Poem-A-Day 2021

North Florida Poetry Hub is celebrating National Poetry Month by posting contributed poems sent in by poets from all over the world.  ~ Submissions Open April 1 until 30th.  Poems should be family-friendly. Each Poet is allowed to contribute one poem per day. No poems longer than 45 lines.  Please use the "contact us" submission form if you are an outside member.  Members submit to Ruth via email. Thank you. 

Possibility for inclusion in a future hard copy publication Chapter Anthology with a section for Poem-A-Day poetry exists. If this comes about you will be contacted for consent and permission agreement prior to and will not be included unless this can be obtained. Please indicate and provide good contact information if you want to be included in this possible future publication.

(About poster above)  The Academy of American Poets, the originator of National Poetry Month, now a worldwide celebration in its twenty-fifth year, is pleased to announce that twelfth grader Bao Lu from Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York, has been named the winner of the 2021 National Poetry Month Poster Contest. Lu's artwork was selected by renowned illustrator Maira Kalman and New York Times-bestselling YA author and poet Renée Watson from among eleven outstanding finalists and more than 145 student submissions.  To learn more about the Poster and the back-story, visit  

If you’re able to support efforts, please consider a donation to the Academy of American Poets.   Contributions from poetry lovers like you help them to send out 100,000 free posters to teachers, librarians, and more nationwide.    TO DONATE TO HELP  POETS.ORG and their poster fund, click here:



National Poetry Week Poem #1


We are not the first
We will not be the last
to stand upon this rock
The victors of evolutionary warfare
Dominant for this moment in time
and blinded to our inevitable fate

Unlike the mastodon
Whose footprints are frozen in the mud
and rock of ages
There may be nothing left to mark our passage here
All traces lost in the coming collapse
of the digital creature we called life
And nothing but ivory towers thin as glass
to serve as a warning
for whoever comes next

 ©  Erin Cowart

​National Poetry Week Poem #2


they sip cappuccino

and wander around

feigning knowledge of deep intellectuals

with culture and higher aspirations

reality haunts their heels

and takes a sharp nip

reminding them of the goal

much designed and set to play

as traps are carefully laid

to catch over-hunted beasts

by hungry bookstore babes.

© Ruth Van Alstine 1997 

​National Poetry Week Poem #3


You sit on the porch if you’re over twelve
Or in a tree if you’re under sixteen.
You listen to the hum of the night.

The hazy heat embraces you.
It gives you the warmth
Your mother once breathed into you.

The night breathes... it breathes and lives.
It gives your skin the pleasure of a full stomach,
Your senses the pleasure of relaxed nothingness.

You talk to the darkness, without saying a word
And the trees and shrubs answer.
There’s a fizz in the grass, a scurrying nocturnal.

Your mind is lulled in the August night.
You think of molten memories: cherry-sweet lips, youth.
You play with your thoughts and let the night play along.

You trust the night. You release your feelings into it,
You let them enter the dark to be touched and felt by it
Before you’d retrieve them. You teach the night how to have feelings.

You breathe the warm air in,
And it breathes you into itself.
The unassuming disciple, confidante, soul mate.

You and the August night.

 ©  Andrew Szemeredy

National Poetry Week Poem #4

Lotus of the New Moon

Midnight sky remembers

‘neath caliginous lotus 

of New Moon

and screed of stars



within itself

and shadows of time

reach out

They conceal and reveal



and encompass

with indigo velvet


dreaming all

into forever hopes

before today

and beyond tomorrow


© Doc Janning 

National Poetry Week Poem #5

Another Blanket for Our Bed

I scoot nearer the valley of warmth

your body has made.

My wakened breath a quicker tempo

than the long steady draw of yours.

In the moonlight, I study the contours of your shape—

the paths that lead to safe handholds and footholds.

And I fear the cold country that lies ahead.

Tonight, the moon, changeable and lovely,

has climbed like a child into the limbs of the chestnut.

