Posted in Poetry


Can we not live with greater grace then at birth
red-faced, angry, shuddering with throttled
fists and brutal demands?

Shall we not live out seven, eight fearless decades
as a still-surfaced pond teeming
with silvery fish whose
surface is only broken by the rain?

IMG_0088 (2)
Photo by Jilly ©

© Jilly’s   All Rights Reserved

We are writing Quadrilles tonight over at dVerse.  Exactly 44 words, including the word ‘Fear.’  Join us!

Posted in 28 Days of Unreason, Poetry

Day 15 – Bathing in Art

“Art often isn’t [nice] though it scrubs the soul fresh”

~ Jim Harrison

Welcome to the second half of 28 Days of Unreason in which I have taken 28 lines from Jim Harrison’s collection of poetry, Songs of Unreason, and used them as writing prompts.  The quote above is today’s prompt and below you will find my poetic response to it, entitled Bathing in Art.  If you find inspiration in any of these lines, please drop me a comment and let me know; I always welcome the opportunity to read your work.

Bathing in Art

The photographs, excruciatingly clear,
scrub the soul
revealing those annoying
gnats of truth orbiting
round your head.

They toss you a bar of astringent soap

© Jilly’s   All Rights Reserved

Posted in Poetry

Crane (A Sestina)

I must credit (or perhaps blame) my good friend, Lynn Burton at Colorful Pen for posting an excellent Sestina.  Her use of the form served as a reminder that the sestina has been moldering on my list of forms.  Don’t get me wrong, I love working with forms, but every time I looked at a Sestina, I suddenly had some pressing appointment that I had forgotten! Turns out to be just as challenging as I suspected. For a terrific discussion of the sestina and how to go about writing one of you own, I highly recommend Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides.  Here is CRANE:

This world wends its way along a course,
time a swiftly flowing current
of years and moments blown before the wind
as the falling of the leaves
barren like the land over which they fly
we long to see tomorrow, our necks craned.

But the simplicity of today is in the instinctual crane
who finds satisfaction as a matter of course
in driving hard his wings to fly
to be one with the air currents
lofting over tree-top’s green leaves
moving sympathetically against the wind

At evensong he makes his way, winding
homeward, neither striving nor craning
his outstretched neck, leaving
the river to complete its course
keeping pace, his call current
and true, to the roost he flies.

So too, our days fly
past us, caught in the winds
of time, a swiftly flowing current
and we dither, forming origami cranes;
childlike, they are too coarse
to display with the autumn leaves

And though we long to comprehend those falling leaves,
they brown and change, flying
falling into dusty coarseness,
swept away with the violent winds
of coming winter whose snow is as white as a crane’s
feathers, whose face is as crimson as a ripened currant.

So our lives are a fluid current
we grasp at time as winter leaves
and spring returns as faithful as the crane
who from the roost flies;
the clock chimes and we wind
its gears and pour along the course

Hold fast your current course
as leaves caught in the wind
your life a flying flash as brilliant as the crane in flight.

© Jilly’s Poetry & Photo  All Rights Reserved

Sandhill Crane © Jill Lyman
Posted in 28 Days of Unreason, Poetry

Day 14 – Proverb of Unreason

Half way!  Here is today’s Harrsion quote for the mid point of 28 Days of Unreason, followed by my poem entitled Proverb of Unreason.

“The moon is to blame.  I am innocent”  

~Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason

Photo by Jilly

Proverb of Unreason

In that prove-you-wrong paradise

where the moon is a powerful

feather eating your liver

for lunch

guard your days build

walls around your blamelessness

constructing alibis of devastation

© Jilly’s All Rights Reserved


Posted in 28 Days of Unreason, Poetry

Day 13 – Shores

This is the second time I go through the 28 Days of Unreason, where I have pulled 28 lines from Jim Harrison’s collection of poetry called Songs of Unreason.  The practice stretches me as a writer, some days more than others.  This one was especially tough for me.  Thank you to those who have joined me during this month of writing.  If you find inspiration in this or any other line during this challenge, please drop me a comment; I would love to read what you write, my friends!  Here is the Harrison line for today and my poetic response entitled Shores:

“Only the water is safe” ~ Jim Harrison


Floundering on the land
without boundaries
without edges
is living
without comfort

Only the water is safe

Three directions of land
one of limitless lake

Fishing from the pier, we
fourteen years old
a swell unexpected
sweeps the tackle
into the cold water,
he jumps in, a stupid thing
to do, nearly drowns
the tackle lost;
how different would my life
be if he
had gone the way of the bobbers
and lures?

