Challenges by Sarah, Poetry by Sarah

Reflections on NaPoWriMo

I can’t believe I made it! A poem a day for the whole month of April (otherwise known as National Poetry Writing Month or NaPoWriMo for short). I felt I was being a little ambitious tackling both the A-Z Challenge and NaPoWriMo in the same month, however, I not only tackled; I have succeeded and completed BOTH challenges. I feel an immense sense of pride for the writing I have achieved this month. In particular, for the poetry I have written. I undertook Suzanne Olivante’s Photo Challenge as my Prompt basis for NaPoWriMo and she delivered some unbelievable and inspiring images for writing.

One of the things I am most pleased about, is the variety of NEW poetry forms I have been able to experiment with. I have discovered I LOVE to write Nonet and Rondolet, and have refined my skills when working with Fibonacci and Tanka. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and even on days when I was time poor, still managed to whip something up that I was reasonably proud of!

My top five favourite poems that I wrote for NaPoWriMo, are (in no particular order):

  • Glimpses
  • Autumn Pleiades
  • With Me
  • Drip-Stone
  • Glimmering Dew

I have included a summary of all of my poems for the month of April 2018, with the poetry form given in parentheses beside the title:

  1. Glimpses (Elfje)
  2. Be Brave (Fibonacci)
  3. Cold (Haiku/Senryu)
  4. D is for Depression (Haibun)
  5. Ignite (Cinquain)
  6. Fearsome Lady (Tanka)
  7. Busy City (Triolet)
  8. Beneath The Cloudy Skies (Triquain)
  9. Epiphany (Pantoum)
  10. Sweet (Haiku/Senryu)
  11. Darkness of the Deep (Tanka)
  12. Autumn Pleiades (Pleiades)
  13. L is for Lonely (Haibun)
  14. Glimmering Dew (Rondolet)
  15. Brickhead (Haiku/Senryu)
  16. Future Paths (Fibonacci)
  17. Bee Fun (Haiku/Senryu)
  18. Missteps (Tanka)
  19. Nothing But Tracks (Fibonacci)
  20. Emerald Dust (Tanka)
  21. Swan Dance (Haiku/Senryu)
  22. Roots (Nonet)
  23. With Me (Nonet)
  24. Drip-Stone (Mirror Sestet)
  25. Beat (Haiku/Senryu)
  26. First Blush (Tanka)
  27. Fly Away (Fibonacci)
  28. Close (Nonet)
  29. Sunshine in a Glass (Haiku/Senryu)
  30. Abandoned (Mirror Poem)

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I also want to extend a massive THANK YOU to Suzanne Olivante for organising the image prompts. I truly appreciate the work she put into running the challenge, and highly recommend you check out her blog at: Suzanne Olivante Poetry

Other, Poetry by Sarah


Broken I lie,
awaiting ravages of time.
Whispers echoed along forgotten hallways.
Shadows dancing, creating patterns.
Haunting memories.
Memories haunting.
Patterns creating dancing shadows.
Hallways forgotten along echoed whispers.
Time of ravages awaiting,
Lie I broken.

By Sarah ©2018

Author’s Note: Palindrome Poetry is also known as Mirrored Poetry. A palindrome, by definition, is a word, phrase, verse, sentence, or even poem that reads the same forward or backward. It stems from the Greek word palindromos: palin, meaning again, and dromos, meaning a running. Combining the two together, the Greek meaning gives us, running back again

Prompt: Olivante Poetry, #NaPoWriMo 2018 – Day 30

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

Z is for Zest

Despite grappling with the many challenges anxiety has thrown at me over the years, I have realised the importance of trying to maintain a zest for life. I will share some things I have found to be helpful. Reducing your daily stress can work miracles on your zest for life, as can changing the way you look at a situation. Diet and exercise also play an important role, releasing “happiness hormones” and regulating the fight/flight response triggered by anxiety. A good night’s sleep can work miracles when it comes to your mood and efficiency level for the day. But most of all, learning to handle difficult situations and developing coping strategies, plays a large part in maintaining your zest for life. To recap, hold onto your “zest” by:

  • Practicing Relaxation Techniques. It is important to find ways to relieve the muscle tension caused by anxiety.
  • Exercise & Diet: Any type of regular exercise is very effective in relieving stress.
  • Talking It Out: If you are feeling isolated because of anxiety, there are options for discussing how you are feeling.

Take positive steps.
Don’t let anxiety take
away zest for life.

