driving snow moutains switzerland

Do you Remember an Inn?

Have you ever found yourself reciting a poem you learnt many, years ago at school? One that you were tasked to learn by rote and recite out loud in front of the class?

Why do these words stick like Super Glue to our permanent memory cells?

When so much else fails to the memory wayside?

Is it because rote learning is a little like brainwashing?

On the way to Cromwell.....the Lindis pass

After reading Margaret’s post today, the poem ‘Tarantella’ came to mind. I love the use of onomatopoeia in that poem, and I like that the poem is factual, apparently.

I cannot reproduce the whole of the poem below for copyright reasons, so I have redacted some lines. Which sort of spoils the effect, so I have redacted minimal amounts and cited the author, of course.

Where am I

All it needs is a semi-related trigger and I’ll robotically begin to articulate those words from the poem, learnt word for word, so very long ago.

School years where chanting and rote learning was commonplace

If it is a type of rote learning, then for goodness sake why do we spend hours teaching our kids complicated strategies to work out their times tables, when a few weeks of chanting would translate to a life long skill without need for any mental refreshment, ever.

Equally concerning is what other values or words might be ingrained in our memory banks at a tender age by chanting brainwashing?

Luckily for me, this brainwashing is nothing more sinister than my times tables and a Hilaire Belloc poem with a bouncy repetitive rhyme. But as a gift to Miranda, that poem has a conclusion filled with doom, albeit twenty years later, (when it was written), and the memory of the inn may have faded?

The Miranda of Hilaire Belloc’s “Tarantella” is Miranda Mackintosh whom Belloc met at an inn in the Pyrenean hamlet of Canranc on the River Aragon in 1909. The poem, written twenty years later, was a New Year’s present to the Scottish Miranda. The holograph copy is inscribed: “For Miranda: New Year’s 1929.”


Tarantella by Hiliare Belloc

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?

Do you remember an Inn?

And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark veranda)?
****************** ?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn’t got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?
And the hip! hop! hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in–
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Never more.
Only the ****************;
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
No sound:

Of the far waterfall like doom.

The ting, tong, tang of the guitar

Do you have an poem that has become an earworm over time?

Something that sticks?

Inspired by Margaret‘s photos of the Pyrenees.


Poetry Challenge – October Prompt

This is the final of the A and I Poetry challenge,  I co-hosted with Ineke from IScrap2.

The October Prompt was

~ Write a poem to, or about, your future self.

How might you see yourself, or your life, in ten years time.


I am a bit stuck with the rhyming format. Anyway, here is my contribution:

Hey You!

You always doubt yourself; to self, you aren’t that kind,
so do you heed that lesson any better, in ten years time?

Your head is filled with Scandi dreams, of cool and wintry climes,
Whilst living out your life, in heat, with family’s loved pastimes.
Children: oh they have aged so fast, it’s now harder to keep up,
Do you care for any grandchildren, or only Schnauzer pups?

Is there work, or books, that fill your days, so happily evermore?
Surely there’s those countless walks, along the sandy beach foreshore?
Life’s curves can twist, and you might land so soft, or brutally hard,
Changes in health might come so fast, your mind must be on guard.
I hope the body is still supple, and your mind sharp enough,
To contribute to community, a blog, a conversation, and silly stuff.

Ageing is not a pleasant thing, it kinder creeps up on you,
A seventh decade life stage, then retiring from plainview.
As constant as the sun greets each morning, in the east,
Your pursuit of happiness and fun will continue till you cease.


Amanda This is me 8 years ago…. amanda

and now


and I hope this still will be me in ten years time….









A and I Poetry Challenge. 


A and I Poetry Challenge

Something poetic to ponder About




Poetry Challenge – September Prompt

A little late but here is my contribution to the A and I Poetry Challenge for September.

I am not the girl in the poem, rather I am the one living in the tropics yearning for some cooler weather.




In Iceland, a girl yearned for some heat,

to soothe her aching, chill-blained feet.

With her savings she gained,

A ticket on a plane,

Soon stepping her toes on the beach.





September Prompt

Write a limerick poem on the change of the season and post on your blog before 28th September. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, write about the onset of Autumn. Those living in the South, including Ineke and Amanda, write about the onset of Spring.

A Limerick is a humorous poem wherein the first line sets up the character(s) and setting, so the reader knows right away who/what the story is about.

Only five lines long, limerick poems have an ‘AABBA’ rhyme scheme.

