2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22 | Paradise Poem | WritersDigest.com

Today’s challenge is to write a Paradise poem. What is your idea of paradise?

Click on the link for a variety of opinions.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22 | Paradise Poem | WritersDigest.com.

Here’s mine:



For some


is a tropical


but I am

no fan

of sweat and bugs.


For some


is a mountaintop,

but I am

no fan

of wind-blown snow.


For some


is the first day of love

but I am

no fan

of intoxication.


For me,


is this


these hands,

these lettered
















2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16 | Last Line First Poem | WritersDigest.com

My warm up poem ideas for November are all from Robert Brewer’s blog Poetic Asides. Each prompt this month was contributed by a different poet. This one is from Joseph Wells. He suggests that we take the last line of yesterday’s poem and use it for the first line of today’s.

If you did not write a poem yesterday, I guess you can use an old one. Nobody will care.

My poem yesterday was a riff on the saying about the rich man, heaven, and the eye of a needle. I heard somewhere that The Eye of the Needle was actually a city gate, so that’s what my poem was about. The last line was “of a needle”. What do you do with that? Actually, I had fun.

Read the poems of others in the group and add one of your own. You can join the challenge any time.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16 | Last Line First Poem | WritersDigest.com.

Of the Needle


Of the needle

I need to say

little, as it so

readily makes

its own point,

leading the way

among crisscrossed

threads, pulling

a joiner behind,

teasing notes

out of grooves

in vinyl or just

teasing someone

who may or may

not be a friend,

towering in


stone in a canyon

or in steel

among city


of the needle

I need to say little

as it so readily

makes its own point.

Linda Armstrong, November 16, 2012.  All rights reserved.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14 | Stuck Poem | WritersDigest.com

Today’s prompt on Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides Blog is “stuck.” This is a good one for me, because I have not worked on my NaNoWriMo book since Sunday, and things were actually going very well.  I even know what to write next, but I seem to be stuck.

Read my rationalization poem on the blog. Then check out the great contributions of others. Add your own, too.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14 | Stuck Poem | WritersDigest.com


I’m stuck
like the needle
on a vinyl
three days
without progress
or loss
I just
have to
state what
I want to do
and a state
of entropy
sets in
in me loves
and still
wants to
stay still
though I
still still still
to keep
Copyright Linda J. Armstrong 11/14/2012. All rights reserved.

and here’s another, inspired by another poet’s post:

For Jacqueline

They say
when stuck
in one of
his intertwined
tossed the
canvas out
his window
into the intertwined
branches of one
of his trees,
only to retrieve
it when unable
to resist the
way it had
entwined itself
with his entangled

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13 | Letter and Recipe Poems | WritersDigest.com

Today’s poetry prompt on the Poetic Asides blog is a letter poem (and/or a recipe poem). These are prompts I used in class when I was teaching. They are classics for a reason. They produce varied and excellent results for writers of all ages (and not just poets).

If you want to read the poems of other participants and post your own, click on the link.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13 | Letter and Recipe Poems | WritersDigest.com.

Here’s mine:

Dear Dad,

You never were
much for writing
so I never wrote
you a letter.
You and I
always knew
each other
best through
pigments, brushes,
lenses, captured
hours, minutes,
and seconds
that will never
come back
but could be
relived again
and again
through transparencies
or stacked paintings
in a closet.
I write to you
now, looking
down at your
hands, freckled
and funny
as a write this,
and later,
when Alden
and I take
pictures of winter
deer, you will
be shooting with us

As always,

If you’d like to see some of my dad’s paintings, his dealer’s site is here: http://www.californiaartgallery.com/ec-watercolor-keck.html

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9 | When He’s Gone Poem | WritersDigest.com

The challenge today is to write a poem that uses the phrase or theme “when he’s gone.”  Click on the link below to read the responses, starting with mine, which is also included here.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9 | When He’s Gone Poem | WritersDigest.com.

When he’s gone,
she misses him,
sometimes stepping
into the room
where he works
to share something
she has found
like a child taking
a toy to a visitor,
remembering with
a start that he is
off on another trip
she slips back into
her own routine,
reading on the couch
and taking long
walks alone by
the river. When the
phone rings, his
car pulls into the drive,
or he appears at
the arrival gate,
his face is always
new, and everything
they have shared
comes home.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6 | Left or Right Poem | WritersDigest.com

There are two related prompts for today’s Poem a Day Challenge at Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog. You can write about “right” or “left.” I wrote about being left-handed.

If you submit your poem on the blog, write it first in a word processing program, then paste it in. The blog is so busy you get a “you are posting too fast, slow down” message. If you get this, use the backspace on your browser and keep submitting until it goes through–usually on the third or fourth click. You don’t have to post to participate in the challenge. You can read everybody else’s for inspiration and just keep your own file at home. You will still be eligible to submit your finished book (20 poems) in December.

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6 | Left or Right Poem | WritersDigest.com.

Here’s mine:

The teller
filled out
my withdrawal
slip writing
as I do
and upside down
I asked her about
the inevitable bump
on her middle
finger and
whether she was
an artist. She
said she drew
but wasn’t
great and I
admitted to being
no Leonardo. Then
I took my money
and she said
she had never met
another person
who wrote like
her, and that
remains true
of us both.

