We like to think that life flows along and we’re ready for whatever it brings. But then, the unexpected finds a way to change your thinking, rearrange your plans. As the saying goes, “It’s not how far you fall, it’s how far you bounce back.” I’ve found myself bouncing as of late. But through it all,I always waited for the recoil. It never fails. I suppose I’m too optimistic for my own good. Today, write the unexpected. Some surprise you never saw coming. Give it an optimistic twist, we can all use a boost now and again.



I never saw it coming.
It was no stroke of genius,
it was a random occurrence.
Serendipity laced with reality.
I have no doubt there’s a lesson
within it, I grin and bear it
and hope for the best.
The rest is up to what is destined
to happen. A possible happy dance
to life’s glad circumstance.
There’s is an upside deep inside.
Let it rise to the occasion.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017



Here’s a highlight of our first Project Poem: Connection.

This is Candy’s:

Hard-Knock Aging

it’s a hard-knock life ……

day by day, year by year
I’m age slowly
paying no attention to the signs

Don’t it feel like the wind is always howling?

miles get longer
stairs get steeper
people don’t speak up anymore

Don’t it seem like there’s never any light?

glasses get thicker
eyesight get blurry
when did print get so small

What’s a day you don’t want to throw in the towel?

instead I push through my aches
walk and stretch and lift
myself into some kind of round fitness

No one cares if you shrink or grow

and I’m pretty sure I’m shrinking
not as tall as I once was
stand on chairs to reach top shelves

From all this cryin you’d think ……

I’m just a whiney little old person
a sorry specimen of aging
ungrateful human being

but …. Santa Claus? What’s that? Who’s he?

it’s me
still ho-ho-hoing

so you’d better watch out!


I used lyrics from It’s a Hard-Knock Life from “Annie”
and one line from Santa Claus Is Coming to Town



As swiftly as the days pass (and how slowly it takes me to get up to speed these days – I apologize for the late prompt), we are approaching the end of the line for October. We’ll be stumbling into November sooner than we know it and so it goes. There’s an exercise I use now and again to stir the poetic soup in which I choose a poem from another poet and choose one of their lines to start my new poem. Usually entitled, “A POEM STARTING WITH A LINE FROM_________”

With a twist, I ask you to pen “ A POEM STARTING WITH AN END LINE FROM ________”. Your poem can be short or long and in any style/ meter/ scheme. It can be from a famous poet or one of our contemporaries. And by all means, once you get to the end of your last line… keep writing. It’s why we’re here.



It’s rather dark in here,
but don’t go toward the light.
It would be a bright thing
at the end of the hall,
but, just feel along the wall
and you find your way.
And if along the way you feel
something soft and gooey,
or misty and booey, run like hell.
Ghosts and goblins love when it’s dark.
It’s their “Home Field Advantage.”

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

The last line from “It’s Dark In Here” by Shel Silverstein


The PANTOUM consists of a series of quatrains rhyming ABAB, in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third line in the succeeding quatrain; each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD… In the last quatrain, the two unused lines from the opening quatrain are used to fill in the last stanza, with the first line of the poem becomes the last line of the poem (ZAZA). My example illustrates this traditional form of PANTOUM.

A variation of the PANTOUM loses the restrictions of the rhyme scheme.



“His mind’s not right” my mother would say,
and my father was apt to agree.
“He keeps to himself too much in a way“,
a strange little man there, you see.

My father was apt to agree,
that something inside his boy festered,
a strange little man there, you see,
who loves to keep darkly sequestered.

That something inside their boy festered,
certainly was not the issue,
“Who loves to keep darkly sequestered?”
mother asked as she reached for a tissue.

Certainly, was not the issue
that my mind worked in mysterious ways?
Mother asked as she reached for a tissue,
“Where does that boy go to these days?”

Yes, my mind worked in mysterious ways
But, deep in my thoughts there was action.
Where does that boy go to these days,
was a quest for some self-satisfaction.

Deep in my thoughts there was action,
my pen at a feverish pitch,
This quest for some self satisfaction
would placate my poetic itch.

My pen at a feverish pitch
to pen pantoum and other such poems,
would placate my poetic itch,
“If they read what I write, they would know them”

To pen pantoum and other such poems, see?
“His mind’s not right” they would say.
If they read what I write, they would know me.
I kept to myself too much in a way.


Words. They are what we are about. As poets, we’d be without a voice if we were without words. So, why don’t we play with words today.

As my daughter prepares to be married in a few months (and she weeds through the minutia of what she had accumulated throughout her young life) I had come across vocabulary lists and flash cards from her university. I’m making use of these great resources (and will on occasion) to offer up words for your consideration.

Below are eight words from those two files. Use some or all of them as you will. Use them as is. Find synonyms and use these new words (or use a combination of “as is” and synonyms). Or give a poem with an anti-list, antonyms of the provided words to counter what others may write. Whichever route you take, make your poem a celebration of words.

