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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SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 8:33AM

Even the Dog Knows

Even the dog knows to rest his head on the cold stone

hard for a pillow but refreshing against his insulating fur


Even the bird knows to pass over the stagnate pond

for the fountain kept flowing and filtered


Even the snake knows to find the warmest rocks

forRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 8:31AM

The Thin Man Cutting the Dead Tree

The thin man cutting the dead tree,

skin and bone and elbows and knees,

wields his chainsaw like an appendage,

a third arm connected to his brain

as responsive as the fingers on his right hand,

doing exactly what he tells it,

carving wedges and slices

that send the trunk toRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 8:33AM

The Circle of Ladies

That circle of ladies,

widows, some of them,

and martyrs whose husbands stayed home,

carried in chicken sandwiches

made special on little rolls

and pies and cakes

and coffee for the Styrofoam cups,

veiled in florals and girdles,

cat eyes and pointy pumps

that had mangled their toes

into digits IRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 8:33AM

There Is A Nap Simmering

There is a nap simmering 

behind these closed eyes,

personal shades pulled 

against the midday light

though slight under cloud cover,

time-out called on this afternoon

that has stretched beyond 

the purview of the clock.

I’m resetting this lassitude,

this black-and-white day,

goiRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 8:35AM

I Try Like Hell to Levitate

Remember the recessing swings

when we were children,

and we’d sail as high as we could reach

on the pendulum,

losing sight of the ground,

hanging in space for a moment

with our flawless faces toward the sun,

returning back to Earth,

passing each other as

peripheral smears of felicity

onlyRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 8:12AM

To Be More Like the Dog

Watching the dog chew a new bone,

scraping his teeth across the surface,

using his tool-tongue to reach the marrow,

watching him hold it with his big paws,

one hour and counting,

fixated with blinders because 

nothing else exists,

no task list or wish list,

just this bone

He doesn’t wonderRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 8:25AM

Fall Has Come Early Today

Fall has come early today,

catching me unprepared,

ringing the doorbell before

I could even find my socks in the drawer,

ringing again as I run to the door

in my bare feet,

asking for pumpkin muffins

when I just finished a peach slice

with juice still on my chin,

puttingRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 7:59AM

Back-To-School Season Pulls Like A Magnet

“Back-to-school season”

rings in my ear like summer

or winter with imagery

as true as sun and snow—

new shoes and sweaters,

sharp pencils and the

smell of fresh crayons.

Imprinted sensations linger

long past school days,

and I’m pulled by the magnet of 

squealing bus brakRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 8:21AM

A Few Who Stand Up

It speaks to the potential, invincible nature

of the human condition that

an artist could create out of calamity

a cathartic embrace of ugly beauty,

as Turner painted landscapes,

all washes of color suggesting shapes and

structure in scenes barely recognizable

but for imagination and desire,

filteredRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 8:15AM

The Staying Gray Club

I have wanted to start a club for people

who don’t color their hair

when it grays and betrays their age,

for people who aren’t ashamed

to admit they have lived to adulthood.

They say youth is wasted on the young,

but I think it’s age that is wasted

on peopleRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 8:12AM

If We Were to Disappear

I learned some kind of lesson today,

returning home after time away

with no one tending to details.

The place was still standing,

the dog was alive

and the house sitter had collected the mail.

But closer inspection revealed what happens

when the tender isn’t tending,

keeping nature at bay.

SpidRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 12:45PM

I'll Never Be British

Try as I might,

I’ll never be British,

at least not in any modern sense,

even though my tree is branched

with McAdams and McRees,

Comptons and McNapps

and people of the Wells crest,

even though its roots were uprooted

from the Isles

just centuries ago.

