season to taste ~ let none go to waste ~ some at every meal ~ the fuller you'll feel
Welcome! This is a poetry campfire.
Here's how it works:
The previous poet will leave you a prompt. You in turn will leave a prompt for the next poet. Simple as that.
If you do not post after a week, I will have to skip you. Nothing personal, I just don't want people to have to wait forever to get a turn. If you don't want to be skipped and just need an extra day or something, just let me know. After all, I'm not a fascist.
It's up to you what sort of prompt you want to leave - be it a particular form, theme, phrase, etc. But my opinion is that it should be "moderately challenging" lest we forget that writing is a workout for our brains.
When you post your poem, feel free to also leave a link to it if you want reviews.
This campfire will expire after six rounds. (This is Round 5.)
The participants are:
Katya the Poet
|"Invalid Item" |
While roosting in my nest,
I'm struck by an astounding
clarity, an awareness
of the sharp ticking of time.
Minutes are heavy within me,
slowly molding into ovoids
until they are so weighted
I must lay them.
My instincts are to keep
these seconds safe
and warm beside me,
but my nest never
feels full enough,
as if someone
NEXT PROMPT: Bring new life to a cliche.
|A good friend of mine, who was an avid gardner, died quite unexpectedly today from a brain aneurysm. When I saw the prompt from Becky, the "down the garden path" cliche immediately occurred to me, as it fit with what I was/am experiencing in the wake of her death. I don't know if I've given the cliche new life or not, but it seemed a fitting tribute to her, and her life.|
The Garden Path
As I wandered down the garden path
I couldn't help thinking of you
on this, the day you left us
to go wherever it is we go
when we are done with our living.
It still seems so unreal --
we just saw you the other day
laughing and singing with children,
admiring the flowers you planted,
worrying about the summer heat
taking too much of a toll on them.
We knew we'd see you again next Sunday,
and the next because that is what
we were used to, what we expected --
had come to take for granted,
which is what we do with those we love.
But then the unimaginable happened
and now you are gone.
and thank you
that your flowers thrive
along your garden path.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NEXT PROMPT: Write a poem about rediscovering something ...
|"My Blood Redux" |
It seems to have been a while since,
trusting my act in the kitchen, I touched
the knife on the wrong edge, sliding
my thumb. The shock of blood, rediscovered
so red when fresh, spun out of the mind--with
the pain and humiliation--other
things that bled, while I blinked to
wave off carelessness, but the pattern
of the warm liquid zigzagged to
fill my perverse temper with
the recall of sharp-edged words that cut
like cutlery when he said I was full
of shit and I should watch out, as he
cast off my human skin and made
me bleed to a peculiar numbness.
Now, I hold my thumb to the light and
think, after the ointment, my blood
will clot again.
Write a poem about the inner life of a stone: rock, boulder, or pebble.
|"Pebble Dust" |
That's my youngest there,
atop this hill
looking brave like
me, his father.
I know he sees me,
here in this boulder graveyard,
looking up as he sits
where I once did.
His brothers make their way
slowly down to me,
as if they could return
me to a full life.
I am but a pebble now,
sitting here at the bottom,
among my friends.
Content to watch my children
and theirs. Knowing,
by the time they reach me,
I will be but the dust
that softens their fall.
Next Prompt: Write a poem about how the rain makes you feel.
|"Invalid Item" |
I blink away the blue aura and press
close to the cold window, cooling my
forehead, watching the sky darken
with the distain of Mother Nature.
Fat, heavy drops splatter the pavement
vanguard to the deluge; the trees
shudder in anticipation – welcoming
the nurturing nectar – their lifeblood.
I am standing in the open, ready
to receive baptism, praying
the water dissolves my sins
as indifference dissolves my resolve.
I shudder as the rain multiplies to infinity
- almost - I retreat to the safety of monotony
a slave to the system, tethered to the world
with duty and expectations. But then I shake
my head and hold my breath.
I crash to the sky.
Redress a regret - rewrite history.
|"Invalid Item" |
Listen, blue girl,
you can bare
bringing the light
the art of time.
Next prompt: write a collage poem, a "found" poem in which you reassemble words and phrases you find in the world around you, making new sense for yourself. Read about how I did it at "Regrets Only"
I really enjoyed this prompt. All of these phrases were found in various magazines and newspapers and reassembled into my collage "Monochrome" which is still a work in progress. It never occured to me that I had been cutting and pasting poetry.
"Can Lucy come out and date?"
Play hide-and-seek with the light.
"Don't ask, don't let me tell."
A sobering tale.
Someone who didn't want
to hurt anything hurt herself.
She wandered, going nowhere,
Who had abandoned her?
Martyr in this dismal age of martyrs,
an emptiness in her features.
She became a fixture framed.
Framed with very big mounts.
The long silences need to be loved.
I bought her a pretty piece of jewelry...
something with opals.
Next Prompt: concoct a poetic recipe and dish it up for us
Recipe for Love
In a large bowl mix together generous portions of:
infatuation (you may substitute lust)
chick flicks and action adventure movies
passionate sexual exploits
roses and chocolate
Carefully fold in:
ego (you may substitute pride here)
Mix at high speed
for three to four weeks.
Add a dash of:
a weekend getaway
Mix at medium speed
for six to eight months.
If mixture doesn't separate
pour into well greased pan.
Bake on low for fifty to sixty years.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This is a PROMPT we didn't use in the Spring SLAM, but I really like it ...
We don't always count our time in hours, days and years. T.S. Eliot's Prufrock says "I measured out my life in coffee spoons." Some count by the weeks till vacation, hours classes till the end of a school day, months to summer, regrets, For this prompt, write a poem which addresses the passage of time in an unconventional way.
|Sorry if I kept you waiting. I wasn't home, but I am glad I peeked in.|
First marker: The beach where
I loitered among a thousand
heads, winging shadows,
tumbling into hollows
of damp sand, searching.
Second marker: The stairway where I first
saw you in shaky heartbeats; although, I
had met you a hundred times before.
Third marker: The places where you explored
me, caressing in
the nightlong frenzy of
Last marker: The exit where you
spun away, dancing into
So now, I stare at the earth
with seismic wonder: Where did
Next prompt: Write about being stuck in between two things: people, ideas, choices, etc.
|"No Reply" |
down that awful staircase
as she stands looking.
Memories of being pulled up
and down, at the same time
wash over her.
"She's going with me!"
"NO! She's staying here!"
Words, splitting her soul
as they tried split her body.
She loved them both,
did she really have to choose?
Why couldn't they just get along?
She remembered the surprise
etched on her mother's face
as he let go
sending them both tumbling
like deflated basketballs
to the bottom.
It should have hurt,
that broken bone.
Wrapped like a pig in a blanket,
she felt nothing, until...
The echo of her child voice
fills her eyes once more
with hot, hurting tears,
"Mom?" are you okay?"
Next prompt:Write a humorous palindrome.
|Din't know how humorous this is though... |
revolving in hypnotic
circles walk women, caught -
dress, long legs, silk
silk legs, long dress
caught, woman walk circles,
hypnotic in revolving
NEXT PROMPT - Define why you like your favorite song, how you respond to it.
If you were a man as I am a woman
of words, you'd surely know why
I sing the song I sing of you
and silent the tear I cry
but you are the man of the kiss, the embrace,
the melody of blood alone
and you cannot bear the words of farewell
as cold as the buried bone.
"Ae Fond Kiss" is a sad love poem by Robert Burns, about having to leave Nancy McLehose, a married woman he loved, after one last kiss of farewell. Set to a traditional folk tune and sung beautifully by Eddi Reader, it has become a favorite song of mine.
Next prompt: Write a poem of praise, but praise something that usually troubles you, hurts you, or causes you to complain. Find what there is in it to praise!
from your wrinkled brow,
straining against the bull
thinking it a cow.
He sees red and drags
you through the dirt,
giving you a dusting of desert.
Still you struggle,
draining your strength.
Your limbs protest –
oh the violence! –
but you believe
the bull should be free.
You tug tighter,
until you find the way
to let go
Next Prompt: One of the hardest prompts I ever got was from a friend of mine who challenged me to write a serious poem about cauliflower. Your prompt is to write a serious poem about a vegetable of your choosing.
I am having such a busy week and slowing the campfire down, so I am going to cheat and rework a poem I already wrote - about a vegetable - rather than pass. I'll do better next time I promise!
