Jun 28, 2023

Tricube Verse Form

If you thought Haiku were easy, let me introduce you to the Tricube. It’s not shorter than a Haiku, the Haiku being 17 syllables and the Tricube being 27, but it’s way more fun. This form was first introduced by the American poet, Phillip Larrea. You can find him on Facebook, and his books of poetry on Amazon.

Anyway . . . in mathematical terms, the Tricube is 3 x 3 x 3. In the author’s own words: I created this form to limit myself, primarily. I allow myself three stanzas, three lines per stanza and three syllables per line to get it done, so three ‘cubed’.

Here are the rules of the Tricube to follow:
Each tricube is made of three stanzas.
Each stanza has three lines.
Each line has three syllables.

There are no rules for rhyme, meter, or subject matter and you don’t even have to use punctuation if you don’t want to. Just three, three, and three. That’s all there is to it. You can’t get much easier than that, right?

That being said, I have seen Tricubes made with three 1-syllable words in each line; two 1-syllable words and one 2-syllable word; and Mr. Larrea himself has written them using a single 3-syllable word in a line:

by Phillip Larrea

Don’t swallow
the whole pie.
Just a bite.


What is left
is not right.
But remains.

Have fun with this form by putting your own spin on it – try making it rhyme, start every line with the same letter or word, or end each verse with the same word. Use single syllable words, or a combination – like I did. Go ahead, give it a try!

Strawberry Picking

the field seems
to stretch out

row upon
row of sweet

just waiting
for someone
to pick them


it is hard
to use just
one word at

a time when
I want to
use them all

but I write
them one by
one by one

Jun 26, 2023

Fairies and Gardens

Faeries, come, take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame!

~William Butler Yeats

Faƫrie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.
― J.R.R. Tolkien

We call them faerie.
We don't believe in them.
Our loss.
~Charles de Lint

Friday afternoon I was texting with the daughter, and I happened to mention that we never made it to the massive garden center in Ajax this year. Next thing I know, we’re on a road trip after the granddaughter was let out of school. LOL

Though there may have been a few regrets over the amount of money spent, we didn’t regret it enough to part with any of our plants. The granddaughter helped pick out the plants for the fairy garden, and I think we did a pretty good job. You’ll note the toadstool I made during our craft day a few weeks ago.

We also picked out some flowers for another hanging basket – fuchsias and (my favorite) sweet peas.

The only problem is, the hanging basket I bought for it is too heavy for the shepherd’s crook. *sigh* I’m either going to have to buy a smaller hanging basket, or maybe just a stand to rest this one on.

Meanwhile, I also discovered that I sort of, kind of, overbought on the plants for the fairy garden.

There is another planter on our patio like the one on the fairy garden is in. It used to have a beautiful red rose bush in it, but for some reason it didn’t come back after the winter this year. I’m pretty sure it’s gone for good, so I could commandeer that pot for a second fairy garden. The first one has four gnomes in it – I’m sure a couple of them would be quite happy to relocate to a second pot.

I also got a couple of beefsteak tomato plants for my vegetable garden, which seem really small compared to the plants from my neighbor. My tomatoes, green beans and peppers are all doing well. The spinach is starting to show and I have a hint of the carrots, but the lettuce and beets are taking their sweet time.

My peonies all bloomed this year:

They must finally be happy in their little garden. You can’t really see in the picture, but there’s a single black lily growing in the center of the peonies. I didn’t do it deliberately, but it’s probably going to bloom once the peonies are done. Makes me think of planting more lilies in that garden, in between the peonies.

So far we’ve had a very wet start to our summer, which makes my plants very happy.

That makes one of us! LOL

Jun 21, 2023

The Roundabout

This form was developed by Sara Diane Doyle (former Poet Laureate for Poetic Asides, a feature in Writer’s Digest) and her student David Edwards. It’s 20 lines long, broken up into four quatrains (five line verses). What I find most interesting about this poem is that the creators describe it as having four, five line verses, and yet the examples they shared both had five, four line verses.

I’m actually grateful to others who have embraced this form, because while the original authors shared the rhyme scheme and advised that the Roundabout can be on any subject, they only vaguely referred to a repeating line, and failed to mention which line repeats.

The premise of the poem is that the rhyme scheme should come full circle (hence the name). It’s written in a series of four quatrains (five line verses). The first line is a tetrameter (8 syllables), the second line is trimeter (6 syllables), the third and four lines are dimeter (4 syllables), and the fifth line is a repeat of line two of the same stanza.

The rhyme scheme is: abccb bcddc cdaad dabba. As you can see, there are only four rhymes in the entire poem.






This form is a bit of a challenge. I have to admit I struggled with my example. Even now I’m not entirely happy with what I came up with, but it is what it is.


The morning sun slanting sideways
starting the dawn refrain
birds wait to sing
then taking wing
starting the dawn refrain.

Summertime is here once again
after waiting all year
the flowers bloom
the insects zoom
after waiting all year.

The humidity rises here
with heat that can entomb
horizon haze
meets my gaze
with heat that can entomb.

