Response to The Sunday Whirl Wordle: June 30, 2013

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Here’s an attempt at a poem in response to Brenda Warren’s weekly word challenge at The Sunday Whirl.

I like playing around with poetry; I believe writing poems sharpens my senses and, hopefully, enriches the language of my fiction.

Brenda’s words this week come from Glacier National Park signage:

bird, bridge, unstable, wild, bend, rock, retreat, bear, lane, fallen, meadow, island

Plus a bonus word: Heaven . . .


Suspended between earth and heaven

the swinging bridge bends in the wind.

You stand still and clutch the ropes

until your fingers numb. You’ve crossed  

here before: the rocking’s wildest

over the middle of the gorge, just

when you’ve come too far to retreat.


Breathe, breathe, don’t look down

to see who might have fallen before you.

How could you bear to know?

Listen to your pounding heart,

the roiling water below,

the flicker and call of birds,

the wind’s dying shush,


and fix your eyes on the far side: 

a single tall palm, a flash of red

in the meadow (bird? bloom?)

where the rutted lane leads out

to the main road, across the island, home.

It’s only one bridge, after all:

unstable, like a life.


To see other folks’ efforts, visit The Sunday Whirl!

Writers: do you enjoy stepping out of your genre occasionally? If so, what do you gain from it?

A Post Hop

Budding artist/writer

Now that the October Memoir Challenge is done, I thought it might be a good time to give you a tour of various kinds of posts at The Writerly Life. If you started following the blog during the challenge, you may be surprised to find out there’s more here than memoir–posts about writing, reading, photography, even the cat . . .

Thanks to Kenya G. Johnson for passing along this archive hop idea (via TALU (Tuesday Archive Linkup).

1) Here’s a two-parter for writers: Read It and Weep (Not), a piece about how to respond to criticism (as reader), and Read It and Weep (Not), Part 2: The Writer’s Role.

2) Wordle 65: A Little Fiction. I love the Wordles from The Sunday Whirl. Sometimes the words want to be poems, sometimes a story. This one is a piece of flash fiction.

3) So Many Streets, So Many Connections. A piece about friendships of all kinds, from memory to cyberspace.

4) The Letter That Crisscrossed the World. A bit of family history that lends itself to story.

5) And finally, from the Memoir Challenge: Age Seventeen: On the Cusp. Quite an important age, seventeen . . .

Enjoy the sampler and give me your thoughts. Suggest a topic you might like to see!

Sunday Whirl Meets the Memoir Challenge

I haven’t done the Wordle for the Sunday Whirl in a while, but these words leapt out at me. I think it’s because I’ve been immersed in the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge for the last two weeks.

All of you who know me know I don’t consider myself a poet, but here’s what came out of this week’s Wordle list. It breaks the chain of memories by jumping ahead a few years, but it still fits the challenge.

Here are the words: umbrella, deeper, inherit, excuses, stand, become, thunder, childhood, joined, vowed, shifts, light . . .

Wedding March

We needed umbrellas that hot afternoon.

The end of June, thunderstorms were common

but this one didn’t last long. The clouds soon

shifted and light broke through. We would have to dig

deeper for excuses—I in my white dress

and he in a tux that didn’t quite fit.

In an upstairs room I waited, wilting.

My childhood friend pushed back my damp bangs

and grasped my hand, but what did she know

about standing in the church, poised

to be joined to a boy it turns out I hardly knew?

My father waited at the top of the stairs,

and I wondered what would become of me.

Then he walked me down, and the boy and I

vowed to cherish, to inherit each other’s woes.