Poem Tryouts: What’s in Your Word?

17 Mar

8:44 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Up Around the Bend sung by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Hello, all. Well, unless someone knows where WordPress has hidden the classic mode for writing a post, they may finally lose me. I dislike the new format anyway, but to have the sidebar shifted to my left, drives me nuts. I keep wanting to shift the screen. Actually I did, a little. I am going to rush through this (I said it was driving me nuts) and then start Googling and getting into forums and generally yelling and hollering.

I love road trips, for themselves, but also because I do a lot of thinking on all things poetry. I often come up with prompts and then have to hope I remembered to put my notebook and pen at my feet. This time, on the way to San Antonio, for God knows what reason, the word windjammer popped into my head. From that the prompt was born.

Windjammer is an English word applied to large sailing ships because, well, the sails jam the wind. Nice, huh? But that’s not the etymology or meaning I grew up with. The meaning I grew up with and associate with the word is that of a Dutch and German word, similar to ‘jam,’ meaning to wail, thus the wind wailing through the sails. Many people thought this was the word’s origin.

I first came across the term in a book about Dutch twins (a series of novels based on twins from each country — a great way to learn about other places). The image I carry and see when I hear the word windjammer is of a sand skimmer, sail hoisted, whipping across the sand dunes. I find the word and the meaning I know, exotic. Another word, not so strongly exotic, but close, is igloo, which conjures up Eskimos, polar bears, kayaks, and ice bergs. Now that I consider it, I probably came across the word in the same series, as there was a book on the Eskimo twins.

Do you have a word that has always carried an exoticism for you? That has a far off ‘nother land, otherworldly, aspect for you? Consider what comes to mind, allowing the associated images to appear in your head. If you can tie a where and when to your meeting the word, you’ll have more details, although they don’t have to be in the poem.

Your mission is a poem that has the word in it. Straightforward.

Or, you can write the poem that arises from your thoughts when you see, or think about, the word.

I hope to see you Thursday for links and things; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for my prompt. If there is silence, I haven’t found the classic mode and I’m trying to decide what to do about the blog (yes, I dislike this that much).

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 17/03/2015 in exercises, poetry


Tags: , ,

79 responses to “Poem Tryouts: What’s in Your Word?

  1. b_y

    17/03/2015 at 9:52 am

    Don’t compose in WP. Do your writing somewhere else, and paste it. The new format is still irritating, but less so if you use it–directly–less. And then there’s the mobile version… Ach.

    Do you have any idea how hard this prompt is for me? Say: Name ten books, fifteen songs; This huge white wall appears. Nothing. Zilch. A responder, reacter, I can’t initiate content unless I’m half asleep–and then it evanesces

    • margo roby

      17/03/2015 at 9:59 am

      Hmmm. Pre-program your brain (talk to it) and see if a word appears in the next couple of days when you awake, or as you fade late in the day. I have the same problem, now that I think of it. I came up with the prompt because I reacted… yes. Trawling is another possibility. Through a catalogue, ads, the dictionary. No? Okay, adapt the prompt to what makes you happy πŸ™‚

      I’ll try the indirect approach and see how I go. Thank you for keeping me from hurling myself straight off the cliff. You should see the Forum! It’s up to seven pages of complaints since the classic mode disappeared completely.


        17/03/2015 at 10:15 am

        But it hasn’t disappeared completely: there’s a very small print line at the top where you can click to return to classic mode. Failing that, to to your Dashboard, and try “settings” or “appearance” – I’m not sure what you mean by sidebar to your left, as I’ve never seen that version – mine is always on my right.

        • margo roby

          17/03/2015 at 10:24 am

          When the new mode began, ViV, the sidebar was on the right. When I opened new post, today, it was sitting on the left. It’s amazing the difference it makes.

          Okay, I am looking at the top and the only thing I see is the new post icon. Am I looking to right or left?

