penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Wasp’s Nest

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I find

Wasps have no appreciation

Of bocce ball

Played outside their house

They find it disturbs

Their papery apartments

Staked between the slats

Of the wooden deck

Shaking the walls

Rattling their wings


I forgot

How their sting

Is like a hot poker

Jabbed in surprise

Clinging to the skin

Hot and unforgiving

Leaving behind a memory

A deep seated bruise

A warning to be

More careful tomorrow



Written by pennyinacastle

September 26, 2016 at 12:46 am

Posted in Poems

Napkin poem

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I wrote a poem on the back of a napkin
I’m sure it was a good one
Full of meaning and metaphor
I would have given it to you
To keep
Between me and you

It came to me
Stealing in on feathered wings
As I sat wrestling the children
Through a meal at the restaurant
Between eating a sandwich and a salad
While the children demolished
Hot dogs and fries
Ketchup smeared evilly
Across their cherubic faces

It came to me
And I scribbled it quickly
Before it could be lost
Between the coffee and the ice cream
With a pen wheedled from the kind waiter
Who showed his tattooed wrist
As he handed it over
Who probably thought I was writing
A mom’s grocery list

When it came to me
I should have slipped it in my purse
Between the lipstick and the wallet
With its small secret world
Alive in blue ink
For safe keeping
For later

But when it came time to leave
Between paying the bill and herding surly children
The napkin was crumpled
Used to wipe a mouth
Crushed with the paper placemats
And the children’s menus
My poem was lost

Between you and I
I would write it again if I could
And give it to you
To keep
But things are never the same
Echoed a second time around

Written by pennyinacastle

September 4, 2015 at 2:27 am

Posted in Poems

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Switching gears

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Today I felt the calendar

Inch forward along the horizon

Turning towards another season

The clockwork sun on its eternal arc

Swinging into an ever smaller gear

The water flickering, flickering

Now azure, now iron

Reflecting the sky

And the clouds racing by

Cooler winds blow

The tired trees

And the golden grasses

The flowers shiver

Remembering the frost to come

The young geese

Their feathers fully grown

Call “soon, soon!”

To one another

As they await the signal

For the journey to come

Never ending, always turning

Under the clockwork sun.

Written by pennyinacastle

August 8, 2015 at 3:22 am

Posted in Poems

March Mudness

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Winter is slow to give up its grip
On the snow drifted school yard
When the rains come
For thirty-one days and thirty one nights
The glaciers recede
From the play structure
And the soccer field
Until it is one giant puddle
Three inches of mud
A sticky brown maw
Suitable for drowning ancient dinosaurs
If there were any left
But the muck will settle
For sucking on the feet
Of hapless primary kids
Stealing their boots
With a pucker and a pop!
Leaving their socks ankle-deep
In the slippery ooze
By end of day, all come home
Covered, coated
Sopping, soaked
Dripping, drenched
Mucky, mired
Parents sigh, tired
Of seeing their grubby golem children
Return home after a day of dancing
In the watery filth.
Another night of laundry for mom
In the month of March Mudness

Written by pennyinacastle

March 23, 2015 at 1:38 am

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Witch Tree

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In my front yard, a witch tree grows.
You might mistake her for any other tree,
On this quiet street.
But I know her better.

I live with the witch tree.
I can see her snaggly, snaky green hair.
Her crinkled roots digging into the deep, dark earth.
Rough, deep lined skin.
She has one rounded blind eye to gaze at passersby.
And a gaping wound of a hole for a mouth
To gobble them up if they get too close.

Only black squirrels twist and turn, living among the leaves.
Only black crows caw on her branches.
Only black dogs nose her trunk.
Only black cats creep and climb her limbs.

In winter, her bare limbs crack
And rub together to stay warm.
In the autumn, the winds sweep her branches high
Howling through the storms.
In the spring invisible green gossamer flowers appear
Release a too-sweet perfume
To daze those standing under it somnambulant.
In summer, she moves ever so slightly
Even on the stillest of days.

