For Read Write Poem
RWP member Robert Peake has shared with us a prompt he used recently with one of his established writing groups:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to:
· Use at least twelve words from this list: flap, winter, torch, pail, jug, strum, lever, massage, octopus, marionette, stow, pumice, rug, jam, limp, campfire, startle, wattle, bruise, chimney, tome, talon, fringe, walker;
· Include something that tastes terrible;
· Include some part (from a few words to several lines) of a previous poem that didn’t quite pan out; and
· Include a sound that makes you happy.
Write a poem!
I chose to use the words:
The final section, in italics, is taken from my previous poem: Unsavoury Savoury.
The sound that makes me happy is guitars strumming around a campfire.
moonless night campfire embers
enamel jug brewing tea
bread and jam feast to wash down
hand-held torch insipid beam
spotlight falls on our leader
he wants to tell a story
tent flap tattoo briskly beats
guitars strum introduction
no more new-age songs tonight
another limp urban myth
involving a wattle tree
and a pail of rotting fish
sharp knife and blunt instrument
to bruise heads and spill out guts
some salt to rub in then stow
under the shade of the tree
not a job for winter time
an ending to startle us
it was absolutely true
take the worst thing you’ve tasted
multiply that a few times
you never tasted nothing
if you never tasted this
he’d spent some years in Thailand
and watched how they made plar lar
a kind of home-made fish sauce
an isan delicacy
here’s how his story ended
‘the fish were placed in stone pots
capped with mosquito netting
two weeks later inspection
sickly sweaty fishy smell
scrape off discard top layer
scooping out any maggots
infesting the rotting flesh
add more salt to witches brew
leave to fester for a year
before the sauce is declared
fit for human consumption’
Notes: Wattle is the common name for the Acacia Penata, or Acacia Arabica tree; the source of Gum-Arabic.
The home-made fish sauce is known in Thailand as Plar Lar or Plar Dek.
Isan is the name given to the north-eastern region of Thailand.