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Tag Archives: poem from prompt

The True River

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Written in response to a word list from the site Red Wolf Poems

The mallards always told me
magic wasn’t in the cards—faithless magic,
with its trumpeted tricks and striped wands,
scented and false as dolls. Magic that promises
Fire, torrents of Possibility, loud cascading tides of
sleight of hand, disguising the hard kernel of trick
written in dark ink at the center of the river.

All talk.
This true river has no center, only currents textured by
oars, stones, weeping willows striping the banks.
Forget magic. Follow the mallards who know
the river so well, their glowing selves swimming
Home, whole lives swimming in the muck-thick mists
of this real world.

Magic isn’t in the blood, this empty scenery. Forsake
Artifice, forsake the gramophone’s tinny melody
camouflaging the music of the river. When you Dance,
Dance through the dual worlds.
Forsake the blare of magic tricks for unknowing,
for the bend in the river,
for mallards moving in and out of this cage
the bars limpid, impermanent.
The cage door always open.

 

Rowing This Boat

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Written in response to a River Prompt at Red Wolf Poems.

The instructions are clear:
Row, row, row your boat
gently
down the stream.
Gently, gently
and Merrily—
Sing till you remember how to Row,
how to Change Course Midstream.
Though you’ve grown accustomed to drifting
and admiring the scenery, now you must
Take Hold of the Oars—
Oars dry from disuse, with their
paint crackled or chipped away.
Splinters fill your hands,
hands which grip too tightly.
Remember to breathe.
Remember what you know
of good seamanship:
Sometimes you cannot
Stop
Sometimes you cannot
put the whole thing in dry-dock
and wait for repairs.
Sometimes you are in the
Middle of the River.
Remember what you know.
Later, there may well be time
to sand these oars smooth,
paint them a bright, jaunty yellow.
But for now?
Loosen your Grip
Set your Course
Hold to your oars Firmly
but Gently
gently,
rowing towards merrily
till the end of this particular
Bend in the river.
till the end of this particular
part of the dream.

 

Orange Change Agent

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This one was fun— A Word Chain Poem, from a prompt in The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, by Diane Lockwood. You should go buy it. Immediately. This prompt is on page 55. Buy it, try it, let me know how it all turns out.

Nothing rhymes with orange
and isn’t that strange?
Nothing in our huge array
of words, of sounds ranging
along the tongue, not one
not even changed
or smashed sounds banged
into new shapes, arranged
None soar
nor
spark with the same tang
as Orange.

Plans For The Future

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Here, a quickly written poem based on a  list prompt from We Write Poems a  site I just discovered and look forward to exploring soon. Try it yourself!

When you hear those tangled blue dreams of knowing, begin—
First, turn to vapor all the words tagged Nightmare by your soul:
Carapace, chrysalis, cocoon all spiral away into the dark
With all the winged truths they held. Not these.
Next, Soul, nurture the witch in the cathedral of your center
Drop into your inky cauldron the striped filaments
Of all those years of rain and roots and nurturing.
As sunlight stripes the stone floor, turn to those watchers
Stoic demons, blooming angels and honeysuckled geishas
In gowns fragile as fortunes.
Together, marvel at the brimming cauldron
How the rising smoke of a million votives
Twists with seafoam air from a thousand long-stemmed hookahs
Into the invisible future you built,
cradled in its mystery, opaque eggshell of time.

Bliss: Five Sentence Fiction

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Thanks once again to Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction for this week’s prompt.  Visit her site to read other five-sentence fictions. Here’s my shot at it–

Bliss can be bought in a bottle, you know, so you Google directions to the right sort of store, an apothecary, as they used to say back when they first started bottling Bliss.

If they ever manage to find the store, most people pass Bliss by because it’s hard to grasp, the bottle is small and slippery, always perched precariously on the highest shelf and of course it’s almost invisible, which is why people settle for other bottles, larger ones on lower shelves, bottles labeled Comfort, Success In Business, Health, Wealth, Self Control, or the Abilities bottles: Mechanical, Mathematical, Culinary, Artistic, Musical, etc. when Bliss is what they wanted all along.

You’ll likely never get there by Google, but someday you may stumble upon the shop beneath the squeaky metal sign. It happens that way, occasionally, and if it happens to you, the secret is to walk to the back of the shop where dusty bottles are stacked to the ceiling, hold out your hands, right where you are, and Bliss might leap down and choose you.

But that way is rare and people spend fruitless years searching for the shop, so I’ll tell you the second secret: Bliss takes itself wherever it pleases and often can be found at your corner market next to the children’s favorite jam, or the mustard your love says is tastiest and there it is, ready to crawl into your arms like a sleepy kitten that’s been waiting just for you, and you can carry it home, for free.

Five Sentence Fiction: Limitless

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Response to this week’s prompt on Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction.

Everyone told him it was the wrong time of year for balloon rides, that he ought to wait till autumn and charge twenty dollars for a tethered float at the county fair.

July was too hot, they said, and though the balloon was visible above the corn field, the sign itself was hard to see, obscured by stalks that soared higher every day, so it was unlikely anyone would find him.

But here was this girl, young, with a spark in her eye that should have made him uneasy, if he wasn’t so occupied feeling smug that he’d actually attracted a paying customer.

She handed him one hundred dollars and said to keep the change, which seemed generous until she told him, “Getting ready to leave is like pulling a bandage off slow,” as she cut the rope while he was still on the ground and left him below to watch his balloon sail away over the cornfields.

All his maps tumbled into the air and as they drifted down he heard the pop of the champagne cork overhead.

Wisdom: Five Sentence Fiction

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          As usual, I have no idea how I landed on this site, but…today I discovered Lillie McFerrin Writes—Home of Five Sentence Fiction. The clever and mysterious Lillie posts a one-word prompt every week and asks the world to respond with a five-sentence story. Love it! This week’s prompt is “Wisdom”.   Almost the moment I read it, Wisdom sidled up and whispered this story in my ear…

Wisdom says she’s done with being wise, done with handing out mountains of calm, clear-hearted advice to dolts who do not listen or listen and then still go off and steal the jewels, quit the job, rush the altar, buy the day old sushi, worse, eat the day old sushi.

“I’m sick of the very sound of my name, which I’ve discovered also means Prudence, as if things weren’t bad enough,” she tells the old elephant over mugs of Earl Grey.

The elephant has known Wisdom a very long time and expects she’s exaggerating when she says ‘Done’ since Wisdom gets fed up, of course, who wouldn’t, but in the end she gathers herself and dispenses herself for free again, like a reliable though battered old vending machine, wise enough to seldom say never.

“Definitely Done for good,” says Wisdom as she throws clothes into a too-small satchel, paints the elephant purple, drapes him with jewels, and climbs onto his back, beautifully bedecked herself in cinnamon scarves.

Now, she says, now is our time to finally leave home and never knowing where the next cup of tea may come from, be Foolish in the world with our names changed to Adventure and Gull.

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

The Sketchbook

MOSTLY MONTREAL, MOST OF THE TIME

Red Wolf Prompts

I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Poetry Practice

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry