Monday, March 26, 2018

Puddle Jumping

Image Courtesy of Scooter Lorimore

It has been raining for days these first weeks of Spring in San Francisco.  The streets are slick with oil leached up from the pavement and the sidewalks strewn with pink cherry blossoms battered off the trees by the storms.  And the puddles - they are everywhere.  Street corners, stairwells and random low lying intersections flooded with rain water and detritus.  

I put on my work uniform - a simple sweater, skirt, tights and navy blue Hunter- Wellington rubber boots - and head out to face the day's duties.  Meetings, spreadsheets and that gnawing sense that no matter what I do, I will never be finished soak me before I cross the street to the building.  And that is when I do it.  While everyone is rushing through the 4 way stop, tightly gripping their umbrellas, briefcases and intentions, I decide to stomp wildly through the deepest of the puddles.  

I see a few people scowl.  I make my way across the street puddle jumping as though I was a stone skipping across a calm lake.  I see a few people giggle.  One man looks at me as he passes and says "I wish I had those boots so I could do that!"  

It would rain the rest of the day and well into the night.  My mood however remained playful and bright.

Studies have shown the importance of play in child development.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,  play "allows children to use their creativity while developing their physical, cognitive and emotional strength".   

Psssst - can you keep a secret?

It's not just for kids!

Coloring books, ball pits, scavenger hunts, trivia night - are all ways "adults" play.  According to research, play can relieve stress, boost creativity, improve brain function, and improve our relationships with other people by fostering trust with others.  Sounds like a good thing to me!


Play Science: The Patterns of Play – Learn about the different ways human beings play, the roles these different patterns of play serve, and how we benefit from them. (National Institute for Play)

  Play- By Stuart Brown M.D.

We've all seen the happiness on the face of a child while playing in the school yard. Or the blissful abandon of a golden retriever racing across a lawn. This is the joy of play. By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.   Play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more. Particularly in tough times, we need to play more than ever, as it's the very means by which we prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic."

~ Penguin Books

Here is a link to his TED Talk

Poem Puddles

Think of a time you did something incredibly playful, silly, unexpected - perhaps it was rolling down a grass hill in front of a coastal inn or puddle jumping on your way to work (thank goodness for those rain boots!) or dancing in a department store - did you feel giddy, unable to keep from laughing? Free? Self conscious? I can tell you from personal experience it was everything!   Write a poem about that experience; jump into the memory with both feet!

Words to Play with

belly (laugh, button, jelly)
make- believe

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” 
George Bernard Shaw

Please share the link to your poem (or post your poem) in the comments below. And, if you're on Facebook, post it to Poets on the Page. Come out to play with us!

Jenny Astramowicz is a writer, poet and aspiring wellness coach.  She resides in San Francisco where she works at the local university and trains for endurance events.  Her long term dream is to live in France with her two cats.
Not all who wander are lost...
#OctPoWriMo  #NaPoWriMo #NaNoWriMo #Poetsonthepage

Find her on  Google +  Twitter Instagram
You can read her poetry at

Monday, March 12, 2018

Poetry Prompt - Blessings, Curses, or Limericks?

Image by Karen Arnold
Tis that time of year, my dears! The wearing o' the green and the celebrating of St. Patrick's Day is not limited to those of Irish descent. On March 17, we can all take part in the festivities. For our prompt this week, I offer you a choice - blessings or limericks!

Please share the link to your poem in the comments below. Or go ahead and post your poem. We're looking forward to reading your work.

I wish you words,
Amy McGrath

The Prompt:

Write your own version of an Irish blessing or, if you're so inclined, try your hand at writing a few limericks. Here are examples of both to inspire you...


May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health,
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of you wealth.
May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true,
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

An Old Irish Curse:

May those that love us love us;
And those that don't love us, 
May God turn their hearts;
If he can't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles, so we'll
Know them by their limping.

And some limericks:

There once was a man from Nantucket,
 Who kept all his cash in a bucket,
 But his daughter, named Nan, 
Ran away with a man, 
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

There was a girl from Rabat,
Who had triplets, Nat, Pat and Tat;
It was fun in the breeding,
But hell in the feeding,
When she found she had no tit for Tat.

And finally, by Ogden Nash

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill can hold more than his beli-can.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the heli-can.

Monday, March 5, 2018


Photo by Bobbi Emel Wilmoth. Used with permission.
Concentrate enough on one thing and the background becomes a blur. Sometimes that’s healthy and productive. Staying focused provides clarity and helps you accomplish tasks and reach your goals.

In 2016 I participated in Ellen Bass’s and Pam Houston’s "A Glint of Light on Broken Glass" writing retreat near Hope, Canada. No phones, no radio, no television, no Wi-Fi. With time dedicated to writing in the peaceful setting of the Inn at Lake Connamarra, I learned new techniques, sharpened skills, and wrote three new poems and a piece of flash fiction. Meeting accomplished writers and making new friends added to my perspective and growth.
Focus can be a positive distraction. In a lengthy MRI session, unable to move for an extended period of time, a golfer I know replayed whole rounds in her head. (Amazing how golfers can recall every stroke.)

Sometimes, being so focused is not helpful. All manner of things can be happening around you, and you never realize it. You just don’t see it because you’re preoccupied. I’m reminded of a friend who was shocked when his wife found someone else. He was so intent on his career, he neglected home and family.

Focusing on the negatives means you often miss out on the positives. Zeroing in on the positives can change attitudes, actions, and productivity.

The Prompt
Write your poem this week thinking about where your focus lies. How has staying focused affected your life? What sidetracks you? Consider what you have observed about the benefits and the damages from being focused.

Word Bank
The main thing

Visual Prompt

Please share the link to your poem (or post your poem) in the comments below. And, if you're on Facebook, post it to Poets on the Page. We're looking forward to reading your work.

Annis Cassells is a writer, poet, life coach, and teacher.  She divides her time between Bakersfield, California and Coos Bay, Oregon. She is a member of Writers of Kern, a branch of the California Writers Club. See Annis’s blogs at and and her website at