Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

Bowing Out

I made it five days into the glorious month of poetry before bowing out (gracefully?). Well, that’s not entirely true — I have still been writing this past week and I have a few poems to show for it, but none that I want to share right now.

NaPoWriMo is just not happening for me this year. Pieces of my mind are scattered in so many different places that I can’t quite gather them together long enough to compose something I like enough. And trust me, if I don’t like it enough, you’re sure not going to. Perhaps after some revision to those poems I’ll share them with you at a later time. I’ll still keep writing for the rest of the month, naturally. Will try to keep up with each day as much as I can, but what I really want to do is focus on more extended pieces of writing for now. So we’ll see where that goes. But besides that, what I even more really want to do (I know that isn’t right, but it just sounds so much more fun — why can’t we have fun with words?) and what I am doing a lot of right now, is concentrating a lot more on developing good writing in my students. And that takes a lot of time and energy. More than you’d think. So that also takes away from time given to my own writing. But I love it so much! And don’t worry, I won’t teach my students to write incorrect sentences like my one above — but I will teach them to experiment and have fun with the language and perhaps come up with their own funny ways of saying things that are otherwise just boring.

As a final salute to NaPoWriMo from me for this year, I’ll share one of the poems I wrote this past week — just to not leave you with nothing.

It was supposed to be a love poem to an inanimate thing. And this is sort of a love poem… though not quite.


To My First Car

by Ruqaiyah Davids

I never liked you much.

In fact, I could hardly stand you.

And it was no secret too.

You were unwanted and unloved—

A harsh, cold, ugly truth,

Just like your harsh, cold, ugly exterior.

But you were needed.

I needed you like you needed a good paint job—

Without you my life would not have been the same.

Without you, I would have been stuck,

And alone.

You gave me freedom;

A temporary escape on the journey between two worlds.

You gave me reflection and introspection.

You weren’t very well-liked by my friends or my family.

And I’m not sure if you know this,

But they often made fun of you.

My sister hated you—

She always complained

When having to climb into your hard, unwelcoming backseat,

Which was a mighty task considering you only had two doors.

But I wonder how she would have got around without you…

Or how I would have.

I would always defend you when they’d mock you.

Because even though you were loud and rough,

And dusty and dented,

And peeling and painful to look at—

You were mine.

You were my first.

You came to me at a time in my life that I did not want you,

But I needed you.

And that counts for so much more.



Let the Children Play

This is something very important to me, though it’s not something I would have thought to write about in this form. It kind of just found its way out of my head and onto my laptop screen while thinking of what to write about in today’s poetry prompt by the folks over at NaPoWriMo. This style is called a lune, which is like a haiku, except that instead of counting the syllables in a line, you count the words. And instead of 5-7-5 (as in a haiku), it’s 3-5-3, i.e.. first line of the stanza has 3 lines, second has 5 lines, third has 3 lines.

So the reason this topic is very important to me is because all too often I see adults around me telling children to be quiet or to not be “so loud” when all they’re doing is playing — loudly. Adults get upset when toys get smashed loudly to the floor or into each other in a fight between the army man and a car (odd fight to have, I know, but hey, it happens). And naturally, there are sound effects that go with that epic fight. But the children are told not to make so much noise; “play quietly”. This upsets me. Deeply. Let the children make a noise! Let the children hum and sing loudly, or mutter nonsense to themselves if they want to! Let them play! For goodness sake! No, literally… for goodness sake. I mean, when children have the freedom to play and have fun and make a noise — and let’s be honest, they all go hand-in-hand, because how much of fun can you have quietly in a corner by yourself, and how much can you play without some sound effects and shrieks of laughter? — they grow into whole people, confident people, positive people, intelligent people, kind people. And isn’t that just good for everyone?

So, let the children play.

Source: http://passionatelycuriousinkindergarten.blogspot.com/2014/01/report-cards-love-stories-about-learning.html
Source: http://tinyurl.com/q9ec5ce

Let the Children Play

by Ruqaiyah Davids

We tell them

They’re naughty when they’re noisy.

Ain’t that crazy?

Children are meant

To be noisy and dirty;

It’s their journey.

We shouldn’t stop

Them from shouting in play;

They’re young today.

