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


  1. A great philosophy, - and a wonderful lesson in teaching how to express your inner thoughts and convictions.

  2. Thanks H&C; Stick to your principles.

  3. Thanks ViV; We have to make what we do count.

  4. I love the prompt and how it actually teaches us what we only thought we knew. And like you, I love to learn,


  5. Thanks Elizabeth; Most of what we learn comes to after we've finished formal education.

  6. Big sigh on my end, Stan ... wonderful freewrite/poem! I feel like I should congratulate you for finding so much peace. Not everyone manages to do what you have done so successfully! To LIFE!

  7. good for you, Stan.
    and well said
    (to give imitation its due, following in someone else's path will cut back on dead ends.)

  8. Thanks to:
    Mariane; Hard work and patience shows the way to what we seek.
    Barbara; I'm not knocking it - it IS the greatest form of flattery. They just can' take it away.

  9. Stan, I agree that the beauty of making mistakes gives us a chance to learn!

    A thoughtful and thought-provoking write!


  10. VERY hard to live strictly to our values. the important thing is to work at it!

  11. Stan
    Values is something many people are missing but not you! We should learn by our mistakes.
    Nice work!

  12. Your thoughts here are quite profound...

  13. This is poetry that doesn't read like poetry and I like that.

    Well thought out and organized and more importantly, great thoughts!

  14. Ah, Stan Ski, there is much wisdom in your words. This piece is worthy of meditation. If we all work from a place where value is embraced... Good works, each moment, truth.

  15. Thanks to:
    Mary; Keep on making those mistakes - keep on learning.
    Carolee; Those who can't do, try.
    Pamela; funny thing is, values don't come at any cost...
    Cynthia; That's freewriting for you.
    Mark; It's not just the thought, but the deed that counts.
    Brenda; You got it!

  16. I like the way this unfolds into such straightforwardness, clear thought, and honesty. Well done.


  17. Wonderful ~ from start to finish!

  18. Thanks to:
    RWP; Once you settle down to something you think is beyond you, it's surprising how much you realsie it wasn't.
    Tumblewords; It was a good way of finding out how much we thought we didn't know.

  19. The only people who would call what you did a 'cop out' are those who never had the guts to do it.
    It's not easy, and takes courage and imagination!

  20. Thanks Rall; Nothing ventured, nothing gained...

  21. An inspiring treatise on your life. Your challenge to us to own our ideals is much appreicated!

  22. Thanks Erin; Our most valuable possessions...