Photo: Sheila Miller

Only the water is safe

We fell asleep last night
with your hand cupping
the side of my face.


© Poetry by Jilly
All Rights Reserved



Posted in Poetry

Writing Space of a Sheep of Unknown Hue; with Shoes

I do love a good challenge!  Jane Dougherty tossed this one out there and I couldn’t resist.


Across the room from you (my favorite view)
Mom’s chair (she never did understand my poetry; not enough flowers and sunshine in those words.)
Refurbished Dell (necessary evil with stickers from the vegetarian tea place and Trader Joe’s)
The pen you gave me for Christmas two years ago (because writers understand each other)
Notebook (with ‘Jilly’ and doodled vines on the back cover)
Several Unreasonable poems and drafts
and 1 Haiku written by you (it was a joke; so like you to make me laugh)
These are the Remains of the Day
along with the obligatory cup of coffee (in that sunshine and flowers cup)

IMG_2960 (2)

© Jilly’s Words & Photo

Posted in 28 Days of Unreason, Poetry

Day Twelve – Ballad of the Rattlesnake

In order to read this here ballad y’all are gonna hafta git a good old south kinda sound goin’ in yer head.  Feel the rhythm of it, c’mon and swing yer partner, do-si-do. 

Day 12 of the 28 Days of Unreason, Jim Harrison’s line from Songs of Unreason is:

“The beauty of the rattlesnake is in its threat”

My quasi-poetic response is this here Ballad of the Rattlesnake which ain’t a true ballad in the poetry sense of the word; but never you mind that.

The beauty of the rattlesnake is in its threat
been bitten twice, ain’t dead yet
been bitten twice, ain’t dead yet

Went down south to see my Paw
plays in a jug band, Granny plays the saw
plays in a jug band, Granny plays the saw

Took my lovin’ sweetheart for to meet my kin
married in the church house for his heart to win
married in the church house for his heart to win

Rattlesnake she came a witness for to be
struck me on the ankle, turned around to see
then struck me with heart sting, turned around to  flee

The band was all there playin’ their music just for me
Granny wields a wicked saw and now that snake is three
Granny wields a wicked saw and now that snake is three

© Jilly’s   All Rights Reserved

Posted in 28 Days of Unreason, Poetry

Day Eleven – “He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not”

[Open Link night at dVerse]   The struggle over today’s quote from Songs of Unreason took me to my favorite little coffee shop with the cool writing vibe.  The words tumbled just as the coffee cup clacked onto the table. This is Day 11 of 28 Days of Unreason.  (see below for details)  Here then, is today’s line from Jim Harrison and my zany poem in response:

 “I’m unsure if all of me returned” ~ Jim Harrison


The bold orange blossoms sporting
mini-skirts and pom-poms, chests thrust
forward in warning
cross the street
in the warming
afternoon haze
heatwaves monroing
their skirts
a gladiola giggle issuing
from their freshly bursting

hootie did his best
blowfish face
fantasizing forward
until next morning
bitch-slapped his crumply
weedy face leaving
him with an ugly case
of vertigo
and an odd sense that pieces
of him were missing


© Jilly’s Poetry & Photos  All Rights Reserved

A shout-out to the amazing poets who have joined in with the The 28 Days of Unreason:

Lynn Burton at Colorful Pen

Frank Hubeny at Poetry Short Prose and Walking

Charley at Life in Portofino

Qbit at The Quantum Verse

Jenna at Revived Writer

Care to join in?  I have culled 28 lines from the poetry of Jim Harrison’s collection called Songs of Unreason, using them as daily writing prompts.  Each day I post his line and my own poetic response to it.  It is very informal; if you find something inspirational in the line and write a poem, drop me a note in comments.  I would love to read your words!  I am on Day 11, so we are less than half way through.  Poem onward, my friends!  Jilly