It chastises me for my wanton attempt at thievery,

for my insistence on surety. I rise

and pad through the hush of the house

to find another blanket for our bed.

© Shutta Crum

National Poetry Week Poem #6


my first language

was Repression

my father

banned the Portuguese

from lingua de minha mae

to set sail the empired seas

for the white man's navy

minha mae, a foreign woman

from the first country

to invent racism


in Wasp country

where here

she was



only allowed

to speak

what she didn’t know

but her blood did

my black pai


to be,


be free


the color

of my mother's

and his father's


my white mother

a woman


his Patriarchy

i bloomed


as her English

nursed on silence

my first language

a kind of colonized

Portuguese, American

Kriol, the Unsaid

every other word: Subversion

my first language


my first language


as a brown


as immigrants'


my favorite word:



my most used:



my most joyful


Avo Juice

great grandmother Ju

who’s soft ashblack, paperbrown


smelled like


a longing

the Alzheimer’s

couldn't forget

when you

learn a language late or broken

you learn it

as an accessory, a tool, a weapon

when you learn it whole

with the afterbirth

you learn it

like these are your own thoughts

your own breathing

they said

i spoke early

but a broken

made-up version

of what i wasn’t allowed to know

 and shouldn't

and so

there are things

in this country

that will never translate


the way you believe power



© Drea


National Poetry Week Poem #7


rippling blue water

cumulus clouds sail blue skies

awaiting return

©  Ruth Van Alstine; previously published in "A While Away" March, 2021

NOTE:  the 45 line limit for poems starts here 4/2/2021 - thank you for your submissions! Awesome!  :)

National Poetry Week Poem #8


Before meeting we dated diurnals

who lacked true respect for the moon.

We understand ourselves as nocturnals

for whom sunlight equates to gloom.

We both clock in and out on a keyboard,

commuting just to the kitchen.

We feel our backward schedule is forward

though such may be deemed unchristian.

We treat the printed news deliverer,

who visits at oh dark thirty,

as an actual family member

whom we ask if they are thirsty.

Our blood relations don’t accept our way.

They wish us to act like others

and renounce domestic nightlife for day.

Our habit transcends mere druthers.

© Stephen Stokes

National Poetry Week Poem #9


To dance and not be the dancer
To walk and not be the walker
Life is in the being not in the doing

To think and not be the thinker
To look and not be the looker
In this way to see more and deeper

To love and not be the lover
To feel and not be the feeler
In this way to be peace

©  Erin Cowart 

National Poetry Week Poem #10


In a world of unknown lasts

Last words, last kisses, last sights, last rites

May I be the first to notice those lasts

And in knowing them recognize the holiness of every

Book left unread

Trip left untaken

Dream left undreamt

Rocking chair left unrocked

Flower left unpicked

The unlived moments that pass us by

The unknown lasts

Known at last

©  Erin Cowart 

National Poetry Week Poem #11


There will be a moment of silence

I will put down the phone

You will turn off the computer

The student will study no more

The broadcaster will speak to an audience of none

And we will all glance up

And meet ourselves in the eyes of strangers

The children will emerge from their electronic stupors

The parents will look at them with new eyes

And say very simply


The shop keeper will gaze up and out

Into his city

The hungry and poor will gaze back

And for once their eyes will meet

with no judgement

The imam and the preacher will discover

that the walls and ceilings of their sanctuaries

Are more the barriers to heaven than the way

They will knock them down with a silent roar

And God will fill the space created by their destruction

The left and the right will fight no more

As soldiers lay down their arms

And meet under the shade tree of peace

And the waters of freedom

To wash the blood from their hands and hearts

This moment of silence

This brief second of humanity

Floats somewhere in the photoelectric corners of the universe

Waiting for birth

©  Erin Cowart 

National Poetry Week Poem #12


Wait for that moment
at the end of the day
When the clamor of voices becomes hushed
When the incessant chime of the phone ceases
When the kitchen smells like sunsets and mother's cooking

