Tag Archives: National Poetry Month

The Journals: A Life #fridayflash #nationalpoetrymonth #poetry #amwriting


In celebration of National Poetry Month, my Friday Flash this week is not a flash at all, but a poem (though if you consider it prose instead I suppose it could be called a flash). Be sure to check out Robert Lee Brewer’s  PAD challenge on Writer’s Digest and have a go at poetry yourself, whether you normally pen poems or, (like me), do not.

The Journals: A Life, was inspired by last year’s PAD challenge prompt, to write a poem about “new arrivals”. Though I quickly threw a poem together that day it was quite unorganized and so I’ve messed with it several times over the past year. I hope you enjoy!

the journals

The Journals: A Life, by Deanna Schrayer

Battered dun Samsonite filled near to                                    

flowing over, bought sixteen years hence,                    

from a stranger’s yard one Saturday.                                     

She knows there’s more room – the letters need          

only be rearranged. “You can’t take                                       

it with you,” friends mock… yet again.                        


Thin yellows move aside grudgingly.                            

Worn creams scoot over, more accepting,                    

(they are young yet, they know no better).                   

There are those that were once aflame with                            

neon glow, dim now beyond color                                

itself. Dull nothingness, remains.                                  


Tattered scraps dance with joy. Only these                            

are thrilled with the company, welcome                                                   

her new words with a potent hunger,                                     

leap into the dusty air, flutter                                       

about, embracing one another,                                               

glide like feathers to the bottom.                                   


She sits on the lid, blocking daylight                                      

altogether, clasps the lock, wonders,

once again, how many years will have

passed before her eyes feel the need to

touch those words flowed from ink-stained, aching

fingers. What those words will mean, then.


Go here to read a couple of my favorite poems. Who are your favorite poets? Do you have a particular favorite poem?

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A poem a day keeps the wrinkles away #poetry #worldpoetryday #nationalpoetrymonth

Wolrd poetry day

If you’re an avid (or is that obsessive?) reader as I am, you’ve surely encountered those articles that proclaim reading is not only a pleasurable experience, it also helps to preserve many aspects of our minds, even assisting in slowing the aging process. This Friday, the 21st, being World Poetry Day, and with National Poetry Month in April fast approaching, I felt it the perfect time to celebrate the many advantages of reading.

If you aren’t a regular reader, but would like to be, I suggest subscribing to The American Academy of Poets’ Poem-a-Day. It’s a fantastic way to initiate reading something each day as most of the time the poems are short and, (for those of you who claim “allergy” to poetry), the older, and usually long, poems are few and far-between. Often they are profound, sometimes silly, even outright hilarious. Plus, you may discover that you absolutely adore poetry, or you may decide one poem each day is not enough and start reading more and more and voila, you’re a reader! You might even be inspired to write your own poetry, something I encourage, even if you don’t know the difference between a sestina and a stanza. No one has to see it if you don’t want them to.

I could go on and on about the many reasons reading, and writing, poetry is so good for our souls, but I believe it’s better to give you a couple of my favorites. These particular two may make it seem I’m morbid but no, I just like the profoundness of both, and I believe, upon reading them, you’ll understand why I love poetry so much.

The Bolt, by Mary Kinzie

That girl so long ago walked, as they all did, shop girls,

Little cousins, and church friends, to the unflattering

Hack of the hem just where the calf begins to swell,

Felt ruchings of the bodice’s stiff panels

Gal the flesh beside the flattening ornate

Armature of underwear (like pads and straps

For livestock, fretted by tooling and bright studs),

So she must yank her knees against

Pounds of rigid drapery in the storm of heat,


Trailing through the pestering, gray heads

Of Queen Anne’s lace, wind raveling

Her hair and sweeping through prolific

Jagged-bladed grass – a wind that pressed down

There like God with both His hands, mashing the air,

Darkening the hole where the dry mouth of the wood

Yawned to drink the stumbling travelers already touched

By the heavy sacs of rain that broke and ran

In gouts down saturated pleats of surge…

Here that girl ran last, so long ago, to be run through

By one long lightning thread that entered, through

A slender purple bruise, the creamy skin of her temple,


The instant that it happened, nobody remembered

How she looked or spoke, so quickly had she blended

With this evocation of her having been.


This was the past: a stroke of imagery stare-

Frozen, finished in suspension.


I love how the poem uses two definitions of bolt – a bolt of fabric and a bolt of lightning.


I Felt a Funeral in My Brain, (280) Emily Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s poems were not titled, only given a number).

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

And Mourners to and fro

Kept treading – treading – till it seemed

That Sense was breaking through –


And when they all were seated,

A Service, like a Drum –

Kept beating – beating – till I thought

My mind was going numb –


And then I heard them lift a Box

And creak across my Soul

With those same Boots of Lead, again,

Then Space – began to toll,


As all the Heavens were a Bell,

And Being, but an Ear,

And I, and Silence, some strange Race,

Wrecked, solitary, here –


And then a Plank in Reason, broke,

And I dropped down, and down –

And hit a World, at every plunge,

And Finished knowing – then –

*I love how the ending here is truly as abrupt as “the end” always is.


And here is [the link to] a poem I wrote, She Saw It Comingwhich was originally a flash piece but readers’ comments led me to realize it should’ve been a poem all along.

Who are your favorite poets? What are your favorite poems? Why do you believe you’re attracted to these particular poems and/or poets?

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To take or not to take – PAD challenge #poetry #poems #amwriting

National Poetry Month 2013

How have you been doing with Robert Brewer’s Poem a Day challenge at Writer’s Digest? (If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, see this post).