Before long though,

Our rules and reprimands will

Make them still.

Children will be

Too scared to have fun—

Damage we’ve done.

They won’t be

Young for much longer, sadly.

This is reality.

When they’re grown,

They’ll be shells because we

Didn’t let’em be.

I cheated a bit on that last line there. I know “let’em” isn’t the conventional way of shortening “them”, but I would have had one word more than I should. So I whipped out that ol’ poetic licence I have stuffed in my wallet and used it.



Tick Tock

This one isn’t quite finished yet. I’ve been sitting with it since yesterday (which is why I didn’t post anything yesterday), because it wasn’t ‘right‘ yet. I don’t yet know what will finish it or how to finish it, but I’ve decided that that’s okay. I’ll share it with you anyway. This is what it is for now.


by Ruqaiyah Davids

The second hand of an ancient clock;

Listen closely for the far-away knock.

It kills, it steals, and it heals;

The future is what time reveals.

Forever caught in time’s wicked trap;

It is somewhere in the middle that the stream and the storm overlap.
Tick, tick, tock.

Tick, tick, tock.



A Delayed Day Two

It’s day 4 of April, yes, but this was the poem I wrote for Day 2 of NaPoWriMo but just haven’t posted until now.

Quotes-Own Wings quote wallpaper


by Ruqaiyah Davids

In the tower of tenderness the wings unfold,



Until they’re sure and strong.

They unravel and spread their beauty.



The wind carries them,

To parts unknown.

They travel with faith and with hope.

They soar and glide;

There is no end to what they may find.

They will reach the ends of the earth

With faith and with hope.



NaPoWriMo Day 21: Fortune Cookie

Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! I’m so proud of myself! 😀 However, I do realise that I didn’t quite post ‘a poem a day’. Rather, I often posted 3, 4, or maybe 5 poems a day, while skipping 3, 4, or 5 days prior to that… oopsie. It’s all good though, because the challenge is to have 30 poems in 30 days, however you choose to go about getting there. So yeah, still good. Thumbs up for me. And thumbs up to you who are reading, especially to those who’ve read every poem I’ve posted so far.

Today’s prompt is to re-write Frank O’Hara’s poem Lines for the Fortune Cookies. This is one which, initially, I didn’t feel comfortable with since I don’t believe in fortune cookies, and added to that, I think they’re dumb. However, clever me, I decided that I could still write lines about random people’s fortunes while not going against my sanity by doing something so insane as to pretend to predict the future. All I had to do was be clever enough with my words. And well, I’m good with words.

Here’s number 21

Fortune Cookie

You will meet many different people in your life.
You may someday become a wife.
It will rain in winter. You may get wet.
Your life has changed since the invention of the internet.
No, you shouldn’t have that last slice of cake.
You will be lucky enough to find a man who doesn’t mind that you don’t bake. (Okay, that one’s exclusively for me. A not-so-silent prayer more than a fortune.)
Hunger will find you.
There are blessings in rising before the sun.
Yes, God is only One.
The mountains have a lesson to teach you.
Turns out you actually like chilli, who knew?
Everyone puts their shoes on one foot at a time.
Use your days well when you’re in your prime.
You’ll find the most peace when you put your head on the ground.
You were once lost and now you’re found.
Why are you looking for your fortune inside this cookie?
Put your trust in your Lord, fully.


NaPoWriMo Day 18: Going Round and Round

Going Round and Round



Should it really be this hard?
I don’t want to keep playing this part.
Surely, there must be another card?


I’m going to make it to the top.


Can you hear the whispers of my heart?


It takes seconds to drop.
Lost your spot.
Time is all you’ve got.


–listening to your heart.
Tear the script apart.
But do not drop your guard.
I know you can hit that mark.




NaPoWriMo Day 15: The Phantom of the Pantun

Day 15 challenges us to write a pantun. This is a traditional Malay form of poetry. “It consists of rhymed quatrains (ab ab), with 8-12 syllables per line. The first two lines of each quatrain aren’t meant to have a formal, logical link to the second two lines, although the two halves of each quatrain are supposed to have an imaginative or imagistic connection.”

