2024 National Poetry Writing Month Anthology

2024 National Poetry Writing Month Anthology

- an anthology by Geoff White, B.Ed.

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Where Illusions Go to Die

Inspired by Age of Anxiety by W.H.Auden

Age of Anxiety
W. H. Auden
Yet the noble despair of the poets
Is nothing of the sort; it is silly
To refuse the tasks of time
And, overlooking our lives,
Cry – “Miserable wicked me,
How interesting I am.”
We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

Where Illusions Go to Die
by GW –

1)	Greetings, Fellow Scribes!

I hope all are champing at the bit 
to frolic on the page
at the mercy of that twit,
you know, that little mage?

She lounges idly all the year
growing fat and jolly, 
swelling, gravid with my fear,
awaiting April's folly.

Here it is, the cruelest ruse
there ever was for writing,
and my sumptuous, tempting muse
lies, mocking and inviting.

A lithesome temptress she
allows me no excuse,
but teases restlessly,
that spiteful little muse.

So, though I may regret this
I'll set aside all good sense,
and trim my favourite quill.

You know, I'll even bet this
silly quest has recompense:
my muse's sere good will!

2)	Propinquity
The hard face of it, the solemn truth,
Is that we all are fools, all insolent guests
At the feast of the Almighty, the Overlord
Who grants us peace despite our interests.

This peace, much coveted, more even, with age
Is denied us while our mortal coil yet has breath,
From birth through adolescence and every stage
hence, yea, even until the very brink of death,

is but a promise, one upon which no sage
Would ever rely because the disappointment,
the fall, would cause the most resolute mage
Unable to resist harboring resentment.

3)	Alienation

And so, though this existence is absurd, Meursault
-	might have known the truth of it, and like another
have shrugged, in casual disregard, although
told nonchalantly of the demise of his mother.

That theme, the fate of the mother, descends 
From ancient times with the likes of Oedipus,
To Hamlet, though betrayed, who also forfends
Her harm, and asks too much indeed of us.

The pill, it’s said, has a bitter taste,
The pill that grants us oblivion,
Should not be swallowed, not in haste.
While this life’s pleasures are still livin’ on.

4)	To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

That state of slumber that grants us peace,
Ultimate, and unrelenting, is a state
devoutly to be wished, a state of grace
A pied-à-terre, until we ablate.

Meursault craved oblivion, sought that peace
That we are granted in the arms of slumber
Oft filled with dreams to comfort and decrease
Our fears, offering solaces sans number.

Having concluded that his life had no solution,
He was obsessed with the peace of sleep; 
A pointless quest, he made a resolution,
unethical, and one he couldn’t keep.

5)	Mid-Week Barroom Tragedy

Any quartet of drinkers, in any era, any time
Could fill several hours of an orphan eve
With reminiscences, dreams, even crime,
And set aflame the mind ready to believe.

Combine fatigue, alcohol, and ennui in a bar
Of a given night, most anywhere, and soon
The emotions, frustrations, and hopes
of hoi polloi will come to sing a tune

we all know, and sometimes loathe, if told
next day over coffee, or the water cooler,
misadventures enough to make the blood run cold.
Tsk, Tsk, we say, “How did he come to fool her?”

These fools contrived to make a tale of rape and woe
Enough to satisfy the scribes composing stories
Of Josie from the steno pool and her Romeo,
With lies, promises, and tales full with glories.

How could the elders who sat with Ro and Jo
abandon these hapless young virgins,
and wend their way home as if to say, “So,
you two have fun now,” then leave ‘em to their sins?

6)	Best Laid Plans Gang Aft Agley

When I succumb to some deadly phage
and gracelessly exit this life's stage,
I'll want to know that I had done
all I could, and had all the fun

that no subsequent life in the hereafter
could be more full of joy, or laughter
than this one I right now am living,
nor more effort could I give, than I am giving

to make the lot of my fellow man
more fulfilling in simple ways
because my strivings and my plan
lacked substance, was unworthy of praise.

