Friday, March 26, 2021

Poetry Friday: Dizzying Dizains

I think Tanita was kidding when she suggested "dizzying" as a requirement for our March dizain challenge. But maybe not. Writing in a form with several rules can be head-spinning. That said, I quite like this form, having written two in the past few years (Squaring up the Dizain and If Digitopolis Had a Chapel.) The line count (ten) equals the syllable count (ten per line) which makes it compact and sturdy.  As does the core of double couples in the middle of a solid rhyme scheme (ababbccdcd.)  

So I thought it safe, in such a well-built poem, to play with the dizzying wanderings of life.  And even though the completely square form of a dizain is counter to the lovely curves of a labyrinth, I find exploring them both to bring a sense of peace. Exploration within boundaries, life both circular and purposeful.  


If everything adds up, days fairly squared,

if I mark my hours, no circling around,

even then, I am undone, unprepared

for the arcs of my years, how I am bound, 

bent, broken to the curve of old ground;

battle lines not straight but a swelling spin;

what I leave behind circles, floods back in;

seeking center, even math undulates: 

all was once, all will be, all will have been;

what is life but the path our dance creates?

         ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

Poetry Sisters links:







Poetry Friday is hosted today by Soul Blossom Living

Friday, February 26, 2021

Poetry Friday: Happiness is a Spoon


February's challenge was to write a poem inspired by a roll of the metaphor dice.  After several duds, I rolled "Happiness is a Spoon" and although I don't use that metaphor in my poem, it's inspired by that...and my mother-in-law's spoon drawer. She follows our group efforts on Facebook and is in hospice care as we sit with her today. She can't eat much, so people are feeding her with music. I'm not a singer, but she loves poetry, too, and especially rhyme, so this Poetry Friday is for her.  



Never play with knives, 

but spoons? A way to slap 

knees to music tunes or waste 

an afternoon; soon cards 

are strewn, time as jammy

as a day in June, until noon

by noon by noon, time is

upside-down too soon.

Come let us open then

the drawer of spoons,

stem by stem, lift the

silvery blooms, cold-shined,

and sized (if held just so)

to hold the moon. We will sing, 

then, we’ll be full, on sips of tune; 

no bottom to this lagoon cupped

spoon by spoon, in voices,

not a one by tarnish ruined,

ballooning forth, a swoon 

of spoons, holding love, 

more love, see it there, 

soon, oh soon…

                    ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

My poetry sister's links can be found here: 







Poetry Friday is hosted today by Karen Edmisten.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Poetry Friday: Dictionary Time Travel

This month's challenge was a fun one:  using your birth year, tap into the Merriam-Webster "Time Traveler" site to generate a list of words new to the dictionary that year. Write a poem (any form) from the result. Here's a screenshot of some of "my" words:  

Words, words, words...

First of all, the complete list of words from 1963 was eye-opening. Who knew zip code wasn't in the dictionary until then? And while some words have gone out of style (phat and snarf) and some tech out of use (dot-matrix printer, anyone?) others words have become ordinary (mind game, upscale, scam.) 

Beyond that, though, this challenge sparked a discussion among the Poetry Sisters about word choices, and how language can be behind or ahead of cultural change. For example, sexism was officially recognized by M-W in 1963. Of course, sexism has existed since the beginning of time, but being able to name it was a sign we were also seeing it more clearly. Maybe. (For an explanation of what "first use" of a word means, see here.

The challenge, though, was not just about words. It was about how to use them in a to create something more than a word salad (not a 1963 word, that's 1904.) For example, was writing a sonnet possible with vocabulary like "checkbook journalism" and "support hose" or was free verse the only answer to employing such sore thumb choices? Should we select words that already had something in common (sports words or culturally-charged ones or medical jargon) or should we string words along a personal narrative of memories from our year? 

As usual, having so many choices didn't make the challenge easier. Liz called her first attempt kin to making modern art. Mine was more like graffiti. (Graffiti as a noun---1945, graffiti as a verb---1964.) 

In the end, I found structure in a definition poem. Perhaps an obvious choice for a dictionary challenge, but I didn't plan it that way. As I told my Poetry Sisters, I rarely start with a plan...I write in order to find out what my plan IS. And after some scrounging (1909) and scrawling (1612!) this poem wanted to talk to me about love.  

1963 words are in purple.

Love is….

Love is not a bully 

pulpit or a bodysuit

zipped to fit. It’s not 

mind game.

Not a mini-series, bent

on one-upping itself. 

Love is a space walk. 

Love is a play-action

pass. Love is phat. But oh,

my dragon fruit, love is 

passing rare. We’ll fall off 

the leaderboard. We’ll be

the after-burn of slings

and arrows. We’ll be 

elevator music. What a

dirty trick, and yet…

there we fly, doubled

on a banana seat bike, 

plastic fronds thwapping

from the handlebars. We

ride because love is 

a gut check. Love has

no delete key. Love is 


           ------Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

My poetry sisters time-traveling poems can be found here:







Poetry Friday is hosted today by Bookseed Studio.