Day 30: Happy National Poetry Month!

It’s bittersweet this ending of National Poetry Month. This one, more than many others, has meant a lot. I’m happy it’s over, but sad at the same time.

I’m happy because I have a lot of material to work with when I got to put together Where the Sidewalk Begins. I’ve written some good stuff, some decent stuff, some stuff that needs work. It’s going to be interesting to see how it comes together.

I’m sad because I enjoyed the pressure of writing a poem a day. Why can’t I continue that after this month? Well, because it’s a bit of a pain in the ass. I mean, look at just the past few days. I’ve been sick, I’ve been trying to get caught up at work, I’ve had two big events this weekend. And every day I either had to write something poetic or do an Instagram live.

Speaking of the Instagram live, I do realize I owe you one of those. I promise to do it soon. As I mentioned before, I’ve been sick and I don’t really look great right now. So I decided to take today off and just write another poem instead.

So here’s the last poem of National Poetry Month 2023. Thank you for joining me this month.

Symphony in My Head
By Michelle Garren-Flye

Today I hear flutes playing 
…not in the distance…
No, they’re inside my head.

Trumpets kick in a blaring note
…make me start a bit…
But they’re not the only ones.

A harp, a violin, a trombone or two
…is that an electric guitar?...
It’s a full-blown symphony up there.

The drumbeats start and I have to move
…what other choice do I have?...
I’ll dance along, keep time with their song.

Oh, it’ll keep me going all day long
…the rhythm, the flow, the beat…
How I love this symphony in my head!
Working cover for Where the Sidewalk Begins. Hope you’ll check it out when it’s done!
Copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 29: Happy National Poetry Month!

I love rhyme. I love rhyming poetry. I write both rhyming and non-rhyming poetry, but I do love playing with rhyme. I’m actually sad that rhyming poetry isn’t really “in” right now. Many literary magazine editors state they rarely accept rhyming poetry.

But rhyme is fun. So today I experimented with a rhyming pattern. It’s not exactly right yet, but you can get an idea of what I mean, maybe.

By Michelle Garren-Flye 

Even the gray days of Spring
can waken dreams and desires
you’d forgotten from your youth—
maybe it’s time to relight old fires.

Write them all down as truth
and craving will become a blessing
that haunts even as it inspires—
you just don’t know what it will bring!

For Spring is a god who admires
the worshippers who don’t dispute
but accept the dreams he acquires—
they’re only meant to soothe.
Can’t you smell the green? Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 28: Happy National Poetry Month!

It’s almost the end of National Poetry Month. I’ve ended up with almost fifty pages of poetry! I finished my little epic “Where the Sidewalk Begins”, which means I’ll start putting together the book next month. it will have many of the poems I’ve written here in it. I’ve nearly figured out how to illustrate it, too. I finished the cover the other day. Not to mention, I broke out of my writing slump.

These are all good things to take away from National Poetry Month. I also discovered new ways to share my love of poetry. Like “live poetry writing” lol. Those were fun, especially when I was working and constantly interrupted. And my live readings on Instagram. I’m hoping to find the courage to continue those, even if it’s just to read someone else’s poetry.

One thing I didn’t expect to discover was a sincere appreciation for poetry prompts. When I started my book of love poetry, I had no idea what this year of the rabbit held for me. Let’s just say it’s been mostly hard to concentrate on light themes. But that’s okay because love isn’t all light, and some of the poetry I’ve written has helped me explore the darker side of love.

Today I’m going to do something a little different than I’ve done yet. I’m going to write a poem based on a picture of a tree (trees?) that I discovered in my yard yesterday. Here’s the tree:

My poetry prompt of the day.
Another view

It’s 11:06 a.m. I’m off to write the poem now.

11:20 a.m. The poem took an unexpected turn. I’m pacing to see if I want to allow it. I’m also going to make another cup of coffee.

11:37 a.m. I finished it. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It went much further into the dark than I’d intended. But I think it’s good. Still needs some work to get the rhythm right, maybe.

By Michelle Garren-Flye

When did it begin, this twining of lives,
and how can it end…unless death intervenes?
Darkness and light combine to create
a weaving pattern I both love and hate.
Beauty of together should not be denied—
shadow perfects light, bright foils the dark.
Even when harmony cannot be reached
the two make each other complete.
Tear them apart if you dare, won’t you?
Sort it all out into two imperfect piles,
never quite even, no matter how you hack.
(Equitability is something the heart can’t fathom.)
Sometimes I forget I once was alone,
the wealth of that time got lost in my past.
Perhaps when I leave when it’s over and done
I’ll find some of me left in my stack…at last.

Photos and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 27: Happy National Poetry Month!

I’m back at work today after being out sick for a couple of days. I’m hardly ever sick, but this one was a tough one. So I naturally decided to celebrate by writing a sonnet. Right?

Hope you enjoy:

By Michelle Garren-Flye

When spring ends must I be lost and forlorn?
Spring flowers aren’t necessarily best.
Summer brings new miracles I can’t scorn.
Watch the baby bird sneak out of the nest!

By now, his wings are strong, he can take flight—
see him soar above the emerald tree.
For him loss of spring flowers is no plight—
the season’s passage means he is set free.

I will not shed tears for the loss of spring.
Instead I’ll look forward to each season,
anticipate the treasures it will bring.
enjoy existence beyond all reason.

This is the only way to truly win:
love every moment you are in.
One of last summer’s gardenia’s. They’ll be blooming again soon!
Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 26: Happy National Poetry Month!

It’s 11:40 a.m. and I want to do another live poetry writing. I’m going to find a poetry prompt. Be right back.

