Poetry Per Diem

A poem a day. Maybe some of them will be good.

Robyn Martins

Robyn Martins
June 21
I am a freelance writer embedded in Small Town, Ohio. I have decided to write a poem every day as a discipline, and like a good potter, I intend to set aside a few as keepers. While I do the sorting and pruning, I'll post them all here.


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JANUARY 30, 2015 8:46AM

They Cast A Long Shadow

They cast a long shadow

the ones who crossed paths with the sun

before I ever stepped foot in its rays.


Their shapes more than shoes to fill

with their silhouettes of arms and legs

and heads making iron-clay impressions.


The shade they laid beside me

a standard to… Read full post »

JANUARY 29, 2015 7:44AM

Like Heirlooms

I’ve been learning lately

about the nature of things

like the tango

and the steel drum

that started at street level

were danced in the street

were forged in the street

by street-minded people

overlooked by the rest

until their self expressions

wormed into high places

where we got a good… Read full post »

JANUARY 28, 2015 8:20AM

As Women Do

I have a photograph

of my father with his mother

and his brother after the war

young men tall and spindly

my father still in uniform

months after battles

more miles away from this garden

than any of them had dreamed of

seeing as far as the barn in back

and… Read full post »

JANUARY 27, 2015 8:31AM

As Something to Remember

My fumbling Chopin rendition

pulled you into the room

stooped and shuffling but

knowing some notes among my stumbles

on the yellowed and chipped up keys

and you answered with a record on the player

spinning Chopin perfect through the dust

and the scratches in the grooves

a language we could… Read full post »

JANUARY 26, 2015 8:31AM

The Hawk

From his lookout at the tip

of the spindly pine

he launches hawkish

a descent across his fields

scanning side to side

his hunting grounds

surveying the space

through the wide place

between the houses

skimming cross-pathed with the woman

walking, she and her dog,

who sees only his 

swift-blurred… Read full post »

JANUARY 25, 2015 7:37AM

A Veiled January Haze

Driving out of the valley

up through the tree stands

brushed cloudy with winter bristles

I have the sense someone

has cruelly removed the color

and left behind a black-and-white scene 

smudges of gray shade on the snow banks

and tinged hues pale in the sky,

an opaque milk-wash tenting,

the… Read full post »

JANUARY 24, 2015 8:30AM

Her Mind A Soaking Sponge

Her mind an empty cup

wanting to be filled up 

in the basement classroom,

a pieced-together effort

to teach the untought,

the ones who’d crossed the border

on horseback, hiding in a truck back

at night when we weren’t watching,

her mind a soaking sponge

growing wet with knowledge,

th… Read full post »

JANUARY 23, 2015 8:33AM

A Dialect To Lay Us Bare

We were only joking

about a language with eye rolling

accompanying words and punctuation,

but imagine the depth of communication

if our eyes spoke our truest discourse

within the diagrams of our sentences,

highlights to our adjectives,

layered meaning to our verbs and nouns, 

how our lexicon wou… Read full post »

JANUARY 22, 2015 8:07AM

You Who Had Survived

I wonder about your reaction

to the candle I handed you

holding out my smallish hands

dirty from a day at the park

to honor your Father’s Day,

you who had driven a half-track

half-way across the desert,

a rat in Patton’s army,

you who had worked as a field hand… Read full post »

JANUARY 21, 2015 8:09AM

And On and On

It was a sunny-Sunday outing

our trip to the cemetery

to find the old man’s grave

planted in a weedy plot by the others

his children and theirs

some born against the odds

and buried as babies

unnamed sons and daughters

“Infant” carved in marble

to mark their span on the… Read full post »

JANUARY 20, 2015 8:08AM

The Safest Way to Travel

Looking down on these brown mountains

scarred with hard-climb roads

I drink my coffee

and eat my cookies

and read a novel of debatable worth

passing over on an airstream

what would haunt me down below

looming unascendable in my line of sight


This droughted river system

outlined with broad… Read full post »

JANUARY 19, 2015 7:20AM

Let's Say We Stand On the Back Porch

Let's say we stand on the back porch

Our vision of the pines and the pears

Sifted through the wire mesh sieve

The jays and the wind chimes

An offbeat melody to the breeze beat

Dusting on the tree tops

A brush on the backyard cymbal

The squirrels in the crisp

Read full post »
JANUARY 18, 2015 8:04AM

The Nag

She kept the nag on her dresser

dusty on its doily stall

teeth bucked

ear broken

ribs rippling

clay base worn smooth

smiling as she sat.