I can claim shortbreadRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 6, 2014 2:27AM

Thomas Hardy Was In the Floor

Of all the history I saw today,
Of all the architecture surrounding it,
The stained glass raying mosaics over it,
The ceilings drawing attention away from it,
From rivaling monarchs
Entombed with their mischief,
The jeweled floor where sits
The rustic coronation chair
Suitable for a peasant,
I was mos… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 11:53AM

The Blank Page

There is something about a blank page
That seems to want to be filled,
As if the space is incomplete without words or etchings,
And what you or I might add
Can only serve to improve it,
As if our phrases and images
Are blooms in an arid landscape,
And by our… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 10:43AM

How Far to the Horizon

How far is it to the horizon,
I wonder, staring off the bow,
Eyes fixed on the crisp line
Between deep ocean and paling sky,
Losing its color as the day fades.
There must be a way to gauge the distance,
Some equation that measures
The scope of the average human eye,… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 3, 2014 5:09AM

Years Ago, I Saw A Dead Man

Years ago, I saw a dead man
Curled in an alley
On his side as if he were napping,
His shirt tucked,
The seat of his khaki pants facing us,
Passersby on the sidewalk,
Stopped in our purposed strides,
Processing the sight as truth or fiction
In our surprised and hurried minds… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 6:00AM

A Hole In Water

Stick your fist in a bucket of water
And pull it out, he said.
The hole you leave behind
Is the hole you leave behind,
Gone without a trace,
Momentarily missed
Before the molecules swish back
To a glassy surface
As if you were never there.
As if you were never there.… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 6:17AM

Am I the Only One

Am I the only one who cooks a meal
And imagines a stranger knocking at the door
Asking, hopeful, for a share,
Some wandering soul who's off the tracks
On the line toward abundance?
At the end of the day, a cold one,
When the door is shut against snow
And we're… Read full post »
AUGUST 31, 2014 3:22PM

I Imagine My Dot On the Map

I am walking the deck of a ship
Crossing the Atlantic, cruising eastward,
Nothing in sight but sea meeting sky
Like a line drawn with a ruler
In all directions, sun and clouds
And I imagine my minute dot on the globe
Should someone pinpoint my location,
And would they wonder, I… Read full post »
AUGUST 30, 2014 11:16AM

For A Child to Do

Peeling shrimp wasn't so bad,
As I recall,
For a job assigned to a child.
I stood at the sink and skinned them,
Trying with each slippery curl
To finish the job with one swipe,
Pinching the stick legs
And unwrapping the meat for frying.
I preferred the job of bean snapping,… Read full post »
AUGUST 29, 2014 6:57AM

Red-Dressed Vexation

Well, there was that one guitarist
Who sat center stage on a stool
And played familiar songs for the audience,
And I was about to privately mock him
For his melodrama and oddness
When he lit into the Albeniz,
And it was his skill that made me imagine,
Not a red-dressed flamenco,… Read full post »
AUGUST 28, 2014 11:52AM

Survival of the Fittest

When the ship sails from shore,
Still slipping through port
Quiet as a mouse
With a whispering ripple wake,
I begin developing my sea legs, mermaid feet
That move steady with the smallest swells,
As survivors do, the fittest species
That aim to live past their twenties--or fifties--
Acclimating to the… Read full post »
AUGUST 27, 2014 8:56AM

Defying Our DNA

Floating through air, it seems,
As I look at the book that passes the time,
The sun shines through the window
Of the banking plane
And wipes the page with light,
And I shift from the words
To the elements,
From the discovery of DNA
And the history of genetics
AUGUST 26, 2014 7:27AM

Our Vegetation Plunder

This will be my last poem for a couple of weeks, most likely, as I’m taking a little trip. I’ll be writing every day as usual but can’t be sure of a reliable connection. Be back soon—I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate your taking the time to readRead full post »

AUGUST 25, 2014 8:05AM


Sleep seems almost too animal-like

for us not to have overcome it by now

like living in trees and

pulling nits from each other’s furry backs,

but without sleep

this newfangled environment of ours

turns monotone and nauseous,

an ironic dream state in slow motion,

like reaching out for things

whiRead full post »