alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

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NapoWriMo: Day 3

I am participating in National Poetry Writing Month, where the goal is to write one poem a day for 30 days. During the month of April, I will be using the writing prompts at and posting the results.

Day three prompt

The prompt for today is “three in a row.” Write about how “three in a row” means you’ve won something, like a game of tic tac toe or a jackpot from a slot machine. Or write about the superstition about how bad things come in threes: deaths, injuries, failing household appliances. Wonder how a string of three represents both good and bad luck. Think about any sets of three you have in your life: cats, kids, husbands, anything! (For the record, I have six cats, three kids and one husband. How about you?) Explore what people mean when they say, “Third time’s a charm!” Consider a third place win, a trio, the trinity.


My Three Grandfathers


Muscled storyteller, nose
flattened by a punch (or
stomped by a horse?)
Shape shifter, name changer —
potato pancakes became
your only Polish legacy. A year
in college, then you were first aid
down the mines. You sewed
with dental floss, covered chairs
with Army blankets.

You said, These things will last.


Singer and toy collector,
bull dog face and kind
eyes. Former
prison warden, my step-
grandfather. You wound up
antique toys to delight.

You sang, Come to the church
in the wildwood.
Always loudly
and off-key.


A borrowed memory, my father's
father, genteel office worker.
Your heart caught fire
before Dad was born.

All I know of you: dark blonde hair,
my brother's face. Fading in sepia.


My grandfathers were all so different. The ones I knew were both strong men who could show remarkable tenderness. The one we never knew, not even my dad, remains a source of fascination for me. I only know him through photos, as well as a few fragmented memories from my late grandmother. I wrote this by doing a little free writing on each grandfather and then turning the results into a poem.

The details that emerge through free writing can be powerful.

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Tags: family, napowrimo, poetry, writing

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