LEADERS - not followers

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt
Like so many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the oil spill in the Gulf. I have wanted to write about it, but I haven’t known how. I was talking with
Jill about it over coffee a few days ago, and she instructed me: That has to be your next prompt!
What has to be my next prompt? Writing about the oil spill? Maybe, but not necessarily. Here’s what I tried to do:
I started at the top of a page, “I want to write about the oil spill, but I don’t know how,” and then I continued to free write about not knowing how to write about it (which, of course, lead to writing about it). So that’s the first part of this prompt. Start at the top of a page, “I want to write about __________, but I don’t know how.”
You can fill in the blank with “oil spill” as I did, or you can fill it in with “my mother’s death” or “mulch” or “cupcakes.” It doesn’t matter what you choose, but make it something you don’t think you know how to write about. Now free write about not knowing how. Ready, set, go!
Maybe the free write gives you enough phrases you can steal and make a poem. If so, great! If not, you can continue with the second part of this prompt, which is to turn your subject into an extended metaphor. As you cull phrases from your free write, consider what “oil” is (or what “cupcakes” represent) in your life, its patterns, your behaviors, your memories. Flesh out your poem with this symbolism. Go with it wherever it wants to go.

I want to write about Values, but I don’t know how.


This is Thailand, Buddha’s Thailand
Amazing Thailand, Land of the smile
The place that has become my home
I’m surrounded by happy people

I guess many would look at my life
Thinking that I’ve had it easy
And I’d be the first one to admit
That although by no means easy
I’ve taken pretty much what I’ve wanted
From life’s cynical situation

If it all seems like a cop-out
I guess, in many ways, it is
But I’ve adjusted to it well

I’ve earned my terms and conditions
Now I exercise their options

Along the way, I’ve made mistakes
Far too numerous to mention
But isn’t the beauty of making them
The opportunity to learn?

Believe me, I’ve never stopped learning
I’ve learnt the importance of values
As well as their place in my life

Merely to have and to hold them
Commendable enough in itself
But most unsatisfactory
If they’re not put into practice
To prove the worth of our theories

To believe in them, sincerely
While merely paying them lip-service
Is a start – but barely adequate

Our ideals have to be nurtured
Allowed to grow and develop
Until they truly do become
The very essence of our being

Never be content with merely
Having ideals, and faith in them
Put them into practice – own them

We end up with a thing so pure
So unique and so durable
It can never be eroded
By the patient passage of time
Or taken away by the envious

Though many may try to imitate