I think it is safe to assume
the summer sun will blaze
and once again
without restrain
the summer sun will blaze.

Jun 19, 2023

Life as a House/Pet Sitter

Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.
― Christopher Hitchens

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.
― John Grogan

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as can be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for it's head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first - It wet the bed.

― Shel Silverstein

As might be deduced from the title of this post, I’ve been house/pet sitting for the daughter the last several days while she’s on a family vacation in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Actually, they’re due back tomorrow.

If she just had cats, I’d only have to go over a couple of times a day to make sure they have food and water, maybe stay awhile to see if they’d be interested in playing. But she has a dog. Not a little lap dog that I could bring over to my house, but a big goof of a dog that needs to stay in his own home, which means I get to stay there with him.

He’s a purebred yellow lab, in case you’re wondering. And I have to admit, I’ve never met a better behaved dog in my life. I had a special bond with his predecessor, Bishop, but despite his size, Omega is much calmer and quieter. I’ve heard him bark exactly once in the entire time I’ve be with him.

Just look at that face!

How can you resist that face? He’s trying to convince me that he doesn’t really have to wait an hour after eating before running around. But not wanting to have to clean up dog puke because he’s too active after eating, I can resist just fine! LOL

At night, and when no one is home, he stays in his crate. And he is really good about going into his crate – I just have to reach for the dog treats, or the peanut butter (which he gets before bedtime) and I’ll turn around and he’ll already be sitting in his crate, patiently waiting. He is SUCH a good boy!

His routine has let me go home early in the morning long enough to feed my cats, work out, and have a quick shower. Ever the gentleman, he’ll let me choose which toy to throw inside the house, but outside he likes his chuck-it – which is the greatest invention ever, especially for someone who sucks at throwing balls.

The daughter also has a pair of house panthers. Spec is a ghost tabby, which means he has a white undercoat to his black fur. He’s a little standoffish, but he does love to snuggle when I’m in bed reading.

And this majestic floof is Fantome, or Fanny, for short. She isn’t as aloof as Spec, and she likes to “talk” to you. She also likes her love-ups, but it has to be her idea. And she will definitely let you know if her food dish is empty!

I have to admit, this is kind of a weird situation. We only live a couple of blocks away, and Omega is used to being alone for a few hours a day (when the daughter and her hubby’s work schedules overlap) so I’ve been trying to keep to his schedule by coming home for a couple of hours a day.

I think my favorite part of the day is in the morning when Omega and I go outside. The temperature is comfortable and the neighborhood is quiet. The daughter has a large, multilevel deck with a gazebo (with a fire table in the center) on the lowest part. I can sit there with my morning coffee and just relax.

I’m going to miss it when I’m back home for good. I have big-time gazebo envy!

What I will not miss, however, are the bugs. Due to the row of fir trees lining the long side fence, the daughter has one of the buggiest back yards I’ve ever been in. You could play connect the dots on my arms, legs, and back.

I wonder how much After Bite it would take to fill the bathtub?

Jun 14, 2023

Onda Mel Verse Form

This is a verse form invented by Renelda Nielsen Gibson (Feb 2 1903 - Sept 26 2000), but other than that there is very little information about it. I did discover Renelda had over 2000 poems published in various magazines, and published eight poetic booklets, but nothing about the Onda Mel verse.

This poem is an octastich, which means it has eight lines. One site claims it’s written in two quatrains (four line verses), but every example I found showed it all in one verse.

One site has the syllable count as 8, 4, 4, 8, 8, 4, 4, 8 while a second site has the syllable count as 8, 4, 6, 8, 8, 4, 6, 8. Both sites, however, agree that the rhyme scheme is a, b, b, a, c, d, d, c.





I found this form surprisingly easy to work with, despite the varying line lengths. I don’t know if the original verse was meant to be written in more than one stanza, but all the examples were just singles. However, I decided to give a two-stanza Onda Mel a try. The first verse uses the first rhyme scheme, and the second verse uses the second rhyme scheme.

Second Sight

There are things unseen all around –
the spirit realm
can overwhelm
those of us who are still earthbound.
Just take a step into elsewhere
with open eyes
and realize
how very much there is to share.

Just look into this other world
and then you’ll see
the possibilities
as one by one they are unfurled.
What wonders are in store for you
but have a care
do not get trapped in there
or you’ll become a spirit too.

Jun 12, 2023

Burning Season

We need healthy forests if we want to protect our climate. As the climate changes, forests become more vulnerable to insect outbreaks, droughts and wildfires. Simultaneously, when our forests are destroyed, their carbon is released back into the atmosphere, further impacting climate change. It's a horrifying one-two punch.
— Chris Noth

I'd rather fight 100 structure fires than a wildfire. With a structure fire you know where your flames are, but in the woods it can move anywhere; it can come right up behind you.
— Tom Watson

For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods-all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science-and act before it's too late.
— Barack Obama

Last Tuesday, at 6:30 a.m. I was taking the recycling out to the curb for pickup later in the day. It was just starting to become light out, but it was a very hazy sort of light. I glanced up and saw the moon just topping the trees – it was a very vivid shade of pinkish orange.

