Saturday, January 1, 2011

Poetry Prompt

First Words – An Exercise for the First Day of the Year

Other writers can often be our best inspiration. This exercise will require a short poem of 10-20 lines or a quote of 10-20 words. Let’s consider the first line of the Atkinson quote above as our example.

Take the individual words of the quote (or the first words of each poem line) and write them vertically down the page. Then create a new draft using these first words as guideposts to draw you through the poem. (I have included a draft below – first words from the quote are in bold print.)

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.” ~Brooks Atkinson

Drop you change into the tin foil covered coffee can
The first thing you can’t remember is covered in the dust
Last dream on the shelf is the freshest a
Year maybe two and it will be forgotten like the others, turned loose
Into the night sky, and watched like lost carnival balloons
The metaphor is not lost, it has become a
Silent debate on the state of fullness of wine glasses a
Limbo of emotional evaluation instead
Of the Tango it was meant to be
The dance of celebration, the motions of a
Past highlighted by internal dramatics and eternal fears
Let these things be remembered
It may seem like a negative achievement, or a place to
Go when your worst, seems brighter by comparison, a shrine
For old failures
It serves as a testament to the opposite of achievement and
Was never meant as shelter, this museum of the
Imperfect, has no more weight than feathers or Burma shave signs
And the road has turns, off ramps, detours. I need to
Thank you for the accidents
God, Goddess, Universe. I do not claim to know you, I am amazed, sometimes
That you know me, I often feel faded, like old dreams
It is meant to be humbling, turned still, turned stagnant
Can I look every funhouse reflection in the eye? Is it possible to
Go through the maze laughing and remember the ghosts of sanity

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful piece- I especially like the limbo/tango part and the God, Goddess, Universe part...this has a lot of possibility.

    Thanks for giving it a try! It's a great prompt, one I use a lot to get me going.

    Any one else who wants to give it a try? The original prompt is at http://djvorreyer.wordpress.com