          I did get a workaround from someone in the Forum where I hollered (politely), but it involves three steps and is tricky if the mouse shifts.


            17/03/2015 at 10:49 am

            I just clicked on the sentence top right to check that I’d told you the right info. Lo and behold, the whole thing went to the new format and I can’t get back to the classic! I HATE THE NEW FORMAT.

            • margo roby

              17/03/2015 at 11:43 am

              See my comment, below, ViV. Way below.

          • whimsygizmo

            17/03/2015 at 11:21 am

            Please share this trick (I’m on pad instead of mouse…think it’ll work?)

            • margo roby

              17/03/2015 at 11:37 am

              Except that for some of us the pad is so unfun for work! Does it work, de?

              • whimsygizmo

                17/03/2015 at 11:40 am

                If you tell me the three steps, I’ll check and see. I can’t ferret through forums. My brain will explode.

                • barbcrary

                  17/03/2015 at 11:51 am

                  Have either of you tried tumblr? I have been frustrated with WordPress for weeks but thought it was my lack of experience and skills. I wonder if they are trying to force us into paying for the fancy model. Or do you already pay?

                • margo roby

                  17/03/2015 at 11:52 am

                  I have a tumblr account, Barbara, but it’s a whole different animal,

                • margo roby

                  17/03/2015 at 11:54 am

                  Barb, I already pay, so that’s not the answer. Someone in the Forums suggested they might be going after the youngers, which, given our number, would be bloody stupid.

                • whimsygizmo

                  17/03/2015 at 11:54 am

                  Barbara, i have not tried tumblr. I don’t pay yet. Wonder if it would change if I did? Hmmmmm. Though maybe not, because Margo is her own .com, (whereas I am “”) which might mean you pay, yes, Margo?

                • margo roby

                  17/03/2015 at 11:55 am

                  Yep. I pay. No ads, My own domain, and I can change the pretty colours and font styles, πŸ˜€

                • whimsygizmo

                  17/03/2015 at 11:57 am

                  Old WordPress Wordsmiths UNITE!

    • barbcrary

      17/03/2015 at 10:00 am

      Barbara, you made me laugh aloud with recognition of that “white wall”. Amen, sister. Maybe I’ll choose “amen” as my word – it came to mind.

      • margo roby

        17/03/2015 at 10:02 am

        Ah, Barb, but is it exotic? Otherworldly? Yes, I’m laughing.What would I do without y’all!?

  2. georgeplace2013

    17/03/2015 at 10:05 am

    White wall makes me think of tires but that doesn’t do a thing for me. I’ll be back with something…

  3. margo roby

    17/03/2015 at 10:08 am

    Still laughing.


    17/03/2015 at 10:56 am

    I reckon you only posted this prompt to learn a lot of lovely new words! Here’s mine:-

  5. whimsygizmo

    17/03/2015 at 11:14 am

    Oh, Margo! I feel you. Yesterday, WordPress and I went 20 rounds. I had closed my whole (sweet old) computer down, which Hot Tech Guy Hubby says is important to do once in awhile, and which NOTHING good ever comes of…but I did it, and low and behold, my Firefox is gone. So I spent the day working in and searching on Safari, not too many troubles, until I went to post a poem on my blog (I ALWAYS compose in word, and then head over and cut and paste in WordPress). New mode. Have always hated it, but have always been able to “switch back” or whatever. Now that button’s gone. So I’m thinking I’ll just deal with it, but geez, there’s no place to change color of type (I use white periods to put spacing where I want it.) CAN’T.DEAL. So I googled Firefox, put it back in my top bar, and praise the Lord, my normal stuff is there, including the “old” WordPress format. Don’t know why it worked, but I’m thankful. If it goes away for good, I, like you, will be blog shopping. It’s maddening, limiting, and hateful to be creative in, the new format.

    Why does everybody always gotta move my cheese? New.Is.Not.Better.

  6. whimsygizmo

    17/03/2015 at 11:19 am

    Further Aaaaargh! Just went over, and sure enough, today even in Firefox, it’s the new format. Please please share any troubleshooting info you glean, as I cannot learn from reading forums, only by doing. (Does the “Beep Beep Boop” that happens when you click to make a new post make anybody else wanna murder someone?)

    • whimsygizmo

      17/03/2015 at 11:23 am

      Ooooo. Wait. I backed out of everything and got back into my blog through Firefox, and now it’s the old format again. Goodness.

      Maybe try clicking in through Firefox? Don’t know why that’s working for me, besides that it’s where I usually enter my blog. There’s a place that says “enter the new, improved way of posting.” HA! No, thank you.

  7. margo roby

    17/03/2015 at 11:41 am

    WordPress Fix

    From a kind young man somewhere in Spain and someone named Doug:

    Click on WP Admin under “my sites” upper left.
    Click on Posts in the sidebar, then Add New (or select an existing post and click Edit.)

    That should bring up the old editor.

    And, it did. I almost wept, I was so happy to see it.

    • whimsygizmo

      17/03/2015 at 11:45 am

      Yep. It works with the pad on a laptop, as well. Thank you. Now I know what to do if I have to do a post on Safari. Looks like you have to redo it every time, though? No way to set it as your default?

      • whimsygizmo

        17/03/2015 at 11:49 am

        THANK YOU.
        Just saved myself an “Evernote,” for when I totally forget which of your posts I learned this from. πŸ˜‰

        • margo roby

          17/03/2015 at 11:49 am

          I made a G Note πŸ˜€

          • whimsygizmo

            17/03/2015 at 11:50 am

            Heehee. I don’t know what this is, and would probably get into ‘treble’ looking for it. πŸ˜‰

      • margo roby

        17/03/2015 at 11:49 am

        Not yet, de. It will be interesting to see whether WordPress pays any attention to the howl coming out of the Forum. I don’t usually (ever) do Forums, but that was the first place Google brought up, so I added my howl.

        • whimsygizmo

          17/03/2015 at 11:50 am

          You rock. I can howl. I just can’t learn from the other werewolves. πŸ˜‰

  8. whimsygizmo

    17/03/2015 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration this morning, Margo. πŸ™‚

  9. Hannah Gosselin

    17/03/2015 at 1:30 pm

    uGH! Oh and hi!! :/ not thrilled about the WP change! Not time now…I’ll be back to catch up! Smiles to you, Margo! And poets!

  10. Carol Carlisle

    17/03/2015 at 1:45 pm

    Wow folks sure get up early. WP made me move to left side to find my site. I may be on the left coast but I’m have a hard time finding “new” post setting.
    Word for the day Flumuxed!

    • margo roby

      17/03/2015 at 2:28 pm

      Carol, I’m going to talk about this on Thursday. I have a workaround.

  11. b_y

    17/03/2015 at 5:42 pm

    Got an idea. May work, may not. When you get the “Add New Post” you want, try making a bookmark. See if it takes you back there without having to go through three layers of gymnastics every time.

    Exotic. I’ve been playing with that idea all day now. Vulcanism. Foxglove. Amphibrach.
    Not many words that take me places, though.

    • margo roby

      18/03/2015 at 7:39 am

      Hah! Already did that! I shall talk tomorrow after trying it again to make sure.

      Vulcanism doesn’t take you to Star Trek, or Mt. Olympus?

      • b_y

        18/03/2015 at 10:04 am

        Sends me straight to 8AM geography class, which is weird. I had almost forgotten that course. Took it from the same guy I had for Geology–where I more likely studied vulcanism. Mr/Dr Freels. Why were his classes always at 8AM?

        • margo roby

          18/03/2015 at 10:07 am

          How other worldly can you get than geography?! I’m thinking you can have a whole Vulcan thing going.

