A daily poetry practice to generate and sustain the Life/Lines among us, for published and novice poets alike
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Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines.
Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.
Today’s words were contributed by undergraduate students in German 4105: Creative Writing? In German? Geht klar!, co-taught by writer and Professor of the Practice Matthias Goeritz (Comparative Literature) and Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow Claire Ross (Germanic Languages and Literatures).
Poems submitted for April 14
— Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Comparative Literature
Bruised by my fall from grace I limp back
Into a dark, slippery cave and cannot see
Bats hang invisible, only eyes glow,
Their gaze a brief gift
Joining my shame.
But no matter how long I hide here I will still be
In the in-between brief space
where words fall still
and dreams have yet to gift me,
when light forgets to see my eyes,
touch is lost and I taste only thought,
we cross realities to put the world
away and wake to write a better story.
— Julia Gordon-Bramer
Spring’s gifts are so brief.
Still, I long to see Summer,
Fall, and Winter too…
— James Moog
14 April 2020
I still see the great fall
we took together.
The world plunged into the
A brief rejoinder of what
we have done as humans.
The gift of life has been turned into
An unimaginable black hole.
— Jey Sushil (Track for International Writers)
I tell you what, said the baby
I’m gonna fall
You’re gonna see it
slow-mo still frame
it doesn’t hurt,
But in that brief shock
our gift will be freedom
And you remember.
Feeprinzessin tears up the brief Brief.
With her hands holding the giftig gift,
she flies and flies until she sees the See,
where, in all the still Stille,
she falls into the waterFalle.
— Daniel Zhang
She still could not see
What had tripped her to fall
For a brief moment though
Thought she that damned gift crystal ball!
It is as if time is standing ever so still
The fall of many from the virus is vast
But for a brief moment we will swallow this pill
Because of the sacrifice of many we shall see
The true gift of selflessness in the wake of their deeds
Which will break the curse of this invisible enemy at last
— Maureen Kleekamp
The fruit of knowledge,
overripe, a gift
of gravity after
a brief fall.
We see only
— James B. Moog
Briefly, today's gifts -
furtive glances & a quickened pace
fall far from yesterday's -
shared, lingering moments.
Abruptly, stillness is sought & heralded
while the horizon is left unseen.
— L. Dennis
I still see the gift as a brief reminder
Of Fall. A passing memory of slow decay.
The forecast of darkness that lies ahead.
Light bursts forward, a bountiful radiance
Saturates the soul with the essence of life
That struggles, abound with tangles that strangle
And wrangle for control. A selfish outreach
For personal growth leaving others in dust.
Blinded, feeling the burning, blowing heat, sweat
Rises from the pores, a coalesced solution that
Drowns the salty Earth in a new salinity.
The image shrivels. A passing memory.
A brief reminder.
— Eric Reiss
“It is a gift”
But how could it be?
Fleeting and brief
Fall crashed down around us
Scattering fire-colored leaves
As far as we could see.
Still, I remember those days fondly
The times when I’d look outside the window
And see once green leaves
Burst into flame.
Lest a rise from sleep
Feel like a fall to me,
I tell myself to see—
This one brief life
A gift remains,
A treasure still to be.
— John Randall
to see the gift
you must fall
then brief moments
— January Kiefer
On this long fall from the familiar
into an abyss,
how to help each other see
the gift—that this time
will be brief when seen
from the other end.
Be still. Pay attention.
— Sharon Bangert Corcoran
I tried to brief him on what it is like to see color
But it is near impossible. Because
How can I describe the nostalgia of the haunting crimson and pumpkin hues that
When everything is about to turn dead. But for now, they perform one last beautiful show.
My glittering aqua pool in summers? Purple and yellow pool floaties on the kids?
And how to explain how the way the pink of pink flowering magnolias make me feel brighter than before?
Still I will do my best.
— Ellery Saluck
When our parents gave parties
we girls watched in the darkness
at the top of the stairway
catching sparkles of laughter
that wafted up towards us,
glimpses of ladies and gentlemen
swirling in the light
beyond open French doors
until we fell asleep.
After the party our parents
gathered us up
put us gently to bed.
"Our stars have winked out," Mother said.
was to fall so far and still
And to offer up this brief
to God. What
a poet want?
— Matthew Freeman
Will this current "stay at home" ordinance
be brief or continue to last through fall?
Will we not see or touch, in accordance;
hand washing, gloves and masks for all?
Still hanging out inside with my corpulence
and desiring a gift of contact or a call.
— Laurie J
Einem geschenkten Gaul schaut man nicht ins Maul,
especially in Gaul, or in the fall. In diesem Fall jedoch
dürfte der Gaul ein Gift sein for old Paris, no, not France,
the other one, who's hiding Helen, still, behind the wall.
Jawohl, die Rede ist vom Fall of Troy! This horse is not a toy,
no thank-you note required, nor desired, just a brief confirmation of receipt,
and then we'll beat -- a dead horse? -- a retreat
across the old wine-dark Aegean. See,
beware of Greeks, and of polysemy.
She still could not see
What had tripped her to fall
For a brief moment though
Thought she that damned gift crystal ball!
His fall from grace
where all could see,
was so very brief
but a gift to me.
No need to be perfect,
no need to shine,
still, I wanted to please him,
for he was mine.
— Kelley Lingle
How long before an old dog goes still?
Or the branches fall? And the silence fills?
How brief an hour would you hold your breath?
Would you wait to see? Would you take this gift?
— Gwyneth Henke
There was that brief time before we knew you were sick.
But as spring turned to summer, and summer to fall, we learned the truth in time.
Perhaps it was fortunate that we couldn’t see what was ahead.
The losses, the surgeries, the setbacks, the permanent disfigurement.
But still, a gift. One year out from the moment before we knew. You survived. You survive.
— Stacey Barton, MSW, LCSW
In a brief, still, half-life of a moment
standing on the brink of a grand, deep, red and orange canyon
I could see the beauty in the depth
was not afraid I might fall headlong into it
but held out my hands, as if I could somehow hold it
and call it what I knew, after all, it must be:
— Steve Givens
She can see his face so clearly
Even though his presence was brief
She knows now that it was remarkable
That he appeared to her the way he did
An apparition, a gift to fall in her lap
All these months later
She still sees his face
And cherishes the dream
— Betty Springfield
Still, I cannot believe this:
So thin your mouth
So brief the kiss
So deep the fall
from real love to real life
Touch is a gift, take it back
See the still water
From the moon
— james goodman 4.14.20
Dropped the Ball
For a brief moment I considered
your presence a gift, an extra inning.
I see you're still an exaggeration
disguised as a sports package.
I no longer fall for fouls or fumbles.
— Linda O'Connell
The President Has Fallen
Too brief his life
His fall by others' hands
I still see and hear
his gift to us in
— 2020 04 14 by Lloyd Klinedinst
See-sawing my Self,
Falling from love to beyond
Carrying emptiness in my briefcase
Oh you Gift-er of nothingness
Are you still here?
— Braveheart Gillani
The Human Condition
Will I still see you when autumn comes,
if even for a brief moment?
Our gift separated by glass and plastic;
time, distance, and heartache.
Will we be kept apart by masks and gloves?
Will humanity survive
the virus that hurts us most of all,
or will hatred take us in the fall?
Will we be ready for love when winter comes?
— Susan Lively
It's Like This
I still don't know the right word, we
shape its meaning with hands and time. Here
is where we see in darkness with patient palms, and presence
is the fruit not ready to fall, not yet a taste to savor. This place
cradles gravity like the Pacific in full rise and swell, a brief gift
becoming a timeless tongue to lap the shores demanding more
— Casey Hampton
The sweetness of the apple was brief,
the fall into the gift of knowledge must have been disappointing.
Instead of omniscience, they learned if they plow all day,
plant the right seeds at the right time, and have good weather,
they might grow food, which then had to be harvested and cooked.
We are still looking for that apple,
the quick fix, the silver bullet, the magic pill.
After centuries of examples, we still don’t see it,
omniscience means a hell of a lot of trial and error.
— Carol Haake 4/14/20
Mit Gift in der Luft
bleibt der See still.
Wenn die Nacht falls,
gibt es keinen brief Austausch.
Still! Können Sie das see?
In jeden Augen, in jedem Brief, in jedem Fall
erwarten wir den Herbst als gift.
— Rhea Jin
You can’t hear what people don’t say
Or see what hasn’t yet been created
Who will guide my feet on
the rocky steps of the heights?
All I ask is that I land softy after the fall
Move against the brief hesitations
Before still time swallows your gift.
Brief lull to be still
Perhaps in the fall we’ll see
This break as a gift
— Dianna Graveman
To see the beauty in every season of life
no matter how brief, in spite of the grief
despite every struggle, despite every fall
Is still the most precious gift of them all
— Kenytha Harvey
Home for a brief stay, weeks have slipped away.
A generous gift put in my account, to pay some bills beginning to mount.
Going through pictures papers and such,realizing the accumulation is really to much.
Seeing spring blossom from winter and fall, scrolling my numbers for someone to call.
The family quietly sleeps,there is a morning still. Another day with plenty time to fill
— Dave Brendel
The air is changing. Not so much you can see, but like the feeling of the warmth of a crackling fire deep in your soul. Like the leaves that don the most vibrant colors in the fall. It is a brief glimpse, for if you close your eyes more than a mere moment, it has disappeared. A rare gift of nature's fleeting beauty, before the world is still.
sunshine was peeling away from the sand.
waves would fall to the shore,
one by one,
each pass a gift,
a brief merging;
the still in between;
I would see this;
when with every pause,
a new generation of hope.
Haiku in April, 2
See the petals fall,
Stilled, yet quivering still, to
Attest their brief gift.
The Second Spring
In the Fall, life is discovered anew. Warm. Glowing. Bright. Red and Gold.
Here in the “just right” place between the too hot of summer and the too cold of winter,
We gather ‘round fires to tell our stories. Stories that swirl and rise like smoke.
Evanescent in the shadows of the harvest moon.
And our common wisdom finds comfort in the company of memory and faith. Yes.
Autumn is the brief season of innocence restored. A blessing. A gift.
Our souls, childlike, once again. Our eyes unblinking and opened wide. To nature. To life.
In my distant youth, Fall was the season I treasured the most. I treasure it still.
— Kevin Farrell
I can still see you, your hand pressed against the window,
that brief moment of knowing
the other was still well in this world;
I miss the gift of your hand warm and alive in mine.
Now barriers fall between us like stretched silence
and I wonder, will this last forever?
Will my words reach you in time to break apart the dark?
— Melissa Gurley Bancks
1912: Zuschauer see der Titanic auf die See.
Passagiere einsteigen und halten es brief, mit ihren Familien.
Sie sagen zu einander: „Ich werde dir einen Brief schreiben,
und ein gift schicken.“ Aber, das wahre Gift bestand aus Eis.
Der Eisberg war so still und leise.
Das Schiff ist jetzt stiller und leiser.
Auf jeden Fall sind Kreuzfahrtschiffe komisch,
aber nur eins hat ein berühmter fall.
— Alex Armour
We do not always see our gifts
The blossoms, the green leaves on the trees
That are brief in their nascent whisper of color
One lasts but an hour, then falls
The white or pink wrapping of that vibrant green
Still, that green is but for a season too
It is a gift that lifts our lives quietly, riotously
A party in the breeze, a shimmer, a glimmer of song
— Dan Cuddy
Who Can Focus at a Time Like This?
The news brief is long form now.
Every day a gift of numbers shared without compassion.
Not last week but maybe this week or a week from now
Cases will peak and fall, so they say.