11:48 a.m. I’m back. I honestly didn’t see any poetry prompts I liked, but I remembered this morning when I walked my dog and how the spring wind felt. I’ve been sick and that cool breeze with the light scent of some sort of flowers felt good. Cleansing. I think I’ll write about that. So here goes.

11:50 a.m. I’m writing.

11:57 a.m. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

I step out into the fresh air
Feel the spring breeze wash over 
Lifting my hair from my face
Streaming over my mind
Pushing away the bad thoughts
It rinses away the sickness
And I declare peace
With myself and the world
You must deal with the darkness
If you wish to walk in the light
With the weight of the bad 
Finally gone from my head
I raise my chin and smell the spring
The green newness of it
With a hint of pink from somewhere

It needs a title, a bit of editing and I feel like there’s something missing at the end. I’ll be back.

12:01 p.m. This is what I’ve come up with:

By Michelle Garren-Flye

I step out into the fresh air,
feel the spring breeze wash over,
lifting my hair from my face,
streaming over my mind,
pushing away the bad thoughts.
It rinses away the sickness
and I declare peace
with myself and the world.
(You must deal with the darkness
if you wish to walk in the light.)
With the weight of the bad 
finally gone from my head
I raise my chin and smell the spring:
the green newness of it
with a hint of pink from somewhere.
And I think, this is better.

Keep in mind that all my poems will probably be edited again before I put them out. You might not even recognize some of them after that process is done! But this is the beginning. What do you think?

A hint of pink from somewhere. Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 25: Happy National Poetry Month

I’m sick today, so I’m late and the poem isn’t great. But it does rhyme.

See you tomorrow, hopefully with something better!

The Lovers
By Michelle Garren-Flye

Maybe I’m finally growing up,
looking at love the way I do.
Knowing it’s weakness to seek
such a thing (I always knew).

Love can be brittle and hard
or it can overflow your cup
with a sweetness that’s sure
and true in the build up.

Is it possible, you’ll plead,
though your heart is scarred,
Can I have it again, this love?
Is it really in my cards?

But love is risk I’d rather not take 
it’s not really something I need
and I can easily avoid its reach.
Keep it out of my life’s creed.
Love is a risk. Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 24: Happy National Poetry Month!

It’s the last week of National Poetry Month. I’m sorry I’m late, and I’m sorry this is a short entry and I’m sorry it’s rather a sad one. In honor of the baby birds I see broken on the sidewalk at this time of year:

Ode to a Baby Bird
By Michelle Garren-Flye

It’s that time of year when baby birds fall from the nest
and lay helpless on the ground with broken wings or neck
because they tried, Daedalus-like, to fly too close to the sun
too early and the gods laughed—and then they panicked.

Because if a baby bird learns to fly too well and too early
She may become a god, so they smite her back to the ground.

Is it better this way for the baby birds lying in balls of fluff
On the unkind ground that did not provide a soft enough landing?
They never knew love or fun or the thrill of the flight
(except for that one all-too-brief moment before the fall began).

But they also never knew the unkind world where hateful gods
refuse them the skies just because they’re jealous of pretty plumage.
Not a baby bird, but he did pose for me. Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye.

Day 22: Happy National Poetry Month

There’s a forest fire in the Croatan National Forest a few miles away from me. Close enough so we have air quality alerts and I got ash in my hair when I walked my dog yesterday. And there was a meteor shower last night but I didn’t even try to watch it because of the ash.

But I was sad about it. It occurred to me how very subjective our experiences are. The trees are dying. People are risking their lives to stop it. But I can’t see the stars.

Of course I wrote a poem about it.

Forest Ash
By Michelle Garren-Flye

I thought we could watch the stars fall
together in in the light of the fading crescent
but what’s falling now is ash from the forest
that’s burning across the river.

The dead souls of a thousand trees 
block our view of streaking stars 
and the silver moon has turned orange,
and is too weak to shine through death.

Across the river and through the woods
people are fighting to save the trees
but here in my backyard I’m sad
I can’t look into the heavens with you. 
One of my favorite trees. Spring makes me grateful for green.
Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 21: Happy National Poetry Month

Today we have another poem written from a poetry prompt. You can find the prompt list here. I chose the first one, which says:

Grab the closest book. Go to page 29. Write down 10 words that catch your eye. Use 7 of words
in a poem. For extra credit, have 4 of them appear at the end of a line.

Fun! I work in a bookstore, so it was, actually, hard to figure out which book was closest. I actually have four poetry books sitting on my desk, but it didn’t seem right to choose those. So I looked to my left instead of my right and found a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows. I don’t know about you guys, but that book scarred me for life. I’ve been afraid of axes ever since.

It has amazing words in it, though. I found these on page 29:

  • shaggy
  • sigh
  • jackets
  • patched
  • sycamore
  • pokeberry
  • mountains
  • comb
  • cloth
  • spiderweb

Needless to say, it was not difficult to form a vision with these words to prompt me. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. Much of my life is colored by those years. I related to all of the words in this list…except pokeberry. But I do like the word!

Anyway, this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy:

Memory Bank
By Michelle Garren-Flye

Spiderwebs hang shaggy
from dusty doorframes
in this old house
in my mind.
I keep the memories
I treasure there:
winter coats laying 
on the oil stove to warm
before we step out 
into cold mountain air.
We laugh when the polyester
scorches, leaving small holes
on the interior
that no one can see, anyway.
I discard the patched up jeans
that made me sigh
and the battles with the comb
in Mama’s hand.
It’s best to forget some things.
I do love buttercups. Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye