Circadian Poems

A place to celebrate poetry, poets, and the creative spirit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Burns Night/Virginia Woolf's Birthday

Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and, also the infamous Burns Night is celebrated in Scotland, honoring poet Robert Burns.

In honor of both of these writers, Circadian presents the following:

Dear Virginia
By Joan Spoon

My dear Mrs. Woolf,
You do not know me,
Yet I feel I know you
through books, diaries, letters..
I worry about you
‘though you died long ago.
I mourn for you,
‘though you would not care.

Your words touch my soul
And they soothe my spirit.
I rush to your defense
when the misinformed
feel the interesting things
in your life
are your suicide
and your sexuality.

You never took
the easy way
you pushed your form
with each stroke of the pen.
You were never satisfied,
never complacent.
And yet get little credit
for your merry laughter.

Your books fascinate
Your diaries, your letters
make you present
though your present is far gone.
And yet, strangely,
I have no doubt
that had we met in person,
we would not be friends.


Ah, Mr. Burns!
By Brenda Braene

Ah, Mr. Burns!
(For I’m too shy
To call you Robert)
Tonight’s your night.

Tonight the revels start
Tonight the haggis pipes
(Or is piped? Forgive me,
Please, I can’t bear haggis).

Yet “Auld Lang Syne”
Seems like only days ago.
The test of timeless poet, sir,
Is the daily use of his words.

Brenda Braene’s blog is Poet Meets Muse, and she shares a website, The Three Braenes, with Bridget and Beatrix Braene. The three share a love of Jane Austen’s life and works. She has been previously published by Circadian.

Joan Spoon loves her garden, her pets and her students. She writes, paints, and plays piano whenever she can.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Celebrating the Life and Genius of Robert Burns -- Part II

. . .continued from yesterday. By Colin Galbraith

Many of Burns’s songs and poems have become international favourites over the centuries and January 25th is now a significantly major day on the Scottish calendar. It sees Scots from all over the world come together to celebrate the life and genius of their greatest ever writer; the National Bard, Robert Burns.

It is to Burns’s testament, that Rabbie Burns Day is celebrated with more fervor and passion in Scotland, than the National Patron’s day for St. Andrews on November 30th.

To celebrate the life of Robert Burns, Scots will gather and undertake an ancient and traditional set of protocols under the banner of a Burns Supper. Whether it be a small gathering or a formal event, Scots will gather celebrate Robert Burns through the eating of Haggis, drinking of whisky and recital of the great man’s poems and songs.

The Scottish traditional dish, Haggis, is a centuries old recipe containing lamb’s liver, suet, oatmeal, onion and spicy peppers. These ingredients are combined and stuffed inside a sheep’s Pluck, (cleaned stomach bag). The bag is then boiled for about five hours, pierced very carefully to avoid explosion, then served.

Before serving, however, there are some very important traditions that must also be upheld.

A piper, dressed in full Scottish regalia, will first pipe in the guests. The audience is required to stand and applaud while the High Table is seated. This usually includes the venue’s hosts, Chairman, Speakers and other VIP’s.

The Chairman then welcomes everyone to the celebration, which will include The Selkirk Grace. This is a short, but important prayer.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit

The Haggis is then piped into the room. Guests remain standing for this and will clap their hands in time to the music while the Haggis is delivered on a large silver platter, accompanied by the Chef, the Piper, and the Addresser.

The Honorary Reader will then perform the Address to the Haggis, by reciting the poem, "To A Haggis".

To A Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

The audience normally joins in as the last line is read and a triumphant applause follows. The Haggis is then toasted to fully charged glasses of Malt Whisky and the words, “The Haggis!” cheered by the room.

The Haggis is then served, normally with Neeps and Tatties (mashed Turnip and Potatoes) and beer or wine.

Immediately after the meal the first performer is invited up to the stage to sing one of Burns’s famous songs or recite one of his poems. This is then followed by the Keynote Speaker who delivers a speech entitled "The Immortal Memory", which is traditionally a speech on Burns’s life told in a witty and loving way of Scotland’s National Bard. The speech always ends with the line, “To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns”.

Another song or poem is performed, followed by The Toast to the Lassies. This is a humorous highlight of the evening usually consisting of selected works from Burns’s poems, which celebrates the role of women in the modern world today. It is rounded off with a tumultuous, “To the Lassies!”

More poetry and songs follow before the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies. A woman will reply to the Toast to the Lassies on behalf of the ladies, thanking the toast-master and then through the use of some of Burns’s work, upstaging the men.

The final entertainment follows and finally the Chairman will close the evening by inviting guests to stand and recite one of the most famous of Scottish songs, "Auld Lang Syne".

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus -
For auld land syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
,For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us briad hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.


And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.


Robert Burns became a Scottish legend before he died, but Scotland never quite realised until he was gone. He was taken so early in his life, had he lived beyond his thirties one can only imagine what he might have achieved and how many children he might have gone on to have. He gained more fame and notoriety after his death than he ever did during his lifetime, and Robert Burns is now perhaps the only person who can genuinely stake a claim to being the most internationally famous and influential Scottish writer there has ever been.

Colin Galbraith has seen many poems of his poems published. His first chapbook, Brick by Brick, was published in April 2005 and a second chapbook about the recent Edinburgh Festival, Fringe Fantastic, was published in December, 2005. He can be contact through his website: or his daily blog:

Monday, January 23, 2006

Celebrating the Life and Genuis of Robert Burns -- Part One

Celebrating the Life and Genius of Robert Burns

By Colin Galbratih

Sitting on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea is a small, seemingly insignificant island. This island is divided into three parts, England, Wales and in the north, Scotland.

There are 5 million in Scotland; five million people forming a nation which has a national history and pride to rival any other nation in the world. Whether in politics, sports, the arms or the arts, Scotland has produced many fine men and women who have fought long battles, invented world-altering machines, and created beauty beyond all recognition.

Yet there is only Scot who has an annual national day of celebration. It has lasted hundreds of years and is as strong now as it was back in the late 18th Century. This celebration is for a young man who was not a Royal, nor was he a Nobel Prize winner. His name is Robert Burns, and he was a poet.

Robert “Rabbie” Burns was born in a small cottage in Alloway, near Ayr, on 25th January 1759. Born to William, a farmer and gardener to the Provost of Ayr, he sometimes attended John Murdoch’s School in Alloway, but in the main, grew up under the influence of his father’s teachings in traditional school subjects. Scottish Calvinism played a huge part in his upbringing; his father once wrote a pamphlet for his children called A Manual of Christian Belief. Conversely, he was also responsible for instilling in Robert, a spirit of tolerance and understanding as well as gentle rebellion.

The family was poverty-stricken and it was financial stress that eventually forced Burns to start work on the family farm. He was generally uninspired, though time spent hard labouring introduced him to Nelly Kirkpatrick who lived nearby; his first love. She inspired him to write his first song to the tune of a traditional Scottish reel called, O, once I lov'd a bonnie lass.

O, once I lov'd a bonnie lass

O once I lov'd a bonnie lass,
An' aye I love her still,
An' whilst that virtue warms my breast
I'll love my handsome Nell.

As Bonnie Lasses I hae seen,
And mony full as braw,
But for a modest gracefu' mein
The like I never saw.

A bonny lass I will confess,
Is pleasant to the e'e,
But without some better qualities
She's no a lass for me.

But Nelly's looks are blythe and sweet,
And what is best of a',
Her reputation is compleat,
And fair without flaw;

She dresses ay sae clean and neat,
Both decent and genteel;
And then there's something in her gait
Gars only dress look weel.

A gaudy dress and gentle air
May slightly touch the heart,
But it's innocence and modesty
That polishes the dart.

Burns worked through a succession of labouring jobs that would contribute to his stooped posture later in life, and from 1783 he began to write poetry regularly. His verse came in traditional style using the Ayrshire dialect of Lowland Scots, which many people to this day still find difficult to translate.

When his father died in 1784, Burns, who was only 25, and his brother Gilbert, rented a farm near Mauchline to live and work. It was always going to be an uphill struggle to keep financially afloat and Burns didn’t help matters by fathering eight children with five different women over the next decade. One of these women, Jean Armour, would eventually become his wife in 1788.
Burns’ first collection to be published was Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in July 1786 by a local printer in Kilmarnock. This book contains many of his best work, including the famous "To a Mouse", "The Holy Fair", "The Twa Dogs", "The Address to the Deil", "Hallowe'en"", The Cottar's Saturday Night", and "The Daisy".

To a Mouse
Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie

O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle !
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle !

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
has broken Nature's social union
,An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal !

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve ;
What then ? poor beastie, thou maun live !
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request ;I'll get a beleesin' wi' the lave,
And never miss't !

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin !
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin' !
An' naething, now, to big a new ane
O' foggage green !
An' bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith snell an' keen !

Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste.
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash ! the cruel coulter past
Out-thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble !
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld !

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain :
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy.

Still thou art blest compar'd wi' me !
The present only toucheth thee :
But oh ! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear !
An' forward tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

The success of this book convinced Burns to scrap immediate plans to emigrate to Jamaica, where he intended to become a bookkeeper on a plantation. Instead he travelled to Edinburgh and quickly became a well-known figure amongst the higher cultural circles and his profile was raised significantly.

He found work editing a collection of Scottish folk songs entitled, The Scots Musical Museum, which was published in five volumes over the next sixteen years. Burns contributed over 150 songs, including one of unknown origin called "Auld Lang Syne".

Burns and his wife Jean moved to Mauchline, where in 1790 he produced Tam o' Shanter, which was first published merely as an accompaniment to an illustration of Alloway Kirk. He was offered a job with The Star newspaper in London and was also provided the opportunity to become a candidate for a newly-created Chair of Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh. He refused them both.

The growing Burns family gave up the farm in 1791 and moved to Dumfries. Burns had been requested to furnish words for The Melodies of Scotland, and he responded by contributing over 100 songs, many of which form the basis to the claim of which his immortality now rests.
Burns Statue, Dumfries

Burns went on to contribute a further 114 songs to A Select Collection of Scottish Airs, but he received very little payment for his efforts. In 1795 he was inspired by the events of the French Revolution to write For a' that and a' that; his cry for human equality, which he lost many of his closest friends over, as they took strongly opposing views.

For a' that and a' that

Tho' women's minds, like winter winds,
May shift, and turn, an' a' that,
The noblest breast adores them maist-
A consequence I draw that.

For a' that, an' a' that,
And twice as meikle's a' that;
The bonie lass that I loe best
She'll be my ain for a' that.

Great love I bear to a' the fair,
Their humble slave, an' a' that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.


But there is ane aboon the lave,
Has wit, and sense, an' a' that;
A bonie lass, I like her best,
And wha a crime dare ca' that?


In rapture sweet this hour we meet,
Wi' mutual love an' a' that
,But for how lang the flie may stang
,Let inclination law that.


Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft.
They've taen me in, an' a' that;
But clear your decks, and here's -
"The Sex!"I like the jads for a' that.


By early 1796, Burns’s health was giving way to concern. Some commentators of the time spoke of his premature ageing and fits of despondency, to which he had suffered continually throughout his life.

On 21st July 1796, Robert Burns succumbed to rheumatic fever and died. He was 38 years old.
As he was being laid to rest in the churchyard of St. Michael’s Chapel in Dumfries, his wife Jean was giving birth to their ninth child. News of his death spread quickly across the nation and within days money started to pour in from all over Scotland to help support his widow and children.

Continued tomorrow . . .

Colin Galbraith has seen many poems of his poems published. His first chapbook, Brick by Brick, was published in April 2005 and a second chapbook about the recent Edinburgh Festival, Fringe Fantastic, was published in December, 2005. He can be contact through his website: or his daily blog:

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The House on the Point -- Part III

The House on the Point
By Horatia Karrille

Part Three

A figure stood above,
Silhouette in the night
A hand with no glove
Gave Drew quite a fright.

“No more violence here
On this, my true land.
No girl needs to fear
To die by your hand.”

“Who are you, lovely spirit?”
Janné asks with a thrill.
A slick as a ferret,
Drew moves in for the fill

A vivid force yet unseen
Sent him flat on his back.
The ghost looked a Queen,
Treated boy like a sack.

