Thursday, October 09, 2008

October Poetry Prompt 1 - Signs


Now five have come to dine
off the steady banquet of pink geranium;
the only sound is the whir of their wings.
Soon it will be autumn.

One is a window washer on scaffolding;
it pauses as though to sigh
before cleaning the next section.

But something, as always,
will abruptly reel up the ropes of summer.

Ann Iverson

from Come Now to the Window
© Laurel Poetry Collective 2003

This collection is unavailable in the UK, but take a look at the Laurel Poetry Collective site, above, and check The Book Depository for her recent collection, Definite Space : Poems (Holy Cow! Press 2007)

We all find signs in our lives. Ann Iverson understands that summer will end soon when she watches the hummingbirds. I like the way she parallels the actions of one bird with that of a window cleaner, and that comparison leads us into the wonderful metaphor that closes the poem. And isn’t the line break after sigh/ just so good? We also pause for breath to before moving on to the next section. I also admire the way the poem 'diminishes' in size, from a four line stanza, to three lines, to a closing couplet, so the form itself suggests a drawing to a close.

Can you write a poem that parallels the world of flora or fauna with the human experience, and which also marks or explores the end of something? It doesn’t have to be a season. It could be a relationship, a journey, a way of thinking… there are endless possibilities.

I look forward to reading your insights.



Anonymous said...


I’ve been watching the fish in the aquarium.
It’s an oblong box and it sits in the corner of the living room,
full of brooding water. I hate it.
I think that they would hate it too
if they knew the alternatives, or even
that there were any alternatives.
But they don’t,
do they darling?

Lynne Rees said...

Oh yes - so pleased you haven't lost your 'acid' touch! Thanks for posting, Stephen.

Crafty Green Poet said...

In the Zone

flying high
buffetted by winds


............falling course
then back again


then the ecstatic


as the goal is reached

Crafty Green Poet said...

for a better view of my poem, as the layout doesn't work in comments (in the original all those dots are invisible), you can also read it at:, which also includes a link to another poet's brilliant poem that fulfils the prompt beautifully.

Lynne Rees said...

Thanks so much, Juliet, for posting your poem (and the link) and I've just taken a look at the poem on your blog too. Great. And then I clicked onto Susan Richardson's site, and then onto BayLit... :-) blogging tends to wrap itself around you, doesn't it!!

Gordon Mason said...

I'm posting here for the first time. Found your site from Juliet Wilson, that Crafty Green Poet. My site is at

Here's a poem wot I did earlier which I think fits your prompt.

After The Ball

The plane leaf dwindles
on a barberry pin,
a lady’s lace glove

discarded in a rush
to undress for her love
after the Thanksgiving Ball.

She had enjoyed September
freedom, but now,
cragged and worn,

the sepia veins
of an arthritic hand
are impressed on the glove,

fingers in empty grasp.
Deprived of her pulse,
in widowhood the lace

is transparent, free
of the butterfly
child within.

All her past
is exposed
by a lifeline of revelations.

The glove has become
as thin as the skin
of her hand.

In the thunder thaw
of a March blizzard,
it dissolves into flakes.

Lynne Rees said...

Hello, and welcome to AppleHouse, Gordon. Thanks for posting your poem too and hope to see you here again. The next prompt will be up in a day or so.

flybynight said...

In the orchard

We avoid the elderly apples in their
sour brown puddles,

huddled, smelling of vinegar
which catches in throats like a cough.

They’ll be shovelled for burial soon
in compost at the edge

where bigger trees give themselves
in yellow splendour.

Anonymous said...

Your back turned to me
where arms, lips, eyes used to be,
love’s season soon over.