A daily poetry practice to generate and sustain the Life/Lines among us, for published and novice poets alike
Join us to receive a daily poetry prompt every weekday during April. Sign up here!
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 guest curator Abram Van Engen, associate professor of English at Washington University and co-host of the Poetry for All podcast.
Poems submitted for April 7
begin behind the days when
druids danced under the light
between and behind
those great stone monoliths
they’d hauled and assembled
from miles away.
Behind the stone the day’s light begins
Rays over the horizon, blinding the lashes
What we remember may not even be there—
The chest heaves, grasping the blue violets
The dripping teasing tears of impossibility.
Leave behind the dark days past
We see light ahead
To begin our restorative journey
Down the stone strewn path at last.
a gold watch?
a party ?
the heavy stone of work left behind.
now each morning I begin.
creativity the new carrot
what new light is ahead, in the coming days?
Light halos the stone
Begin to put clouds behind
Better days ahead
In the Beginning
Light as durable
Light spanned to
Three days later a stone was rolled away
No one saw it happen
Behind the stone the tomb was empty
The Light of the world shown bright
All would see it happen
and so it would begin
They say a stone is so light
it can make you gravid.
I've been listening to
the same song now for days.
Excuse me, I'm a little behind.
So! It's okay to talk to yourself
but don't even begin to answer.
— Matthew Freeman
Legs of stone.
Too much to do,
Where to begin?
Days are too short.
The list is too long.
How light I will feel
When it’s done!
In that dark, cool crevice behind the stone
Where light never finds purchase
The days begin as they end
A whisper of life
Stacey K. Barton, MSW, LCSW
The dogwood behind the red barn has been snowing for days
small white puffs of prayers
catching slanting light
emptying strong branches
stretched out like stone hands
aching for mystery to begin.
Behind the wind there are stagnant days
with the viscosity of stone.
Light can not begin to penetrate.
Think of wife, that real but ephemeral force
as wing. You feel it. It exists,
but death? It is absent of light and motion.
It exists en-soi, not pour soi. No one,
nothing has moved through the stone. No? Do you know?
Some days we seem to fall behind
As we begin each day anew
We have THE choice
Will my heart be a stone today
Or inextinguishable white hot light
of pure love
Rarely is it easy, but regardless of circumstance
We all have that liberty - choose wisely
Does spring begin
When they roll the stone away,
Or must we count the days, the
deaths, the shots, the shootings?
Reckless, we play and kiss and picnic,
but deep down we know we are behind,
cannot catch up to Earth’s seasons.
Which is crazy, because
we thought we were ahead,
wiring and chipping our bodies,
substituting CFLs and LEDs and halogen
For sunlight, filling the skies with chalk and
The ground with chemicals,
using power and will to
resurrect what hubris killed.
You cannot fool your mother.
the days far too fast
can't see the light
when will my life begin?
days of light leave
days of dark behind
as light begins to soften
our hearts of stone
John J. Han
"a network of parallel
and intersecting lines"
a wooden lattice made
for a morning glory vine.
the tendrils climb
with each day's light,
weaving into, around, and through
the open spaces.
the buds unfurl, and like the sky
reveal their faces.
behind a grid of steel and stone
my face, unknown
my life, confined.
I too, begin each day
reaching for open spaces.
As the sun sinks behind the horizon,
its last light illumines the stone keyhole.
Long days journeying draw to a close,
now the confrontation with Smaug can begin.
from the past to-
new delights begin
known as days gone by,
brings to light remembrances
like skipping a stone,
a brother tagging behind,
or playing in the creek
but today is a new day
new delights begin
into the past
the light of
Leave the days
behind the stone.
The light will come
We don’t know it yet.
Still Life, Ireland
Behind a stone fence
In dappled light
Sheep browse the centuries, seasons, days
A landscape that begins and ends green.
by Lloyd Klinedinst
The light of days increases as Spring continues.
Don't hide your happiness behind a stone.
Walk out in the sun to stretch and stride.
Margaret Fourt Goka
The lazy boy was adept at this ploy
If the chore wasn’t behind in his mind
For days he’d got stoned
But with light nearly gone
Instead of now to begin he resigned.
The light behind the stone
begins the morning right.
