Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January Poetry Prompt 1 - Wonderful Surprise

Well, here's the first prompt for 2009. I hope you enjoy this and the ones to come during the rest of the year, and enjoy exploring what you want to say, or need to say, or even discover what you never thought you could or would say!

It might be useful if you write in response to each of these instructions before scrolling down to read the poem the exercise is inspired by. That way you'll have your own, imaginative draft to work with during your editing processes.

You don't have to restrict yourself to concrete images, but they will help a reader 'feel' the scenes you create, so think about including things you can see, touch, hear, taste, smell, as well as making direct statements. But most of all, let your imagination run riot.

1. Imagine you are standing in the middle of emptinesss.
2. Fill it with something so it is no longer empty.
3. Now start walking and see what you filled the emptiness with everywhere else you go.
4. Keep walking and seeing it around you in different locations.
5. How long will you keep on walking and seeing it?
6. You will find something else, something that creates a vivid contrast - describe it.

Here's a poem by Kelly Cherry:

Song of the Wonderful Surprise

Start with the fact of space; fill it up
with snow. There will be snow in the sky,
snow on the ground, snow in the mysterious courtyards.
You taste snow's tang, smell snow, feel snow on your face.
If you walk forever, you will not come to a place with no snow,
but one day, looking around, you will find
a green apple hanging from a spray of snow.

Kelly Cherry
from God's Loud Hand
Louisiana State University, 1993

Write well. I look forward to reading your poems.


Leatherdykeuk said...

Interesting prompt!

annie clarkson said...


Here is a chicken coop with no hens.

A burnt out caravan, a tin of gasoline,
a rusting tap, three empty barrels,

standing by a corrugated shed.
Where I can hear a radio

an old transistor’s crackle and hiss.
Nobody is listening.

Cold mug of tea. Worn armchair
Pair of slippers with nobody to wear them.

I sit in the shed and stare out
at nothing, no life that I can see.

Brown furrows where there should be
leeks or carrots or beets.

Not even prickled bushes or squat trees.
Dried earth for miles. Grey sky.

Then, at the edge of my vision-
a dash of colour, a wingbeat.

It’s hard for me to see, but for a moment
on the rotting handle of a spade,

almost breathless, it flits from spade
to rusting tap to the edge of the door,

darts towards me and rests
this fleeting sign of life

on the arm of my chair.

Anonymous said...

Song of Findhorn

So this is my mystical-
my blue
sea, sky
breath of air
changing patterns
sand, stones
amethyst, angel
serenity, space.
Summer Solstice
a group meditation,
above a lone jet
sources the light.

© Jan 2009

Martin Cordrey said...


My emptiness is a never-ending
circle. What is yours? I see Pi,
it is a stool, I sit down on it.
There are other Pi’s, a Pi table

like the last supper. I try to make
sense of all this emptiness
but its all Greek to me! I attempt
to eat Pi all 3.14159… it goes on

forever. I cannot change this
anymore then make two plus two
equal five. Casually leaning on Pi
is a right angled triangle in blue;

it is out of place in this Pi world
it inspires me with the possibilities
of uniqueness - until a co-sine rolls
across the floor, clatters at my feet.


Anonymous said...

Mono No Aware

Today my world
is cherry blossom
delicate perfection

echo of blossom
fills the morning air
I breathe the fragrance

caress the flower
feel myself rooted
in this sacred space

I have blossoms
in my heart
blossoms on my lips

blossoms running
through my veins
tonight stars will fall

as blossoms.

© Jan 2009

charlotte segaller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
charlotte segaller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharra said...


She watches the beach drown
in dunes of white. Sees herself
paddle through the shallows,
fishing out souvenirs.
Her pockets fill with lightness,
and she wonders

if this is how seagulls feel
when they kiss the water.

Out to sea the windmills float
in clouds of fluttering down,
and on the edge of a wave
a black feather
punctuates the tide.
She cradles it in her hands

and sinks back
to the pebbles beneath her feet.

linda w said...


One day, without warning, the grey landscape
vanished. No one really knew
how the sweets got there, whether
they fell from heaven, or grew like plants
or simply became. But soon
we took them for granted, helped ourselves,
frolicking like greedy kids
grabbing, sucking, crunching.

We waded through fields of barley sugar,
rivers of melted chocolate, sherbet streams.
Forests of lollipops were gobbled up,
chunks of nougat hacked from rocks.
Our stomachs bulged with plenty
as we sprawled on marshmallow cushions,
gorging ourselves on turkish delight
like sultans of old.

It couldn’t last. On the sixth day,
a truck turned up, noisy and belching fumes,
caked with mud, and all the sweets
were collected up, packed in sacks
and stowed in the back before it drove away.
Then it was grey again . We looked around
at empty wrappers and each other.
‘What happened?’