Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Fighting For a Gentler World

—Poetry by Lindsey Hanson, San Francisco, CA
—Art Courtesy of Public Domain

IN HER 40s

‘It was cute 20 years ago’ he says
‘It was never cute’ I say
She's crying again
Naked, grabbing strange men and old women
forcing her bloated mouth on theirs
and now she's crying on my birthday
Maybe because it's not her birthday
Maybe because the bath water went cold hours ago, and she can't get out
Maybe because all the bottles are dry
or her brain is wet
It was only cute when we could laugh later
She'd drink water and even eat a vegetable
now her pants don't fit
It's not from ice cream
Her hands shake
She doesn't remember
it's not cute anymore 


Names are spoken in low voices
Deep lines between our brows form
We try to hold our breath, so the memories do not escape us
We look for signs, for something to hold onto again
The passage to enter is cold and scarcely mentioned
Clutching the shreds of a shirt
I imagine its occupant is in there somewhere 


So my spouse is a shut-in who has been reveling in the sheltering-in-place orders
So much so that he,
just the other day,
made me stroke his hair to feel how healthy it had become due to the “lack of social obligations”
He firmly believes that his ability to nap and snack, at will, have contributed to the strength of each follicle.
He admires the shine and strength of his hair like it was something he cultivated with apt skills.
Meanwhile I go out, each day, to scavenge and fight,
like a sewer rat,
in order to bring home the bacon.
I come home, masked and sweaty from effort, with his nicotine vape pods, English peas, and special ramen
having fought others
for such luxury items
only to stroke his hair
and hear about how
this is the way of living we must all embrace


“I don’t wanna think about the silverfish!”
I tell him.
But I do
I think about them anyways
I think about them eating dried skin flakes
Discarded pieces of my largest organ
I’ve been in this bed for days
The smell of sweat and of ass and of drool envelope me
I haven’t showered in two weeks
Please don’t tell anyone
The skin under my breasts smells like mold
And I bet the silverfish are loving this 


These kids don't talk!
They're retarded! He shouts
He embarrasses me more and more these days
The greying of his beard
Is seeping into his thoughts
You can't say that
My sister's retarded!
I know, but
You're not Lenny Bruce, and things have changed
Besides the kids are gentler these days
Don't you want that?
A gentler world?
He's deflated now.
And it's not any fun


Today’s LittleNip:

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.

—William Wordsworth


Today Lindsey Hanson visits us for the first time with her fine poetry, and thank you to her for that! Lindsey is in a master’s program for museum studies, and makes art in San Francisco. You can see some of her work here: Welcome to the Kitchen, Lindsey, and don’t be a stranger!


Lindsey Hanson

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, March 30, 2021

Mind of the Mind of the Mind

All of Me
—Poetry and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


To pity something so small
and get away with it,
watch daylight form at the window,

wear sound, like glass, around you,
that breakable.
Nothing is as easy as love,

or as harmful. Everything
is risk, with or without rules.
Go for the tremble,

like tree-shadow on a wall at night.
Night comes early.
When it does, call it winter.

Save your sympathy
for something worthy.
Even the ant in its tiny struggle.

Lost is lost
for which there is no direction.
Then you’ll know why a map

is useful. Even life as it unfolds,
crease after crease
from so much folding.

Consult the stars.
They too have a reason for being.
Even the darkness mourns,

then surrenders.
Uphill is the only way to go
that is worth the effort.

After words upon words
upon words.
see how small the page is?
At the Hour

In this recall, I am drifting through a year of some-
body’s black and white garden. The land stretches
out from a white two-story house. Clouds hang in
soft clumps against a bright gray sky that is held
in the distant slowness of my eyes. If there are
others in the world, I am removed from them
by this sparse mood of junctured time though
something holds the camera, my serious face
is caught in an expression that I cannot read.
I have just returned from walking through
fields where I went to see the cows—of
which I was afraid and I remember the
cows—how they would turn—each
one to look at me—I was small—
smaller than my fears—which
were many and someone has
abandoned me to my life
with only this remnant
to find and hold me
here, waiting for
myself to come
out of myself
but I never do.



I seek the comfort of the flowers where
the garden is the darkest and the glare
of sunlight has not yet become aware.

It does not reach beyond the dappled wall
where songbirds used to sing and so enthrall
—as though you ever needed song at all.

Your flowers are allowed to flaunt themselves,
and scent the air, but birds must hush themselves.

But here is where I go, to listen still—
to where the meadowlark would trill and trill
—and memory of this can thrill and thrill.

Your deafness will not let itself allow
the echoed singing that remembers how
it filled your happy heart    that    hates it now.

(prev. pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine)


I would like to be
alone with my thoughts—

let them find me—
while I stare at a stone

or a leaf
and feel the path wander

away from my feet
feel the sky

the sun
the air

feel space

feel no other
near . . .

as I enter
the mind of the mind of the mind.

(prev. pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine)
Woman with Peacocks by Louis John Rhead (1857-1926)
L’Estampe Moderne, 1897-99)

She strolls the garden
with its ever-winding path

two peacocks strolling alongside
through the blue shade

and the small blue trees—no one
watching though she wears

a rose in her hair
and a long red gown—her mind

on her thoughts
the peacocks endear themselves

leisurely beside her
she murmurs lovingly to them

and they seem to be listening—
a small stirring

of something
following noiselessly behind them.



are shadows to be known
far in the corner-edge
where the sun sets first

enclosing all
that lingers
out of some dare

or curiosity—
out of some line
of an unfinished poem,

reluctant to continue,
or out of the shadow
that hushes with the flowers—

what sort of garden holds
such mystery
from innocent intruders,

only there to steal—
or only mean to steal
a single flower out of so many . . . ?
The Now of Never

he brings me marbles
from a lost garden
under the weeds
in the turned soil
marble after marble
that he brings
for my jar of water
old waiting marbles
that have lain
in the darkness
noting that children
have lost them
years ago
and now they come to eyes
for praise
for appreciation
he has carried them
in his pocket
till he has worn them clean
and then he has
given them to me
one by one
over the thrifty years
after he has turned
all the soil
under and under
finding the pretty ones
the broken ones
all those marbles
that have turned into such an
enviable collection

(prev. pub. in Negativity, 1990)



Thinking past the now of the never,
dreaming through sleep and waking
into more and more of it—
the time left—and the time used,

I will believe what I can of it—
the old mystery and the new
finding—half an answer.

I go to the great bareness
I try to fill with anything
and everything—as though I can.

I still yearn for the unfound
and the lost—none of it myth
or reality—sometimes I want
to wish everything away from me.

When the sun came out this morning it burned a
hole in the sky and spilled its black ashes around
and whatever dared to look at it was stricken with

stabbing color—rings of nausea—jagged patterns
of blindness. The dark hole of the sky filled with
blessing—the light pouring in—in all its radiance.

When the sun came out this morning, everything
that was too fragile thrived then shriveled.
Know that this light is forever. It borders the

cold world and the cold heart alike. It wobbles,
then settles into a golden ring. Bask in it . . . bask
in it . . . let it heal whatever can bear such healing.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

Woman sitting in the garden
in stippled light,
in artist pose.

The abstract light
plays with her face,
her thoughts, her clothes.

Nothing matters but the day
that turns. The hour

The garden whispers,
spreads its shadows,


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for her poems today about what goes on in the garden—ants underground, flowers, birds, and ladies swanning about in the morning sun. And, of course, her beautiful flower photos that accompany the beautiful words and thoughts. (And ladies!)

Our new Seed of the Week is "Excuses for Not Writing". 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 more about artist Louis John Rhead, see For more about
L’Estampe Moderne, see


Woman with Peacocks
—Painting by Louis John Rhead 

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, March 29, 2021

Set-ups And Hazy Sunshine

—Poetry by Kevin Jones, Joseph Nolan, 
Caschwa (Carl Schwartz), and Michael H. Brownstein
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

It was a set-up
Of course. Billy Queen
Asked Sister
The word for feeling
Ants crawling on you.
I volunteered. 

—Joseph Nolan

Sunshine falls on our garden
From mid-Spring until early-Fall,
While I clamor
For carnations’ offerings
Of beauty
For us all.

Through slumber goes
The breath of hounds,
In muggy, summer days.

Still, I recall
The beauty of morning:
Early, over coffee,
With your eyes
Still covered,
Softly, through some haze,
And your breasts,
Drooping lightly
From your evening gown,
Over table,
Over coffee,
As morning sunshine
Did surround
Our early conversation,
Slowly toward
Our daytimes, bound. 

—Joseph Nolan

Dreams disappear in sweet smiles,
Like brilliant, cloudy sunsets.
We watch.
We learn.
We yearn!

Another morning
For new dreams to begin,
Drawn between our
Needs and whims,
Lofting down
On our red
With all
The trimmings.

The water-pot
Is whistling,
Telling us
It’s ready to
Make coffee.
I’ll pour your cream,
And after
Warming up our bread,
We’ll head back to bed.

—Joseph Nolan
A horse
Considers his day,
Steadies himself,
Matches himself
To the weight of his daily burdens,
Each stop along the way
A little time to rest
For the rest of the route,
Pulling carriage or sled,
Or with weight on back
Piled up to the top of his head,
Shouldered and tied,
One street at a time—
His life as a beast of burden.


—Joseph Nolan

I, for one, as a poet,
Am on a crusade
Against kvetching.

There is so much of
Kvetching in poetry,
I can’t stand to hear
Any more.

Kvetching in reams,
To spoil our dreams,
Like a thunderstorm
At a picnic.

Thundering, more and more,
Until the kvetching
Over-pours our table,
Onto the floors,
Up the walls and
Across the ceilings,
Revealing how women
Are feeling,
Angry, frustrated and sad,
Imposed-upon and mad,
For being the “distaff” gender. 

—Joseph Nolan

Has its own wariness,
And wariness
Its own weariness,
From promised, more
Bearing less,
Eventfully, regrettably—

How to learn
To trust again,
Not gullibly,
To the extent
Of reason and
In light of the above?

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

we’d lose our pants
swallow our rants
be denied constants
have no participants
stumble over variants
use coulds but not can’ts 


(after reading about the
“Headless Horseman”)

One of our political parties has
displayed its unique ability to throw
its explosive head and regenerate
a new one continuously

they were once a fine and firm
block of cheese, but now mold
has predominated and the nation
has grown tired of picking around
it to find worthy morsels

all MAGA hat, no cattle, no justice,
no civil rights, no equal rights, no
bills allowed to pass the Senate,
no longer the global leader in
freedom, liberty, and democracy

     home, home on the range
     where the deer and antelope
     still have heads intact 
Speaking of bad days….


the poet wrote some poetic verse
which struggled and fell flat on its face
it was meant to answer an awful curse
that was entirely out of place

the thinker turned to thoughtful prose
writing plausible explanations,
it was all guesswork, I suppose
devoid of factual revelations

both the poem and the prose were
then joined and intertwined,
hidden away where no lights occur
baffled confusion ruled the mind

do we faithfully follow the commandment
that bans murder by any means,
or put our money behind the amendment
that entitles us to killing machines?


There’s a movement underway again
to make Washington, DC a State
giving our U.S. citizens there
better choices over their own fate

before you retire our current flag
you need to know about another
movement that was started long ago
Texas exits, given their druthers


there once was a boy made of wood
who lied every chance that he could
sent invites for his party
billed as most wild and hearty
he’ll be there, they all understood

they came waving flags and bear spray
letting nothing stand in their way
the police were outnumbered
the mob was unencumbered
the boy, of course, stayed home to play

this tale is as yet unfolding
just read the court’s latest holding
hard evidence always rules
o’er testimony of fools
guilty gets more than a scolding


Today’s LittleNip:

the joy of the songbird—
a tingle and a sigh—
snow on the mountain pass

—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO


Here we are on the cusp of April, thanking today’s four poets for starting us off right this week, and Joseph Nolan for finding us lovely, laughable and often astonishing photos. The talk of ants has to do with our Seed of the Week, Ants.
Speaking of April 1 (April Fool’s Day), Poetry in Davis will present Julia B. Levine and Joseph Millar Thursday night, 8-9pm online at  Host: Andy Jones. Facebook info:{"source"%3A"29"%2C"ref_notif_type"%3A"plan_user_invited"%2C"action_history"%3A"null"}&notif_id=1616773020786826&notif_t=plan_user_invited&ref=notif/.

Tonight at 7:30pm, Sacramento Poetry Center’s Socially Distant Verse presents Mary Blendermann, Elder Gideon, and Doreen Procope online at Password: r3trnofsdv. Join at 7:15pm. Host: Emmanuel Sigauke. Facebook info:

This summer, Frank Dixon Graham will repeat his workshop, Summer of Love, a course on love poetry online, the first and third Wednesdays in June, July and August. The entire course is $99, though you may take any four classes for $69, or any one class for only $20. Simply contact Frank at to enroll. The course is LIMITED in space, so sign up early! Facebook info:

And tomorrow (3/30, 5:30pm), Pacific University MFA Mapmakers Alumni Institute and Catherine-Esther Cowie present “The Long Shout”, a panel discussion with Joshua Boettiger and guest poets Valzhyna Mort and Celia Sorhaindo about the shaping force of violence and trauma on an artist’s work. Free, but register at  Facebook info:{"event_action_history"%3A[{"mechanism"%3A"your_upcoming_events_unit"%2C"surface"%3A"bookmark"}]%2C"ref_notif_type"%3A"event_aggregate"%2C"source"%3A"29”}/.



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!



Sunday, March 28, 2021

Fighting For Life

Tafadzwa Chiwanza
—Poetry by Tafadzwa Lemuel Chiwanza, Harare, Zimbabwe
—Public Domain Photos of Harare, Zimbabwe


Harare's streets
are wounds dripping pus
in the form of decaying dust.

Each receding road
a caricature of Hiroshima's sequel,
where dreams were bombed to dust
in a sniff of unholy guka makavela

these roads are patches
from a ragged rug long discarded,
suddenly dropped on dinner table.

the town's streets are broken,
branching into secret meetings
where plots to leave for Europe are discussed.

these streets are like veins,
coursing through the dust bin,
leading to no further than yesterday. 


eat the quills
and discard the porcupine,
what use is tasty food
to a tongue bent on eating dust?
Perchance, a savour of your own blood,
senses long dead could awaken.

prickle the wretched pink softness.
let salty redness well up in your mouth,
to make wet the sandpaper posing as a tongue.
if some gore could wash your teeth
long used to digging solid earth,
then perhaps in the unpleasantness lies safety:

for the quills protect the porcupine,
as I like thorns guard you, Oh rose of mine. 

            (for Marshall Muranda)

Death's Jaws
soft as a whisper from a lover's lips,
Gently strokes its prey with silent lullabies,
Sung from mists and gases
brought to the milky way from nebula,
a gothic prothalamion for an unholy marriage:
death and flesh helplessly tangled
in an indissoluble embrace
to give a turbid climax to a turgid megillah,
life's pendulum oscillating
from one form of death to another,
as is the script written,
the actor must ready to leave the stage.


an invisible hand scribbles,
a book in which you and I are—
a perfect harmony absent labels:
just the sound of a distant guitar.

the silence whispers our names,
as songs of us fade into echoes
down the corridors of love flames
in which we ignite the goddess Echo

when dawn lays siege to dusk's walls
among the ash, a voice will speak of us
who even gloomy silence intently adores:
known as a lovesick lad and his bonny lass.

only our names will remain when all is gone,
And they will tell of the love we have known. 


(after learning that my sister tested positive for Corona)

Ashes in my mouth.
what bitter taste ravages the senses
as a savage nausea churns my insides!
fear of being a statistic on tomorrow's news
peddles my clock anticlockwise,
to an apocalyptic semi-real reality
where all lies beneath rubble
with blaring screams echoing,
from another non-existing existence.
time collapses on my knees:
the Crown-Shaped one has snapped
my sister between his carnivorous Jaws

and mother and I have been exposed... 



In the breeze and chirping birds.
In rippling waters and glistening sun.
In soft silence and infinite vegetation,
I felt your hands reaching out to me.

In the waters kissing rocks' edges.
In the plants growing under water.
In the shrubs dancing by the riverside,
I heard you whisper my name.

by an incestuous passion,
my senses senselessly tickled,
to stand naked before your ancient gaze
a raunchy infant before mother's infinite eyes


Today’s LittleNip:

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.

