Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Word Garden Word List #4 (Laura Nyro)


Hi everyone, it's me, with your weekly word list writing prompt! This time, the words are taken from the lyrics of songs written by the late Laura Nyro. Haven't heard of her? You've probably heard her songs recorded by others, from Blood Sweat & Tears to Three Dog Night to The 5th Dimension and many others. 

When I was 16, I was visiting a friend at her apartment, and she had some record albums leaning against the wall. The one in front was Laura Nyro "New York Tendaberry." I wondered who this wild-haired woman was, standing in the wind, looking like some sort of urban poet goddess. I soon bought a copy for myself and....mind. blown. Soon after, I bought the rest of her albums. Check out these lyrics from "Stoney End" with which Barbra Streisand had a hit:

Never mind the forecast
Cos the sky has lost control
And the fury and the broken thunder's come
To match my ragin' soul

Or this, from New York Tendaberry:

Sidewalk and pigeon
You look like a city
But you feel like religion to me

Laura was born in the Bronx in 1947. She says that music was, from an early age, a way for her to cope with a difficult childhood. "I've created my own little world, a world of music, since I was 5 years old." She never sought fame, and in fact, shied away from it. Even though her songs are best known as sung by others, her own singing is passionate and covers three octaves. She composed her own songs, and played piano on them, in a unique and amazing style unlike anyone else. I can't even express how much her songs and the way she performed them inspired my own creativity, and still do. 

Laura passed of ovarian cancer at the young age of 49 in 1997. She was an animal rights activist and mother of one. She is missed.

And now, without further ado, are your 20 words! Please use at least 3 of them to write a poem of any length or style, OR a "flash 55" which is a poem or flash fiction consisting of exactly 55 words. Then link (Yes, we now have a linky!), visit, and enjoy. Prompt stays "live" through Friday.



  1. Beyond the wonderful list itself this backstory and history of an amazing woman is inspiring. So many suffer in is always a blessing when people find a creative outlet, especially when they have a talent like hers...and yours my friend! It is a shame her life was cut off so short. That is a tragedy. Imagine what more she would have created. 💙 Love this prompt Shay!!!!

  2. Those are such vivid pics of her. I bought her first album shortly after release and was a fan for life--soulful, versatile, and a genius with a tune. I'm working on something for the chosen words, albeit it hasn't much to do with Nyro herself,but it's not quite ready. I will be back when it is to try out the new linky.

    1. Hey, my BFF. The poem, of course, need have nothing to do with her, beyond the words themselves--your choice entirely. I am looking forward, as I always do, to what you will write!

  3. How could I have lost track of you all this time my friend?! Laura Niro!

  4. Gospel girl of the Tendaberry
    Windswept in her blues for a captain man
    With tomcat feet leading her to confession
    On the streets layered in holy pigeons
    New York City was her musical religion
    Where the firecrackers of her fury were set to song
    Her Samson hair gave her patience during a Winter interlude
    Fearless in love she took a slow train
    During that season of cocaine
    A lavender forecast until that whistle of her freedom blew
    One child left to cradle and wash away her lazy blues!
    R.G. Carrillo (Witness to Eli & her confession/1968
    "Where is the night luster - Past my trials"

    1. Ronnie, you have packed whole double album's worth of Laura references into this! Thanks for taking part.

  5. Had her songs playing in the background as I wrote: you're right, she has an amazing vocal range and her soulful style is intensely satisfying. As usual, you gave us a wordlist that inspired and drove my interest. What fun!

    1. So glad to see you here, and to read your words, Dora! Yes, Laura was amazing. She even amazed herself; when, as a middle-aged woman, she listened again to her master tapes of her earlier stuff, she said, "All that energy!"

      I, too, held a Laura-fest before I wrote, playing all of the first cd in her double cd set "Stoned Soul Picnic." Just such timeless stuff.

  6. k, mine up in the linky thingy.

  7. glad to have found you and this reminder of an amazing, dynamic woman

  8. Dear Shay, I could not resist your word garden today! YOu always pick such choice people to inspire us with :-) I've posted mine and I look forward to reading everyone's later x

    1. Glad you couldn't resist, Sunra! On my way over now.

    2. Tryin to keep,me out Shay — not happy! Inbeen writing for years

    3. No one is keeping you out, Rob. Confused by your comment.

    4. Having read your post, Rob, you've just kept yourself out. I'm not having it, and have deleted your link. I really can't imagine anything more counter to the spirit of what Laura Nyro's life was about than what you wrote.

  9. I have no idea if I am alright Shay, I hope so. The poem was simply a “stream of consciousness” attempt to use all the words. It went in the direction of a raw heartless pirate. I didn’t realize it had to be about Laura, whose music I have listened to, loved, and owned since 1967. I am not that endeared to my “Sea Blues” write, so I have broken the link Shay, and won’t post links anymore on your site. Sorry for the intrusion into your space. Won’t happen again.

    1. It didn't have to be about Laura, but making it antithetical to her spirit was a bridge way too far.

  10. Darius, I tried to follow your link but it "could not be found." :-(


Spirit, what do you wish to tell us?