If you wish to join in with the final month of the challenge, click on the link below:



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Poetry Challenge – August prompt closing soon

A and I Poetry Challenge – August prompt

Contributions for August close soon. Publish a blog post with your poem before 30th August if you wish to be included in the round up for August:

Write a Heart Poem:

This might be a poem with lines written in the shape of a heart, or a poem about love, getting to the heart of a problem, about  folks wearing their hearts on their sleeves, or someone showing a lot of heart in competitions.

Post on your blog on or before 30th August, 2018 to be included in the link-backs.

The prompt is merely a suggestion and any topic is welcome.

Here is my contribution for August:

August prompt

When You Leave

My heart does dream of only you,

it has no time or rudder.

Until your touch is felt again,

that longing makes me shudder.

Your trust you gave implicitly

I will not lie or tease,

for in between life’s dark and light,

It ‘s you I long to please.



Hosts Blogger and writer from New Zealand, Ineke from scrapydo2.wordpress.com and Blogger, Amanda from Something to Ponder About, are jointly hosting the A and I Poetry Challenge. Amanda’s challenge is  in English and Ineke’s is in Afrikaans, (with translations in English).

The challenge is open to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced writers or aspiring poets. The challenge will run from March to October, 2018.

You can write in either language but please post a link back or comment at both WordPress blogs to indicate your interest and include the tag  A and I Poetry Challenge.

Beginner poet, hobbyist or Advanced writer – we hope you will join in with us.

For Full guidelines click here.

A and I Poetry Challenge


Something Lovingly Poetic to Ponder About


July Poetry Challenge and tips for Writing

vintage music antique radio
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

During the month of July:

Turn on the radio to any channel.

Write a poem inspired by the first thing you hear (lyrics to a song, a commercial, etc.)

Post it to your blog, prior to July 26, and include the Tag A and I Poetry Challenge, so that Ineke and I, (the hosts) can find your poem and comment.

Leave a comment on this post to indicate your interest in participation.

The A and I Poetry Writing Challenge has been running for several months and the poetic community grows each month.

(Click Here for a sample) 

When formulating your poem, please keep in Mind:

The prompt is merely a suggestion if you need help getting started with ideas.

You may of course, write about whatever you choose and still tag our A and I Poetry Challenge, so that other readers can find your poetry post.


A and I Poetry Challenge


A and I Poetry Challenge Instructions  HERE


Read my Submission in my follow up post, tomorrow, together with links to the Poetry participants from the month of June, but first here are some Poetry Writing Tips:

Poetry Writing Tips from Allison

  •  Don’t overdo prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs.
  •  Use action verbs, not “to be” verbs
  •  Help the reader interact with the poem.
  •  Help the reader relate by focusing on particular objects, not generalizing a type of object (whether the object is physical, mental, or spiritual).
  •  Find unusual subject matter — a teapot, a shelf, a wall
  •   Keep a notebook with you at all times so you can write whenever (and wherever) inspiration strikes.
  • Sometimes it is a scratching secret, wanting out, wanting to be in the world but held back by fear. Either way there is something about the act of sharing with the world, however big or small that world might be, that completes the creative process.
  • If you want to capture a feeling that you experienced, then you don’t need these tips. Just write whatever feels right. Only you experienced the feeling that you want to express, so only you will know whether your poem succeeds.

amandaSomething Poetic to Ponder About


Poetry Challenge Entries for June Closing Soon

It is the final week of the Monthly Poetry Challenge for June.


Write a poem based on your own theme or the prompt given below, and post using the tag A and I Poetry Challenge.  You have until Friday to be included in this months round up of entries.

The prompt is outlined below but perhaps you have another theme to present?

Leave a comment here so that Ineke and I can easily find your poem for this month.

Find instructions for joining in HERE

June Prompt

Write a poem about something small that is only 5 lines long. Write the same poem again and try to use concrete words.

Discuss which version you like best and why.

The prompt is merely a suggestion if you need help getting started with ideas.

You may of course, write about whatever you choose and still tag our A and I Poetry Challenge so that other readers can find your poetry post.