“I did it! I confess!”
Drew’s hands covered his face.
He cowered and wept
To avoid her torn lace.

“I don’t know what hits me.
I can’t justify
A lovely girl’s mystery
Sets me all awry.”

“I know,” said Janné.
“Why else would I come?
To trap you this day;
I don’t fall for scum.”

“You knew I was guilty?”
The blood left Drew’s face.
“You think I am filthy?”
Outside he did race.

A scream and a splash
Were all that were left.
The murderer made hash,
The “dead girl” upswept.

Ghost, girl, and Janné
All joined their three hands.
Don’t get in the Fates’ way,
They’ll revenge their own lands.

Horatia Karrille is a poet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The House on the Point -- Part Two

The House on the Point
By Horatia Karrille

Part Two

“What do we do?
We can’t leave her there.”
Janné touches her shoe,
Stops from touching her hair.

“They’ll think it was us.
We can’t take the risk.”
Drew’s brain feels like mush
His eyes round as disks.

“She is real, she is true,
She deserves some respect.
I’m so ashamed of you,
Afraid for your neck.”

“Justice and Law are two different things.
We don’t have the money
To oil the springs.
Please trust me, honey.”

“I cannot believe
You lack such a heart.
For her I shall grieve
And now I shall start.”

“We must leave right now.
Let others respond.
She’s just an old cow.
Why should you feel a bond?”

“She is lovely and young,
Should not meet this end.
Before rise of the sun,
Her killer I’ll send.”

“I shan’t leave you here
To ruin our lives.
It’s me you should fear.
No ghost gives you hives.”

“Is it you who did this?
To one young and fair?
Your plans for my bliss?
Strangle me with my hair?”

Before Drew could respond
A scream rent the air
Cold air mussed the blonde
Came a step on the stair.

To be continued . . .

Horatia Karrille is a poet.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The House on the Point -- Part One

The House on the Point
By Horatia Karrille

Part One

The tall dark house
Squats on the point
Alone with no spouse
Structure runs the joint.

Below is a cove,
A sapphire jewel.
Behind is a grove,
An earthbound fool.

The round, buttery moon
Rises high in the night
Urging couples to swoon
Giving parents a fright.

The legend of ghost
Sends shivers and chills
The thought of such host
A battle of wills.

Under moon of this night
Travel Drew and Janné
Hand in hand, such a sight
No one could be blasé.

They long for a place
So quiet, so velvet
Their love needs a space
To only be well-met.

Together they climb
With a pause here and there
A kiss and a sigh
To steal on the stair.

A creak of a floorboard
Causes them to take pause
Drew longs for a wall-sword
To defend his love’s cause.

All is quiet yet not well
They can feel in the air
Janné’s voice is a bell:
“It might be a bear.”

A lump on the floor
Towards it they creep
Not washed ashore
“She’s dead, not asleep.”

To be continued . . .

Horatia Karrille is a poet.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Poems to Celebrate Friday the 13th

Day O’ Beauty
By Joan Spoon

But why, dear love,
would ye fear a date
of the calendar?

Especially one with the grace
and the form and the poise
of Friday the Thirteenth?

‘Tis a day for luck
‘Tis a day for joy
‘Tis a day for expansion.

Only the foolish,
only the ignorant
would fear this day.


Soul Search
By Chloe Ann Clementine

Mystic dark
Fatiguing light
Embracing Night
Soft dawn mark

One candle alight
Live the flame
Don’t play games
With Mystic sight


Friday The 13th
By Cassandra Oleander

Stay under the covers
Don’t venture forth
You might spill salt
Double jinxing the day.

Yes, do well to believe
You superstitious fool
With your shallow breath
And the look over one shoulder.

Go ahead!
Fear it all
Run and hide
Silly thing!

I will dance
I will run
I will love
I will sing.


It is Friday. It is 13.
By Isobel Edge

Hum-mah Hum-mah Hum-mah

Om-A Om-A Om-A



Friday (Friday . . .Friday . . .Friday. . . )
Day of Venus. Silk and velvet. Wet and warm.
Aphrodite. Skin and sweat. Soul Ecstasy.

Thirteen (Three. . .Six. . .Nine . . .)
Magic Number. Dark and light.
Feel its pulse. Feel it. Feel.


Chloe Ann Clementine deconstructs and reconstructs image in words and mixed media. She may even mix up a website one day.

Isobel Edge works to her own, personal pulse.

Cassandra Oleander tries to find the world entertaining and humorous, even when it’s not. Visit her at her blog, Askew.

Joan Spoon loves her garden, her pets and her students. She writes, paints, and plays piano whenever she can.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Poetry News

The Academy of American Poets

This organization, whose link is, is a fascinating and useful resource for readers and writers of poetry.

It contains poems and essays on the site. You can create your own “notebook” and enter the poems and essays that speak strongly to you. There’s a free newsletter, and a variety of other services, grants, and awards for poets. It publishes a magazine and a calendar of events and readings, both by Academy and non-Academy members.

In your search for resources, it’s a worthwhile stop. Their mission is to support American poets at all stages of their careers. Yet poets and readers from all over the world can enjoy the site and its offerings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


By Wren Fallon

The lovely quiet
After the rains are spent.
The calmness
After the sky's restorative tears.
The heaving breast of the Heavens quiets
And settles into the Earth's embrace.

{Written at Palenville Interarts Colony}

Wren Fallon says everything she has to say through her work. She has neither a blog nor a website. This is her second appearance in Circadian Poems.

Monday, January 09, 2006


by Sheryl Joy P. Olaño

It's been long
Since the first time
I whispered you to the moon,
Which granted me
A sight of you
In my dreams

I've prayed the wind
Would take upon its wings
This little wish
And take it straight
Into your heart and mind

Though I know, I know
You may not hear it
In your eyes…
I'm but an angel
And your lips
Call me friend

So now I can only
Gaze at the moon

Sheryl Joy P. Olaño is a journalism graduate and now working as a junior editor in publishing company CannonCreek Asia Incorporated, where she deals with business news writing. She is also a contributor to the Philippine newspaper Sun Star Daily Cebu,,, ezine and goarticles. She writes essays,
short stories, poetry and sometimes novels.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Different Cry

By Gianina Opris

I sit
In the back seat
Breathing doom
More than a week ago
I put my eyes on awkward explanations

Clean my plate
The only one I recognize

I help
To wake
Those swept
In the hurricane

Elizabeth Lee Age 4
Andrew Lewis Age 2
Aoliyah Lewis Age 6
Asha Lewis Age 8
Avionna Lewis Age 12
Atora Lewis Age ?

I find the distance
Between us
Take a look
I drop like a stone
I speak one language
My heart speaks another

I talk to dogs in my way

I live in a portrait that is alive
¯Wipe my face

Gianina Opris currently resides in Denver, Colorado after originally moving from Lima, Peru. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Creative Writing at Naropa University. She has been published in various journals, including Bombay Gin, and has received an honorable mention at Columbine Poets in Colorado. Gianina was selected for the 2004 international poetry exhibition in NW Cultural Council in Barrington, Illinois. Gianina is a second grade school teacher in the Denver Public Schools. She is part of a performing poetry group known as The Invisible.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Poetry News

The premiere issue of The Scruffy Dog Review is now online -- fiction, poetry, non-fiction and more.

Hop on over and read it -- their submission policy is open, so, if the mag's to your taste, also consider submission!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


By Cassandra Oleander

Snowflakes roll and tumble
like puppies at play.

A ray of sunlight
touches an icicle
exploding into a prism
of rainbow beauty.

Frost blankets the pavement
treacherously gorgeous.

Sunlight and clouds spar
as joy and anxiety,
potential and pain,
for another New Year shines again.

Cassandra Oleander tries to find the world amusing, even when it’s not. Visit her blog, Askew.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

22 Steps to Poetry -- Freestyle

22 Steps to Poetry - Freestyle
by: Sheryl Joy P. Olaño

First things first: What is Poetry?

Poetry, as I learned in my literature class, is a timeless and creative expression of beauty, humanity and reality. It is a language of the heart to the heart. It is a union of heart and mind. Writing poetry is like dressing up - you consider the style, the cut and accessory and harmonize them with a touch of good taste.

