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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


For We Write Poems

Stacy’s prompt:
“Often there are days when I want to write, yet when I put pen to paper, I draw only a bank.
When this happens you can forget a particular structure, much less legible subject matter.
Hence, my “Line by Line” poetry prompt was born.
My initial idea was to create a poem which delved into many subjects and topics,
all the while staying on the same page.
I was looking for a great reserve of creativity, some off-the-wall references,
and a lot of interesting tidbits to make one awseomely perfunctory piece of work.
Now, when there are no available prompts (or when a prompt just isn’t doing it for me)
I grab my “Line by Line” rules and am well on my way.
I hope you will find this prompt as much fun as I do!
There are fourteen parts (sort of fill-in-the blanks).
I usually require myself to write one line per question
(except for the questions that ask that you write more than one line),
which results in an eighteen line poem at minimum. Sometimes I go for more.
To prevent my poem from being just a body of random statements,
I try to tie them into one general idea.
For example, perhaps you are recalling a memory, or telling a story.
If you find yourself wanting to skip one or two, that’s fine too.
Writing should be a release from real life. Just let loose and have a great time!

1. A feeling 2. Observe the scenery of your immediate surroundings 3. Personification of an inanimate object 4. Use a metaphor 5. Spend four lines recalling a prominent memory 6. Use symbolism in a statement 7. Associate some form of weather to the feeling in #1 8. Tell a lie, about anything 9. Make a reference to a holiday or season 10. State a fact about a favorite artist or poet 11. Compare yourself to a specific piece from the artist/poet you used in #10 12. Negate the lie you told in #8, or further support or restate it 13. Describe a daydream or parts of a dream you’ve had 14. For the last two lines, refer to a vacationing location

I couldn't fit parts 10 & 11 into my piece:


Despondency, anxiety
Rice fields bear no rice
Fat Cats’ grain stores taunting me
My glass half-empty now
I toiled long hours; prepared the ground
Seeds I planted prospered
The sprouts I nurtured spread too thin
Too few and far between
Alarm bells rang; I overslept
My clock was running slow
The rain fell hard; too hard for some
Perished plots bear witness
The rice I reap will make me rich
Christmas harvest bonus
But drought has come to visit us
The worst we’ve seen in years
A vision, a recurring dream
Parched grass that bears no grain
Phuket’s tsunami in reverse
The carnage in its wake


  1. Stan very well done for the prompt.
    I can feel the sense of loss in this.

  2. Thanks Pamela. The start of the wet season saw big rains and brought hope of a good harvest. Now it's hot and too dry to plant rice - drought conditions. Another bad harvest...?

  3. I don't believe it Stan, but my poem mentions despondency, cats, clocks and Christmas?! Hope your fears of a poor harvest aren't realised.

  4. Strange how it is with rain..so often either too much or too little. Hope the weather improves. Written well to the prompt!

  5. The feeling of sadness is strong. Hoping for a change in the weather and a good harvest.

  6. Thanks to:
    Derrick; Great minds...? Or simple things...?
    Mary; It will probably balance out over the year - but it may come too late ...
    Diane; I suppose short supply will keep prices high.

  7. Wow Stan, you're planting rice..is there really a drought? I wish you good harvest and fat Christmas bonus.

  8. Thanks Irene; Not me... my neighbours, and yes, rainfall is in short supply - again - this year.

  9. Stan, Beautiful piece. The tsunami in reverse is brilliant. It ends the poem with clarity and deep insight. It is amazing how cohesive this is, considering the prompt. Most impressive!

  10. Our weather's off, too. Looking like we're following a once in a century flood with drought and heat. Late re-planting followed by baked seedlings.
    Good poem. I like the way you make the prompt work for you instead of v ice versa

  11. Thanks to:
    Brenda; I just couldn't work out a way to make reference to an artist/poet.
    Barbara; The thing with droughts is, the rain that misses one area often falls harder elsewhere.

  12. You strung the lines together really well, Stan.

    Here we had all the tomato skins break, and squash and melon rot with too much rain last year. This year everything is yellowing and little fruit, due to no rain (and I'm a miser with using the hose). Very frustrating, but I'm thankful that my life doesn't depend on my success (yet).

    - Dina
    P.S. If you get a chance, check out Jean-François Millet...he's an artist I thought of when reading your poem.

  13. Thanks Dina; I'll check out JFM - while I'm waiting for the rain...