If you have the skill to read or write in Afrikaans, you can find Ineke’s contribution here:

https://scrapydo2.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/a-i-poesie-uitdaging-junie/A and I Poetry Challenge


Amanda and Ineke  – A and I Poetry Challenge


schnauzer dogs

Poetry Challenge Monthly Prompt and Poetry Writing Tips


The A and I Poetry Writing Challenge has been running for several months and our poetic community grows each month. (Click Here for a sample)

Those who have never taken up the pen before, are writing fantastic poems. I can’t wait to read what you come up with this month.


Find instructions for joining in HERE

June Prompt

Write a poem about something small that is only 5 lines long. Write the same poem again and try to use concrete words.

Discuss which version you like best and why.

The prompt is merely a suggestion if you need help getting started with ideas.

You may of course, write about whatever you choose and still tag our A and I Poetry Challenge so that other readers can find your poetry post.

Read my Submission below, but first some Poetry Writing Tips:

Here are some tip on writing with concrete words:

Poetry Writing Tips:

One of the biggest problems with any language is the inherent ambiguity in an abstract word. It’s meaning isn’t perfectly clear, and you have to interpret it. This becomes really evident if you read different translations of the same texts. And with room for interpretation comes room for misunderstanding [Source: http://www.lookscloudy.com/2011/07/communicating-better-concrete-and-abstract/%5D

Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words.

Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses.

  • orange
  • warm
  • cat

A person can see orange, feel warm, or hear a cat.

Poets use concrete words help the reader get a “picture” of what the poem is talking about. When the reader has a “picture” of what the poem is talking about, he/she can better understand what the poet is talking about.

Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings.

  • liberty
  • happy
  • love

“Liberty” is a concept, “happy” is a feeling, and no one can agree on whether “love” is a feeling, a concept or an action.

A person can’t see, touch, or taste any of these things. As a result, when used in poetry, these words might simply fly over the reader’s head, without triggering any sensory response. Further, “liberty,” “happy,” and “love” can mean different things to different people. Therefore, if the poet uses such a word, the reader may take a different meaning from it than the poet intended.

“Concrete” means something you can experience with your senses: you can see, smell, hear, taste, or touch it. “Abstract” describes an idea, thought, or feeling–something you can’t use your five senses to describe.

Change Abstract Words Into Concrete Words

Example: “She felt happy.”

This line uses the abstract word “happy.” To improve this line, change the abstract word to a concrete image. One way to achieve this is to think of an object or a scene that evokes feelings of happiness to represent the happy feeling.

Improvement: “Her smile spread like red tint on ripening tomatoes.”


Here is my Poetry submission for the June prompt:

Coming Home

Rebel by name but not by nature

Your wagging tail defines your demeanour

Smiling, happy, so warm on my feet,

Fur so soft that is hard to beat

Best friends in love through thick and thin

and now for the rewrite aiming for more concrete words:


Coming Home

Rebel only by name but not by nature –

Excited barking shared, tail a fluffy whip rhythmically brushing the air;

Infectious smile in eyes and nose, a welcome contagion with all those

velvet soft caresses on my cheek. Now a furry, warm slipper on my tired feet.

Accepting my failings, giving me company and her special brand of Rebel love.

I must admit that the second version paints a better picture for the reader.

I wasn’t happy with the final line but could not come up with an alternative today. Perhaps I will rewrite this poem again.

Here is some more tips on Using Concrete Words:

Concrete words are always stronger than abstract words in writing. You could stand on a soapbox in the park and say: “I hate all injustice! It’s wrong! We must end it!”

Or you could get on that soapbox and say: “Bullies stink! All bullies should be forced to eat headlice!” Which do you think will make people stop and listen? Which will make them yawn? [https://amymacdonald.com/educators/concrete-instead-of-abstract/]

The key to writing great poetry is to write focused, concrete poetry. But many beginning poets write poetry based around wide themes such as love, life, and anger, generalizing their writing. By using strong language, active verbs instead of passive verbs and concrete language instead of abstract, you can capture a reader’s interest and captivate a reader’s imagination. Poetry, as something others read, should be at its best interactive, and at its worse, straight forward and clear.

The reader has a difficult time relating to poetry that is generalized, vague, or otherwise abstract. Having the reader relate to the work is an important aspect of poetry, and to help the reader you must paint your meaning in clear images and words. When you begin a poem, ask yourself what you want to say and how you want to say it. If you want to write about life, what about life do you want to write about?

Are you angry at something and want to vent?

What are you angry at?

Don’t say the whole world. Pick a person or situation that you dislike and focus on that. By personalizing your poetry, you remove the vague generalities included in many abstract themes.