Wait for that moment
when dawn breaks
When even the birds stop and take notice
When the trees raise their arms and point to God
When all heaven and earth tremble from the silence of the beauty

Wait for them
Memorize them
Fold in to and around them
Until those moment are all there is
and all there will ever be

©  Erin Cowart 

National Poetry Week Poem #13


How long has it been since you sang in the shower

Walked barefoot on the earth

Plunged in to the briny depths of the ocean

and felt the burn of the water in your nose and eyes

When did you last speak a truth no one wanted to hear

Walked through your house naked

allowing the curves and bumps of you to shake along

without judgement or concern

Wielded your ninja sword and fought off the demons in your mind

I last held a rollie pollie when I was ten

How can 33 years have passed

without the wonders of the dirt and her creatures

passing through my mind and hands

And as the list grows

I become painfully aware of the mask of adulthood

The skin I wear, the words I say that mark me as complete

grown, a finished product of the system

Who no longer remembers the joys of youth

Or the wisdom of childhood

And the loss of those joys is the tragedy of my life

©  Erin Cowart

National Poetry Week Poem #14


I believe in magic, don’t you?

For what other explanation

Is there for the beauty of a sunset,

Or the rustling leaves by soft breeze?

Most folk would say,

“Tis only the world spinning

Round its sun,

Simple science, really.”

But those of us with special eyes

See the world differently

And reject the explanation of

Logic, theory and knowledge.

With innocent naïveté we see

Earth, sun, sea and stars as being

Spun by fairies dancing in the moonlight,

And worldly troubles caused by grumpy  trolls.

Yes, I believe in magic,

To beat back the black edges,

Keeping one foot moving forward

To stay in the warm sunlight.

Others might say, how naïve that

Girl, dancing in the mists of the Valley,

Not acknowledging the dark before her,

Logic does tell blackness will succumb her.

Oh, yes, I believe in magic,

It gives me want to breathe

With joyful song lightheartedly.

And that’s enough for me.

© Ruth Van Alstine

Previously published "Fairies and Fantasies" 1996 & 2016

National Poetry Week Poem #15


True joy has no home in the heart

until grief has laid the foundation...

©  Erin Cowart

National Poetry Week Poem #16


Worn by dreams she sat in the dark

next to the cold cast-iron stove

converted from wood to gas.

And when the sun returned

to warm her in spring she uncovered 

the gardens that others had left behind.

It was not the white-hot sun

she’d known in her land

where colors flowed

like silken robes

inside the stench

of poverty and putrid waste.

Scratching the cold wet soil awake

she learned to like the stretch

she felt in her legs. Baring

the dirt of its sodden decay.

she found phantoms in the mountain

shadows, imagined she died again, her

dying   a memory, a place where

beauty and sorrow walk hand

in hand silence ten paces

behind. When her daughters ask

how she’d been as a girl, she doesn’t think 

to give them the answer she knows they are wanting.

We learned to let each other be,

she tells them. After time passed

we let each other be alone so long

alone was who we were.

© Nina Heiser

National Poetry Week Poem #17


from lofty offices

views breathless

birds soar high

in azure skies -

heaven’s sentinels

© Ruth Van Alstine

National Poetry Week Poem #18

Corona come softly

look me right in the eye

your power will fail you

as our courage does rise


this we shall weather

together we share in the storm

breathe through your heart love

this world we are part of

may ravage us now

but this isn’t the norm

I’ll dress in  deep scarlet

dance like wild orchids in may

to the songs you will sing me

we’ll salvage our treasures

and take our small

pleasures today

we’ll measure the distance

Corona keeps us at bay

we shall not be broken

our force is our token

like the sun we shall rise

in radiance  true  harmony


Corona go softly

your time has drawn nigh

close your watery eyes

 © Nina Heiser

previously published in Of Poets & Poetry Vol 47.3


National Poetry Week Poem #19


Indigo, dahlia, aubergine:

Shades of nautical dawn.

As light unfolds from infinite darkness,

A new day has begun.

