NaPoWriMo #30

Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo and the last day to enter my Big Poetry Giveaway.  Here is my final poem, using today’s prompt from the NaPoWriMo site, for NaPoWriMo 2015:

Fairy Tale

With love and laughter and expected tears
her childhood passed
a pleasant dream slowly fading away
until one day:
You are a woman now
it is time to find your way

remembering her mother’s words,
she went to the wisewoman who,
with the slimy remains of a slimy tea,
told her where to go
fear clung to her like a second skin
she knew she had to shed

time to go
she packed a basket
with berries and bread and wine,
all the things she’d need

she whispered through the meadow, wildflowers
dotting colour like an arrow on her path
the sunlight glinting through the sparse, outlying trees
betrayed what was to come

catching her breath      shivering despite
the red cloak weighted on her shoulders,
she took a step
into the dark woods   down.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #29

Only one more day of NaPoWriMo?  Is it true?  It’s true.

I was going to follow today’s prompt and write a poem in the form of a review.  Then I saw a particular tweet regarding Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother who hit her son and removed him from the riot.  This poem isn’t about her and isn’t a commentary on her parenting.  It’s about a particular tweet, a particular attitude, a particular opinion.

Facing the Rod

“any parent who spares the rod
hates their children,”
he tweeted.
Nope.  And nope.

I hate my daughter
because I won’t unleash violence
on her young body
on her mind still growing,
the world slowly unfolding in her brain?

I should teach her pain,
break her trust of me
whose job is to protect as best I can,
break the bond we forged in perfect love
at the breast,
fill her with humiliated hatred
for the hands that once cradled her
to sleep in the night?

The world will teach her
soon enough
to cry   to sob until she feels her body will break
to rip oppression with her rage
to shout helplessly
at unhearing ears
to hurt in a thousand ways
before nightfall.

That is not my job.
My job is to teach her
how to survive it

and thrive.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #28


keys hang from the hooked circle on the wall
gnarled and blackened
with the voluptuous kisses of time
no doors open now at their touch
no secrets exposed
only the magic of the unknown

keys that once gleamed in torchlight
once glittered in the summery sun
at the hip of a mistress of the house
turning the garden   seeing
that the work is done

or keys that sucked the light
from wall sconces nearly too high
impervious to screams jailed
and beckoning
jangling with taunting precision
against the guardmaster’s belt
one hand half in his pants
the other itching for a whip

or keys that hid all the secrets
until she got hold of them
she opened them up
all the nasty, rotting doors
or sweet-smelling cedar trunks
and salt-soaked treasure chests
she opened them up
and took what she could

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #27

I started poem #27 using NaPoWriMo’s Day 26 prompt using the persona of mythical Andromeda and some influence from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Chosen, which I’m near the end of reading.  I started the poem yesterday and finished it this morning.  I quite like how it turned out.


a waste, he muttered
clamping my wrists in the cold metal manacles
and rubbing rough fingers down
my arms    sides of my body  and I kicked
at him with my knees
he backed away with a half-sad smile,
his priest’s robes plastered by wind
against his round belly
chanting begins

I stare out at the too-blue sea,
willing myself to be what they see
brave, bare sacrifice     willing
the water roils and churns
it is coming
the dark flash of tentacle or tail
groping the air

close my eyes
and press my back against the rocks
the sharp little points dig into myflesh
gasp       press harder
as the salt wind turns
my nipples to points
a cool spray blows across my face
lift and press harder     sudden    gasp
feel wetness emerge on my back
and elsewhere       throbbing

let Cetus take its due
not before my pleasure overflows    the last
feel the shadow behind my eyes
blocking the sun      it is coming

shivers rack my body
I pull my arms     the rough scrape
of metal until wrists, too, flow
I will become ocean for the ocean
the deep smell of iron    iron and blood
it is coming       I am so close
Hera, are you happy now?
You never reckoned this    this terrible beauty

press my back to the needly rock
hard as I can
feeling the crest of a wave
crying out
echoed in a monstrous roar outside myself
thrashing       I am ready to die

only then   then do I hear the silence
the changing has stopped    the great guttural agonies
of cetus quiet

eyes flash open
to the sight of a man approaching
the self-satisfied look of a hero
all brawn and purpose, a bulging bag
in one hand    behind him
a great rock with the gaping maw of a beast

only then do I squirm    struggle
against the chains to be free
of this man’s redemption
of the claim it will bring
his free hand pulls a sword
one swing and the chains break
my arms falling down slowly
the weight of manacles still clutching me

you are beautiful, he says
and forces his due       hero’s kiss
mortal’s hands claiming my body
he releases   as my father descends
men’s words
Mother rushes to cover me in fine cloth
relieved of the punishment of her tongue

stare at the sea
at the beast turned stone
longing      sticky with my own blood
terrible with rage
the unbargained sacrifice

condemned to be a wife.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #26

The idea for this poem sparked in my head yesterday, as I took the ferry across to Gabriola Island.  I wrote it down and completed it on the ferry ride back to Nanaimo.  Enjoy.