Blue Moon: A Full Moon Poem for PAD, 2012

Here’s my Day 2 entry in the Poem a Day Challenge for 2012.

The prompt was “Full Moon.”

To join in the fun or to read more responses to this idea, visit


  • Blue Moon

    It was still summer
    and still a little
    too hot to be
    out at noon
    here in the
    high desert
    of Colorado.
    We woke early
    and drove up
    to the edge
    of the city
    just below the place
    where the valley
    evaporates against
    the sudden edge
    of the Uncompahgre
    Plateau. Over
    the blue Grand Mesa
    to our right,
    the golden sun
    was rising, while
    to our left, over
    crimson cliffs,
    the blue moon,
    proud and full,
    was going down.
    In silence, we
    stood still
    beside our little
    car and felt
    the inexorable
    of the Earth.

Copyright Linda Armstrong, 11/3/2012. All rights reserved.

Poems from Previous Challenges

This collection of poems has been forwarded from my Posterous blog archive.

I I warned you that I have too many interests. I have been writing poetry as long as I can remember. Every year I find myself drawn into National Poetry Month. I didn’t write a poem a day. The weather was too beautiful at the end of the month. If you want to see the great prompts by Robert Lee Brewer, visit http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/default,month,2011-04.aspx.

From minute to minute
I move, like the destiny
of a dragonfly from
penetrated egg, through
wiggling nymph into the
blue summer sky, skimming
lakes of possible futures,
but moved, inexorably, by
ancient tides within
my blood; the multiple eyes,
the segmented soul, the
fragile, beating wings.



Like a curtain pulling back
for an anticipated performance,
first light creeps down from
the juniper-fringed rim of the
Colorado National Monument,
spilling into canyons where
eagles nest and bighorn sheep
rest in blue shadows. Subtle,
at first, as if in imagination,
it intensifies, like a rising
overture, until the full face
of the edge of centuries is
lit. From power lines along
the road, rows of birds watch,


If I had never been born,
my father would have painted longer,
and might have been known
before he died, rather than after.
If I had never been born,
my husband might have married the dancer
who studied French at the Sorbonne.
But if I had never been born,
my daughter would not be the same,
and that one change could shift
the course of stars.


He lays out colors
along the edges of an
enamel tray, feeling
an electricity across
the empty center that
nobody else can sense.
(18 words)

Don’t Speak, Listen

Walking the canyon trail,
We fall silent,
After so many years
We have heard all the stories
And know the refrain of opinions.
Off to the right, on top of a rock,
Poised against the storm-darkening sky
A bird lifts his head and sings out,
Beckoning a prospective mate.
He pauses and a grumble from the distant
Interstate fills the stillness.
Then, he sings again.

What if I had awakened late
and joined the registration
line at the end? Then, the
art class would have been filled
and we would never have met.
Then, I wouldn’t have taught
and we wouldn’t have bought
that house in the mountains
where we spent so many happy summers.
We wouldn’t have slept in the back
of the jeep or rocked our child
in the house on Lincoln. You wouldn’t
be you and I wouldn’t be me
if I had awakened late and joined
the end of that registration line.



Blow up
the balloons.
the candles.
Sing the
familiar old song.
all the gifts.
Or just
Open your eyes,
And give thanks
Yet another day.

(16 words)

Eleven Eighteen

Outside the window, rain is falling,
giving shadows color on the silent
street. Washed clean, a cool breeze
brushes the young pine in the front
yard, and also the tall cottonwood
that has become too hazardous to keep,
creaking ominously in spring winds
that just died down. Inside, I have
been downloading poetry from rich
centuries for the magic tablet I carry
to read on future trains and planes.
A wind chime plays. A sweet bird sings.

Never Again

Will I tell a friend
who has started to annoy
me that she has
and how and why.

Never again will
I go to that one last
dinner, or walk, or concert
Just to be sure.

Never again will
I try to rescue
a connection that
never really was.

Instead, I will be
as busy as I always am
Wishing things weren’t the way
they are, but are.

Maybe I’ll Be Better

Maybe tomorrow I’ll
follow all the resolutions
I make with so much sincerity
as I slip between the covers
and pull up the blankets tonight.
Maybe I’ll walk a few miles
in the morning, write dozens
of pages, and after dinner
skip the cookies.
Maybe I’ll be kinder, wiser,
and more beautiful tomorrow,
or, maybe, I’ll wake up
and be my same old self
for yet another imperfect day.

In the still orchard
peach blossoms unfurl petals,
soundless firecrackers.

…………..in the blue……………..
………..April sky, among……………
…….soaring larks, a dragon…………
…………writhing in the……………
………….shifting wind…………….
(10 words)

Do not stash your soul away.
Do not shackle it to clocks.
Let it fly and sing its say.

Don’t insist that it make hay.
Never keep it darning socks.
Do not stash your soul away.

Go to meet it every day.
Undo knots and open locks.
Let it fly and sing its say.

Never try to make it pay
or use it to outwit a fox.
Do not stash your soul away

like a winter coat in May
buried in a cedar box.
Let it fly and sing its say.

Let it, like a wild wolf, bay
and bound among the mountain rocks
Do not stash your soul away.
Let it fly and sing its say.