The word in bold letters is the selected word. I’ve provided a couple synonym/antonym equivalents (coded in red and green) to get you started.

cryptic (dark, mysterious / certain, clear)

venerate (adore, love / abhor/ scorn)

reprehensible (wicked, disgraceful / good, kind)

stagnant (inactive, listless / busy, energetic)

rectify (fix, remedy / harm, worsen)

induce (coax, motivate / halt, prevent)

lethargic (languid, passive / alert, active)

adversary (foe, rival / friend, ally).

Use some, all or combinations of any of the words. And by all means,  find equivalent words of your own to use. Words, words, words.

WALT’S EXAMPLE will be posted in the comments shortly.


Time flies when you’re having a Friday! And then… oops, I realize it was Friday the 13th, and the scheduled form failed to post. So let’s not waste anymore time. Let’s Rondeau.

A rondeau (plural rondeaux) is a form of French poetry with 15 lines written on two rhymes.  It makes use of refrains, repeated according to a certain stylized pattern. It was customarily regarded as a challenge to arrange for these refrains to contribute to the meaning of the poem in as succinct and poignant a manner as possible. The rondeau consists of thirteen lines of eight syllables, plus two refrains (which are half lines,  four syllables each).

The traditional rondeau looks like this:






(The Truth About) NAUGHTY AND NICE

I’ve made a list and checked it twice,
some were naughty and some were nice.
Naughty ones could get a reprieve
depends how strongly they believe.
I think one more glance should suffice.

Here in the land of snow and ice,
the tally kept should be precise,
I have no reason to deceive –
I’ve made a list!

The nice ones never pay the price;
and the naughty never think twice.
Excuse me if I sound naive –
I am Santa Claus; I believe!
so listen all to my advice:
“I’ve made a list”!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik


***”Your example gives what you left out: that (R) is the first half of Line One.”

~ Miz Quickly


We can find something to celebrate on pretty much every day of the year. Be it a national holiday, a local celebration or just making it through another day in this jumbled world in which we live.

Today is October 9th, long celebrated in the states and their Italian communities as Columbus Day. Those of a revisionist stripe have declared it Indigenous Peoples Day.

North of the border in Canada, today is Thanksgiving Day. As a young man growing up in Buffalo (a stones throw from Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada), I had many Canadian influences through the media, picking up television programs  with the “rabbit ears” on clear nights, adding to our limited four channels selection (pre-cable). Radio also augmented what I was privy to around here. And we tended to join out Canadian brethren in feting the day in a thankful way, with a traditional feast and a bit of CFL football if we can draw in the signal on the channels on the “tube”. My daughters grew up with two days to celebrate 0fficially what they have been thankful for all their young lives. This year’s celebration takes on an added significance in that my youngest daughter will soon be wed to a fine young man from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and we will surely travel northward in the future to do Canadian style Thanksgiving Day right!

October 9th is also John Lennon’s Birthday. Being a long standing “Lennonite”, I usually take a moment on this day to imagine how life could be so different if we only found a way to get along with each other. You may say that I’m a dreamer…

So today you are asked to write a celebration poem. Celebrate one of the situations above or find something in your life worth holding up in poetic praise. These days we need to find good things to fill our lives. Start with your well chosen words and regale us!  



I love the rhyme of words and it’s
as if I’m hearing them for the first time,
The artistry of me trying to express
keeps my chest thumping; a heart
pumping to all extremities and lingers
in my fingers and toes (and the tip
of my nose). And if I choose to say
what that heart feels, it becomes as real
as life itself. Keeping me engaged,
rightfully enraged with being.
Seeing it any other way, I’d be a dead man.
Poetry makes me thrive; keeps me alive.
And for that, I find cause to celebrate.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017



With all the saber rattling going on from North Korea, I thought a little bit of the beauty of this form would be in order.

Sijo is the classic form of unrhymed poetry in Korea. Sijo have three long lines. Each line varies between 14 and 16 syllables, with the middle line the longest. The first line states a theme, the second line counters it, and the third line resolves the poem. They are usually untitled. Try a few.


The winds of change blow harshly, burning my face and my eyes.
I shield them with my calloused hands, hoping for some relief,
so that I can steel myself against its stark reality.



The premises is simple. Find something that is just out of reach of your left hand and wax poetic about it. Stick your left arm out and whatever tickles your fancy (out of the scope of your extended arm) is fair game.



Paper viper
with fangs retracted
until enacted upon,
holding your own
until you’re holding notes
or endless pages.
A paper clip’s
sharper cousin
packaged by the dozens.



The Vers Beaucoup, a poem for created by Curt Mongold, which is French for “many rhymes”. Each stanza consists of four lines with a rhyming word scheme of:


Each rhyme can only use a MAXIMUM of three words. The fourth “a” rhyme carried over to the second line causes enjambment and creates a strong internal rhyming structure. This exercise serves as a poetic “Rain in Spain” where we enhance our internal rhyme capabilities.

The poem can be any number of stanzas.

An example of the form with the rhyming words capitalized and colorized for clarity: (Say that fast three time! 😉 )



I KNOW by the GLOW of the SNOW
a SHOW was SET to begin. But if we GET
WET then the RAIN is what will STAIN
and REMAIN to be FOUND on the GROUND all day!