          I took one 8AM class and one evening class and never repeated either. If it didn’t happen between nine and two, too bad. And, still I graduated in four years πŸ˜€

  12. barbcrary

    17/03/2015 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve been rolling the word “kismet” around all day only to find that the definition is one word (fate) and there are loads of rather odd rhymes and near rhymes. Baguette? Ink jet? Dinette? My dreams of sultans and starry desert nights are not responding are fading fast.

  13. barbcrary

    17/03/2015 at 6:03 pm

    Forgot an “and” in that last sentence. It faded away too, I guess.

    • margo roby

      18/03/2015 at 7:41 am

      You poor thing, Barb. Forget the word (remember that it doesn’t have to be there). Write about sultans and deserts and 1001 nights and Aladdin and Arabia…

  14. julespaige

    18/03/2015 at 7:23 am

    Don’t panic people… I can get to the what I think is the old WP format…But then I don’t do too much fancy stuff. For me anyway I do the copy and paste routine. But how I get to the old wp is this… So the choice is on your left that’s OK… First thing I have to to since I have several sites is to go to the site I want to be in Ex: I go to my sites top left then to ‘Switch Site’ get to the site I want and then side bar (kind of like drop boxes but side ways to ‘WP Admin’ and that gets me to the ‘Dashboard’ I want to be in. From there… still on your left you must go to (don’t go to the add post from that drop section in dashboard!): Repeat go to the Posts that is on the left side of your choices…once on that left side go to Post and the shift (drop) gives you a list; that list is: All Posts, Add New, Categories, Tags, Copy a Post. You go to Add New and you get (hopefully the old way to post) But, yeah there is always a but… Once there in the ADD A NEW POST You have to choose to between Visual (which gives you too much space between lines) or to Text – which doesn’t have the extra line spaces. However when you are done in text you have to switch back to Visual to add Bold, italics, or center a piece. It may sound complex but I’ve been doing it that way for years. I hope that helps.

    I think I have somewhere a link to other information. But I’d have to look for it. Ah here, this also may help:

    WP info
    something in this post from Justine of =

    And also from Jen at blog it or lose it..

    Hopefully some of this information will help. I changed back to my old notifications via that last link. And have that on my favorites list on my main info bar so I don’t have to search for it.

    • b_y

      18/03/2015 at 10:08 am

      Good work!

      • julespaige

        18/03/2015 at 10:30 am

        It’s a pain too when Google changes stuff up – most often when given a choice for the ‘new’ programming (unless it is really needed) I decline.

        What is new and improved isn’t always best.

  15. julespaige

    18/03/2015 at 7:30 am

    Awe I didn’t see you got help from Doug…that’s good. But I also had/have other links with other info. Didn’t stop by yesterday. Too busy. Hmmm… a word I have to think of…
    Maybe when Little Miss naps… She’s here, and is being nice to let me finish this…

    Cheers. And welcome home, Margo!
    I’ve added a whole bunch of haibun pieces to the Brian Strong series. But only if you have the time. Those links can be found here:

    • margo roby

      18/03/2015 at 7:34 am

      Jules, thank you. You wrote my Thursday piece for me πŸ™‚ This is what I was going to talk about tomorrow. May I put you in paragraphs?

      • julespaige

        18/03/2015 at 7:53 am

        How ever you can word it to make it easier to understand πŸ™‚

      • b_y

        18/03/2015 at 10:15 am

        When I’m on the iPad, if it’s something that is going to need tinkering, I paste into the app, and save the draft. Then go to the desktop version (and pray). The app version has improved in its latest iteration. You can (at long last) add code, and make some minor decisions about graphics.

        • margo roby

          18/03/2015 at 10:17 am

          You mean YOU can code. Although, at least I know what that means. I have been known to write a post on my Galaxy. It has been a while. I’ll have to have another look at the app.

