Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Eely Arrow

 —Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA


roars down
a funnel: perches
like droplets of

wine: drifts like
a feather: poses
on a toe-shoe:

its dinner on
snacks: leaves
the party early:

the party late:
complains about
its age: growls like
a cougar:

revels in
when you’re not

disappears like
an eely arrow of
thin black

—Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs, CA


—Medusa, wishing the world a better year in 2021 ~


Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Mi Medicina

—Poetry by Linda Klein, Los Angeles, CA
—Public Domain Photos


I make my way through dense fog,
intent on finding a clearing,
passing old tree trunks, scarred
by patches of peeling, dappled bark.
Cumulus clouds, lined with soot, crowd the sky.
They appear about to burst.  I cannot walk faster
lest I collide with the solid body of an oak.

At crossings, I am not able to see oncoming cars.
I rely on drivers' headlights.  As the lights approach
I wait, then cross to another obscure block
of dour houses and scabby trees.

I walk carefully, taking methodical steps
on cracked, uneven cement sidewalks.
I duck to avoid low-hanging branches,
a few dry, dusty leaves still clinging to them.

Startled by sudden movement, I stumble,
only to discover a frightened squirrel
quivering as he races up a tree to hide,
his bulging eyes watching me suspiciously.
Atop a branch now, he sits on his haunches,
his forepaws touched together as if in prayer.


He is a river withdrawn from the shore,
while I lie fallow, withering
with the winds of time.
Even so,

I would not try to bring him back.
No trick, no ploy would work.
There is a chasm between us.
He has receded far from me.

He left abruptly with the tide,
using an artful lie to ease his escape.
It seemed as though he had done this before.
It was cruel, unexpected, undeserved.

Angrily, I thought him a coward, a fool,
so different from the way I once saw him
in a girlhood dream born of desire.
We shall live separate lives with no contact.


A handwritten sign said, "Please keep curtain closed
and door a quarter of the way open."
I knocked hesitantly, not knowing what to expect.
A man's voice, soft and pleasant, answered
with a Spanish accent, "Yes, come in."
Pushing the curtain aside, I saw a whited-haired man
sitting at the window, light streaming in behind his profile.
His pale, calm face turned to look at me.
There was a trace of a smile on his face
when he saw my blue-green volunteer jacket.
"Good morning, Mr. Morales.  I have your menu," I said.
As I approached him, I noticed a sketch pad
and a box of colored pencils, a few were lying askew
around his table—pink, blue, yellow, white, and black.
He looked at me self-consciously, trying to hide his drawing,
I placed his menu on the table, smiling at him.  "May I see?"
He moved his hand away slowly, revealing an oval cameo
of an angelic-faced young woman cradling her baby boy,
gazing at him with adoration and maternal affection.
"How lovely, a good way to spend your day."
Mr. Morales' smile grew broader.  "Este es mi medicina.”


At the end, I didn't know it was the end.
I had learned it is a new beginning.
All my ghosts and angels gathered
to comfort and explain, not rage nor rend,
that passing over is an awakening.

We celebrated, for once more, we were together.
The weight of pain and sorrow soon was shattered
by the knowledge we were spokes in the wheel of forever.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Linda Klein

There are bridges we build every day,
sturdy enough to hold a heavy heart
as only kindness and empathy may.
Smooth roads can soothe a soul torn apart.

Bridges built with an element of style,
meant to be traveled a lifetime,
designed to evoke a confident smile,
and offering each a lifeline.


—Medusa, with thanks to Linda Klein for her fine poetry today!


Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Tuesday, December 29, 2020

In Time's Cold Light

Love As Treasure
—Poetry and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


Muse with me while we gather light for a poem.
We will read it later—

tell each other what it means,
then reminisce awhile,

compare amazements—how much our lives
are parallel—

how many years
we’ve known each other,

while we confess,
or commiserate—

let down the burden of our cares
to hold each other’s dark—

find some new-old words
to fill our many silences with explication,

then laugh—
or cry—

whichever is needed.  
Old friend, as close and separate as we are,

I muse these thoughts for you
from this old, well-worn and reliable, loving heart. 
World At Risk


When love is a feeling
too huge to comprehend

and you would offer
the treasure

of each other
to each other

and there is something
you want to define

and it is only a moment
out of eternity and—

does one ever say the rest?

After A Bedroom with a Fire Burning and a Woman 
Reading to a May Lying on a Sofa by JMW Turner, 1827

Now she would truly know, as though—
as though—all her well-read words would

train her mind to memorize. This was a
cozy night, her crossed feet were bare,

someone sleeping there—nearby—
and the room was warm enough to read

from a treasured book that took all her life
to read. She was the watchful wife of the

sleeping man who dreamed in his sleep,
as if she was not there. And they lived

like this : he on his couch, and she
in her reading chair, though she never

turned a page, and he never turned to a
more comfortable position, and the fire-

place never burned down—and this was
their perfection : a sing-song life without

any strife, and no ambition, and they were
content, because it was meant to be like this.   



He could love past the one he loved to the one
he could have. She let him weep and heal.
She held him. They made love
on his tantrum of grief and he was hers.

He was happy then, since he needed
happiness. She became his chameleon,
wearing a red slit dress and playing down
the room with shadows.

They had their years out— clear to her
widowhood. Whatever love he took with him
was all his. She knew that—and let him go with
his happiness and kept what was left.

It filled an envelope,
and she put a ribbon around it
and placed it in a treasure box, where it stayed,
safe in her mind, behind her smile.

Oh my house,
After "Question” by May Swenson

with your
black staircase
and mute windows

your supplicant roof  
and walls that squeeze in—
your doors that open and close


I love the way you float in the sky
at night
when the stars surround you

and anchor to earth
by day
with the secrets you tell yourself.

I know how old you are
in your comfort and strain—
in all your containment, oh, my house.


The piano stood—large and lonely—in a corner of my
childhood, that long-ago place and time that are no-
where now. My hands on the keys were not enough.
My mind created music beyond my ability to play :
I found soft sounds upon it—my trivial melodies—
though my mind craved concerts of skill and fame.
I loved its hugeness, its importance in the too-small
room—the idea of it.

I never learned to read the language of music, though
I found words to love and use with all my effort—white
keys—and black keys—of thought and mood. My hands
could write, too hasty, too unreadable, like abstract
melodies that came to me—a primitive typewriter re-
ceived them then, and saved them from their illegible
existence—to have loved a piano once is a formative
love one does not lose entirely.


After Portrait of a Woman by Pablo Picasso, 1936

What a strange composite—
all the loves you loved through,
each an addition to the phases
of your restive mind.

What a strange sameness
in their portrait eyes;
you could not tell them apart—
your sweeping energies

expanded into
your famous
grotesquerie revered by
the followers of such fervor.

And here I am—an old model—
facing myself
in another version
and scolding you with my heart.  
Now, And The Time Between


See how I erase you, Love—
how you un-exist in words
of poems
and sad love songs
that insist,   insist,    insist,
on being reminders—
all your written margins
penciled in private grief
at the mercy of afterthought
—how I release
my painful agreements
to pages where I sought answers?
Love, I know now, there are none,
only these pretensions and persuasions
resisted, or believed, how
many dreams regret their dreaming?
Forget the question. It is moot.



These winter lines full of cold fact and argument—
the new words made out of stone of the old words,

and still make it through another season of abject
difficulty. Transition! is what you would say to the

queries I would proffer, Only transition! And I am
one! And you another! Replicas of meanings we in-

flict upon ourselves, you with your roses of twilight,
the new image : scent surrounding you, birds singing

in Time’s cold light—as if there was no before and  
there is no after, and the glass walls of the years break

softly around us—and we get through them—leaving
shards and shards of each other floating in oblivion.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

, if the last drip
of rain
is to be
my measure,

and rain
is scarce,

to my eyelashes now,
come these tears
that follow . . .


Thank you, Joyce Odam, for your lovely poems and artwork as we wave goodbye to/erase/burn down 2020! Joyce is ably responding to our Seed of the Week: Treasures.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Whispers”, a fresh breath after the craziness of 2020. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.

For May Swenson’s “Question”, go to

To see Turner’s
A Bedroom with a Fire Burning and a Woman Reading to a Man Lying on a Sofa, go to


Portrait of a Woman by Pablo Picasso, 1936

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.



Monday, December 28, 2020

Closing Off the Year

—Poetry by Michelle Kunert, Joseph Nolan, John Stickney, 
Michael Ceraolo, Caschwa (Carl Schwartz
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed New Year’s Day evenings, relaxing in the living room, watching and listening on the T.V. to the Vienna concerts which cover a wide variety of European musical composers of marches, waltzes and polkas and operas—more than just Johann Strauss. It was like another "gift" of a musical-television holiday special, even though it was after Christmas.

I've always looked forward to the airing of the Vienna Austria New Year's Concert by the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein as much as the Rose Parade in Pasadena. For 2021, there will be no live audience for what has been declared possibly the most-watched classical music event on the planet, conducted by Riccardo Muti, an Italian-born conductor who currently is a director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini .

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA


—Joseph Nolan
In my private madness,
I lick slick, frozen poles,
Fearing not
My tongue might stick,
Forcing me
To try
To scream,
When my voice
Is still not whole!

How does one scream
Into a pole
That holds
Onto your tongue?

Much like many
A married-man,
Whose princess
He has won.


—Joseph Nolan

Can you believe it?
The way
The blue-jays sing?
I hear them
Every morning,
As into life
They bring
—Utter joy!—

To hear
A blue-jay sing,
While dancing on
My lawn,

Upon an early morning
Under my window,
Shaded by its awning,

And I,
So early, yawning,
Capturing the
Beauty of the Dawn~!

—Joseph Nolan

She ate less and less,
Needed less and less,
Grew restless,
Eyed the cage-door.

Maybe it was the same old seed,
Eaten too many times
To be thought tasty,
Or maybe too easy to find?

When its wing has healed,
A bird will fly,
Once the door’s left open.


—Joseph Nolan

I’ve never been
To a single Irish wake
Where some of the survivors
Would not have done better
With at least a couple of stiff ones
To help them numb the pain,
Just enough that they could
Slip their feet
Out of their boots,
Stuck in the mud
Of grief,
To feign rise up
And away
From such an
Oh! so rueful day.......
Town Square, Florence, Italy

—Joseph Nolan

Descending down into a dream,
We hear a ringing sound—
Church bells in the morning
Or howling call to prayer,
Ringing out from minarets,
From parapets and spires,
As if our world, entire,
Were spiritually on fire.

Oh, though that is not so,
Many wish it were
And that before
First thoughts a-morning,
Before our coffee or tea,
Would be
And our dreams
Its sea. 


—John Stickney, Jefferson, MO
in a dress as white
as her dead tree branches she’s
clawing, ominous shadows up the walls
* * *
I’m working my ass
Off on this Christmas stuff, who
Gives a fuck about Christmas stuff
* * *
This year packed with urns
Fifty to be exact
A sea of funeral arrangements
The Nightmare Before
Christmas Queen is right back
Not giving a fuck about Christmas

* * *
I DON’T REALLY CARE, DO YOU? (A Melania Trump Xmas Summary)
That’s on full display
Here in the dead branches
The blood-red trees, and the funeral urns

—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH

Satchel Paige

Those who ran the white majors          

and those who ran the Negro Leagues             

had one big thing in common:      

they wanted to be the ones to control                   

your opportunities to play ball.
Old Satch wasn’t having any of that:      

it was me the fans were coming to see.
I knew it, and the owners knew I knew it,                

so if they wanted me to pitch for them,         

or if they wanted to rent me out to another team,                

they had to pay me well; if they didn’t
I would go somewhere where they would:
Bismarck, the Dominican Republic, Mexico;                 

everybody wanted the best pitcher in the world.
As I look back now,                
maybe that wanderlust was why
Jackie was first instead of me.

* * *

Hilton Smith

Just about the only things
Satchel and I had in common            

were that we were both right-handed pitchers         

and neither of us was straight about our age.
I understood the economics of baseball:
Satchel put fans in the stands           

and made us all more money.
A lot of games he would pitch a few innings             

and I would come in and finish the game;              

because of that, some called me Satchel’s caddy
I didn’t like that one bit:
I considered myself at least as good a pitcher,          
but it was something I’ve put up with until now.

*  *  *

Oscar Charleston

I played hard and aggressive ball
and got into my share, or more than my share,
of fights on and off the field,
which made it ironic to hear
the youngbloods coming up later wondering
why we hadn't fought harder to integrate.
We fought the only way we could at the time:
by showing the major leaguers we belonged on the same field
whenever we got a chance to play against them.
We didn't deserve the criticism we got later:
only saints want to become martyrs,
and we were no saints.
Llamas at Attention


—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

ancient (and perhaps extraterrestrial)
astronauts loved to go shopping but
their time was quite taken up with
structuring society and learning what
this new planet had to offer

ergo, similar to today’s top executives,
they delegated shopping tasks to
underlings, leaving them a secret shopping
list comprised of many cryptic or symbolic

some of these ancient shopping symbols
(A.S.S.) manifested themselves in the shape
of pyramids, giant statuary, and other
objects all over the globe that we can
see but not fully comprehend

could the answer be as simple as “scratch
and sniff”? maybe the ancients left us a
shopping list that begins with the instruction:
“Kiss my A.S.S.”