Here are 22 steps to make it right:

1. "Don't study an art, practice it." - Japanese Proverb
It is practice that can propel you to greater heights. And yes, natural talent wouldn't hurt either.

2. Charm - The success in writing poetry lies in the personality of the poet. You are coaxing readers to read a few words, go on reading until you win them over.
Charm in poetry requires:
A big heart - I'm talking about kindness, unselfishness, a sympathetic nature and humility and being fair.
A big imagination - for you to come up with your own string of words and manner of presentation, for you to be able to put yourself into certain situations.
Take a stone. How would you describe it? Consider where it came from, what it could be and with it will be. See. Feel. Imagine.
Honesty - with how you feel and what you think Make poetry your testament; make it yours.
Eloquence - Describe in any way you can, in any way you want…any way. Just make readers feel and see, make them experience.
Uniqueness - It is what sets you apart from other writers. It shows in the way you use words in writing. Just be your lovely self and everything will follow.

3. Write when you feel like emotions are about to overflow from your heart or, find your strongest emotion and use it. Being rich in emotions would help you go a long way in poetry. Emotions are powerful tools. Humans after all are also governed by them. If poetry could speak, it would probably say, "Judge me not with your mind but with your heart. Don't tell me I don't make sense, only tell me if I have touched your heart."

4. If you don't quite trust yourself, have an audience in mind. Know who to please or who to share. It gives you focus. Take sides - "pro" or "anti". Ask yourself what you want your readers to feel and think.

5. Have a reason. Why do you choose such topic? Why do you write your poem that way? Why do you want your readers to feel that way? But you can keep the answers to yourself.

6. The right environment. Although a silent environment is conducive especially when you write about tranquility or loneliness and lots of other things, you may write with noise all around you. Blaring stereos and people screaming each other can help fuel your writing especially when it is about anger and chaos. Keep it close to real.

7. Consistency. It is easier when you write only with one emotion or when you write about emotions that are closely associated such as anger and pain. I'm advising this to beginners. Shifting emotions (like from sad to happy or happy to fear) is quite a job to do. Do it when you are more able. For short poems, I discourage you to shift emotions but if you can find a way, the better.

8. Short poems are catchier than long ones. Having room for spaces eases the mind and makes you think of simplicity. The problem with short poems is, you tend to become unsatisfied especially when you could have written a lot.

9. Long-short-long-short or long-short-short-long - you've got the idea. This pattern may be modified according to what suits you. Like in paragraph rules, long-short patterns are also effective in lines and stanzas. You may follow a long phrase with a fragment. Play with the dots. But use them reasonably.

10. Punctuate to emphasize and to show. Ellipses, for example, can heighten and prolong emotions by giving the reader pause. It can cause doubts, reveal satisfaction, regret, doubt and confusion. Through ellipses you may make your readers "fill in the blanks".

11. Don't be too obvious. Make your readers think. Place a bit of mystery; play up the details. Play with your readers' minds. Grasp their curiosity. 12. Play with words; enjoy. Discover what you can come up. Make them dance, laugh, cry. Use sound effects and you may even put in your reactions. For example: Splash!

13. Be able to identify poetic words. There are words that sound dull in poetry such as collaboration, augment…business words. They're unromantic! But if you can't do away with them, do something with the phraseology or change the word. Instead of evening (sounds unromantic), use night - shorter, but gives you a picture of dark sky, shadows and stars. Leave evening to business correspondence or to formal writing. Trust your poetic ear - gut feeling, in other words. Read not only with your eyes but also with your mind's ear. Translation: the lines should sound good.

14. Accessorize, but not too much. Use adjectives sparingly. Prefer verbs. They are simpler, but they give you a clearer picture. Adjectives, on the other hand, make your lines bulky.

15. Be graceful. Don't merely tell it in plain language or what's the point of writing poetry when you can just write it as prose? Try not to be corny, please. Don't use word that bring no impact or that does not add weight and meaning to the line.

16. Allow your thoughts to wander. Follow the trail they make by writing whatever comes to mind. Be in a trance, and then be reasonable afterwards.

17. Use your innocence or innate goodness. Most people sympathize with that. But also, being someone knowledgeable or cleverly bad (whichever) is an advantage. Learn how to use whichever persona. With the innocent persona, don't overdo; with the knowledgeable, don't boast…never boast, period. You'll drive away your readers. In poetry, too much is too much.