So while I, on this platform stand,
and have a say in present matters,
let me be cognizant of the Unseen Hand
that sometimes, even good intent, shatters.

I'll scheme, and connive, and not complain,
E'en a sma' secret prayer 'a would employ,
"An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy!"*
*Robert Burns, Mousie

7)	Nomad

He's a wanderer, inclined to roam.
CJ Rislove's his name, he lives on the road
in a bus he converted to a home.
The Jazz Wagon, he’s named his abode.

Now, CJ writes all his own songs,
started out one day from Nashville,
where, deep down, he feels he belongs.
In dreams he sees his name on the Opry bill.

Luke done tol' him he's a one-man band
and he's going from the schoolbus 
-	to the tour bus 
and he's gonna tour the land.

8)	Total eclipse of the Cat 

Every now and then..
I’ve suspended my routine
To sip a tasty java, and pondered as I sat
In the silence of that scene,
suddenly I’ve wondered just where that kitty’s at?

She could be hanging from the blinds,
Abusing plants, or swinging on the drapes;
It remains unclear if, in or out, she finds
A mystery in the door that gapes,

A fondness for the laser dot that teases
Her to chase and chase and slide
To snare the dot that ceases,
Then cross the shiny floor to hide.

In the hubbub and the grind,
I often wondered where she’s at;
it’s amazing you can find
a total eclipse of the cat.

9)	Storm Mass

Outside, hanging in the west wind's carels,
icicles tinkle, shiv'ring from its rage.
Down here in the cellar, barrels
of wine, racked in rows, age.

Wings folded, singing in the gale,
Angels line the roof of the hall;
down inside, the choir's arrayed,
their voices rise and fall.

The priest serves the faithful today;
he preaches, and after a hymn has passed
they kneel by the rail and pray
for shelter from the icy blast.

10)	All Hail Breaks Loose

Love is like a thunderstorm
that comes upon a sunny day.
It sneaks up on you, then
it blows you clear away.

No time for plastic macs
or even bright umbrellas
just a hundred heart attacks
and dancing Cinderellas.

Nothing like some glassine heels
to catch the eye of a prince;
slippery curves, like frisky seals,
heat blood like lemony quince.

And Cinder's love, so quickly found,
was squandered on the ballroom floor,
'twas surely lost with her homeward bound,
as she made her dash for the door.

11)	Lark Song

The Lark Sparrow called out
- a melancholy trill.
I thought it was for me,
a thrumming inchoate thrill.

But just as quickly I knew
the little feathered brute's lament,
without a moment's care, none due,
was not for my sentiment.

No, somewhere near, or on the wing
There was a lovely lady lark
for whom he paused to sing;
hers was the heart he hoped to spark. 


12)	Rear Window

Through the window to which Harry had drawn our attention,
Lars and his bed-ridden wife play out their lives.
For long enough we watched them; nothing much to mention,
Imagined tension fixated us to learn who survives.

Between the muntin and the stile, the frosted pane
obscured the horrid sight that filled our hearts
with awe and despair. The gory blade descended again,
and again, until all that remained were bloody parts 

strewn about the room. The maid will be pissed,
I thought.

13)	The Forsyte Saga, an elegy.

It’s an epic poem, a family history for the ages,
Generations of titillating anecdotes sublime.
Strophes without end, tumble down the pages.
It has line after line of lives throughout time
In blank verse. An endless, numbing, narrative rages
With the never fulfilled promise of rhyme.

14)	Spectre 

A struggling spirit unnamed,
held in place by breath and bloodstream 
in the actual world, from Hell reclaimed,
where time is real, not a meme.

Life slips away unto death, 
Although some might not fear it, 
and poetry can take an interest, 
yet somehow can’t get near it. 

It piques our interest and 
begs the question to be asked,
Concision and cohesion battling
for possession of our souls,

Each one spinning out of control, 
and reason is tasked to explain, 
and rein in its desire 
to blot out a dismal world.

15)	Time
Time is a metaphor 
for an effect, a phenomenon,
for events that occur. 
Finite amounts of energy, 
(not quanta, but those too,)
migrate, radiate, convect, and conduct 
from one body to another, and, therefore, 
from one location to another.