© Juliana Romnes

National Poetry Week Poem #20


In midst of nowhere, 
A human did stand,
With bitter to stare,
Lost, displaced in a land.
As the brown willow to call,
The sorrowful but crestfallen bird,
To hold nathless not to fall,
Tranquil, soundless for no word.
Neither the gloomy skies do blow,
Nor the woeful day to go! 

Syrian Educator and Writer

Ankara, Turkey

National Poetry Week Poem #21

Isolation sought

while we mask humanity

on pandemic's face

©  Ruth Van Alstine; previously published in "A While Away" March, 2021

Displayed in Hope At Hand's JAXPoetryFEST Downtown Jacksonville, Florida April, 2021

National Poetry Week Poem #22


Poem-A-Day From the Sanctuary Kids

If I Were a Super Villain

~ a spoken word performance piece

~ by Emanuel Johnson

If I were a super villain, I would build a machine.

And Super Angel wouldn’t stop me!


But what my machine would do is make people

follow my directions

and help me rule the world!

But my weakness is when an angel is close by.

But it wouldn’t hurt me, it would just destroy my machine.

By the way…

My name is …

MIND WASHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



If I was an Angel

~ a spoken word performance piece

~ by Nehemiah Johnson

If I was an angel

I would guard anyone that God told me to.

And I would obey his every command

       ~ so I wouldn’t have to go to the Underworld.

And if anyone commits a crime

I would put a wall around them.

And when the police comes,

I would bring the wall down so the police could arrest them.

~ And I can live in Heaven!

Heaven looks like a golden place

with mansions and castles.

And the ice cream tastes so good

your teeth will turn golden.

I have wings that are golden.

And God looks like he’s really, really big.

And he has a golden halo.


A Good Wide Receiver

~ a spoken word performance piece

~ by Neyamiah Woodberry

Antonio Brown is a good wide receiver.

He is a good emergency running back


He’s pretty cool.

His team is the Buccaneers.

You should throw him the ball

because he is open, and he is

pretty quick.

His badge is the first one open.

His badge is purple, gold, silver and bronze.

The purple is for Hall of Fame because he is so good,

and he’s my favorite!


It’s Important to Wear a Mask

A performance spoken word piece

by Danielle Doyle and Diane Franks

It’s important to wear a mask.

If you don’t wear a mask you might get sick

~ because people may be sick without knowing it

                  ~ and they might sneeze

~ and you might be around them

~ and then you might get sick.

It’s important to wear a mask.

Because you really don’t want to get sick.

~ all your plans will be ruined

                  ~ because you are sick.

- WAIT -

I have to sneeze…AAACHEW.

- WAIT -

I have to cough…cough, cough.

It’s important to wear a mask

         - because you don’t want to get sick

                  - like me


If I was a Millionaire

~ A spoken word performance piece

~ By Kyree Sampson-Franklin

If I was a millionaire, I would buy a $120,000 Tesla

…and then buy a Bugatti Chiron

…and a Lamborghini.

I would be a

Multiiiiiiiiiii Millionaaaaaiiiiirrrrre!

I would use some of my money to help my family.

That amount would be $100 million dollars!


If I Was President

~ a spoken word performance piece

~ by Imani McGuire

If I was president,

I would tell the whole world

to stop being bullies!

Because I feel like the world

would be a better place.

I even have bullies that don’t like me!

It’s sometimes a really bad world,

and I think we should stand up for our rights!

Some kids even feel like the place is dangerous!

So come on!

Let’s stand up for our rights!


On the Pulse of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words

Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out to us today, you may stand upon me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song. It says,
Come, rest here by my side.

Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African, the Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

They hear the first and last of every Tree
Speak to humankind today. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you,
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of
Other seekers—desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought,
Sold, stolen, arriving on the nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here, on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, and into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope—
Good morning.

Maya Angelou - 1928-2014

Seamus Heaney.jpg


for Philip Hobsbaum

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

                            by Seamus Heaney


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