Poetry Prompt

About poetry prompts

Who is your audience?

We speak in a different tone of voice if addressing our mother, a child, a close friend, or a pet. Having a specific audience member in mind can tailor the tone of the poem and make it more intimate.  For the reader, it can feel like eavesdropping on a private conversation or reading someone else’s mail— and who isn’t tempted by that?                                                                                                                                                   Write a poem to someone or something specific. Are you addressing a carpet snake, your favourite chair, a long lost friend or even an aspect of yourself? What do you want to say to them?

It could take the form of an ode- ( praise poem) or a complaint.
It might be tongue-in-cheek or evoke a deep pathos.
See poems by Pablo Neruda — ie; A Lemon, Artichoke, Ode to a Piano.
Or Billy Collins’ — To My Patron.

Here’s one of mine….

To Failure

Failure, you were unwelcome in my parent’s home.
I was not allowed
to play with you and
if you happened to show up,
I blushed and looked away.

Like the irreversible scald
of hot tea down the throat, I have never forgotten
a single wrong answer or mistake.
You strode red across my pages of uneven script,
you were all the balls
I couldn’t catch, the cheerleading squad I didn’t make,
my tongue-tied response to boys.

I was an expert at ignoring you,
turning my back, pretending I couldn’t feel
the smoke of your breath on my neck.

Then I fell in love and married
a man who dallied with you,
who danced with you
until both were consumed
by flame and burnt to a fine ash.
He rose time and again
out of your powdery womb.

I was jealous.
Secretly, I began to flirt with you. Little slips at first,
unanswered phone calls, forgotten bills.
Then books unpublished,
projects scrapped, foolhardy investments,
crashed car, crashed marriage.
I thought everyone would hate me
if I associated with you, but found
some even liked me better
for my slumming.

Failure, I can no longer deny you.
We are uneasy
partners, fickle perhaps,
but intimates just the same.

Laura Jan Shore, from Breathworks, Dangerously Poetic Press

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