If a body occupies the same space as another body 
they must be the same body.

It is the displacement in space that we identify 
as a characteristic of the event, 
and we call that displacement, time, 
but that too is just a metaphor.

16)	 After-five Mêlée

The hubbub of voices masks the cymbal crash 
of cultural-faux pas collidng;
sharkskin suits and expensive footwear mash,
the regional manager presiding.

Not a milieu for the faint of heart
who faint at the merest slight,
Tis an ever-fixed snark whose worth's unknown, 
though its snipe ne'er misses its mark. 

Gossip full of rumor and innuendo
are the weapons employed here,
heaped on absent clients and colleagues
who, bare of hope, daren't enter here.

Business roadkill, 
	vulnerable to sundry intrigues,
litter the floor of the arena.
"They say that Doris used to come,
	although I've never seen her."

Gone now are the combatants,
who've answered the dinner bell,
they've left a wasteland of empties,
and reputations sent to Hell.


17)	A Tale of Two Kitties

It was the best of crimes;
It was the worst of crimes.
Samantha was feeling kinda antsy
when Leo wanted to raid the pantry.

They waited 'til the midnight hour
when all the family was asleep.
Treats lay between the sugar and the flour
Where Leo aimed, athletically, to leap.

He didn't know that Mom had been cooking;
she'd laid the cookies out on a towel
which hung o'er the edge where Leo was looking.
He eyed the distance, as Sam began to howl.

Her warning came too late, as he had sprung.
So chilling was her yowl, he froze mid-leap,
fell short, and by his claws he hung;
inch-by-inch dishes began to creep.

Samantha hid her eyes; she feared the worst
Leo scrambled vainly; plates smashed on the floor
all around, bang, crash, and Leo's fate was cursed.
Then, a startled Papa thrust open the door.

Leo fell tangled in the towel. Splat!
Samantha cowered, her paws atop her head,
Papa laughed as he scooped up the cat. 
He hugged them close, and soon they all were fed.


18)	Sin Pecado   

He feared the disquiet of the moment,
The loss of innocence. He harbored
In his heart the torment
Of her pain as she had labored

To give birth. Their dreams were all they’d had
In the hungry times they’d shared together.
The agony of her labor drove him mad.
He loved her and the son she bore, together.

Could she survive the day was not yet clear?
The look of desperation in her eyes
And as she grasped his hand, held fear
- a love her smile could not disguise.

The thrill, the heat of lust, the joy, the romance
Of meeting and connecting with his mate
had butted up against the dance
Of life when the somber tango of fate

Demanded from him the payment of a fee.
The cost of his love’s life is a mighty price
To pay for a child, the choice an agony.
He’d rather die than pay, even with his life. 


19)	Post-Diluvion

The poem rumbles on
Like rubble before a flash flood,
Debris of distant lands,
Detritus of forests fallen,
Pushed by sudden rains,
Down the wash, 
Dividing barren plains
Along a known course
Eroded by past refrains
And polished metaphors.

The tangled mass of styx
Scours the channel, seeking
new releases, a place to fix,
While the flood is peaking,
Where it will settle.
And the memes accrue
With all the rhymes
Forming sediment anew:
Words congealed in a vault
To enlighten future times.


20)	The Race of Threx

Cloven-hoofed, agile as a cat,
Tall as a man at the withers,
Armed with razor-sharp canines,
Threx serve men as mounts
Barely domesticated, volatile as fire.

Chayin, rendi Inekte, his name,
Chosen Son of Tar-Kesa, Cahndor of the Nemarsi,
And more, an accursed fore-reader,
He sees the threx race for the Golden Sword
coming down to the bloody wire.

Her gol-knife shattered on the Square of Defiance,
But Estri Hadrath diet Estrazi, survived
her failed assassination of the Cahndor;
now she is bound by chains in the crell pits,
redemption and vengeance her heart’s desire.

