News From The Park

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday was beautiful, as is today. If that’s true for where you live, I hope you plan for some Monday outdoor time.

After going back and forth about what to do, I’ve decided that The Poetry Park will not be posting any prompts during April. I’ll be taking care of my cousin’s family while she takes care of her mom during the radiation/chemo treatments and then switching places with my cousin so she can take a break and regroup. My nieces will be home from college in early May and will also be helping out, so I’m hoping The Park can get back to normal by May 13th.

I appreciate your patience during this difficult time. I thank you for supporting The Park through March and look forward to getting back together with you in May.



#17 – A Cameo Appearance

Welcome back to The Poetry Park!

Am I the only one who thinks time is flying by at warp speed? It feels like I just finished the Poetic Asides November 2014 Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge and all of a sudden it’s time for the April 2015 PAD. I’ve been back and forth about whether to participate this year, but if I do, how will that affect the twice-a-week prompts here at The Poetry Park in April?

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Ten days ago, my aunt was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and, in addition to tumors found on her lungs, she has four tumors on the brain. My plan to write a poem a day in 2015 grinded to a halt the moment I heard the news. Any writing I have done has been difficult. However, writing has also been my mental safety zone.

With that in mind, I’ve decided The Poetry Park will continue to post prompts but only once a week on Mondays during the month of April. If you can join us, that would be wonderful, but I understand how hard it can be when pulled in different directions. We’ll return to our twice-a-week prompt schedule in May.

Having said all that, what are we doing today? I’m glad you asked! Today’s prompt is in The Stylish Poet category and it’s all about the numbers. We’re writing our poems in the Cameo style, a 6-line form with a corresponding syllable count of 2, 5, 8, 3, 8, 7, 2.

Charm City Birds

Perched high
in the trees, framed by
flaming plumage, he sings to spring.
tones float through branches to his mate
who weaves hanging nest for brood
to be.

© Susan Schoeffield

#16 – Wordling Words No. 5

Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Poetry Park!

For many of us, it feels like we’ve been stuck inside forever. As March moves into April, we’re ready to slip out of our winter cocoon to explore and enjoy all the outside world has to offer. To help us on our way, we’re going to bring a little bit of nature to our computers as we write to the Six-Pack Odes category.

Our wordle words come from the poem “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale (which can be read it in its entirety by clicking here). Remember, Six-Pack Odes can be written in any style and length but must contain all six words listed below.

Wordle #5

A Frog In Your Moat

With steady legs, the frog commands
his lily pad in search of lands
where robins sing throughout the night
and swallows dance in fire light.
He drifts across the murky pools
without the need to suffer fools.
His failure he will not concede
until a gator needs to feed.

© Susan Schoeffield

#15 – ”There Are Rich Counsels in Trees”*

Good morning and welcome to The Poetry Park’s first springtime prompt for 2015! Yesterday, we traveled down to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to ride along the Northern Section of Skyline Drive and see how the Park begins its subtle transition from winter to spring, especially in those majestic timbers that dot the mountainside.

Of the many wonders found in nature, few hold more symbolism than the tree. Standing tall on firmly planted roots, it reaches up toward the heavens. This protector from the elements dons different outfits depending on the season. It is regal in its stately beauty.

For our prompt today, we’re going to write a tree poem. You can write about a particular tree. You can use the tree as a metaphor. Envision a world devoid of trees, or picture yourself walking through the forest when a tree strikes up a conversation. Can you imagine what it would say to you?

Joyce Kilmer said it best. “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” Write your tree-lined poem in any length or style in this As You Like It category.

* – Hebert P. Horne, English Poet, Architect and Art Historian

With Outstretched Limbs

Regardless of your worldly woe,
you’ll find your peace where’er I grow
and there beneath my timeless charms
draw comfort from these swaying arms.

A shield to guard against your plight,
I’ll shade you from the boldest light.
And while you rest against my bark,
together we’ll bring hope to spark.

© Susan Schoeffield

#14 – The Ride Of A Lifetime

Perhaps there is no better metaphor for life and love than the roller coaster. We travel along at breakneck speeds. We reach lofty heights only to drop to cavernous lows. We twist and turn. Sometimes, we go in circles but, in the end, we straighten out and arrive on steady ground.

Today, we’re writing an ekphrastic poem in our From A Window category. Our inspiration comes from the photo below of the coaster, Goliath, at Six Flags New England. (You can find a description of Goliath by clicking here. The embedded video on this page doesn’t seem work for me, but I did find  one on YouTube, taken by a brave (crazy?) soul in the ride’s front seat: Goliath video.)

While writing your poem, remain seated at all times and feel the rush of excitement as spine-tingling inspiration keeps you on track.
Goliath, 6 Flags New England
Rail Ways

Another thrill, another spill.
In strength of will, we find the pill
to calm our nerves on hidden curves
as vexing swerves drain our reserves.

Though we might whine, we’re back in line
with stronger spine to rise and shine
above the scheme that pops a seam
which makes us beam or, sometimes, scream.

© Susan Schoeffield

#13 – Wordling Words No. 4

I prepared today’s prompt on Friday, after learning Thursday night that a close relative is undergoing medical tests to determine whether or not she has cancer and, if so, how far it has progressed. I thought about our relationship, both the good and the bad, and wondered if there were things I should have done differently. The title of a Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken,” took hold of my brain and wouldn’t let go which, of course, explains the source of today’s wordle words. (The poem can be read in its entirety at The Poetry Foundation by clicking here.)

Wordle #4
Looking at them individually, these words don’t have to paint the bleak picture of despair I captured in my poem below. They can be transformed into something fun, uplifting or elegant. Regardless of where they take you, follow the road to your poetic destination.

Bearing The Burden

In the morning of the day, I am but a traveler
going along my way, scorning the road
and its heavy load which leaves my body bent.
I am far from content and decidedly spent.
My feet twisted in the undergrowth, I am both
stumbling and crumbling from the weight of
mounting pages written over passing ages,
afraid tomorrow’s stage will be one of sorrow.

© Susan Schoeffield

#12 – Embracing Spring With Open Arms

With snowfalls measured in feet and temperatures in single digits – not just on a single day but extended over many consecutive days – it’s not surprising we yearn to end of the winter of our discontent. With the beginning of daylight savings time, the signs are falling into place. Everywhere, we’re reaching out for spring.

For today’s Opening Gambit prompt, we’re using as our inspiration the first four lines from a piece by Spanish poet, Antonio Machado (the entire poem can be found at this link):

“The afternoon is bright,
with spring in the air,
a mild March afternoon,
with the breath of April stirring”

What does the coming of spring mean to you? Is it the difference between warm and cold? Is it the replacement of colorless landscapes with those in delicate pasteIs? Maybe you see it as a symbol of renewal or a prelude to those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer.

Write your poems for the Opening Gambit category in any length and any style. All you need to do is think about the coming season and let the words spring forth from your fingers!

Come The Spring

In February, cold and bleak,
we breathe in hope, but dare not speak,
of days ahead where we can sing
in warmer tones when comes the spring.

In silence, tongues are loath to move,
afraid the winter needs to prove
its heartless strength with one more swing
to stay the bliss when comes the spring.

Yet, soon the dreary days will pass
as flower buds and blades of grass
inspire robins while they sing
with earnest joy when comes the spring.

© Susan Schoeffield

#11 – Free To Be An Etheree

It’s time to get decked out in all your poetic finery because today we’re revisiting The Stylish Poet category! (Is that a boo/hiss I hear?)

One of the hardest things for me is crawling out of the comfort zone of rhyme.  Rhyming comes naturally to me because from my teens to my thirties, I wrote over 100 of the nicest songs you’ll never hear. Some poetry prompts lend themselves so easily to a rhyming scheme that I have to force myself to go in a different direction. As a result, I spend a good bit of time searching for poetic forms that rely solely on syllable count.

The Etheree is one of the least complicated non-rhyming forms: ten lines with a corresponding 1 to 10 syllable count. You can reverse it, double it, triple it or even quadruple it. What could be more fun? Well, probably a lot of things, but while you wait for them to come along, feel free to Etheree with glee!


in windows,
their reflections
a foreboding dance.
Solemnly, streets begin
to glow a twilight warning.
Shadows outrun their sheer brilliance,
afraid disguises will be unveiled
by these fragments of illumination.

© Susan Schoeffield

#10 – Wordling Words No. 3

From my office window, all I can see is snow. Mounds of it. The fire pit has disappeared and I can’t see the ears on my mom’s ceramic deer. It’s pretty to look at but I’m not a snow fan. Despite my constant complaining, it hasn’t been the snowiest winter in Baltimore, although it might go down as one of the coldest, breaking records set in the late 1800’s. Small wonder I’m looking for inspiration from the master of island escapism.

Today, we’re writing to the Six-Pack Odes category with our words selected from the song, “Bring Back The Magic,” written by that consummate tropical troubadour, Jimmy Buffett, and Will Jennings. (The complete lyrics for this song can be found here.) As always for this prompt category, there are no restrictions on style or length, but your poem must contain all six wordle words.

Wordle #3

Great Expectations

Beachcombers strolling along the shore,
their delight buried in hot sand,
long for the rolling waves
to sink their sorrows when castles are
lost to the rising tide.

© Susan Schoeffield