Name that name. Don’t just say birds, but tell the reader what kind of birds. Are they cardinals, swallows, or canaries?

Use more specific language: people, places, numbers, dates, and details. Be wary of particularly ambiguous terms.

Many people overuse some really meaningless abstract words. “Inexpensive” “reliable” and “fast” are three of the worst. The more specific the details, the more engaged the listener or reader must be in order to follow along, yet simultaneously the message becomes more clear.

Instructions for Joining in with the A and I Poetry Challenge can be found HERE

Don’t forget to link back to this post, on your own poetry submission post, by linking this url to the words A and I Poetry Challenge so Ineke, Amanda and others can find your post.

Have fun!

~ Amanda and Ineke


Poetry Challenge and Entries for May

Fellow blogger and writer from New Zealand, Ineke from scrapydo2.wordpress.com and myself, Amanda from Something to Ponder About, are jointly hosting a bi-lingual Poetry challenge in English and in Afrikaans, in the WordPress community.

The challenge is open to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced writers or aspiring poets. The challenge will run from March to October, 2018.  We will share tips, offer a monthly prompt and post link backs to your published Poetry posts.

Scroll down to see Poetry entries and links for May. If I’ve missed anything, or anyone, please let me know. Pingbacks have been known to fail, so it is always helpful if you leave a comment on this post, to flag that you are joining in with the challenge.

A and I Poetry Challenge Entries for May

The task was to write using the photograph supplied or to use a topic of your own choice.

Please check out the wonderful entries  A and I Bilingual Poetry Challenge .



Featured Poet – Hester from Dis Ekke

This month, I would like to feature a poem from Hester. It is a ‘Reverse Poem’ that can be read from start to finish and then again in Reverse order, from finish to start – each way with a different meaning. It is a fantastic effort! I thank Hester most sincerely for joining in on the challenge. Reverse poetry is very new to me and Hester has given us an excellent introduction to this poetic device.


Parenthood is a thankless job

And only idiots believe that

Raising children brings sweet rewards

Being a parent is too heavy a cross to bear

And please don’t think that

Children appreciate the sacrifice

In fact

Giving up your dreams for this may be a mistake

People will tell you that

Being rich and famous

Is infinitely more satisfying than

Raising a family

For this job, one must be prepared to sign on for life

This is the truth

Parenthood requires a total mindset change

– Hester Dis Ekke


Would you like to join in with the Poetry challenge next month?

Challenge Guidelines can be found here


The Poetry prompt for this month will be posted on Something to Ponder About June 3rd, 2018.

Remember, you do not have to use this prompt, at all. The prompt is only there if you feel you want a topic to work from, or you find it hard to come up with an initial idea.

  • Write and post a poem in any language you wish, during the month of June, adding the Tag: A and I Poetry Challenge to your post.
  • Leave a comment on Amanda’s and Ineke’s blog letting us know you are participating.
  • Please link back to this post, so we can find your entry.


A and I Poetry Challenge
Ineke and I have created the above logo for the Poetry Challenge and you are very welcome to paste this onto your blog post or sidebar, so that others can also find out about the challenge, if you so wish.

That is it!

Oh and have fun writing!!

N.B. Ineke and I will post link backs to the blogs who have joined in with the challenge in the poetry challenge post in the following month, so that you can all find each other’s blog posts and build a new poet’s community! If you have any questions, please just ask.

Let us build a Poetry Community in WordPress!


Poetry – Something thoughtful to Ponder About


A and I Poetry Challenge #3 May

The A and I Poetry challenge is open to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced writers or aspiring poets.

The challenge runs March to October, 2018. 

Each month we will share tips, offer a monthly poetry prompt and post link backs to your published Poetry posts.

Please scroll down to see this month’s Prompt, guidelines, poetry writing tips and last month’s entrant links.

I am co-hosting this challenge with Ineke from Scrapydo Ineke and I met here on WordPress.If you wish to read the story of how we meet click here.