I’m happy, (and a bit surprised), to say I’ve written a poem each day this month. So far anyway. That’s not to say the poems are great, or even publishable, only that I’ve been writing; one day I even wrote two. So, the point of the PAD challenge is working for me, and I appreciate you very much, Mr. Brewer, for picking my fingers up and making them fly!

There have been some terrific poems in the comments section of the PAD posts; with so many poets expanding their imagination beyond all limits I’m left embarrassed at the thought of sharing the words I’ve tossed willy-nilly on the page. However, I’ve produced one that I rather like, (incidentally, the only one that has nothing at all to do with some part of my life), and I’d greatly appreciate your opinion – both for feel and for technicality.

This poem To take or not to take, was inspired by Day 3’s PAD prompt: ‘tentative’. I suppose the reason I like this one [more than the others] is because it’s one of those stories that flew at me in a rush the second my fingers hit the keyboard, (something all we writers know is too often rare and always cherished). That also means this is in first draft, (a.k.a., rough). Unfortunately, WP makes formatting poetry a bit difficult – the lines should be a single space closer to one another than they appear here. Okay, I’ll hush now and give you the poem:

To Take Or Not To Take, by Deanna Schrayer

He didn’t know what he was

doing, his filthy hands filching  

through her purse as she

chattered and chattered beyond the

closed door. “Did you see the look

on his face when I….”


was he searching for? Lipstick? Face

powder? Her money,

encased in faux silver wallet,  

or flowery tissue that  

had swiped at her eyes

in the theater? What could

it be ——? A trinket? Was that it…

a souvenir?           No….


Nonono, he wouldn’t believe it!

This was not him. At all. 


Yet, as she opened the door he swiftly

              shoved her

gold-plated Zippo in

his pocket and




I’d love to hear some of your poetry, if you feel comfortable with sharing feel free to leave a poem in the comments, or provide a link to the address your poetry resides.

I’ve written short stories for years and though I still enjoy penning those, I am having a blast with poetry!

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You are a poet/did you know it? Celebrate National Poetry Month! #poetry

National Poetry Month 2013

How would you describe poetry? Poetry has been defined in several different ways. A couple, (via online dictionaries) are:

  • Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.
  • the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts. 

My definition of poetry is the “what, where, who, when, why” without all the “ands, buts, ifs” to split the story up. But the best definition of poetry I’ve heard was penned by one of the greatest ever poets, Carl Sandburg:

“Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.”

April is National Poetry Month, a time set aside for us to celebrate the beauty of words set on the page in their most illuminating form.

For anyone who thinks poetry is all mushy-mushy-love-stuff, or just plain too hard to understand, (as I’ve too often heard), check out these frightfully chilling gems at The Academy of American Poets’ site. And keep browsing, there’s a lot more where that came from.

I would be hard pressed to name a favorite poem, or even a favorite poet as I adore so many, both past and present. However, I would like to share this short, and apt, poem by Emily Dickinson. (Emily Dickinson’s poems were not titled and are now referred to by number; this is number 1212):

A word is dead

When it is said,

Some say.


I say it just

Begins to live

That day.

To learn more about poetry, and have great fun writing your own and reading others’ poems, go to Writer’s Digest’s Poem a Day Challenge. I am participating for the first time this year, (albeit privately, at least for now), and was surprised at how quickly the first day’s poem came to me. The theme was “new arrival”; rather than thinking of a baby or a new co-worker or any person at all, I immediately pictured the three full journals I have setting beside an old suitcase in which I store such, already packed with previous journals so my poem is about the arrival of “new” words, from the point-of-view of the ancient ones already settled. It was great fun to write! Today is a two-for, with one theme being “something that is bright” and the second being “something that is dark”. What would you do with that?

Do you have a favorite poem and/or a favorite poet? We’d love to hear about them!


I was surprised to discover I’ve read four novels since the last review, (not including poetry books). But finally my bookshelf has been updated. The reviews themselves are short, but there’s one you won’t want to miss so head on over. 

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She Saw It Coming (flash to poem) #fridayflash #amwriting #poetry


Hello everyone! I’ve been away for a while (due to this thing called life) and have missed you all very much. I look forward to hopping back on the bandwagon soon.

She Saw It Coming was originally a flash I posted on my former fiction site, The Other Side of Deanna. Thanks to the incredibly helpful critique I received [on that post] I realized the story may rather be a poem instead of a flash.

In honor of fast approaching National Poetry Month, (April), I’ve decided to be brave and share the transformation of She Saw It Coming (such as it is: first draft). I appreciate all courteous critique you have to offer. Thanks so much for stopping in and reading!   

National Poetry Month 2013

She Saw It Coming, (originally a flash piece, transformed to poem), by Deanna Schrayer


She saw it coming all right. But

she couldn’t stop it.

It would happen anyway.

A swarm of black

birds circled under heaving clouds,

weaving across the nirvanic sky,

a game of hide and seek with the sun.

Hawks? Vultures?

She couldn’t tell.

There was something dead out there though.

Or about to be.


Her neck throbbed, held straight back onto her

bony shoulders, to watch those birds,

those clouds, and the tops of the barely –

budding, ancient oaks swaying high

above the scenic overlook, as if their leaves

conducted night creatures and murky

clouds in an orchestrated burlesque.


They swayed together in a waltz

performed especially for her pleasure

at especially that moment.


Just when she felt sensually dizzy,

marveling at God’s frolicking world, the tallest,

oldest oak groaned a deafening


and fell on top of her,

hammering her petite body

into the ground,

as if she were


a mere



she saw it



Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

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P.S. I have been reading, and will update my bookshelf soon. If you’re looking for an exciting read, grab hold of Kate Atkinson’s novels about Jackson Brodie; they’re all terrific (my favorite is the first, Case Histories).