Her destiny in question, her life in the balance,
Can she gain control of the threx, Guanden,
Unruly, headstrong, but the fastest beast in the realm?
This is the mystery of which we inquire.

Win the Golden Sword and she reclaims her birthright,
As Estrazi’s daughter and a Shaper of Worlds;
Lose, and she will perish as a slave. Not to deny her, 
but to overwhelm her, do the Fates conspire. 


After the novel, The Golden Sword, by Janet Morris.

21)	 Night Trek

The cold pre-dawn wind has blown the clouds away
And the moon hangs low in the west
A peculiar shape, more oval than the norm.
The land lies black before incipient day
Not illumined by this unusual form,
My measured tread barely meets the test.

Beneath my feet, I tread the gravelly path,
Brush aside ferns, branches of fir and pine.
Across a welcome meadow there has been cut a swath,
Many hooves and paws have padded in a line
That followed the lay of the land
Rising gradually just as I have planned.

The starry gaze of mythical beasts looks down
On my solo progress through the night.
I climb the rolling hill, more up than down
A lonely pilgrimage, I seek a glorious sight.

Through the woods and across the dim-lit lea
I trudge with careful steps ascending the peak
Miles and miles I hike with intent to see
A splendid dawn, splashing the valley I seek.

22)	The Interview

It is a strange song I just have heard
Like, and not like, a crying dog,
Or, weirdly like a frightened bird.
It wavered like a horn in fog.

I turned left and right seeking its source
It was near or nearabout the house
And suddenly then I knew it. Of course!

Around the back, safely enclosed in the morning sun,
The neighbor’s baby played on the sundeck;
It was her cries that I had heard,
And then there came a darkly feathered bird.

It was a crow or raven that perched upon the rail.
It settled near the babe and cawed out low
And with the toddling girl, it shared a tale.
The babe attended it, then both began to crow.

From where I peered upon this scene I saw
A babe and bird in serious conversation
They were amused as playmates often are
By what they shared which needed no translation.

From her giggles and the raven’s eerie laughter
In my mind the question had been tendered
I wondered, and would wonder ever after,
Is this the way that witches are engendered?

The rapport they shared sent shivers down my arm,
For in my mind the question had been mooted,
Though from the raven there had come no harm,
Is this the way that witches are recruited?


23)	Capsule 

Mankind demonstrates his extreme hubris 
By the preserving of his accomplishments -
All twelve millennia, out of fourteen billion years!
in a concrete egg marked by a plaque.

Puny piles of rocks on the Giza plateau
or Asian highlands, made of sand and glue,
Though burnt, razed, re-built a time or so,
In Athens, Rome, and Barcelona too.

All those miserable squeaks and squawks and toots,
Pretty smudges, reams of hand-writ scribblings,
Pitiful public appeals and awful rhyming squeals,
Everything presumed, etched on steel plate, entombed.

And for what? Will someone in ten thousand years recall 
Nostalgically, or not, any one of these at all?
Though now accounted nothing short of sublime,
naïve innocence is shattered on the anvil of time.

24)	We Never Learn

The Whistle struck me as profound, 
not a word I 
often apply
to a poem. I think it is the sound
of hearts breaking.

And the quaking of frail bodies
Clutching fallen dears,
Widows wailing, turned to the wall
And leaders failing all, 
before the fall.

And over all of the above, the fears
Of horrors we recall, lost love,
From the last time, not that long ago
When we did this before, the pain
Of loss, not long lamented, has come again. 

25)	Never Made A Mark

When the ripples of my life vanish from the pail,
I’m certain there will be no soul who will recall,
No tumult in the town, nor note beyond the pale,
Of my demise, that I had lived at all.

Nor does it cause me any unease, to think
My loss is no cause for hue and cry.
I’m gone that’s it, let no one raise a stink
No epitaph will put it to a lie.

My life’s work when taken as a whole
Doesn’t come to very much.
No one will move, or even stir
To examine waters for a hole.

My book of life, from which I’ve torn a page,
Donned my hat, and dressed in tatters,
To read my lines and stagger ‘cross the stage
was just an interlude and not a thing that matters.

