April 1, Day 1
Today’s prompt is a poem of negation – yes (or maybe, no), I challenge you to write a poem that involves describing something in terms of what it is not, or not like.
It is not the thundering of bombs,
it is not the tingling smell of gunpowder,
it is not the volatility of petroleum,
it is not the darkness and mirth of fire,
it is not the cracked, torn holes on cemented walls,
it is not the ripping of innocence,
it is not the scalding of hearts,
it is not, not, will never be, the marks of blood,
nor dried tears, nor ceaseless pain, nor certain death.
It is peace.
April 2, Day 2
Prompt: write a poem about the stars.
Her tiny finger traced the dots together,
a perfect triangle, a broken circle,
a crooked quadrilateral, a small square,
she could imagine them all,
lying down on the dewy, moist grass,
her back pressing against the ants,
her hair entangled in the thin blades of grass.
She nearly drew a perfect star,
but the stars themselves would not relent.
They would not move, or shift an inch,
they would only twinkle back at her,
as if giggling at their game,
sharing in her delight.
April 3, Day 3
In Memory of 16 December
The boom of guns, the crash of walls,
The littering of cement, the thud of bombs,
The pierce of bullets, the fall of ceilings,
They were all alien to me.
The soft lap of my mother,
The low hum of toys,
The footsteps of my sister,
The pitter-patter of rain,
They were known to me.
I was always in my dreams,
Unicorns flying in the sky,
Rainbows to see everywhere,
Not a bullet piercing the silence,
Nor a bomb about to crash.
That day silence was replaced by thunder,
That day softness gave way to cruelty,
That day kindness was marred by violence,
That day sanity was lost to madness.
My innocence was all that remained,
Fluttering in the wind, like a torn kite,
About to be tarnished further and further,
A colourful speck against the dark clouds,
Rising up to the heavens.
April 4, Day 4
Prompt – write a “loveless” love poem
April 5, Day 5
The number just flipped from 2 to 3,
on the corner of my screen,
signalling that another minute has passed by.
I stare unbelieving – at my own indifference,
I have let a minute go out of reach,
I have stared into space, doing nothing.
The new black digit cannot reverse itself,
it will keep on increasing,
I will be left older by the second.
Not too old, not too young either.
I think I haven’t changed,
But tomorrow’s another day,
Another step into the future.
April 6, Day 6
Prompt: write an aubade. These are morning poems, about dawn and daybreak.
April 7, Day 7
Prompt – write about money!
Those crumpled notes that are rubbed in hands,
stuffed in wallets and pockets,
from being new to being torn,
they pass circles and people,
banks and hands.
Their crumpling, tearing, wearing,
reveals the weariness of the passer-on,
the holding back, the guarded possession,
by its owners.
April 8, Day 8
Prompt – write a palinode
Success embittered with ambition,
was not the sweetest goal.
Success laden with trophies,
can never be the greatest hold.
Success is meant to be,
your heart’s peace, your soul’s content,
Even if all you have are books,
more and more, and just a small tent.
April 9 – Day 9
I could sit and analyse the thousand streaks of light across the sky
I could sit and think over a million contradictions
I could lie and dream about a hundred fantasy lands,
I could bow down and notice the ten ants crawling across the floor,
I could sit and analyse the black smoke in the blue skies,
I choose to do some of it,
I choose to leave the rest.
April 10 – Day 10
I softly chewed on the fried vermicelli,
It reminded me of the morning sehri.
Once a year, a daily ritual,
With reddened eyes, a yawning mouth,
An empty, rumbling stomach,
A lifelong memory,
Repeated every year,
At the break of dawn,
With thin wisps of light through the skies,
Eat and fast, fast and eat.
April 11- Day 11
A cloud that seemed like a streak of white,
left behind by an asteroid,
shifting to become a huge ball,
shifting and enlarging.
It changed the landscape,
from a blank sky,
to a happy view.
As if painting itself,
dressing itself, admiring itself,
vain and indecorous.
April 12 – Day 12
The smell of fresh coriander invaded,
A fragrant bunch of tiny leaves lay splayed.
Invading, exhilarating, reminding –
A flashback into childhood memories.
April 13 – Day 13
Here is my experiment with the diamond poem format:
whispering, soothing, embracing,
silence, patience, shouts, screams,
prodding, buzzing, rattling,
April 14, Day 14
What had I to do?
Except ask, except question.
What would I ask?
This and that.
What would I question?
The world, the sky, the infinite universe.
April 15, Day 15
There she was,
gazing from her perch,
on a bench as wide as her.
Her eyes strained on the playing child,
the pecking bird, the shifting sky.
Yet her vision wandered,
right beyond them, right through them,
looking for more, imagining the most.
April 16, Day 16
Using Day 15’s prompt:
Today, I challenge you to write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self
Dear poem, what have you been writing?
My thoughts, those with me, or the ones far away?
My work, you are,
yet you question me,
do not cease to haunt me.
Ask me of what I wrote,
but you implore,
you strike up contradictions.
April 17, Day 17
The minutes tick away,
the clock deceives,
says its permanent,
but we know it won’t be.
Time is thus, a relative act,
look at those hands with your own vision,
don not let them escape,
out of the boundaries,
of your imagination.
April 18, Day 18
Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical.
(This prompt made me write a poem with the missing Baloch in mind.)
Go, tell them I am here,
Go, ask them if they’re okay.
Go, inform them I am alive.
I’ll rush to the doorstep,
Of my own home.
Ring the doorbell,
Ask my mother to come out,
See, I am here, alive, well, brave.
See, I have returned,
I will not go back again,
They won’t take me away.
April 19, Day 19
A form of folk poetry from Afghanistan. Meant to be recited or sung aloud, and frequently anonymous, the form is a couplet comprised of 22 syllables. The first line has 9 syllables and the second line 13 syllables. Landays end on “ma” or “na” sounds and treat themes such as love, grief, homeland, war, and separation. See Eliza Griswold’s extensive reporting on the form in the June 2013 issue of Poetry, in which she explains how the form was created by and for the more than 20 million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Give me some freedom, free and open,
Do not ask where I went, what I did or what I said.
April 20, Day 20
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge to write a poem that states the things you know. For example, “The sky is blue” or “Pizza is my favorite food” or “The world’s smallest squid is Parateuthis tunicata.
The finite world is an abnormal round,
not perfectly flat as ancient people thought.
The shifting clouds are pearl white,
but they can be ominously grey too,
when they fill up with tears.
The blazing innovative sun,
produces one-of-a-kind helium.
The innocent moon,
follows the Earth’s shadow,
waning and rising,
rising and waning.
April 21, Day 21
I grew up,
with voices, whispers,
loud, louder, soft, softer.
I grew up,
with words, and sentences,
sharp, sharper, soft, softer.
I grew up,
with distances and enclosures,
long, longer, short, shorter.
I grew up,
April 22, Day 22
Prompt: On Earth Day
speckled in black and white,
cuckooing through the day,
had nothing to do.
glazed in black,
friends of the ravens,
had nothing to do.
benign and irrational,
had nothing to do,
nothing with smoke and tar,
nothing with oxides and gases,
nothing with all the factory-made,
that you proudly use.