Days are counted all alone
A solo butterfly take flight.
More often ahead than
behind my canine
entered a new light
as many leagues
removed as stone
is beyond the measure
of days as end is to
the absence of begin
As he stepped from behind
the upright stone
there is a slow awakening
and the light flashed
to reveal a new dawn
that will begin a new
cycle of days
An entire year of pandemonium, forced
absence, health mandates and edicts ignored.
I lugged that burdensome stone behind me
for 365 dark days, maintaining my distance.
After my last vaccine I swift kicked that rock.
Today I let the light begin to shine.
Is it a whim or is there
a glimmer a shimmer
of light beginning,
peeping creeping seeping
from behind the wall of days
so recently turned
to stone to bone to ice?
Will we be able to bear the glare
or will we shiver away from
the stare of open faces, bare?
Her face of stone
allowed no light
from behind her eyes,
showed only spite
despite my cries.
But my will had shown
that many days
I wouldn’t sin
if only praise
would just begin.
Behind the light
our days round
the curve of
Magic is a vacuum,
The light is bright from the sliver of moon
this morning. We begin by following the old path
the one covered in stone before it turns to regular
suburbia: asphalt, concrete, non-native plants,
and lawns coiffed to perfection. Nothing newsworthy.
Behind the dark windows the days start the same
but those of us out here in the predawn are joining
in song with the ginger cardinal as she calls to beckon
the sun, read all about it she cries, bright things are happening.
The light is behind us
Days turn to stone
Upon a hill, on stone erected
against the passage of days and light, only to begin,
behind memory’s weary eyes
a gradual defection.
— Jamie Moog
May I roll away the stone from the tomb of my certainty,
live my days turning towards the light,
receive the softness behind my learning heart.
May I begin to see with new eyes.
As the first light of the sun begins to spread
it’s brilliance up and over the mountains,
soon to radiate warmth on the stones by the river,
I contemplate the awe
behind each of nature’s wonders
and the possibility in all the days to come.
Behind these bars
The etches of the days passed
Begin to thin
The stone walls
And just a speck of light
— J. Thomas
Dance the Lie.
He dances behind me and I feel his intention
He moves like a god but he means harm
There are days when he steps into the light
and I melt. I just melt. I turn to stone. I do.
I remember though to begin my mantra:
you are the goddess, you are the dancer
you are stronger than his steps, stronger than his will
Then why do I melt and turn to stone when he
steps into my light and lifts me to the sky.
When we began, no light illuminated anything behind your gnomic smile.
You were an indecipherable mime,
Rosetta stone for monolinguists,
A strange new scale one cannot hear,
An elegant, unsolvable equation
That puzzles one for days on end.
Unlearning was the only way to find you
Like finally getting bass clef or Russian cursive.
Quand maintenant je m'assois pour écrire,
mon nerf est si effrayé;
Je ne peux pas m'empêcher de pleurer,
comme j'entends toujours le bruit de frapper.
write: = écrire, nerve= nerf, cry = pleurer, sound = bruit, beat = frapper
Cours de littérature française du Professeur Lionel Cuillé (FREN 325 "La peur de l'Autre"）
Quel nerf! Mes yeux ont
pour pleurer comme ça.
Un son si laid,
pour les oreilles à consoler.
Peut-être je devrais
écrire un journal.
Mais ça n’apaise pas ma
je bat mon sentiments,
jusqu’à ce qu’ils brouillent hors de moi,
craignant pour leur sécurité.
Des mots poinçonnés
sur une page,
comme les larmes poussées
sur mes joues.
(Cours de littérature française du Professeur Lionel Cuillé (FREN 325 "La peur de l'Autre")
My heart’s nearly turned to stone,
Locked up for endless tired days,
Shackled behind monotonous walls,
The light outside nearly forgotten,
Waiting for the pandemic’s end
By Rebecca Carron Wood
the light shone
on the bloody stone
that broke my bones
the stone created by your words of ice
I will no longer pay the price
the days of fractures are behind me now
as I begin to shine the light on all your bounds
In days of yore
Long left behind
A golem of stone
Made up his mind
Instead of darkness
And threats of might
He’d begin to be kind
And spread some good light
— Chad Savage
Headline image: Sam Boqadam via Unsplash