Naturally, I went back into the house for my phone to take a picture of it. Much to my disappointment, the colour didn’t translate well to the phone – sometimes my phone alters the colours it sees. So I went back into the house for my good camera and much to my surprise, the same thing happened. The colour was faded, save for a vivid ring around the edge.

It was at that point I realized it wasn’t the moon at all. First of all, it was perfectly round, which the moon wouldn’t have been because it was full several days earlier. And second, it was hanging in the eastern sky, making it the rising sun.

The smoke and fine ash from the surrounding forest fires we’d been experiencing made the air so hazy that not only was I able to take pictures of the sun, I could look at it with my naked eye.

Though the forest fires seem to be a fact of life elsewhere, this is the first time we’ve been impacted by them in this way. There were air quality warnings in effect. People were told to stay inside whenever possible and to consider wearing a mask if they had to go out for any length of time. Schools kept the children inside for recess.

That weekend I smelled smoke and thought the neighbors were having a fire – but they weren’t, it was the smoke-laden air being blown in the windows, which I closed when I realized what was happening. They’ve been closed ever since.

There is a total burn ban in effect. When the smoke was at its worst, there was sepia tone to the light outside. It was really eerie, and just a little creepy at times. There were discussions of what would you take with you if there was an evacuation order. Not that we were ever really in danger of that, but still . . .

But the air quality gradually returned to normal. And we’ve had enough rain to wash the fine dusting of ash away. I don’t know if that means the fires are under control now, but one can hope. And it’s also to be hoped that this is one trend that doesn’t continue.

Jun 7, 2023

The Rondine Verse Form

The Rondine is a 16th century French form, a descendant of the Rondeau, much like the Rondel, Rondelet, Triolet and Villanelle. It’s written in two stanzas, a septet (seven lines) and a quintet (five lines), which makes it a poem of twelve lines.

There are eight syllables per line, except for the seventh and twelfth lines that repeat the first four syllables of the first line as a refrain, known as a retrement. There is no set meter or subject matter, but there is a rhyme scheme of a-b-b-a-a-b-R, a-b-b-a-R, the R being the refrain.

I’m not sure if a schematic helps or not:



This was an interesting form to write in. I kind of like how only the first four syllables are used as a refrain. And given the fact that we’ve been experiencing smoke from fires raging out of control around us for the last several days, I found the subject of today’s example quite easy to decide on.

World on Fire

The sun looks small, hanging so low
rising just above the treeline.
The red and orange and pink combine
to give the sky a pastel glow.
Surreal landscape down below
the dull pale orb with red outline—
the sun looks small.

Fine ashes from the fires blow
trapping the world without sunshine,
just sepia skies that combine
the worst of fear, the tales of woe—
the sun looks small.

Jun 5, 2023

It’s About Time

Gardening is the greatest tonic and therapy a human being can have. Even if you have only a tiny piece of earth, you can create something beautiful, which we all have a great need for. If we begin by respecting plants, it’s inevitable we’ll respect people.
— Audrey Hepburn

No single sort of garden suits everyone. Shut your eyes and dream of the garden you’d most love then open your eyes and start planting. Loved gardens flourish, boring ones are hard work.
— Jackie French

To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.
— Marina Schinz

It was bound to happen sooner or later. The danger of frost has finally passed *knock on wood* Last week was blistering hot. One night we left the windows open and the central air was coming on when I got up that morning (the thermostat is in the hallway that catches the breeze from the windows).

Then the next night we had a tiny little thunderstorm and the temperature dropped significantly. Two nights ago I left the windows down the hall open when I went to bed and the next morning the heat was coming on.

No frost though, which is good because last Monday I finally got my gardens in, and I thought I’d take a moment to share some pictures. We’ll start with the front garden:

That’s five flats of impatiens in the bottom part, with dark purple irises flanking them on either end. In the upper part is our scraggly bush collection, and pansies hanging from the shepherd’s crook.

One of the additions to our garden ornament collection is the large whirligig the father-in-law gave us. We tried a couple of different spots before finally settling on the peony garden for it.

Moving along to the back yard, I also got my vegetable gardens planted. The first one has a row of bush beans at the back, then tomatoes, and the string shows a row of spinach, one of carrots, and one of lettuce.

The tomato plants look a little wilted, but they were just planted the day I took the picture, and they’d just been watered.

The second garden has a row of clipped back asparagus in the back, a row of pepper plants, then beets, and a multicoloured lettuce. I’m hoping to get a couple of squash plants to go in beside the peppers on the far left.

The pond garden is coming along nicely:

And Kelsey park looks really nice too:

The granddaughter nagged her grapy relentlessly until he finally opened up the pool, only to find that it’s the greenest we’ve ever seen it:

And don’t think for a minute that green is a reflection of the trees at the back of the yard. It really is green. Actually, it was even greener that that. I took that picture yesterday, after the pool had been treated with shock and algaecide.

Anyone care for a swim?