She has lived a long time, the witch tree.
Her hewn face tells that tale.
She has seen many children come to her yard.
Some disappear mysteriously
If they play too near.
Each night she stretches her roots
And edges just ever so slightly
Closer to the street
So she can catch a few more.

I would cut her down if I could.
Letting the axe fall again and again
To mortally wound her,
But I too am be spelled
And bewitched
By the witch tree.




Written by pennyinacastle

July 21, 2014 at 2:01 am

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It takes four days to get to the moon
And four days to get back to the earth again.
Between the two. In space.

A baby shark is called a pup.
And it will lose 35 thousand teeth.
In its lifetime. At sea.

A pill bug is not a bug.
It’s actually a crustacean.
With many legs. And gills.

The universe is flat.
Forty-six billion light years across.
The world isn’t. That’s that.

It is impossible for nothing to be somewhere.
But it is possible to be something everywhere.
With some thought. And effort.

The human brain weighs
Three and a bit pounds.
But it’s space. Is immeasurable.

Yet, our lives are measured
By the facts we know.
And those we don’t. Are unseen.

Children grow up too fast.
And life is too short.
To really measure. In fact.


Several children inspired this.  My son was doing a puzzle and singing facts about the moon to himself.  A friend of mine has been posting about her daughters pet pill bug and her’s son’s daily sayings.  I love what kid’s have to say – and all too soon I find they stop confiding in their secret facts and knowledge.  There are so many things to know, so much to learn, and never enough time for it all.  Ask your kids about what they  know – they will love to tell you and you will learn a lot about them, about you and about the world. I know I have.

Written by pennyinacastle

May 3, 2014 at 2:29 am

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Shrove Tuesday

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How many pancakes
Fit for a kid king?
Sitting in his high chair
How many pancakes
Will he consume?
Five, four, three, two
Batter bubbling in the grease
Sitting on the griddle
‘Til they are hot in the middle
Flip flap jack
Sizzling circles in a stack
Butter melting through each crack
Two, four, six, eight
Spoon, spatula, pan, plate
Syrup sap
Drip drop
Lips smack

Written by pennyinacastle

March 5, 2014 at 3:44 am

Night skating

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The moon is a dark ball
Sailing, swift, and shimmering
In a silver laced sliver of a cup
The stars sharp points of accompaniment.

Breathing jagged streams
Frozen, frost, and snow
Blinding lights shine out of the darkness
Silver blades strike against the smooth surface.

Push off from a pick point
Glide, stride, and slide
Absolute stillness in this bowl of silence
No one between the edge, myself and the night.

A small army of men appear
Whispering, muted and ready
Armoured to fight a battle of old
Pitched weekly on a skate scarred battlefield.

They bang wooden sticks
Slap, crash and crack
Not a word spoken yet all is understood
In the sound of the scrape of knives and ice.


Written by pennyinacastle

January 9, 2014 at 2:45 am

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Happy Birthday to me!

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Happy Birthday to me!

I am now forty-three!

These birthdays are sneaky!

This one crept up on me too!

Happy birthday to me!

In my head I am three!

I’ve completely gone crazy!

But you can come too.

Happy birthday to me!

I feel one hundred and three!

My body’s gone creaky!

Can I buy one that’s new?

Happy Birthday to me!

My birth certificate you may not see!

Seriously no peeking.

I don’t look a day over forty-two!

Written by pennyinacastle

December 23, 2013 at 3:48 am

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Animal Suit

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Kitty knitty cap
Barracuda bang barrettes
Gorilla glitter glasses
Tiger tail tee
Flamingo feather flannel
Squirrely swishy sweater
Jack rabbit jacket
Monkey manic mitts
Porcupine prickle purse
Bees knees belt
Puppy prancing pants
Sockeye swishy socks
Snaky slither sneakers
See you later alligator
I’m off to zoo school
In my stylin animal suit

Written by pennyinacastle

November 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

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