Friday, May 09, 2008

May - Ideas for Free-writing

Where has the beginning of May gone? Well fourteen hours of it was spent driving from Calais to Antibes yesterday which is my excuse for not having chosen April's Prize Poem yet. And because I want to give them all an appropriate amount of time, I'm going to read them again this weekend before I choose.

In the meantime here are some free-writing prompts. Don't set out thinking 'this will give me a poem', rather see them as a work-out for stretching your creativity. Be as free as you can, just start writing with the first thing that comes to you in response to these phrases/ideas, and don't edit.

1. No one likes to remember this...
2. Write a list of excuses.
3. You are powerless...
4. What's hidden from me.
5. Write about being lost. Then found.


Lynne Rees said...

2. Write a list of excuses

Leaving Home

because I can breathe at the sea-edge
because I am selfish
because another language makes me smaller
and bigger
because I have dreamt of this
because every day is a gift to unwrap

martin cordrey said...


Free verse, freedom of speech – liberty
at another’s expense. Vive la France –
Corday Robspierre enfant’s of the guillotine;
the frogs have Appolinairre the Beefs
have blocks of concrete. Free view until eight,
pay per view means only the past is free –
are you free of the past? Is freedom a gift,
or a God given right? Joshua set his people free
and butchered all the …ites.

What greater gift
can a parent give a child then their own early death?
free, too free them
from living in your shadow or burdened by your fears!
So free them, swallow hemlock
in a glorious sacrifice, plunge yourself into that dagger
to save them from you. Release
all the pink and blue birthday balloons now. Look!
There’s a child’s toy, a run away train –
‘went over the hill and she blew, blew, blew,
blue’…Indeed if a parent truly loved a child
they’d drown that child at birth,
set them free from mankind’s ruin, misery, despair.
Luke, chapter one, not the Jewish version.
(Should I despise myself for this treachery?)

In this I have lost my honour, gained
a secret, a silent pain – how I wish for public shame
or ridicule, yet I bare this weight alone –
how I wish I could stand bare-chested before an emperor
to receive his noble samurai sword,
place its handle on a marble floor, fall on it –
in death honour, in honour eternal forgiveness.
Take me into your bosom, honestly the size of your breasts
are no longer an issue (I free you of this burden).
(Only a question mark is free!
Doesn’t an exclamation mark ask us questions?)

Love is free! I give you my love freely,
unconditionally yes, but free? I am free to love you
if I want, I choose you, do I love you,
our society does not allow me to express in words how much…
do you love me for choosing you? Sartre said
we’re all free and scared of it,
had he not heard of six degrees of separation.
Just speak you cry, your voice lost on the wind, powerless
I drift like a premature soul on the Styx -
would you have empathy for me
if you awoke on this side of the mirage?

I wish I could tie my thoughts like a dog
to a block of concrete, throw them into a deep ocean.
Free your soul with drugs, become a slave to addiction.
Isn’t there a freedom in slavery;
no decisions, choices? Empty your mind,
find your dark-side and sing
songs of freedom from wrong choices –
Shouldn’t poetry answer questions, not ask them!
My achievements laid below the ‘quick-sand’ –
the reflected glare of mid-day blinds each shallow victory.

There’s a circle of palm trees in this dead oasis,
every mistake, misplaced word, wrong decision hangs
from a trunk, flapping in the wind
like foil off a scarecrow – only the birds
are not frightened
they hang upside down like bats pecking out the guts
of each error,
I watch like a broken Prometheus,
a perfect Dorian Grey –
how I long for clemency’s redemption,
the soft kiss of sleep.