Oh no!! the copier machine is jammed;
best practice is to switch it off, clear the
jam, then turn it on again
Hint: this doesn’t require turning off the
power to the whole building

Oh no!! a shopper is leaving without paying;
best practice is to have Security detain that
shopper and call the police if necessary
Hint: this doesn’t require bringing in an army
of police with a mission to secure the entire
shopping mall and shoot to kill anyone they
perceive to be an “enemy combatant” who
does not immediately comply with their

Oh no!! innocent people are being killed by
the police for every reason under the sun;
best practice is to fix the problem at the source
Hint: this doesn’t require defunding or disarming
the police department, but full public disclosure
of some damn strict reviews are certainly in order



ants in the kitchen
darting happily across
scraps of fresh food

while another set crawls
purposefully in and out
of stinking garbage

outside, ants in human
form climb ridiculously
high places to leave
their calling-card pair
of shoes

then return to the kitchen
to pursue this, that, and
another morsel of food

ants with beach towels?
sure enough, right there
in the vicinity of water



excuse the paper bag, it’s
just a prop to house that
ever-so-uncooperative poetic
verse, daring it to fight itself
out of such confinement

the bag is safe harbor from
all the ills of facing the light of
truth, all the bills that won’t
get paid until Congress spares
more of the people’s money
to help the people

haven’t we had quite enough of
putting brand names on luxury
towers, spending gazillions on
space-travel programs aiming to
unlock secrets of the universe,
while the program of universal
health care right here on Earth
remains sorely unfunded?

inside our paper bag we cannot
use the open flame of candles to
light our way, as that would burn
the bag to mere ashes, and we
would have to learn the ways of a
world un-shaped by our untested


Today’s LittleNip:


(measured syllables, 6,8,6,8;
meter all over the place)

the party in power
during the impeachment hearing
made sure that there was no
damning evidence appearing

if that power now shifts
and the floodgates are opened wide
maybe, just maybe, then
the truth will have no place to hide


Thanks to our industrious contributors this morning, as we wind up this last week of 2020. Tonight, 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center presents Jan Haag and Jessica Dailey-Keithline online on Socially Distanced Verse at Password: spcsdv2020/. Info:{"source"%3A"29"%2C"ref_notif_type"%3A"plan_user_invited"%2C"action_history"%3A"null"}&notif_id=1609082321541179&notif_t=plan_user_invited&ref=notif/.

After 30 years, Jan Haag will be retiring from her teaching position at Sacramento City College. Her helpful syllabus, “Desolatiion Poems: Poetic Forms Used in English”, can be found at



Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 One Snake’s Treasure…


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Gifts of Love

 —Public Domain Photo

—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO

How do we create love?

Past the woods, past the old asphalt road, into the road of potholes and mud,
a turn at the field of weed and discarded metal, a small house is lit with candlelight.
Inside, a lone woman waits for her man to come home. She has waited through
thirst and wind, broken glass and fury, prayer and a lack of faith, but she has faith
and she holds her faith bone deep, an ironclad faith, a copper faith mixed with bronze,
a bit of silver, sapphire, thick jade and maybe a few particles of gold just in case.
She goes to the window and pulls the bed sheet to the side. He is coming.
She can see him at the foot of the field, the small house warm and dry.
He has something in his hand and he is happy. This makes her happy. She opens the door.

Christmas and they have little to give one another. It does not matter. He does not
need to show her the blossom or the agate. He does not have to scrape his boots clean
entering the house. He is both wet from the early rain and dry from the change in wind.
He greets her warmly, places the blossom carefully on the old wooden table, the agate
on the windowsill near the candles on the mantelpiece. Their hug is their hug.

Love is created in many ways. This is but one of them.

