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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OCTOBER 20, 2014 8:30AM

Inhaling Restoration

To walk on the trail

on this spun-light day

with its ambient

filigree and amber

is to inhale restoration,

new air in the lungs

stirring oxygen staled

in the sealed up rooms.

It’s clean sheets

on the mattress at midnight,

hibiscus blooms

red before wilting

on the mulch bed,

tumbled towelsRead full post »

OCTOBER 19, 2014 8:57AM

Is It Wrong?

I confess I don’t quite understand prose poetry. I see poetry in some prose writing, but I don’t see the point in intentionally typing a short, free-form poem in paragraph form. So, I have done it, starting with my standard form and then a prose version. Still, hmmm. I felt compelledRead full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2014 8:27AM

I Beg These Leaves

On this gusted day,

the leaves blow in bunches

falling, no, floating to the grass,

driven crossways to rug the ground

for a raking

and I sit here watching

feeling the wind on my skin,

and I beg these leaves

float down to me

pile on me

rug me, no, blanketRead full post »

OCTOBER 17, 2014 8:40AM

"Too Much."

Not sure which to focus on,

which level to lean my ear to,

the bubbling fountain more gray noise than white

with copper and froth,

the pop song belting tinny from the speaker

flaking paint from the wall,

the chattering children at the top of the stairs

finishing every sentence withRead full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2014 8:40AM

Scraps of Our Bustle and Rest

The dog collar on the table

the shoes on the floor

the sofa with last night’s blanket

tossed thoughtless for morning

the glasses you were wearing

the scarf I draped on the chair back

the book open where I’d read it

but hadn’t yet turned the page

the browning apple I’dRead full post »

OCTOBER 15, 2014 8:12AM

Were My Ancestors Fearless?

Were my ancestors fearless, I wonder?

Did they stake their land

armed in tartan

and hammered swords

when Normans crossed over?

Did they hunt with the king

or did they plough his fields

with their heads down?

Were they unconquerable

in spirit?

Did they board ships from hunger?

Did they landRead full post »

OCTOBER 14, 2014 8:28AM

Ode to the French Horn

I got a little adrenaline rush after practicing my French horn, and then this happened, somewhere between tongue-in-cheek and dead serious.


To hold the horn with both hands

is to lift up the dignity

of the majestic and the rustic

at once.


Nobles and ignobles stand taller

sit tallerRead full post »

OCTOBER 13, 2014 8:36AM

Road Trips Aren't What They Used To Be

Road trips aren’t what they used to be

squeezing into the back seat

feet on the hump

pestering the sisters until one of them snapped

I’ll slap all of you, I don’t care who started it!

Windows down, hair blowing

giggling over nothing so much

Mama pinched the bridge of herRead full post »

She combed through 80 years or more
Of filed images and stories
Until she put her finger on the ones that fit
The questions posed to her
About her brothers
Or her wedding
Or that time when she was five
And then retreated into silent rifling through,
Focused on something only she… Read full post »
OCTOBER 11, 2014 9:47AM

The Way Time Travels

The way time travels,
Not like the highway that remains
After you've moved on it
And you can go back and ride
The same dips and rises in the asphalt,
Not like the river bed
Where water meanders round bends
The same as when my father fished
And my mother baited the… Read full post »
OCTOBER 10, 2014 7:55AM

Because No One Thought to Make Repairs

Those friendships you have,

the ones you forged on the playground

and kept through all your stages,

have they held you in place

like a tether to the stake

that marks your beginning?

I’m asking because my friendships

have not lasted nearly so long.

The girl on the swings

who broughtRead full post »

OCTOBER 9, 2014 7:40AM

Somebody Left the Gate Open

Somebody left the gate open

my father used to say

when trapped at a stop sign

with his blinker on,

cars for as far as he could see

and no chance of our turning left

any time soon,

a throwback to his boyhood in the pasture

shooing cows toward the barnRead full post »

OCTOBER 8, 2014 8:16AM

Let’s play This!