18. Choose the mood. Cheerful? Gloomy? Anything you've got.

19. Be able to see beauty and appreciate it. There is poetry everywhere because beauty is everywhere. In silence, in tears looming (tears that hang from long, thick lashes), there is beauty.

20. Gentleness is the key. Even in anger and vengeance, the readers must be able to sense your gentleness and even vulnerability, consciously or subconsciously. Even in the vengeful, they must see innocence. Use the why or the how of the situation. Make them want to care for you.

21. Use symbols. What does a blanket give you? Comfort. Warmth. Protection from the cold.

22. Inspire! Make them believe. Move them.

Sheryl Joy P. Olaño is a journalism graduate and now working as a junior editor in publishing company CannonCreek Asia Incorporated, where she deals with business news writing. She is also a contributor to the Philippine newspaper Sun Star Daily Cebu,,, ezine and goarticles. She writes essays, short stories, poetry and sometimes novels, and she is a frequent contributor to Circadian.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Wreath

Welcome to a fresh year of Circadian Poems!

Many thanks to Pamela Taylor for starting us off so beautifully this year:

New Year’s Wreath
By Pamela K. Taylor

For New Year’s Day
I hang a wreath
Of bittersweet berries
Orange and red
To color drab winter days
Hint of daffodils and tulips to come
Remind of flaming leaves faded away
This year my oldest daughter turns sweet sixteen
My baby turns seven
There are days when I burst with joy
To see them growing up
And days when I weep
Oh! For them to be babies again!

Pamela Taylor is a free-lance writer, author and poet. She is Director of the Islamic Writers Alliance, and co-Chair of the Progressive Muslim Union. She lives in Indianapolis with one husband, four kids, two cats and a handful of fish. Her website is:

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

First and foremost, Happy New Year!

I want to thank all the poets and essayists who’ve helped make Circadian a success over the past few months – I truly appreciate you. I hope you will continue with your contributions, visit our site regularly, and also visit the sites of your fellow poets and writers.

Again, basic guidelines:

Poems – not more than 40 lines
Holiday and specialty poems should hover around 12 lines – I have some flexibility here, but I want to keep the work on multiple poem days fairly short
Essays, articles, reviews, etc. – not more than 1000 words

Please submit your work free of HTML coding and do not submit it as a link. If the poem has specific indentations and format, I try as best I can to hold the format, but Blogger does not always allow me to do so. Include a bio of 50 words or less with any relevant links, and let me know if you would like those links to be permanent or only posted on the day of publication.

It usually takes me 2-4 weeks to respond to submissions, depending on the influx. Rights count as one-time anthology rights – you are free to sell your work anywhere else at any time. I do ask that, if the work first appears in Circadian, that you credit it so in any future publications, but again, that is at your discretion. I am happy to post work that has been published elsewhere; please let me know when and where it was originally published.

Please do NOT submit work submitted by someone else, whether it’s your Uncle Bob or Emily Dickinson. Even if a poem is in the public domain, the purpose of the site is to share original work. I’ve received quite a few emails recently asking to swap links and cross-post – yet the work on said links are by the likes of Wordsworth, Auden, et al. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the work, but that’s not the purpose of this particular site.

Upon acceptance, I will let you know on what day your piece is scheduled for publication. Because of the high workload and small staff, I usually don’t send a reminder on the day of publication.

If, for some reason, something happens and I can’t publish on the day promised, I try to either post on the site or will do my best to let you know. For instance, if something happens and I know I’ll be out of town for a few days, I try to post everything ahead of time, so it will be up for a longer period of time, rather than missing a promised publish date. Sometimes, however, I get caught out without either computer access or the disk.

Holiday-specific poems or articles should be submitted approximately two months ahead of time, unless otherwise specified in Thursday deadlines. I try to prepare each month’s entries a full month ahead of time, so all I have to do is upload. Actually, for 2006, I’m working on the first three months simultaneously.

All submissions and correspondence can go here.

I’ve been so thrilled with the work submitted by the contributors in 2005, and I look forward to an expansive and creative 2006.