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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NOVEMBER 24, 2014 8:18AM

The Quick Change of Seasons

It was unfortunate that the summer cushions 

were forgotten and pillowcased with snow

and the patio umbrella blew in the groaning wind

nearly bending its ribs with the flapping flag canvas

and the decorative blue bird perched beneath it

fell helpless onto his ceramic wing where he lay

paralyzedRead full post »

NOVEMBER 23, 2014 8:51AM

My Dashboard Therapist

I’ve been told I could do with a therapist

by people who aren’t aware

I travel with one right here in my car

and I tell my story to her while I drive


with her sitting buckled up beside me

while the shadows of my troubles

kick the seats fromRead full post »

NOVEMBER 22, 2014 8:39AM

Abraham Lincoln's Hat

At times a typographical error seems no mistake at all

as if typed on purpose by sly fingers

with a secret message to slip into copy

for readers keen on seeing the hidden meaning,

and this was the case with the blurb on the website

about Abraham Lincoln’s hat,

the topperRead full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2014 7:57AM

The Rush of Imagined Foreboding

From within these walls

I hear the wind wipe the roof

above my head

sweeping clouds of snow

from the shingles

and I hear it howl through trees

in muffled roars like

jet engines a mile up

with me small down below

and it all sounds ominous

triggering some sense ofRead full post »

NOVEMBER 20, 2014 8:26AM

My Mother's Hammer

Of all the tools

we kept in the house

with a carpenter father

outfitted for his trade,

of all the tools

my mother’s hammer

held a place

its place in a cabinet

where she could find it

peen and claw

at her service

for pounding nails

and removing them

held correctlyRead full post »

NOVEMBER 19, 2014 8:03AM

Chopin's Heart

When they dug up Chopin’s heart

from its hidden spot in the pillar

smuggled there by his sister

and they stood around it

and photographed it

before putting it back in its hideaway,

what were they thinking?

Did they just want a glimpse

of the thing that pumped life into theRead full post »

NOVEMBER 18, 2014 8:21AM

Should I Become Bedridden

Not that I’m wishing for a reason

but should I have one to be bedridden

there are certain things

I would like to have

within reach of my fingertips

contained in the space of an arc

across the covers

things to occupy my time

that I don’t always allow for

whenRead full post »

NOVEMBER 17, 2014 8:35AM

Sunday Afternoons

Sunday afternoons

rewind the rubber band

that powers the propellor

wound tight to begin with

and twisting looser day by day

a leisurely breakfast

another cup of coffee

time to read more

to walk the dog longer

to simmer the soup at midday

to spy the persistentRead full post »

There is something about the evening light

just before the earth turns away from it

dimming enough for lamps to cast

mimicking rays where the sun doesn’t reach

feathering the edges in an amber glaze

that illuminates the nature of the day

well done or could have gone better

or wasRead full post »

NOVEMBER 15, 2014 8:12AM

The Doe Among the Branches

I spotted her in the trees,

the doe among the branches

still against the few leaves

rattled by the late-winter wind,

she under camouflaged cover,

bearing her wounded leg well,

healed and tucked beneath her

finding food and protection

when she could not run,

her eyes belying her crisis,

optimistic andRead full post »

It was that unsuspecting boy

who made me cry,

the one with the ill formed hand,

all knuckles and no fingers

but for one thumb

as if he were signing A for the deaf,

placed beside me at lunch time in

seats assigned by the teacher

who thought moving him acrossRead full post »

NOVEMBER 13, 2014 8:21AM

With A Cadence Timed for Living

As I waited for the check

and sipped the last of the tea

and my friend swirled the beer in the bottle

and I debated should I write or play music

or walk the dog or all of it

as my time passed the rest of the day

and he wasRead full post »

NOVEMBER 12, 2014 8:01AM

Between Good Times and Punishment

Looking again at the photo of my father

peeling potatoes into a box

perched on a can

allied in his Army boots

KP duty his reward

for being insolent,

I presume, as he generally was

in the face of authority—

or maybe that was the time

he stole a Jeep withRead full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2014 8:21AM