So I’m supposed to sound odd and mysterious. Like I don’t have all my marbles. Not much problem there; I often give off that impression anyway.

I don’t have a name for this poem yet… I don’t like my poems to be untitled. Any suggestions, please?

Untitled. Which is bugging me a little.

Night fades away, a new dawn begins.
Sweet sunshine touches the mountain top.
You turned away and it still stings,
I don’t know if it will ever stop.

Blue sky filters through the string of scattered cloud.
The birds dance and fly for another day.
There was a time you made me proud,
But my pride and joy has since gone away.

Ocean tides ripple, rise, and fall.
Blue waters extend where man cannot.
The words you said to me were never small.
But the girl from that day I have since forgot.


Share your thoughts with me below. And your ideas for the title of this poem. I wish I could say that some amazing, exciting prize awaits the one with the best title–but it doesn’t. Sadly. I just need a title. For free. No reward. No prize. Sorry. Maybe next time?


NaPoWriMo Day 14: Superty-Duperty

This is a persona poem, as is put forth in the Day 14 challenge. We were encouraged to write in the persona of someone else, preferably a superhero or super-villain. I don’t know any of them well enough to pretend to be them–we’ve never met. Instead, I’ve chosen to assume the persona of my mom. My very own superhero. She doesn’t have a cape, instead she has a scarf untidily draped around her head because she was in too much of a hurry to fix it, giving preference to giving all of us vitamins for the day instead. She can’t fly and doesn’t have x-ray vision, but she’s always just where she needs to be and she has the power of the super-glare. When she looks at you with the super-glare, you immediately stop whatever nonsense you were just doing and you know–you just know–you’re going to get it when you reach home. You don’t quite know what it will be, but you know you’ll get it. And you’re afraid. You’re very afraid.

A lovely woman she is, though often tends to believe she is more invincible than the rest of us. She sacrifices herself too often. But I guess that is one of the qualities of a superhero, isn’t it? They always sacrifice themselves for the greater good–even when the people they’re doing it for are undeserving of it.


Rise early,
No time to be surly.
Get everyone up!
Serve them love in a cup.
I don’t get a sick day,
I don’t get to stay under the covers and lay–
Well, not for long anyway.
I have to work today–
And the next day.
And the next.
That is what everyone expects.

My cooking is not always the best,
But I take care of my family–
Who cares about the rest?

When they’re sick
I’m their doctor.
I rub their heads,
Sit by their beds
And even deliver their meds.

When they’re hurt,
Have a growth spurt;
When they achieve,
Or need some reprieve;
When they’re happy,
Or just feel chatty:
I’m there for it all,
Even when they put up a wall.

I shout and I scream.
Sometimes, I am a horror movie’s dream.
I manipulate and force,
But all with due cause.
They don’t always know what is good for them.
This was proven when
My youngest girl
Was too afraid to sit behind the wheel.
She fought and she cried,
She didn’t understand why
It was so important for her to learn how to drive.
But I fought even harder,
I wouldn’t allow her to discard her
Independence and intelligence.
So I manipulated and I forced,
I never paused.
Now, years later, my daughter is grateful
And no longer fearful.

I am not very well-read
And I don’t know the big, fancy words,
But I gave birth to four English nerds.

I am super-right;
I have super might;
There are few things that will cause me fright.
I am super-strong,
I raised four kids in these arms,
And I will always try to protect them from all harms.

I am Super-Mom–
And my love for my children
Is where my power comes from.


Tell me about your Super-Mom. Or any other superhero you have in your life.


NaPoWriMo Day 13: Footprints in the Sand

The prompt for Day 13 was to take a walk and to make (mental) notes on what we see on our walk, and incorporate these notes into our poem. I took a drive rather than a walk–but I walked when I got there, so I suppose it still counts. I’ve included some pictures of what the scene looked like, and these are what this poem is based on.




Footprints in the Sand

Mountains block out the sun.
So immense,
So vast;
The light is beyond my grasp.
These mountains have me undone,
But the day has only just begun.

Ocean calm;
Heart feels peace.
But this is only a momentary lease.
An endless sea.
Here we stand, we three.
Footprints in the sand,
My heart in my hand.
I’m still struggling to understand.