26)	Is Life Worth it? 

A tree is planted and the dream continues.
A child is born amid the bomb sites
and the rubbled streets, and life renews
Itself in the midst of other woes, a temporary joy,
brought into a world crumbling day by day.
Here a gap has opened in the darkness of the times,
the sirens, bangs and screams a backdrop
for the giggles of a baby boy,
a blessing set amongst the other crimes;

and there life works its magic
despite the terror and the loss
a respite from the tragic
a treasured birth, but what the cost?

27)	 Timely Respite

Each day I scurry as I must 
here and there, mile on mile,
striving to remain unfussed,
yet rushing all the while;

I have obligations I mustn't shirk,
Yet sometimes, as one must, I pause
Let life flow by and literally fly because
breaks do meaning-making work.

When there comes a time to breathe,
And not one I had planned.
I am always grateful for the ease
to take the time to understand.

28)	An Organic Anthology

Four weeks in, I pause to take a breath
To reflect on the themes of poems writ.
Mayhap, too many have mentioned death
but that is no indicator of my mood, to wit,
nor is the point of view any more 
than the choice struck me in the moment, 
and death is harder to ignore.

It might be just a view I heard expressed 
on the morning news
by someone in Ukraine or Bucharest,
even Gaza, and I used that phrase 
as a starting point. But I may not use it then,
rather let it fester, grow, or die, for several days
mull it over, try it out, and when

it grows or dies, depending on the day. 
I post it, shrug and, as you sometimes say.
What the heh?

29) Fluff
Well, this is fun - the mania and the trials
of keeping up with Napo never fails 
to yield unique experience. 

So many forms apply,
so many threads to linger by;
it's a curious happenstance

that urges us to try.

30) Summation

Here a gap has opened in the darkness of the times,
If peace be denied us while our mortal coil has breath,
It’s a blessing set amongst the other crimes
from birth through adolescence until the brink of death.

So, while I have a say in present matters,
let me see the Unseen Hand that sometimes malice shatters.
The script from which I’ve torn a page, donned a hat, and dressed in tatters,
To read my lines and cross the stage is just illusion, not a thing that matters.

We must labor on for sleep is no solution.
Existence is absurd, Meursault has known the rest of it,
he craved oblivion, but he found no resolution.
Oddly though, even Sisyphus has made the best of it

The relentless flow of the styx scours the channel seeking
A way out, an egress, a mouth from which to pour
Into the eternal sea, storm-wracked, where tumult is just peaking.
All is changing, but nothing changes, for time is just a metaphor.


31) Last Dance

Yea, the goal is not far off, and now I feel the surge
of the urge to write fade because the goal is near.
I might miss the thrill. It is on the verge
of vanishing aloft, and that is what I fear.

Four weeks my petulant muse has danced a jig,
In syncopated four-four time,
Nary missed a day of stirring something big
That often ended with a rhyme.

Will I feel again the ecstasy and the pain
of a metrically perfect rhyme?
There is something that is here to gain,
that is lost with the passing of the time,
if I but put aside the quill
and let my weary muse lie still.

Sleeping Hermaphroditus, by Bernini at the Louvre

2020 Anthology found here: 2020 NaPoWriMo

2021 Anthology found here: 2021 NaPoWriMo

Teacher's Handbook for Teaching Math with Manipulatives

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Table of Contents
The Premise 								P.1
The Five-Minute Overview of the Method 					P.8
Key Phrases in Mortensen Math 						
Very Brief Summary of the Method 					
Psychological Principles at Work 					
Introduction - cont'd  							
Create a Math-Rich Environment  					
The Teacher's Role & Student Self-Esteem  				
Six Key Ideas from Jerry Mortensen  					
Section One - Counting							P.46
Section Two - Addition
Section Three - Subtraction
Section Four - Multiplication
Section Five - Division
Section Six - Fractions
Section Seven - Algebra
Section Eight - Solving Equations
Section Nine - Functions & Relations
Section Ten - Story Problems
Section Eleven - Mortensen Math Program & Materials			P.240