NaPoWriMo Day 15: Jerry Gordon – Augury poem

We’re halfway through NaPoWriMo and it’s a good time to spend some quiet time, taking in our surroundings and finding the poetry within. Jerry Gordon‘s prompt is ideal for that:

Write an Augury poem

Let me first explain a bit about what Augury is. Kind of like reading tea leaves or the patterns left by coffee in a cup, augury was an ancient practice for telling the future or making decisions. An Augur would read a space and time, and then interpret whatever happened inside that space and time. So, to write an Augury Poem, you first need to decide on where you are going to look, and when. For example, you can look through the frame of a window for how long it takes you to drink your coffee. Or, you can decide the area between two cars for the 10-minutes you decide to watch is the space/time frame. Then, whatever enters the frame while you observe it can be included and interpreted in poetic ways. You, as the writer/augur, get to Augment their importance through your imagination. Meanings and values are up to the writer to decide or creatively generate.

Augury Poem

There is a woman here
with beautiful ankles
and her thin sweater
on inside out.
She works
on something requiring
sheets of paper
and repeated reference.
She moves
between her phone
and folder
and smoldering smoke.
At the moment she is
putting her hands
over her face
as though there may be
answers to find
in darkness,
in hiding,
in touching her skull
in wonder.

The street grinds
three meters away.
A building goes up,
hammer after hammer.
Sports cars creep by.

a blue sky
autumn clouds.

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon is a writer, teacher and improviser living in Osaka, Japan. His novel Terminalian Drift was published in 2021 and is available from Triarchy Press at and as an audio book from 3CMPress at

Please share your responses to today’s prompt either in the comments or via email. The best submissions will be featured in future podcasts.

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