—Leonard Cohen


This morning we have a visiting poet from Zimbabwe! Tafadzwa Lemuel Chiwanza is a University Of Zimbabwe Zim accounting student, currently with Deloitte. He says that when he is not bean-counting, he creates vivid metaphors whose existence lies between poetry lines. He writes about the dusty streets of Chitungwiza, where everything you see is made of poetry. A publisher of a poetry anthology titled,
No Bird Is Singing Now?, Tafadzwa is currently working on two more collections. He has had his work featured in various local newspapers such as The Standard and The Herald. He currently resides in Harare, Zimbabwe, his homeland.

Welcome to the Kitchen, Tafadzwa, and don’t be a stranger! For more about the city of Harare, see


Tafadzwa Chiwanza

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, March 27, 2021

Hoys & More Hoys

—Poetry by Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


and yet they were too slim to be so fast,
the fence line curved wood, penciled,
the feed near the house—not the barn,
a drip of water flowing downward into a gully.

My two children were young enough to talk
syllables and vowels, not infractions,
but words they used often to describe—
but now they could not pronounce an s.

Look, look, they shouted, their eyes sunlight,
the hoys are coming, the hoys are coming—
and I looked everywhere for boys, maybe girls,
but saw no one beyond the fence.

Still they yelled and danced and pranced,
galloped and leaped, and yelled out to the hoys
and I never understood anything else that afternoon
until dinner when my wife asked how were the hoys?


Yes, you are too beautiful asleep.
I cannot wake you.
We stayed up late
the pain in your gut violent
and my pain wishing for yours to go away.
Dawn presses into morning.

I read,
a breath of light enters the room,
you breathe in the sun,
let out dream puffs of breath,
scratch your nose, raise your head.
In sleep, you smile.

When your eyes open,
you say the pain has passed,
everything is fine now,
and I want to believe you.
when I woke, I woke to a dream—
you holding on to yourself

an essence of rosewater and thyme,
everything that will be good with the world
and then we begin dancing around the rosebush
daring each other to jump over it,
each jump a success,
its thorns another part of how to love.


Glory dust with glory dust wings
the soft music of clouds
when clouds decide to sing.

A tread of sky, red dawn;
a thread of sky, dusk's fawn.

And everywhere a leaf-wind hum,
cricket chatter, songbird patter
and glory dust floats with the sun.

Standing next to upstanding men
Pharmacologically consistent men
Men with thick blisters and strong-handed men
Men with compressed feet, heartfelt men
Men colored with soil, sun-injured men
Men full of cancer and grit,
Compassion and cruelty, men
Who know the bottom of the hole
Men who no longer climb to the sky
Angry men with streaks of generosity,
Men who are upstanding.


And they marched onto the capitol
and they marched onto the capitol


an alpha tree, a drizzle mess
a drizzle mess, an alpha tree


Today’s LittleNip:

To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears.

—Octavio Paz


Good morning and many thanks to Michael Brownstein for his poetry today! He says that the last two are “skinny poems”, and he sends us a link to skinny poem guidelines:



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!
 Men—and snakes—who are


Friday, March 26, 2021

Remembering Sheep

—Poetry by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And scroll down to Form Fiddlers’ Friday!!

organically fertilized fields

Our ewes are gone, but how they linger still,
the pasturage they browsed now overgrown
with knee-high green concealing every stone,
stout grasses laced by vetch’s purple frill.

Our tricky ewes could never get their fill
but longed for greener fields beyond our own,
Our ewes are gone, but how they linger still,
the pasturage they browsed now overgrown.

Foxtail, bunch-grass, thistle—an iron will,
dense and tough, soon brown—a red-flag zone
just waiting for a spark by north-wind sown.
All summer I’ll mow what ghost-sheep distill.
Our ewes are gone, but how they linger still. 


Country roads and 4-lane thoroughfares named for old-time ranches. Subdivided now, asphalt fields. Keep moving. Condos without cease, gray roofs climbing a hill topped by McMansion maybe bigger than the town of Latrobe. A part of our county I’ve never driven or, if years ago, how could I know? so changed! Farther out from suburbs, remains of an old rock wall. Three horses in a field under tremendous billowy dark-bottom clouds. We’re arriving at spring. Willows in pale-bright catkin. No place to stop, no shoulder on this winding 2-lane with traffic bound for business. I’m not driving fast enough, looking for the first or last daffodil.