The Power Of A Feeble Touch

The fragile fingers of the child

sharing a bench with her teacher

pressing the keys one by one

as she learned to spell the chord

All Cows Eat Grass

and peck Turkey In the Straw


the well-worn hands of the adult

calling up lost muscle memory

atrophied from years ofRead full post »

There was a time I would have called my mother,

a ritual on Saturdays,

and told her tales about the children,

she being so far away and not knowing firsthand,

and she would have asked about work

and the husband and the cats

and what’s new and when will we comeRead full post »

NOVEMBER 9, 2014 8:02AM

Is To Be Weightless

To sleep in the cool quiet of my bed

after a day of hard work,

of pushing myself to

the brimming rim of my capacity,

of laughing with friends,

of lifting boxes filled with

weeks of effort and planning,

of loading my car at the end,

of driving on long darkRead full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2014 8:48AM

Give Me Hydrangeas

Don’t send me roses on my birthday

or tulips when the snow melts.

Let the daisies grow wild in June,

and leave the lilies in the field.

It’s hydrangeas that I’m after,

adaptable in the soil,

soaking up their colors depending,

making the most of their resources,

looking as beautifulRead full post »

NOVEMBER 7, 2014 8:16AM

Driving At Night In the Rain

Is it showing my age to say

driving at night in the rain is a problem,

each puddle reflecting a building or a tree

in recumbent position,

wet roads slick with car-light colors flashing

on a stippled and shrink-wrapped canvas,

depth perception skewed,

moving objects blurred,

compass points spun by aRead full post »

NOVEMBER 6, 2014 8:14AM

I Cut the Lavender By the Front Steps

I cut the lavender by the front steps

and level the stems in my fist

as I gather them in bundles.

I tie them off with twine

and hang them in a dark room

as I’ve read you should do

to keep the purple from fading.

Soon I’ll have bits ofRead full post »

NOVEMBER 5, 2014 7:51AM

Getting to the Polls Is A Production

Getting to the polls is a production

with these people who tag along,

the Lucretias and the Alices

who insist on going with me,

looking over my shoulder as I

cast my ballot in equal measure,

the Annies and the Lucys

who get in line behind me

as I consent toRead full post »

NOVEMBER 4, 2014 8:08AM

I Fill My Lungs with Fear and Oxygen

Unpacking in the wings

setting foot on stage for rehearsal

where we’re gathering in sections

the strings and the woodwinds

the brass and the timpani

in our seats as assigned by the maestro

and I in my amateur horn chair

am surrounded by seasoned players

who know as rote what IRead full post »

NOVEMBER 3, 2014 8:07AM

It Is What I Make Of It

It is what I make of it

a mandala within my flexible fingers

one shape folding into the next

a closed egg where ideas begin

is now an hourglass

that sifts through grain

by gritty grain memory

that rounds to a globe

for holding plans and actions

successes and failures

betweenRead full post »

NOVEMBER 2, 2014 7:51AM

I'm A Limberjack Man

Standing in the lobby

tapping my foot to the music

that moves me

the ragtime Joplin

that travels from my toes

to my shyly shimmying shoulders

I’m a Limberjack Man

a Dancing Dan

dancing happy on a wooden plank

the orchestra beating the beat

that makes my joints fling

I wonderRead full post »

NOVEMBER 1, 2014 8:40AM

It Felt Good To Be Frightened

It felt good to be frightened

playing blind-man’s bluff 

with the older cousins,

bumping around Granddaddy’s bedroom

with the lights off,

waiting for the seance they would hold

conjuring spirits around the table,

making me watch from the corner,

too young to take part

as they held haRead full post »

OCTOBER 31, 2014 8:49AM

I'm Beginning to Feel My Age

I’m beginning to feel my age creep in

as my neck sags to gravity, trussed with scarves,

and in my shoe size, a reliable number

now betraying me with inconsistency,

but I’m not where my parents were,

and my grandparents before them,

who stood on the front porch waving

after holidayRead full post »