  16. julespaige

    18/03/2015 at 9:34 am

    Something else I noticed that you may want to add about notifications. I have chosen not to get ‘Like’ notices in my e-mail in box. I don’t have likes on my sites either but that’s another story. Anyway – some folks have mentioned not getting notifications either in or out of the new mode. When I am in the old mode I get response and new comment notifications. But I don’t always get new like notifications unless I refresh the notification (page).

    I hope that makes sense. Cheers.

    • margo roby

      18/03/2015 at 9:42 am

      I noticed, while wandering through the Forum, that a couple of people were asking about this. I’ll toss it in πŸ˜€

      • julespaige

        18/03/2015 at 10:34 am

        Ah…one more thing… sometimes the WP updates mess up the sites you are following. For example I was following MLM and Q (Imprompt) and all of a sudden they vanished. I ended up going to their sites, doing a stop follow and refollow and that put ’em back in my e-mail inbox. One of the MLM prompts comes in twice. But I’m not messing with it – you can always shift your mail to different folders in Google to help empty your mailbox page or if you are really done with an e-mail and don’t need to keep it for the next millennium – you can actually just delete the piece of mail you don’t need.

        • margo roby

          18/03/2015 at 10:35 am

          You just keep working on my post, Jules. I’m loving it!

          • julespaige

            18/03/2015 at 10:46 am

            I think that’s about all I can offer. Since I’m still not tech savvy with adding other media medium. I’m just working with the free site. So you’ll get adds at my sites. Sometimes I try to add lines to the bottom of the post so you don’t see the ad until you actually choose to leave a reply.

            Someone knew how to add spaces in front of sentences so they work in formatting in WP by making the periods a white/black or whatever your background color is. But I can’t seem to transfer that from Google docs to my WP post. So if I do something really neat in a concrete form that is more than just centering I put it on my blog site.

            If you are centering something in WP though you do have to leave a space between stanzas or the whole piece will shift. For example if you have three stanzas and you want one right, one center and one left you have to have a space between them or the stanzas won’t play nice. (OK that was another thing – but you have to explain it, Lucy.)

            • b_y

              18/03/2015 at 12:58 pm

              I’ve got a few lines of code that you might find useful, Jules. Pretty easy stuff if I don’t try overexplaining–then I get myself and everybody else confused–but I can’t post it because WP strips out all extraneous code. If you’re interested, I’ll be checking Miz Q’s email (be.quik at gmail)

          • julespaige

            18/03/2015 at 11:00 am

            OK I just thought of (maybe one last thing…)
            If you want to add a link for one of your posts to a page, like a continuing story… and you want the link to actually work (whether you shorten the link or not) you have to go back to the original site and approve the comment that has your link.
            You can’t seem to do that from the notifications…it doesn’t quite work. So before I close out the page with the new link I go to the site where I have the post, go to the admin page where the comments show up and approve the link/pingback or whatever else you want to call it. Then can go to second opened page (yes the same site but opened in a different tab) and then check to see if the link looks right in Visual mode – up date the page, and then I can close the tab to the page.

            I generally have several tabs open at once, I have my blogspot open too so if I visit someone other post where the writer has a blogspot site I don’t have to fart with switching out the comments from WP to anonymous or what ever other choices they have for you.

            Uh oh…one more thing for those of you who have multiple sites. Sometimes and only sometimes because for the life of me I don’t know why it happens sometimes and not others when you are visiting another WP site and you want to change where your icon (site) is coming from you have to go to the ‘choose where your comment is coming from in the reply area.’ All of your different sites will pop up in the http:// mode you choose the one you want and it goes in the spot that says where the person who is making the comment is coming from. I hope that is clear.

            Sometimes I forget to switch it so that’s why some of you end up at one of my sites and you can’t find the related post. I have a short verse, long verse and fiction sites. I like it that way. So sorry in advance for any inconvenience.

            • julespaige

              18/03/2015 at 12:21 pm

              I forgot to add that in order to see your site choices you have to type an ‘h’ then they will pop up and you can highlight the one you want.