Do ghosts of cattle care?
The hills go on greening
in hope or desperation. 


Cattails split open—
dark cocoons transforming to
so many white wings 


Spring equinox—all about growing green
thru deadfall leaves, sun’s slant light sowing green.

In pasture, milk cows were ruminating
and the boss-lady Jersey lowing green.

Between rains the old secret manifests
in new leaves tinting sky, wind blowing green.

Last year’s machine started right up running—
I balance on slick rocks, I’m mowing green.

Trampling on miner’s lettuce as I go,
brandishing my Stihl—oh, I’m rowing green.

Unnamed shoots and sprouts soon turning red-flag
flammable—when shall I be knowing green? 


The first daffodil
already faded—others
in yellow blooming
there, on the hill across from
graves of old dogs passed away. 


We met at the complex closed for business
on a bright chill Saturday, its sky and clouds.

Wind sweeps white blossoms off pavement—
so much bright-fall we miss in the dark.

Our dogs lift noses to scents gone wild;
we stayed masked in the wind’s Unknown.

So much we haven’t heard in North wind’s
news, invisible merchandise, its song.

We have no kites, just legs for keeping up
with our dogs pursuing flyaway scent.

You call your mask a sail, for faraway,
safe journeying on a fresh Spring wind. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

journal pages,
keeping last Spring pressed—one
green bud.


It’s Friday, and as with every Friday, we’re privileged with poetry and photos of the Sierra foothills from Poet Extraordinaire Taylor Graham, who also has a knack with and an interest in forms. The forms she sends us today are a Rondel (“Remembering Sheep”); Aquarian (“Still Green?!”); Ghazal (1 traditional & 1 variation: “Ghazal of Green” & “Let's Fly the Wind”) plus Haiku, Haibun & Tanka. (My spellchecker said the Haibun was a Halibut, but I’m betting that’s not true.)

And now it’s time 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.)

Our Fiddlers’ Challenge last week was the Aquarian, and we were honored to hear from BritPal Neil Fullwood! Here is his nimble Aquarian:

—Neil Fullwood, Nottingham, UK

But why
the horoscope demands:
why not

or Sagittarian?
A shrug

comes back
as poetry
insists on rules that make
no sense.

Carl Schwartz (Caschwa) also sent us Aquarians, two of them, centered:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

be gone

my bad habits

overstayed your welcome

leave now


name badge

is required on

all flora and fauna

get one


spell out

those acronyms

don’t MSRP me



a drone

can show more than

people can understand

like sex




poking needles

to check my blood sugar


but when

the TV shows

abundant blood splatter


can’t swim

in deep water

that is my own life blood

no thanks 

Joyce Odam sent us a Pantoum, using the following definition: "A Malay repeating form in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the next one. (In the last stanza, ideally, the second and fourth lines repeat the opening stanza’s first and third lines, bringing the pantoum full circle.)" Joyce has repeated the gist of the lines, rather than copy them exactly:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

There is a woods that keeps its wilderness,
a fallen tree-log stretched over a stream
where children like to cross. Swift water
glints beneath. Trees fleck golden in the air.

The tree-log settles above the rushing stream.
Nothing sinister here.
Gold trees dapple the air.
The sky is blue. Leaves drift down.

There’s nothing sinister,
the daylight lasting from dawn to dusk
with sky that’s blue forever, leaves drifting down,
and nothing but play to do.

The brimming daylight lasts from dawn to dusk,  
the children serious, centered, alone,
with nothing but play to do.
exploring time, and life, themselves.

The brimming daylight lasts from dawn to dusk,
the children serious, centered, alone,
with nothing but play to do—
exploring time, and life, themselves.

Serious children.  Centered.  Each alone
on the log-bridge, the gurgling water close beneath
as they enter time—and life—themselves—
the small, still woods keeping its wilderness.

And here is a lovely wee poem that Claire Baker calls “a simple Cinquain”:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
             (for Jannie Dresser)

droplets of rain,
that lingered for awhile,
evaporate now back into
the sky


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:



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

•••Ghazal: OR OR OR  


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

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