A and I Poetry Challenge

A and I Poetry Challenge Guidelines

  • For General instructions on joining in, click the Poetry Challenge Page.
  • Everyone is very welcome to enter and age is no barrier.
  • Write any kind of poem that you like, (the below prompt for this month, is merely a suggestion); it can be fun, or serious.
  • Write in any language that pleases you, and note that it certainly doesn’t have to be in English. As this is a joint challenge with Ineke, from Scrapydo2, note that she will also post the challenge in Afrikaans on her blog, so if that language suits you better, visit her here.
  • Add the A and I Poetry badge if you so wish. (optional)
  • Publish the poem on your blog before the 27th day of that month  adding the tag A and I Poetry Challenge to your post.
  • Once you publish your blog post, please leave a comment here on this page and also at Ineke’s blog, here, listing the URL link to YOUR poem.  [Others can then find their way to your  post and we build a supportive community of poets who visit, read and comment on other’s poetry.

**If you don’t post the link to our blogs with your poetry, it is really hard for us to find you and include a linkback to your blog, for the next month’s challenge.

 Poetry Challenge –  May Prompt


*Write a poem using this photograph or one of your own as inspiration.


N.B. If you choose to use your own photo, please post the photo along with the poem.


Here is my submission for this month:

Caught in the Bubble

Bubbles of air, glass and space,
Where’s the herd who grazed this place?

An artist form with eyes a-looking in.
Glass beads reflecting, seeing out, within.

A shrunken, perhaps yes, a distorted view,
Representing and offering a different hue.

Art is crazy, challenging, new,
Breaking barriers, often pushing taboos.

Take a peek and see much more,
Something’s looking back at you, for sure.

~ Amanda

I struggled with the subject matter for this poem, even though it was my own photo.

Apparently the Japanese creator wanted to accentuate the outer husk or shape of the animal by enhancing it with these beads of glass and acrylic.

A Word a Week Challenge - Glitter

Poetry Challenge Entrants for April:


Poetry Tips

  • Formatting – Tools to help you format your poems on your blog, including how to add extra lines in your post without WordPress expunging them on posting, can be found here
  • Live your poem. When you write, imagine you are a participant in your poem. Look around. See what’s happening. Feel the texture of the sticky pine cone. Feel how difficult it is to pull your fingers apart to type afterwards. Listen to the sounds around you. A robin? A whippoorwill? A Tasmanian devil? Smell your panic. Taste the dryness on your tongue, the thin salt. Activate all your senses. Galway Kinnell once said, “If you’re going to write about a frog, become that frog. Inhabit frogness.”
  • Don’t think too much, just write it down.
    Ray Bradbury once said, “Throw yourself off a cliff and build your wings on the way down.” Don’t think too much about what I’m going to write. Let the poem create itself. Discover what you are doing in the process of doing it. It evolves as you put pen to paper.
  •  Incorporate poetry devices
    What else can make your poetry shine like the summer sun? Imagery, metaphors, and symbolism-to name just a few poetry devices-are subtle ways to improve your poetry. By adding rhyme, irony, or tone to your work, you create a phoenix from a dead piece of paper.
    Readers enjoy poetry with meaning, that has a beat or an easy flow, and can be secretive but not beyond their understanding. Great poets know exactly how to incorporate the many elements of poetry into their work.
    Research the many poetry devices (others include simile, figurative language, synecdoche, allegories, and musical devices) and begin practicing with them in your own poetry. Write a poem with a theme you enjoy but base it around irony or a metaphor. Continue to practice each device and work them all into different poems to experience each one’s effect.
    You can find many examples and ways to use poetry devices by reading books on the subject or doing a simple search online. Study and learn each device, because you never know when one might work perfectly for what you are trying to write.


In a nutshell:

  1. Use poetry devices to give your work substance.
  2. Readers enjoy reading poetry with inner meaning or special attributes.
  3. It takes practice, hard work, and dedication to master devices like Symbolism, Imagery, or Rhyme.
  4. Finding out about each poetry device is easy; just search online or at your local bookstore or library.
[Source Credit: https://forum.rhymezone.com/articles/884-5-tips-for-writing-better-poetry-how-to-jumpstart-your-writing-by-john-bon%5D


I can’t wait to read what you come up with this month.

Don’t forget to link back to this post, on your poetry submission post, and leave a link and comment here so Ineke, Amanda and others can find your post.

Have fun!

~ Amanda and Ineke



Pelican Poetry

pelicans 20160130_141334


Pelican’s Morning

Flapping and fluttering of feathery wings.
Winging their way, on fluffy fantastic down,
Down on the lake they begin to preen,
Preen in the reflected face of the shimmering water
Water is their life, their food, their all,
All of them, families young and old preening and feeding together,
Together they fish, float, flap, flurry and flounder on the rocks they call home.




Something to Ponder About