This poem is a riff on parts of the introduction to 52, a collection of poetry prompts put together by Jo Bell and a host of guest poets.
Tag Archives: poetry prompts
That’s right, folks: we’ve traveled around the sun once more to that orbital point when poetry is celebrated nationwide — nay, across the very globe itself! — thanks to the wonders of the internet.
Today’s poem came out of a mash-up of prompts from the April issue of Diane Lockward’s very excellent Poetry Newsletter (local color) and the 30/30 Poetry Facebook group (streets at dawn).
Autumn Ridge, Indian Summer, Winter Haven
Deer Crossing, Pheasant Run, Doe Meadow
Crimson Creek, Briar Patch, Willow Spring
streets in this subdivision invoke the seasons
as well as long-fled wildlife and landscape
features erased by bulldozers and backhoes
Aristocrat, Bradford Pear, October Glory,
Autumn Blaze, Red Sunset, Honeylocust,
Shademaster, Black Gum, Wild Fire, Red Rage
sanctioned cultivars replace native locust,
ash, chokecherry, serviceberry, hornbeam,
black walnut, yellowwood, sycamore
daffodils, reticulated iris, crocus, hellebores,
snowdrops, and pansies decorate curated beds
where once bloodroot and bluebells ran riot
but all is not lost: squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits
remain to be stalked by cats, chased by dogs,
and flattened by unflinching automobiles
We are not quite the same people when we pass the same date on the calendar each year, and I am thankful for spiritual practices that help me contemplate and celebrate that. (And yes, I am posting this a few days behind. I’m glad you noticed!)
Prepare the royal highway!
Raise up the low and bring down
the high-and-mighty. Soften
curves and widen the shoulders
so no one goes off into a ditch.
Clear boulders and fence posts
from the right-of-way and plant
wildflowers and lithe
grasses to gladden the eye
and sweeten the air. Let the way
be wide, the arms of the Holy One
outstretched to receive us all.
I was without internet access for several days, so these poems didn’t get posted to the Lexington Poetry Month blog. But in keeping with my promise to myself this month, I’m posting them here in a block.
Day ten prompt: blinking light
Criminy! Turn off the blinkin’ light, will ya? Geez, it’s the middle
of the night, already. Some of us have to get up
in the morning.
Where were ya, anyway? Out with that
Maurice or one of his friends? Hey, I can ask,
can’t I? I gotta right.
What’s it to me? A fella gets woke up like this
gotta right to ask questions. If ya’ don’t like it, next time
don’t turn on the blinkin’ light.
Day eleven prompt: charging
He has a reputation for running up debts she cannot pay
Too easily he sees red and lunges headlong at anything that moves
Something restless in his blood calls out to her worst judgment
She feeds off the energy of his palpable buzz
Day twelve prompt: sheep
All we need
is a little direction
All we want
is green pasture and still water
All we like
is to do what we please
All we have
Day thirteen prompt: plan
I’m sitting out on the deck, trying to enjoy the lovely morning (bird song, light breeze, etc.). Someone is doing yard work on the next street, and they’ve been using something with an obnoxious gas motor for more than an hour. Except for when I’m mowing the lawn (which I’d frankly rather do with a non-motorized push mower, but that’s a topic for another day), one of the major benefits of yard work is the peacefulness of it. I don’t really see the point of spending so much outdoor time using a machine so noisy I have to wear headgear to protect my hearing. And the electric gadgets are bad enough; the gas-powered ones are a downright public nuisance.
Enough rant for now. I think I’ll go check my sprinkler out front.
Day fourteen prompt: beer goggles
Grasping at straws
It goggles the rind – that thick protective
layer of flesh (to cushion against impact)
encased in a slightly tougher skin (to control
moisture loss) – how such bizarre writing
prompts come about. I think perhaps
beer (or the consumption in great quantities
thereof) is somehow involved.
Day fifteen prompt: utilities
utility is but
This poem was prompted by the Two of Cups from The Housewives Tarot, a delightfully zany deck that has become one of my favorites. (Click here to see the card.) This image just begged for something light and fizzy.
The most important meal of the day
I love orange juice in the morning
especially with champagne
and you. Or should that be
I love you in the morning
especially with orange juice
Amazing how simpatico we become
with a mimosa or two under our belts.
Today marks the beginning of National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo for short. We know this to be An Actual Thing because there is an official web site: www.NaPoWriMo.net. Check it out, because the site has links to all sorts of challenges, prompts, exercises, you name it.
What am I doing for NaPoWriMo this year? I’m glad you asked! I will be presenting a workshop next month on using tarot (and similar pictorial resources) as a tool for writing, so I have decided that my daily prompt will be a card drawn from my collection of physical and virtual decks.
Although I have committed to writing a poem every day, I will not necessarily post every day. Experience has taught me that my work is not always ready for a wider audience at first blush, and that my greatest contribution to literature may well be to refrain from publishing something. But not to worry; my expectations are low enough to allow a good deal of material through, and I plan to have fun this month, at my own expense if necessary.
As proof of that, I now unveil my very own homemade logo:
(Feel free to copy it and use it in any way that suits you.)
Happy poetry writing!
I tinkered off and on with this prompt through the better part of a day until I thought to follow my own advice. I drew a couple of cards from two of my favorite decks, and the images immediately gave me an idea.
Last night I dreamed again I stood among tall firs, perfectly shaped, their branches weighted with snow. The trees covered a steep mountain slope, and through them I glimpsed other slopes and valleys, all blanketed with evergreen and white. My breath hung crisp in the air.
Beneath the heavy thatch of snow, needles living and dead absorbed all sound. I was enchanted; it was so beautiful and still. But a chill began to seep through my clothes, my skin: the silence was too complete. I was utterly alone in an indifferent wilderness.
My pulse throbbed in my ears, and then I noticed another noise, dim and muffled. It was the softest sobbing I have ever known, a weeping beyond all hope of being heard. I woke to find it was me.
(from Wizard’s Tarot, by Corrine Kenner, illustrated by John J. Blumen; Llewellyn 2011)
(from The Tarot of Trees, by Dana Driscoll, 2009)
Observations from the field
buttons and banners, bumpers and yards that sprout
the uncanny side shoots of this strange season
rallies, stumps, town meetings, carefully orchestrated
surprise appearances – the hooting and chest thumping
part of the mating ritual for that bizarre subspecies,
Homo sapiens diatribis, the American politician
I recently found a wonderful resource for writers in South African-based Writers Write. The site has all kinds of goodies and support for both business and creative writing, including prompts, quotes, book reviews, and courses. I signed up to receive prompts for each month via e-mail, and February’s list arrived yesterday.
the offhand comment is not painful
without thought or consideration
the offhand comment is painful
because of astonishing
insight and precision
As one who finds joy and deep meaning in cycles, I delight in the many ways we humans keep track of and celebrate the passage of time. I follow several different calendars and cherish them as interweaving lenses through which to see my life. Some days the view takes my breath away.
Upon leaving my firstborn at college
This is what it was about all along – the hopes
and prayers, the planning and wondering
where you would go and what you might
do. Eighteen years – more than that, really,
when you count the long, slow months in
utero and the decision before that to get off
on the parenting side of the fence and see
what would happen – all those years of work
and I still feel wholly unprepared.