Letters from Black Hawk Delta: April 2016 #NaPoWriMo


Thirty Tristichs

Tristich 1-10

Tristich 11-20

Tristich 21-30


Notes & Acknowledgements

  • These thirty three line pieces were written daily, exclusively for National Poetry Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo) 2016 and to be shared via Instagram – @pearldiver32
  • They respond to writing prompts from Lagan Press, @thepoetryschool (on Instagram) and NaPoWriMo site – often using a mix of prompts.
  • The title is in honour of Lorine Niedecker and her  ‘condensery’  – in keeping with the backdrop of this blog.
  • I have a fascination with tristichs since meeting them in the poetry of Yannis Ritsos and it was interesting to fit other forms within the confines of three lines. Sometimes it didn’t work so well, like the three-line couplet. The ‘One Verse Terza Rima’ gave this piece something extra, I think. The plural is tristichs not tristiches…sometimes I get the wrong end of the stich.
  • All the images are mine, except the Concentrating Kingfisher – image credit: coniferconifer – allfreedownload


Olive Broderick © 2016


National Poetry Month: Tristich 21-30 #NaPoWriMo


It’s National Poetry Month – and I ‘ve taken up the challenge of writing a three-line poem (tristich) for each of April’s thirty days. Today is April 30th – and I am feeling very happy to have have completed the challenge.

Thanks again to laganpress.co for introducing the concept. Thanks too @thepoetryschool (on instagram) whose prompts I’ve been using. I’ve also been mixing it up with prompts from the NAPOWRIMO website – and that’s adding a bit of excitment to the challenge.

This past ten days have been supercharged given that we’ve had Earth Day (22 April); Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary (23 April) and National Poetry Day (Ireland – 28 April). It’s funny how this challenge helped to make each day that much more present.

Here are the Tristichs:

Tristich 1-10

Tristich 11-20

Tristich 21-30

21/30 Sea Glass

Clíodhna sends a message in multi-coloured pieces;

a slightly damaged prism for apprentice scientists;

broad wave on a calm day, sun flares bright as crystal.

(translation of poem told through another medium)


22/30 Herbalists

Brothers: forgotten children of my great-grandfather’s first marriage:

Jesuit brothers, her legend has it, and learned plant scientists –

in the wild home of their Mother, of their Father Earth.


23/30 Dark Love

Say who you were; or

who you are; who you

will be to me.


24/30 Choosing a Bouquet

Season for tulips, everywhere the Dutch allusion, gathering

in living rooms: aperture for people whose airless lives blow open like bells;

Gathering, in the heat of events, she says she worries, as they descend.


25/30 Shaking

Constant fear of not being ready: vibrato breeze

makes clouds and small high leaves restless – light, shadow

change place endlessly: this kind of shaking makes me steady.


26/30 Éist do bhéal / Whisht

Listen, listen, listen -says the wind that circles the moat of the Mound;

a songbird and a raindrop cut in – and anyway, it’s not my mouth

it’s my mind that keeps wandering, wandering, wandering.

(Note: éist do bheal – trans(ish) – listen with your mouth – be quiet)


27/30 One Verse Terza Rima

This sorry is a courtesy – there is seldom remorse in choice /

You quote the Inferno – but I, post purgatorio lover /

My suffering is not less; I just want it to have a different voice / [over]



A windy day is not a day for thatching.

Catching the last bus back to Downpatrick

I watch late-April trees with unclad branches.


29/30 Rooms on Fire im D.L.

David: I remember how she wiped my eye – older woman at eighteen.

They said the church was filled with crying girls; no other Troy

for you to burn; and something worse than first love unrequited: I remember.


30/30 Leaving Idaho, via Belfast – for Ann Zell

Just yesterday, someone gave me a laurel branch.

Search, search, sweet bird, for a new resting place

while the comfort of your own nest is still fresh in your memory.

(referencing Ann Zell trans ‘The Laurel Branch’  by Galina Usova (Where the Neva Rushes Backwards: Lagan Press – and ‘Dans La Foret by Jules Supervielle)


Olive Broderick © 2016