, we ventured out this week, spending several days away from home. This morning represented our final leg–knowing we would land at home later in the day. We didn’t have a concrete plan when we woke up. We knew we had about 4 hours of a drive–and were in search of an adventure somewhere along that path. We considered some lakes (up in the Grapevine) and even talked about walking on our local beach once we got home. The beach! Why not explore a beach that is not close to home?

We decided we would head off to Malibu. A beach everyone has heard of, but so many people have not visited. We programmed the navigation and set out through the mountain pass. Clearly there are others who are also itching for some travel. LA’s freeways, while not at peak gridlock, were plenty full. Midway there, Google maps offered another route–one that would save us 11 minutes. We took it.

Once parked, we set off to explore the beach. Right away we heard the shrill sound of birds. What was that? Seagulls? What was going on? We watched as a huge cloud of birds lifted, screeching and calling. It happened again and again.

Cloud of Birds

A high pitched cloud

swirls up from the beach

whirling, cartwheeling

somehow sensing each wing

each beak

flying high, flying low

over the surfers, above the shore

moving in synch, as one

a crowd in perfect unison

terns turning

Is it murmuration?

®Douillard

A bit of investigation on our drive back home led me to discover that these are likely least terns, a tern variety recently at risk. I really don’t know if murmuration is specific only to starlings, but it was fascinating to watch these birds rise and fly and move as a group.

We loved our morning in Malibu. The weather was perfect, the crowds minimal, and the traffic manageable. A perfect ending to a bit of a spring break.

3 Haiku: NPM #5

Faced with a long drive back home, we decided to detour and find some mini adventures on our way. It makes for a long day…but was filled with small surprises that provided the perfect fodder for some Haiku.

Wildflowers

Transitory sprites

conjuring springtime dreamscapes

also known as weeds

®Douillard

Wetland Walk

Basking in the sun

pulling me to look closely

turtle or a rock?

®Douillard

Geese

The gaggle gathers

lunch counter or wetland spa?

pause in reflection

®Douillard

Yellow: 10 ways NPM #4

Yellow: 10 Ways

  1. Faraway star

fingers of light

reaching across galaxies

to warm and bronze

shoulders and noses

  1.  Sharp, astringent, fragrant

 squeezed, zested, sliced

 juice used a million ways

  1. Tall, white-feathered low-tide visitors

stomping and stirring

salty pools

with canary-yellow feet

  1. Spread on morning toast

sunshine on bread

melty, salty

tastes like a hug

  1. Warning: slow down

middle light

triangular sign

pay attention: time for caution!

  1. Dip-dyed for Easter, ready for the bunny

Crack!

out pops a downy feathered

chick

  1. Springtime harbingers

blossoming, towering

sprinkling the yellow-magic

of hope

over the world

  1. Pop, pop, pop

kernels burst

flavoring the air

with scents

of summer

  1. Pollinators flit from flower to flower

dressed in yellow and black

inviting new blossoms 

to dance

in the silky springtime breezes

  1. I scritch and scratch words across

the blank page with

Traditional #2

searching and seeking

until I uncover

the secret of where 

all the yellow poems hide

®Douillard

4-3-21: NPM #3

On the days when I am in the classroom, I am always paying attention to the potential mathematical patterns the date provides. And I have to admit, I’m sad that this great date fell on a Saturday (and during our spring break to boot!). Here’s my rough attempt at celebrating this rare mathematical date pattern in verse.

April 3, 2021

4, 3, 2, 1…blast off!

Numbers descending

stepping down

decreasing

by one

A date

marking time

beating out a rhythm

marching down the street

Eventually circling

holding hands

standing shoulder to shoulder

bow and begin

a dance of numbers

4, 3, 2, 1

®Douillard

The 5: NPM #2

If you know the state of California, you’re aware it is a long state connected by a freeway affectionately called The 5. After hours and hours in the car yesterday, I decided to write a poem…using only one syllable words…in hopes of capturing that long drive up that never-ending ribbon of road. (With a few photos for visual impact–all taken from the passenger side car window.)

Spring Fever: NPM #1

Even with the best of intentions, my first poem for the first of 30 days of National Poetry Month is posted on day 2! Blame the road trip I set off on yesterday and the many other distractions that accompanied that start. But, alas, here is the poem…and expect another later today to “catch up”.

Spring Fever

The temperature is rising

infecting us all

even in masks

We’re itching

to be outdoors

running

playing

lazing in the sun

Like cats we look for

that puddle of light

that will evaporate

the cold and dark

of winter’s shadow

And create

a tunnel of green

straight into

Summer!

®Douillard