She kept the nag on her dresser

a souvenir of flawed years

a trophy of life

sometimes gone awry.

She smiled wily

when she… Read full post »

JANUARY 17, 2015 8:30AM

Will I Leave A Trail

Will I leave things behind

like my mother has

living now in her one room

while her old lamps and albums

store up at my sister's

dusted or stacked in drawers?


Will my children rifle through them

like I'm doing

pushing around my earrings and bracelets

divvying up my scarves … Read full post »

JANUARY 16, 2015 6:46AM

With Ravaging Fingers

Back then

like a skiff at low tide

bobbing in pools

aimless and frantic

waiting for the deep stream

I sat on the front porch 

by the light of the street lamp

bare feet cool on the cement

the Morse code of the

frogs and crickets

digiting from the silhouetted

bushes… Read full post »

JANUARY 15, 2015 7:59AM

Walking On Ice

Walking on ice,

a deceit of the pavement,

the sun reflected

in its mirror,


I place in faith

one foot on balance

in a head-down

toe-gripped stride


like dancing on glass

as thin as a window

with only the air

to hold onto,


my sure-footed gait

turned to… Read full post »

JANUARY 14, 2015 8:36AM

Work Must Come Before Recess AND More

I wrote two poems yesterday (A and B) and was going to discard one (B), but I have been told by a thoughtful reader that B is actually superior. I'll post them both here and would appreciate comments that compare the two.




I raise my hand in an… Read full post »

JANUARY 13, 2015 7:30AM

With Immediate Essentials

My suitcase lay open on the bed

as I decide how to fill it,

piles of tops and bottoms

to choose from 

and I envision my mother

in her chair watching birds

through the window.


She will know me 

when I knock on her door

but won’t remember my visit… Read full post »

JANUARY 12, 2015 8:05AM

A Cadence of Weave and Dye

The bolts stood upright

at shoulder height,

and I ran my fingertips across

the rounded edges

as I followed my mother

down the aisles,

drumming and thumping

the cottons and silks,

the brocades and the calicoes

a cadence of weave and dye,

I spun the bobbins

and marveled at the colors… Read full post »

JANUARY 11, 2015 8:04AM

In Winter, You Cannot Hide Your Goings

All the tracks from yesterday

remain indented in the snow

crusted over from a night’s wind

and a morning’s cold rush

as the sun rose

deceptive in its light

that warms nothing but our hopes,

blue shadows criss-cross

across our traces,

molded impressions of

our boots plunged deep on the lan… Read full post »

JANUARY 10, 2015 8:09AM

Until They Build A Bulwark

My eyes and ears

deliver to me

art as they find it

in the crevices of everyday,

and every day

they dispense pieces

like pebbles found on the ground,

and I am learning

to cup my hands

to receive them and consider them

until they build a bulwark

that cannot be… Read full post »

JANUARY 9, 2015 8:28AM

Where Isolation Once Swam With Her

My mother is losing her hearing

I have been told

and she sits isolated in her head

with her jumbled thoughts muffled

in the spaces where

conversations used to ring


while other lips are moving.

It seems she’s stopped caring

for the words they are shaping

most of them of… Read full post »

JANUARY 8, 2015 8:27AM

The Doors Are Frozen Shut Still

Outside looking in

snow drifting from the roof

a blizzard illusion

but the doors are frozen shut still

and you see through them

the sliding glass at the deck

and peer into the rooms

where the television flickers

and the coffee pot drips

froth into a cup

and up the stairs… Read full post »

JANUARY 7, 2015 8:32AM

With Fewer Thorns and Thistles

There is an unexpected benefit

to reading without one’s glasses,

I have discovered by reading without my glasses

and filling in the blurry smudges

with words I prefer to the printed ones

that spell out loss and malice

on every page of the planet,

and with my sight unaffected

by warped… Read full post »

JANUARY 6, 2015 8:28AM

Pinching Off Their Withered Flowers

The petunias I remember from summer,

the ones my mother planted

between the railroad ties, pink and purple,

delicate petals you could pet

with only the tips of your fingers,

and they wilted to brown edges by fall

and had to be pinched off and tossed,

those I remember and think… Read full post »