Let’s play This!

my kids used to say

about a game they had devised,

paper-trail scavenging with

notes left as clues,

one on the piano bench 

that sent you to the basement

where one would direct you 

to the front porch

and so on and so on

until the final locationRead full post »

OCTOBER 7, 2014 9:05AM

A Mug of Sturdy Earthenware

That evening I went to dinner

with the conductor and the soloist

and each needed coaxing

to express his impressions

of the performance he had given

and it was me who held the platter

for them to set their words on

and their delicate dispositions

carefully balanced

like tea cups easilyRead full post »

OCTOBER 6, 2014 8:15AM



diving into a pile of oak leaves

deep enough to hide a child

deep enough for a tar pit

or a gator swamp

something to jump over

so the monster in the middle

doesn’t grab your scrawny legs

and pull you in


and the buried acorns

push dentsRead full post »

OCTOBER 5, 2014 10:00AM

If You Learn One Thing from Me

If you learn one thing from me, my father said,

remember you can’t trust anybody,

as I stood beside him a sapling

and my thirsty roots turned

in loose soil for something

that must be true,

as what he said could not be,

and I’ve still not learned it,

trusting asRead full post »

OCTOBER 4, 2014 8:39AM

Stories and Scarves

Sometimes when I knit, I’ll watch a movie,

and its scenes and lines entwine with the yarn,

an association that lingers long after the credits.

If there’s a word for that, I don’t know it,

when you pick up your work again,

and the plot from yesterday is retold

as theRead full post »

OCTOBER 3, 2014 9:16AM

It Gives Me Agita

On occasion, I will say to my friends, “It gives me agita,” a phrase not often used in Central Ohio, with one friend asking why I don’t just use words like “uneasy” or “concern,” and I have had to defend this phrase. Here is my defense.


“Agita&rdRead full post »

OCTOBER 2, 2014 8:59AM

This October Sky

This October sky,

this capricious ceiling,

sometimes placid,

sometimes volatile, 

quick to rumble

with thunderous revolts

against the departing summer,

the coming winter,

this buffering sea of clouds

erratic, dramatic in their 

shapes and shades

from steelish tarp

to milky coverlet

draped oRead full post »

OCTOBER 1, 2014 8:10AM

The Act of Baking

Is it the baked things I like more

or the act of baking,

the melding of elements

inedible on their own,

scoops of flour,

some spilled on the counter,

spoons full of leavening and flavoring, 

a pinch of cinnamon, a little salt,

bits of chocolate stirred in for luck,

the ovenRead full post »

new bracelet

When my Memaw bought those earrings

of plastic beads bound together

with tarnishing wire

and clipped them on to match her church dress

and the shoes she kept out of the garden,

with the purse she clutched in her lap

as the preacher delivered the gospel,

or maybe sheRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 8:23AM

Tinny Clinks In the Change Bucket

Tinny clinks in the change bucket

from careless tosses of nickels and dimes

on my way through the back door,

emptying pockets and purses

of rattling, heavy metal,

used to be money to me,

is now like gum wrappers

and receipts for drive-thru coffee

collected in wads,

used to buy BenRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 28, 2014 9:01AM

My Granddaddy Could

He could size up a horse

without touching its tail-whipped hide

or opening its bit-set mouth

as it stood reined in the ring

just by eyeing its flanks

and gauging its mass,

imagining it hitched to a plow

in the morning and seating a child

as the sun sets before itRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 8:50AM

Two Things Are True

Two things are true—

the sun rises in the east

and weather moves the other way

at least in this hemisphere

with us standing in the center

keeping watch side to side

for daybreak and evening shade,

for rumbling storms and blue skies

circumnavigating the globe

with attractions and reasons 

tRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 7:57AM

That Dream When I'm Floating

That dream when I’m floating,

my arms waving,

swimming near the ceiling,

hovering, covering no ground,

fingers stretching toward unreachable objects

to climb myself down to footing,

hand over hand,

back to safety, to reason, to everyone

—or to no one who seems to notice my need—

thaRead full post »