the still ships

the solid silence of the ships
red at the waterline,
dark blue above
stands a question,
iron-loved chains holding anchors rigid
here    here is a pinpoint on a map

later, on the way back,
as sky drifts deeper blue
undulating with grey-washed clouds,
little lights sparkle across the ships
like sea fairies wondering
at the large, steel thing
what are you?

the rumbling ferry,
which feels like standing still,
pushes its way past the ships,
past the winking lighthouse

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #25

I originally wrote this poem on April 20 for Poetry Gabriola’s PerFARMance event.  Foodies were paired up with wordies to create a work.  My foodie Sigrid, a member of the Vegeteers, came up with the theme of the poem:  questions/comments vegans often hear.  I wrote the poem.  It debuted at the event last night.  As I am a little behind on NaPoWriMo, I decided to place it as #25 in that series.  Enjoy.


1.  Where do you get protein?

from the ground
nuts fallen from trees        shaky shells
cracking in the hands
hunter-gatherer style
seeds and seeds
the spark of life
the still heart of beans
the cream of the protein trade
grains blowing in the breeze
holding their husks on tight
like planets’ rings
tofu, of course, blocked
marinated and turned out
all the little things   little things
you wouldn’t think
like green peas and greens greens
that is the word
the key to a life this free

 2.  I couldn’t live without─!

air in your lungs,
water filling your liquid body,
a roof overhead and walls to keep out
the wind, the rain, the world sometimes,
sleep to repair what the world has let in,
food, yes, but what do you need?
more fruits and vegetables than anything,
because we need relief from the pain

3.  Veganism is Privilege for the well-to-do.

if you indulge in the big business
of natural foods,
protein shakes, rainforest superfoods,
bottle after bottle of vitamins gleaming,
organics with a market
in the way of you and the farmer,
it can be.
my welfare struggling doesn’t matter
in the face
of your “don’t be #NotAllVegans about it.”

4.  I’d miss pizza/cheese/chocolate/ice cream.

give it a twist
yes, and learn a different language
that is what it means to put down your fork
learn the words of substitution
embrace the song of different
and maybe, just maybe
so much better in your mouth.

5.  I don’t want to be left out.

to belong
is a need, no lie.
sometimes it is hard
to find your kind
sometimes you will be lonely
sometimes you will be alone
and not alone.
share as you can:
food, your view, your heart.
sometimes you have to raise
your voice
and listen
for the answering call.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #24

A quick poem to catch me up.


what a friend!
what’s a friend?
we wile away whole fields
of hours and whole continents
of years holding
each other, laughing
existing in the same space
if not the same place

could have been could have been
could have listened
could have asked
could have helped
could have given me
the time of day

tired of feeling
you out day by day
hoping you’ll say
hoping you’ll stay

I thought
I thought we
I thought we were
I thought we were friends.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #23

I ended up not getting this poem written until just now.  I am currently reading Kushiel’s Chosen.  The main character Phèdre and her Cassiline Joscelin are killing me   I finished chapter forty last night.  This poem is inspired by the previous two chapters.


the grey sky hangs an ominous sign
your robes swish
as you walk out the doors
all the pieces, all the pieces
left in that bed of luxury
where, hurt, we loved out
despair, desire, duty

and you left.

I push it aside
for the red-rimmed drama of intrigue
for now,
my little self whispering,
If he hadn’t been so stubborn
over a vow…
as though he isn’t human
enough to feel.
We could have been….

I walk into the hornets’ nest
guarded well enough
but not enough,
my whole body aching
for you.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #22

Happy Earth Day!  I endeavoured to follow today’s NaPoWriMo prompt by looking out the window.  However, the poem had other ideas.  Also, I’ve been listening to Florence + the Machine’s new single “Ship to Wreck” for the last couple days. (Trigger warning:  that video link contains scenes of domestic violence-dance.)

on a sunny day

sun, give me sun
burst through the rain
like Florence singing
fighting her heart
smashed against the wall

light, fill me with light
shine out all the shadows
that crush me to tears
all the day to the pillow’s
damp recitations

love, grant me love
flash through this agony
of living and dragging
my feet and all I could be
in this glorious passion

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams