Poetry For Prose

Have you ever given writing poetry a try?

Back in my pre-teen days I was really fond of writing song parodies (I blame Mad Magazine) and over the years, I’ve continued to write what I laughingly call poetry and song lyrics. I even had one of them made into a song, but then the composer changed it so much only the ‘hook’ was still recognizable as mine. I write haiku in both traditional (referencing the season obliquely) and non-traditional ways, dirty limericks (I won a contest once!), but often my poetry is an outgrowth of a line that came to me and demanded to be built upon (or around).

I’m not a good poet.

I was a pre-law major (with a minor in history) at uni and never took an advanced literature class. All I know about constructing poetry is what I have read on my own and I couldn’t tell a sonnet from a trimeric if my cliché depended on it.

But I still write poetry and for reasons other than because I want to.

I also do it because it’s a great exercise in humility -going through the process of writing a poem is eye-opening. Maybe like the first time you tried a short story and found the form is actually harder than writing a novel. Since most poems are shorter than a short story, your ability to edit really gets a work out. For another thing, writing poetry has taught me a lot about struggling to find just the right word and just the right phrase. And it’s taught me about brevity (mind you, I may not have learned this lesson well). Poetry gives great lessons in rhythm and precision. If you’ve never given it a try, think about doing so. In the meantime, read some poetry. It’s good stuff.

My Work In Progress

Here’s something I wrote in response to a challenge from a poet on #LitChat. I’m still working on it, so constructive critique is welcome:


At the park I sink down,
My head on my arm
Sunlight searing through me
Will to lose feeling
Food for ants
and roly-poly bugs

Dandelions will pierce
the brittle cloth of my shirt
sowing their seeds for future outrage
on desiccated flesh

I will be a temporary stain
a yellowed shadow on the green
person-shaped and worthy of remark
at last

Be still…



The grass is irritating

Indifferent teeth bite
without eating

Death denied mundanely through an itch

Sitting up I see,
though crushed
they wounded
Victory through defeat

No dandelions for me

I leave the park
carrying the marks of blades

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