—from Michael Brownstein’s book, How Do We Create Love? (

—Medusa, thanking Michael Brownstein for today’s fine contribution to the Kitchen!
Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Saturday, December 26, 2020

Because We Are Human

—Poetry by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Public Domain Artwork Courtesy of James Lee Jobe


the crows have come today
to count and measure the wounds of the earth
these wounds are large and numerous
and the crows announce them one by one
I am their witness



lazy man    I never put my hoses away
they lay wherever I drop them
I never bother to remember where, either
I have spent my life walking around
looking for the far end of hoses
I imagine finches watching me   or raccoons
all of them thinking me a fool—
stupid man! he should put the hoses away!
well, to hell with them all
I don’t have feathers or fur
and I don’t go around judging people
with poems on their minds 



the advertisement was for a rustic cabin for sale
looking at the photograph,
I decided that rustic must mean beat all to hell.
looking down at this aging body
One can see that I must be a rustic poet
and then
from somewhere outside of my also-rustic house
a dog began to bark
it barked for a very long time


because we are human we think
we must endeavor to be perfect
how foolish—
it is our perfect imperfections
that makes us human
we suffer, we sweat, we love
so just love yourself anyway
right now


at dusk the sun dies
every morning the sun is then reborn
and it is that every morning brings another chance
for you and I to be better people
to grow   to learn   to love
it’s easy   when the sun rises tomorrow
just wake up and open your heart


Today’s LittleNip:

silence is a blessing   the perfect emptiness
that binds you to the void   embrace it
raise up your arms and give thanks for silence
give thanks for the vast emptiness of the void

—James Lee Jobe


—Medusa, thanking James Lee Jobe for today’s fine poetry and visuals!


—Public Domain Photo

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Bliss

Hanging Packages, Main Street, Placerville, CA
—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And scroll down to Form Fiddlers’ Friday!


Sawmill workers on holiday—
Christmas dawn—
what star drew them bridgeless
over waves of iced river
up the mountain
throwing boulders crazy downslope,
Michaels hurling devils
till no more earth to climb
but the monolith
portal to unworldly confluence
of stars
prayers and carols
between Sierra summit
and Valley fog
and then they trudged back down
over frigid river
into December night
before a workday morning. 



I’ll meet you at the picnic table.
Don’t forget your camera, your notepad.
No time for hobnob, we’ve got so much on our list:
1 - great blue heron (check the snag in the lagoon)
2 - sun gilding stone in refuse left by goldminers—
we’ll be judges of what’s sun-gold!
3 - white pelican (if such a ponderously graceful bird
might pass overhead)
4 - song of unseen frog
5 - blueprint of a beaver-analog across the creek
6 - secret of “that narrow-plank thing” distracting us
among the buckeye woods
7 - monarch butterfly (doubt we’ll find one, settle
for dragonflies instead).
How to pay for all this? with imagination
wide-open as our eyes.


on Van Gogh’s Boots with Laces (1886)

What happened to those old boots
of Sierra backpacking days? Army Surplus jungle
style, worn till misshapen as the old flea-
market work shoes in Van Gogh’s acrylic; stiff
as my arthritic knee; boots deformed, conforming
to my feet the way my retired cowpony
adapted to me, teenage rider. Those boots are
as gone as my black mare; as my low-cut Red Wings,
meant for pastoral country but great for picking
a way through earthquake rubble, following
my search dog—she’s gone as those boots,
and my old Vasques I could wear all day and
the next and the next, Valley slough
or Moke wilderness.
If wishes were boots or dogs or horses,
I’d wish for the energy and gumption,
the backcountry solitude to do them justice. 



We’re driving into a golden mist sun-struck rising out of last year’s burn, vacant lot between freeway and off-ramp, place-holder scrubby space we hardly noticed before flame, sirens, smoke and char reminding us how close we live to disaster—

this mist we enter
on December’s shortest day
dawning antique gold 

from “Wednesdays at the Wall” —California Magazine

Line of demarcation, simple,
nondescript, concrete—feel the energy
when you enter communal space.
Political philosophies, conflicting
ideologies, comfort and belonging, wishes
and prayers—a long history
at the wall, a set of steps, a sacred space,
mythical place located in the heart
when the wall was poppin’—
so much fun, so much going on—
daily escapades evolved,
catcalls and flirts, existence putting up
markers, community imprints, public art.
The true magic. Memories began
and ended at the wall. It was so alive. 



Silver glimpses, glitter-glint
of holiday on Main Street—
how it makes me reminisce
on Christmas bliss wrapped-up, sweet.

Today’s LittleNip:

A “Found” poem from Facebook 
—Taylor Graham

My 9 year old dream
my brother had a purple one a beauty
mine was blue with chrome fenders
boss! so cool
Santa brought it to the bike shop on Main Street. 