Curves will flatten.
Today, 25,263 and counting. 125,196 and still counting.
And then the problem of those uncounted.
The Easter Rabbit's gift is a game.
We watch, hoping the precariously placed eggs don't fall,
getting the youngest to see where the eggs sit for a brief time
for young hands to collect and bright eyes still to find.
— Margaret Fourt Goka
In this time of crisis, this time of self-isolation, it's easy to feel lost.
But this is a gift, a brief pause from our ordinary life.
An opportunity to reconnect with immediate family.
To take the health and safety precautions seriously
and protect the more frail among us.
How lucky are we to be still, to see so many good people,
their sacrifices so great and so appreciated.
As night falls, safe people around the world open their windows and sing praises to these heroes.
— Kim Lehnhoff
See the cherry blossoms fall
blanketing the ground in still petals of pink
a brief gift from above for all
a welcoming carpet for Mother Nature’s spring wink
What a gift you are to me,
In the fall you came to be,
But for a brief season,
You were part of our family,
But still you see,
You are in my memory.
Breves flores tempo veris
Cadunt ante oculos.
Tamen vedo aqua maris:
Donum per nos parvulos.
The brief flowers of spring
Fall before our eyes.
Still, I see the ocean water:
A gift for we who are so small.
— Robert Henke
This brief, still moment
I close my eyes,
Fall into myself,
— Pam Hughes
Brief and still for a moment like just,
Just one second the Earth is a gift
See me fall yet I uplift...
still I get these hits like this.
Water floats down a green mist of forest,
See this, and repeat this
In my entirety I am a gift!
Still I uplift...for a moment.
To see, to notice, to be aware
of the gift given and received
In a moment brief and still
Our spirit does not fall but soar.
— Karen Engelkenjohn 4/14/2020
A gift that fall
came in the form of an engagement ring.
Both very young; their courtship brief.
Sixty years later all still see
that true love.
The smoke hung still in the air,
Its life hanging in a fine balance,
A candle gasping for the gift of breath.
She remembers for a brief moment,
How it felt for the heavy smoke to sting her eyes,
How it felt to jump back as they provoked the bonfire’s wood,
Just to see the fire’s anger rise, to hear it crackle, to touch its heat.
But how can she remember what used to be?
The memory falls away,
As she sinks into sleep.
— Tanvi Kohli
I see you in stills, silhouette.
Back-drop rains fall full
aperture and I awake in the black
brief animation of you
between frames. My gift frays
from the picture when.
— Ti Sumner
we hold breath
still to see
awaiting the fall
oh gift oh mercy
the fall is brief
— Jay Buchanan
The Gift at the Well
In childhood’s schoolroom
I learned the story of Odin
Passed out drunk under the world-tree
Who gifted his eye to the man at the well
To gain wisdom and insight
The brief earthly fall of the god who
Filled his silver tankard with mead,
Blood still streaming, screaming he could see!
— Jo Schaper
this is no brief interlude
there will be no return
expect no parting gift
for we will not still rise
not you not me
Stop running from the Past.
Fall back from the Future.
See the opportunity
In this very brief moment
To receive the gift of the Present.
— J. Thomas
The Hidden Gift
We’re partners split by half a continent.
You will not return until fall.
On the surface, we talk weekly, briefly--
I hold you as closely as words allow
My essence sees what your eye cannot:
Your cheek, so prickly, the sweet sweat smell
One heart cord fused in the fire of distance
Stretches between us, binds us still.
— Jo Schaper April 15
you do not cut off the hand that
gifts you with love.
falling in love is the dangerous
painted still life behind the curtain.
dust out the canvas—rainbow muted
fractions too pale to see.
be brief with your arterial lending,
the deed is no good to hands detached.
— Sabrina Spence
Fall gifts itself to
winter’s fallow time of still.
Brief! New life to see!
— Bernie Mossotti
Headline photo: Rod Long via Unsplash