  17. purplepeninportland

    18/03/2015 at 9:38 pm

    Oh my, what will happen next? I still do not know half of what I can do on a blog!

    • margo roby

      19/03/2015 at 7:57 am

      I know, Sara. I bumble along and keep my fingers crossed, but this problem, of formats, I knew I had to find an answer.

  18. Sasha A. Palmer

    20/03/2015 at 4:58 pm

    My goodness..makes me appreciate my no frills blogger blog πŸ™‚ It’s funny, I was just thinking that perhaps I should have gone with WordPress and turned the blog into a website eventually. I thought it would have been easier to do with WordPress. Now I’m not so sure..

    Hope it works out for you WordPress folks, good luck, this is no fun. Why fix what’s not broken, why change it? I don’t get it.

    I love your prompts. They make the brain work in unexpected ways. Today I was immediately taken back to “The Headless Horseman” – one of my childhood favorites. Prairie, mustanger, ‘amazonka’ (Rus. transliteration – horsewoman) – all these beautiful and mysterious words. Still magical, even after all these years.

    Many a happy hour was spent “being” Louise Poindexter..those were the days. πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      20/03/2015 at 5:06 pm

      Sasha, I promise, despite changes, everything is easier to do with WP. I started with Blogger but didn’t stay long. I’ve never regretted the move — until they changed post format!

      Those were the days, weren’t they. I have all my books from toddler up to high school. I love having them in my nest and looking at the spines, remembering.

      • Sasha A. Palmer

        20/03/2015 at 6:59 pm

        Well, I have no idea what I just did: typed a reply, hit something, the new typing vanished, and a copy of my first reply appeared in its place..that’s how techie I am πŸ™‚

        I was going to ask you something: if I have a GoDaddy domain, and a website with them as well, will I be able to transfer my site from GoDaddy to WordPress and add a WordPress blog to it? (and transfer my Blogger blog to the new WordPress blog…?…)

  19. Sasha A. Palmer

    20/03/2015 at 7:10 pm

    Also, is it possible to transfer a GoDaddy site to WordPress ‘as it is’, or would I have to build it again from scratch?..
    I apologize if I’m asking silly questions, I really don’t know much about these things, but I’m trying hard to learn..

    • margo roby

      21/03/2015 at 10:01 am

      I will be back, Sasha! I am researching. Don’t ever apologise for not having a tech oriented brain, because I, too, don’t have a tech oriented brain. When I started my WordPress blog, what got me through was the WP help section, which is incredibly helpful and easy to follow. I spent a few weeks looking up everything and following instructions. I couldn’t repeat any of it without doing the same thing: going to the WP help…

      The answer, about migrating GoDaddy to WP is yes. Now let me find out if there are buts. Blogger transfers easily but I’m not sure if it will to a standing blog, so let me check.

      This may take me a day or so. I love doing this stuff, so don’t be horrified (see, I know).

    • margo roby

      21/03/2015 at 10:19 am

      You have homework, Sasha!

      Explore, see what you think and there is, I think, a way to get to a live voice, if I can’t find an answer!

  20. Sasha A. Palmer

    21/03/2015 at 10:45 am

    Margo, thank you very much, but I am horrified – I didn’t mean to ask you to do research for me..especially since I’m not sure I want to make any big changes in the near future.

    I’ve just put up a very basic website with GoDaddy Website builder. I wanted to have some kind of online presence featuring my name rather than just ‘the happy amateur.’ The site links to my Blogger blog. This might be all I need for now, I just wanted to find out what my options are.

    If I were to transfer my Blogger blog to WordPress, I’d like to transfer it to a blog I’d set up under my domain, (is this what you mean by transferring Blogger to a standing blog?) I wouldn’t want to keep in WordPress. If it’s not possible, I probably won’t bother until I’m ready to ditch ‘happy’ and start a new blog.

    Thank you again, Margo.


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