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit jill111 via Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 30 April 2018 – Z

Other, Poetry by Sarah


Image credit Peter Finger via Unsplash

Paths laid before us are works in progress,
Never certain of where they may lead us.
Make choices carefully, beyond redress,
For we, in this world, are superfluous.
There’s a pestilence that we must discuss,
and upon your soul weighs a heavy scourge.
Don’t let it reveal itself like a cuss,
Own it, and in truth let yourself be purged.
When transgressions of past, on you converge,
You can choose to abdicate, or emerge.

By Sarah ©2018

Author’s Note: The Decuain (pronounced deck•won), created by Shelley A. Cephas, is a short poem made up of 10 lines, which can be written on any subject. There are 10 syllables per line and the poem is written in iambic pentameter. There are 3 set choices of rhyme scheme:

ababbcbcaa, ababbcbcbb, or ababbcbccc

For a longer Decuain poem, add more stanzas for a double, triple, quatruple, etc. Decuain.

Source: Shadow Poetry Editors, accessed 29 April, 2018

Prompt: Sammi Scribbles, Weekend Writing Prompt, #52 – Emergence; Poetry Challenge – Write a 10 line rhyming poem (the pattern of rhyming / form / structure is your choice) on the theme of transformation and emergence.

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Opposing Forces, 28 April 2018

Opposites day for our Saturday Mix today…

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 28 April 2018!

This week we are dipping our toes into the pool of OPPOSITES. Our challenge is all about “opposing forces” and the use of antithesis in our writing. You will need to use the two opposing words in your response – which can be poetry or prose.

Our words this week are:

– suburb and city centre

– repair and damage

You may be asking yourself, How can I use antithetical statements in my writing?

Luckily, Kat from Literary Devices has some examples for you.

Common Antithesis Examples
Some famous antithetical statements have become part of our everyday speech and are frequently used in arguments and discussions. Below is the list of some antithetical statements:

You are easy on the eyes, but hard on the heart.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real

View original post 236 more words

Stories by Sarah

The One That Got Away

I was looking forward to the fishing trip. I always loved the thrill of the catch… well, most of the time. Sometimes I came away hungry! Arriving at my favourite spot, I saw a couple of men were already there.

Ah, some healthy competiton, I thought. I set myself up and waited. A few fish were congregating, but were disappointingly undersized. They wouldn’t sate my appetite!

Suddenly, I spied a good-sized, juicy-looking trout. I swooped in; snapped up the wriggling fish in my beak, and flew away.

“Hey Bob! That bird just stole your fish!” a man onshore yelled.

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction – April 26, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a fish tale. It can be about fishing from any angle, about those who fish, or what might be caught. Go where the prompt leads.

Other, Poetry by Sarah


His smile was like some kind of magic.”
That’s what she’d said when they’d first met.
He’d chosen to cling to that,
even though they were through.
Thought him gone; moved on,
never knowing
how close he

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Friday – April 27th, 2018; and also, Olivante Poetry, #NaPoWriMo 2018 – Image 28

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

Y is for Yield

When you’re in a state of anxiety, you want to have control over your surroundings and what’s around. You are constantly seeking a feeling of safety. In reality, the more you seek control, the more you wind up searching for safety. It’s an exhausting cycle. Ironically, you need to let go; to yield; to give over to your fear. Surrender is often viewed upon as a negative thing. We are always encouraged to take charge of our lives and be persistent. Talking about yielding to something, may make you feel weak. However, if you surrender to a higher power, you bring that power into your life and allow it to consciously move you towards your goals, dreams and desires. It’s in the yielding that balance can be found.

A higher power
is actually in control.
Give over to it.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 28 April 2018 – Y

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

X is for Xenial

The word xenial is defined as “the friendly relationship between a host and guest”. Hang on a minute, I hear you say. Isn’t this A-Z about Anxiety? How can that be friendly?” Bear with me a minute as I explain… The person suffering from anxiety is obviously, the host. Anxiety, is the host’s guest (albeit an unwelcome one most of the time!) In order for Anxiety to exist, she needs the host. Otherwise, she has no purpose and not enough fodder on which to survive. Here’s where it gets interesting. Anxiety also needs the host to believe she is a friend, not foe, otherwise the host will just kick her out. She beguiles you into believing all those thoughts and worries, are her way of cautioning you. Looking out for you. Having your best interests at heart. How kind to have a friend who cares so much. But Anxiety is a master of deception. Don’t believe it for a second…

With a friend like this,
who needs enemies? Evict
the unwanted guest.

By Sarah ©2018

Photo by Pree Bissessur on Unsplash

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 27 April 2018 – X

Photos by Sarah, Thursday Doors

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in upper Trafalgar Street, Nelson, New Zealand.

The current church was constructed in 1925. The majority of marble was sourced from the Pakikiruna Range, near Takaka and then ground down and mixed with plaster to give the unusual appearance and colour of the cathedral.

The steps are constructed from granite obtained from Tonga Beach, in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Prompt: Norm 2.0, Thursday Doors – April 26, 2018

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

W is for Wellbeing

Author’s Note: W was nearly going to be for “worry”, but I felt that over the last few weeks with my other A-Z posts, that the sense of worry surrounding anxiety had been clearly conveyed. So instead, I chose W for “wellbeing”.

Having good wellbeing enables us to live life to our full potential. Wellbeing isn’t as straightforward as just being happy. Wellbeing is all the different elements that make us complete, such as, meaningful relationships, knowing our strengths, finding pleasure and our passions, and contributing to a greater cause. A strong sense of wellbeing contributes to good mental health. It also helps to protect us from the feelings of hopelessness brought on by anxiety or depression. Self care is central to promoting a positive state of wellbeing and something I actively work on.

More than being happy,
good wellbeing makes us complete.
Give yourself a break.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 26 April 2018 – W


Reflections on Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance here in Australia and, also in New Zealand.

It commemorates those who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations, from both countries. Anzac Day was originally held to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (hence the acronym ANZAC) and is held on 25 April each year, a date, which marks the landing of those troops in Gallipoli in 1915.

As I have grown older (and debatably wiser), this day has grown in significance for me personally. In our immediate family history, we didn’t have any family members who never made it back from war. My mother’s father was deemed “unfit” for service, and my other grandfather was shot and discharged from service, early on in World War II. We were fortunate.

I recall, as a child, walking in the marches with my school, but not really understanding why. Later, as a teenager and young adult, I saw this day purely as an extra public holiday, and welcomed the day off. I am ashamed to admit that.

But as I entered my 30s and 40s, Anzac Day began to really affect me on both a spiritual and emotional level. I started attending the services and something happened. I now truly realise the full horrors of war; the gravity of the sacrifices made by thousands of Australians; and the enormous debt I owe these people, for the freedom and lifestyle I enjoy today. I do not ever want to take that for granted again.

To those who have returned broken, either physically or mentally, and to those who will never return; the immense sadness it all weighs on me. I am eternally grateful for your service. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like.

Today, I spent Anzac Day in quiet contemplation. On my own, and thankful.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

Image credit By Sarah
Image credit gerard4170 via Pixabay

* The Ode comes from “For the Fallen”, a poem by the English poet and writer, Laurence Binyon. It was published in London in The Winnowing Fan: Poems of the Great War in 1914.

Photos by Sarah, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Snow Gums

These snow gums, burnt in a 2003 fire, are regenerating from their base, while tree trunks that were burnt, are now bleached to a stark white colour, due to the intense heat. These kinds of trees can be found all around the Falls Creek area (in the Victorian high country), making for some dramatic scenery.

Prompt: Dutch Goes The Photo, Tuesday Photo Challenge, Week 106 – Heat

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

V is for Various

There are various forms of anxiety. Recognising the differences between them can assist you in gaining a greater understanding of your loved one and their condition. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) is when a person feels anxious most of the time and worries about lots of different things, over a prolonged period. Health Anxiety is similar to GAD, however, the focus is on the person’s health. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD) is when a person has ongoing thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the person may know these thoughts are untrue, the person often tries to relieve anxiety by engaging in certain behaviours or rituals. Social Anxiety results in an intense fear of criticism, being embarrassed or humiliated, in everyday situations (such as, public speaking or eating in public). A Specific Phobia is when a person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) can occur after a person experiences a traumatic event. Panic Disorder results in frequent panic attacks. These are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable. There are many different types of anxiety and luckily, also many ways to treat them. Effective treatment helps people with anxiety learn how to control it, so it doesn’t control them.

Recognise your type.
Be aware of your symptoms.
Learn to control it.

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit analogicus via Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 25 April 2018 – V

Other, Poetry by Sarah


Rain soaks earth through hidden vein
Vein droplets calcify no longer rain
Grown into glittering, fingers of drip-stone
Drip-stone drops and new forms are grown
Sup from beneath the down from the up
Up they climb the more rain they sup.

By Sarah ©2018



Author’s Note: The Mirror Sestet, created by Shelley A. Cephas, is a poem that can be written in one or more stanzas of 6 lines each. The specific guidelines for this form are as follows:

The first word of line 1 rhymes with the last word of line 1.
The first word of line 2 is the last word of line 1
and the last word of line 2 is the 1st word of line 1.
The first word of line 3 rhymes with the last word of line 3.
The first word of line 4 is the last word of line 3
and the last word of line 4 is the 1st word of line 3.
The first word of line 5 rhymes with the last word of line 5.
The first word of line 6 is the last word of line 5
and the last word of line 6 is the 1st word of line 5.

Prompt: Olivante Poetry, #NaPoWriMo 2018 – Image 24

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

U is for Understanding

Anxious feelings are a normal reaction to a situation where a person feels under pressure. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. For a person experiencing anxiety, these feelings cannot be brought under control easily. Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, are often not discussed openly because of fear of stigma. Unlike physical illnesses that have obvious symptoms that are observed easily; symptoms of mental health conditions may remain unrecognised and misunderstood. Negative views about mental health are often due to misunderstandings, misconceptions or lack of knowledge about the condition. You can help someone suffering from anxiety by showing understanding. Familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms and be there for them. Listen. Don’t tell them to “snap out of it” or “toughen up”. What they are experiencing is very real and often terrifying.

Be there for your friend
or family member. Don’t judge.
Love and understand.

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 24 April 2018 – U

Stories by Sarah


Gravel crunched under my feet, as I began the hike through one of the youngest eco-systems in the world – the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Geothermal areas were marked on my map, as well as native plants and bird-life, to look for.

Feeling grounded, I breathed in the fresh mountain air, imagining the breeze was really the forest exhaling along with me. I rounded the corner and saw steam rising from the aptly named baths in front of me. Glaring sun broke through the canopy.

Out of the fire and into the “Frying Pan Lake“? Shinrin-Yoku at its best! I thought.

By Sarah ©2018

Image credits By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt – forest; and also,  Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction – April 19,2018, Task – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about forest bathing. You can use the Japanese term, Shinrin Yoku, or you can make up your own ideas about the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.

Other, Poetry by Sarah

With Me

My heart aches when I remember you.
Your last day so happy and free.
It was selfish of me to
keep you so long. I knew
it was time to leave.
I said goodbye
but always,
you’re with

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Olivante Poetry, #NaPoWriMo 2018 – Image 23

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

T is for Terror

Terror, terror, in my core. Who’s the unfairest one of all? During all my years of struggling with anxiety, I have experienced countless panic attacks. The uncontrolled feelings of sheer terror, that escalate with every little physiological or cognitive symptom, is truly one of the worst aspects of this condition. When you are in the grip of terror, the world plummets beneath you and spirals out of control.

This terror has me
in its vice grip. I can’t
see any way out.

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 23 April 2018 – T

Other, Poetry by Sarah


Inside veins,
Drawing their
Route. They
Open into free
Passage and
Softly fall to the ground.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Sammi Scribbles, Weekend Writing Prompt #51 – Raindrops. Poetry Challenge – Write an acrostic poem, where the first letter of each line spells “Raindrops” as it is read from top to bottom.

Other, Poetry by Sarah


My extensive roots were not enough
to sustain the secrets within
my heart. With arms stretched skyward
I cry for my lost youth.
Girdled and alone,
years of tawdry
growth are all
I have

By Sarah ©2018

Author’s Note: The nonet poetic form is simple. It’s a 9-line poem that has 9 syllables in the first line, 8 syllables in the second line, 7 syllables in the third line, and continues to count down to one syllable in the final (ninth) line.


Prompt: Olivante Poetry, #NaPoWriMo 2018 – Image 22

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Same Same But Different, 21 April 2018

This week’s challenge…

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 21 April 2018!

This week we are diving into the depths of our thesaurus and exploring the world of synonyms.

Same Same But Different
Your ‘Same Same But Different’ task is to take the five challenge words and NOT use them in your writing. That’s right, you need to dig out your thesaurus and find a synonym for each word instead.

Your words this week are:

  1. paint
  2. release
  3. fan
  4. light
  5. clothes

Your writing form is either poetry or prose.

Synonym Searching
Synonyms are words that are similar, or have a related meaning, to another word. They can be lifesavers when you want to avoid repeating the same word or if your word might not be the most appropriate. You can search for synonyms online at:

You may be asking yourself, What are some examples of synonyms?
Luckily, the nice folks at YourDictionary have some…

View original post 136 more words

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah, Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

S is for Self-Talk

For those who suffer anxiety, if we listen to our self-talk, it often sounds something like this: “You’re such an idiot!”, “You’re worthless!” or “You’re disgusting!”. But…the good news is that this negative self-talk, with careful practice and attention, can be turned into positive self-talk. While positive self-talk is not an anxiety cure or prevention strategy, for some reason if you say positive things to yourself long enough, those things start to become a reality. Positive self-talk also has the added bonus of simply being distracting without the negative consequences of negative self-talk. The less you’re able to focus on negative, anxiety fueling thoughts, the more they seem to go away.

flip and turn your self talk ’round

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit geralt via Pixabay 

Prompt: A-Z Challenge, 21 April 2018 – S