We sit at an outside table,
clinking our wine glasses
and feeling decadent for drinking
in the middle of the day.
The waiter appears with appetizers –
an artichoke for me,
something with shrimp for you,
and I tear off the first green leaf
as soon as he sets the plate down,
dipping it in the melted butter
scraping off the meat with my bottom teeth,
eyes closed, unaware of the butter
making its way down my chin –
you catch it with your finger
and touch it to my lips;
I open my eyes and smile
before returning to tearing off
leaf after leaf after leaf,
dipping, scraping, savoring,
so much work for so little reward,
until finally all that is left
is the heart – so I remove
the fine purple hairs and thorns
and present it to you.
You ask me to remind you
why I never eat the heart
as you dip it in the butter dish.
Because, I say,
it’s too much goodness
in one bite.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This prompt comes from "Poets Oline" ...
Magical thinking is the belief that we can somehow cause something to happen in an unscientific but magical way. It's causal reasoning that mistakes correlation for causation. Whether you consider it superstition, magical thinking, or faith, write a poem about magical thinking.
This is to my son who now has posttraumatic stress syndrome, because during 9/11, he was working near ground zero.
In my Hands
You are churning again
like water above the falls, but
I will hold your head in
my hands--as I once did, when
you were just a foot
and a half long--to conjure up your
courage and shoo away that
current of fury, so you'll
sail out of the radiation zone
of one hypodermic radical barb.
Then, somewhere from the dense
memory of structures coming apart,
you'll arise like a supernatural
creature to hold the world aloft
with your kisses.
Write a poem using road signs inside your poem. The poem need not be about road
|"Dead End" |
from your acid heart,
licking my wounds,
I see them.
Signs, that were
Warning me of your
My beacon to proceed
with caution. Somewhere
near your proclamation
SLIPPERY WHEN WET
Passed this one where
I slid and fell
in love with you.
one final glance
at the map to your heart.
At the entrance, on each side,
the path is littered with
TWO WAY TRAFFIC
DO NOT ENTER
And in bright, neon yellow
the most believable one of all
Next Promt: Write a poem giving personality to a creeping plant, ivy, vine, etc.
|Sorry it took me so long to post |
white stars dazzle
ambrosiac aromas seduce
Ride the wave of waxy green to Xanadu
But don’t ignore me
a trophy to display -
dismissed from your thoughts
when out of sight
For underneath, hidden
cilia dig, scratching
for purchase, dissolving
mortar to expose skeletons
undermining your domain
The damage concealed by shaded sorrow
NEXT PROMPT - Write a Pantoum about a current local event.
Things just don't add up:
a little boy beaten, found in a lake,
no fingerprints on the hammer,
a girl beside her car stalled on the road.
A little boy beaten, found in a lake,
haunting a small town.
A girl beside her car stalled on the road
climbing up into a truck.
Haunting a small town,
all clues are individual snowflakes
climbing up into a truck
when the door opens onto a swirl of wind.
All clues are individual snowflakes
melting before the pattern can be seen.
When the door opens onto a swirl of wind,
no one enters the room.
Before the pattern can be seen--
no fingerprints on the hammer--
no one exits the room.
Things just don't add up.
Write a free verse poem on the theme of being too late for something very important.
I had to admit this one had me a little stumped. I am one of those people who is hardly ever late especially for important things. So I tried to think of a situation of making someone wait.
of felony late, I drift
at an inexorable rate.
My body strains to the horizon
where you hide,
where I fear you die,
not just to the other side of the world –
but to the other side of mortality.
I can imagine you
around a hospital bed,
like impatient feet -
the tapping of the forgiven
ready for salvation.
NEXT PROMPT: Write a letter to someone using free verse
Living so far away
we only see each other
a couple of times a year,
but each time we are together
you look so much older
than the time before --
And yet, you hug me
so tightly it hurts --
and then there is always
that awkward moment
when I let go
a few moments before you,
as if you are afraid
to break the connection.
Maybe it's been like this
since you gave me birth
and the doctor separated us
after nine months together --
me pulling away first
you trying to hold on
just a bit longer.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NEXT PROMPT: Write a poem in which you make an apology to someone without using "I'm sorry" anywhere in the poem.
If I stand now in front of you
as daring as the housefly
on a frog's nose,
it is because I have
not done before
what I ought to have done,
for I am not an angel after all,
and to unwrap a happier tomorrow
from these frigid winter hours,
I would like to rearrange the
timetable of an adverse past
to let a tacit scar fade away
into the dead language of myth,
so we both feel blessed
for the warm wind's promise to transform
my prickly image in your heart.
Next Prompt: Describe an imaginary scene in an abused women's shelter or focus in on one specific subject in such a shelter.
She sat in a white room,
surrounded by toys
She didn't play,
she didn't read,
While her mother
talked to a lady with glasses
and pom-pom hair
as she bobbed her head
She saw her mother's lips move
through the window,
the black bruise on her cheek
that slithered under the door
to dig its nails
into the bruise on her own thigh.
She longed for it to be over.
As she waited
she saw something
she had never seen before...
New Prompt: Write a funny poem about the process of writing!
|I am a writer...|
With pen poised on the point of pontification
wise words of wisdom, witness to my greatness
heralding the hour I will honor history
a declaration of my dynamism, demanding diligent deference
(lots of aphorisms have already been invented you know..)
I stand sit ready
My mind a billboard
(damn, I forgot what I was going to write!)
NEXT PROMPT - enhance an old proverb.
These days I read the obits
wary of heart attacks at 49,
mysterious untold illnesses,
The sun arrives late on a partly cloudy day,
just in time for dinner.
It's praying mantis season.
They are young; they cling
to every screen door in town.
They've no idea what's coming.
I live miles from a man I loved,
briefly, in the spring.
No, I still love him. I yearn for him;
he's a thorn in my side
of beef, the hot sauce on my chicken
fingers; he's my chocolate, my red wine.
What's a virtuous woman to do
with her passion?
I have a beauty mark
on my left breast. Every rose
Here's the prompt:
Put together a series of seemingly random phrases or images, so they hold together somehow as a whole. Could be mood instead of meaning.
This was fun! The five things as chosen by my husband: Alaska, Splenda, FBI, badgers, and tsunami.
A hint of Alaska in the air.
I move glacially, frozen joints
I want to burrow like a badger,
dig into covers, reveling in the paranoia
of those predators that walk about.
Deeply-rooted dreams upended
in a tsunami of coffee crashing
into my brain.
I tap five packets of Splenda
into my cup for a sweeter awake.
The sky becomes rosy.
An FBI application open on my screen.
It's not the only thing that awaits me.
It's one of many things.
NEXT Prompt: Write four rhyming couplets, then link them together using free verse or prose.
|Sorry gang! I've been busy with work and judging the Sr. Mod contest this past week - and now have been sick the past five days - so I'm gonna pass this round so you don't stay stuck on me any longer (it's already been a week). My apologies! Piglet's prompt passes on to Joy. Catch you next time!|
|"Invalid Entry" |
he took his poetry
to the streets
and people smirked
at the man dressed
in a suit
an imagination rife
and a last twitch of life
although he pulled
with sighs and sorrows,
a killer publisher
his book of poems on a bench
in the rain to warp and drench
then he left for good, taking
his jazzy voice
the gusts enhanced gypsy lies
his absence's presence in the eyes
grunting, shouting, intellects sprouting
they remembered him
on his brow as
a man driven
ashes stay as people pass
a sip of spirit in a glass
Write a poem about an image that keeps haunting you. (A member of the family watching TV on the couch, a child skipping, cat on a flagpole, first snow on the lake, hurricane force winds tearing down the street, etc.)
A three-story house of red brick
rises in the field
now flat, harvested, a pale carpet.
When I take the train out of town
I look for it,
long for it, will live in it someday.
When I fail to look up and see it,
or if I am distracted
by the conductor taking my ticket,
I feel the loss of the tall red home
with its ballroom
on the third floor, with its wavy
window glass that will make all
I see a mirage
when finally I stand and look out.
Write about a feeling you keep inside (internal emotion) and do so in a poem that uses only internal rhyme (no end rhyme).
To elaborate on form: The internal rhymes can fall anywhere in the line, and can be slant or true. A word mid-line can even rhyme with a word at the end of a line, as long as the end doesn't rhyme with the end of another line. Therefore, all rhyme is very subtle and might not be noticed by everyone....just the way the emotion is kept inside but might be sensed....