Merry Christmas to Taylor Graham and all our SnakePals today! The forms that she has sent us include a List Poem (“Holiday Shopping”); an Ekphrastic one (“Wish-Boots”); two Found Poems (“A Wall” & “What's for Xmas”); a Haibun (“Point of Solstice”); and a Rannaigecht—another Celtic form, Irish this time (“Behind Glass”).

And now it’s time for more poetic Christmas presents: a fine collection of poems delivered down the chimney for…

It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers, in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! Each Friday for awhile, there will be poems posted here from some of our readers using forms—either ones which were mentioned on Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some forms and get them posted in the Kitchen, by golly! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for links to definitions of the forms used this week.)

First poem out of Santa’s bag today is “A Found Poem” by Claire Baker of Pinole:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

While walking in a graveyard with my dog,
I spot a doll in a wire-mesh container
lodged deep in discarded flowers & trash.
I name her Naomi Sue, & take her home
to wash her filthy rompers & booties,
scrub her perfect body clean.

Her serene expression changes,
matching my varied moods.
I wonder about her life story.
(already she seems to know mine)…

I hold her up to my sheltie
who sniffs her hands and toes
as if pledging protection.
Naomi Sue comes more alive:
I’ll cradle this brave bundle as long
as I may live, though others think me daft. 

* * *

The Fiddlers’ Challenge for last week was the classic form of the Found Poem ( OR, and Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) has placed one under the Christmas tree for us:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
(Found Poem excerpted
Black’s Law Dictionary,
Abridged, Fifth Edition)

A person is said to be


to either of two belligerents

when involuntarily
or by any means, but more particularly by
accident or his own negligence or forgetfulness,
he is ignorant of


as opposed to


in the most general sense of the word

when actually present therein 

* * *

Carl writes that he enjoyed reading Taylor Graham’s "Eleven Tricks" on Friday, 12/18 [see and scroll down], so he consulted Lewis Turco’s
Book of Forms, 2020 about Normative [Syllabics], which led up to Carl’s own variation on that pattern:


there was that time I dropped
a carton of eggs and broke
every last one, funny in hindsight,
it was all in the timing, like jokes,
and the joke was on me because
then I couldn’t demonstrate my
surgical precision of breaking eggs
into the frypan, which sat on the
cold burner enjoying a pretty good
laugh at the whole episode, having
nothing better to do with no flame
underneath, no eggs to fry 

* * *

And here is an Alouette from Caschwa:


don’t celebrate yet
or place a big bet
we must avoid the impulse
broken bridge ahead
claiming many dead
not us, we hit a wild moose 


Our favorite elf, Joyce Odam, has also dropped by today, bringing us two poems. The first is a French Sonnet, which is in iambic tetrameter and rhymed as aa bab cdcd efe gg. Joyce says this version of the  form was originated by Robert DeWitt as a new sonnet form:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

What sound is this that stretches thin
like some old anguished violin

holding some note that stirs the air
and searches out the mood I’m in
and finds me, finds me everywhere.

I listen, though I put my hands
tight to my ears to filter out
whatever memory demands
of something that I cared about

and lost, and oh, these moaning trees
can hear it too, they shudder so,
as if to lose some sorrow-breeze

that tortures them, that will not free
this sound, acute with misery.      

(prev. pub. in Hidden Oak, 2003)

The second poem Joyce has sent is a Rondelet. “And time is spent…” she says:

—Joyce Odam

And time is spent
without reclaim; it trickles by,
and time is spent—
and we bewilder where it went—
how much it cost—but didn’t buy,
time on the run…   time on the fly…
and time is spent.


And now we close FFF for 2020 with a poem by Carol Louise Moon. This poem was posted in yesterday’s Kitchen, but I thought I’d post it again, first because (a) it’s so lovely (“on pew of branches”), and also because I’m wondering if you can tell what form it is…

—Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA

Even and uneven clouds glide,
ingress and egress the winter blue.
Eager birds, landing side by side
in holy assembly on pew
of branches, sing their hymns on cue.


Anyway, many thanks to our SnakePals for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!


 See what you can make of this week’s poetry form, and send it to! (No deadline.) This week's challenge is the

MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry forms mentioned today:

•••Found Poem: OR
•••French Sonnet (Robert DeWitt): iambic tetrameter and rhymed as aa bab cdcd efe gg
•••List Poem:
•••Normative Syllabics: OR

For information about Lewis Turco, go to:
•••Purchase (be sure to get 2020):


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