Monday, 30 July 2012

How To Write A Poem when you are stuck for ideas.

I have stalled a little in my quest to write a poem-a-day. So as I was browsing the internet I tried to find if there were other poets out there doing the same kind of thing. Several sites had challenges to write a poem-a-day for poetry month (April), and these usually supplied prompts for each of the days of the challenge. Unsure wether ti force myself to get started again by using some of these prompts. So far I have let a subject arise as inspiration strikes, I think it may well be more difficult to write to someone else's prompt but may give it a try just  to see how it works.

examples are:-

30 day challenge to write a poem a day, with prompts

Poetic Asides, on Writer's Digest has a similar project

Creative Writing Now has hundreds of prompts

I will let you know how I get on.

A site I have found which is aimed at blogging poets is Poets  United which has a directory of many sites with weekly or daily prompts for poetry. I should always have enough ideas with this collection. There are also many other good sections to this site and I will be taking some time to  make sure I become familiar with them all.

There is a list of 12 steps on WikiHow to help with writing poetry, including how to spark ideas.

Hopefully more new poems for the next post.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

New poems, The Thursday Bus and A Water Fountain

I am posting new poems here (of course) and also on Squidoo, A poem every day explains the project and why I started it but also has a few new poems which are not to be found on this blog. THis is because of the need to minimise the same text on different sites which Google does not like.

There are two new poems in this post, the first is another which came about because of a dearth of ideas -however I think it has actually come out very well. This was one where I wrote out the structure (the main ideas) without considering the poetry. The editing later brought the poetry into existence. This is not my usual way of working and happened because I wrote it walking from the bus stp to my home, a walk of about 20 minutes. I would never have remembered the ideas if I had not noted them down in my handy notebook. It has been through several edits so far and may under go more, but here it is as it exists at the moment.


Every Thursday without fail
I catch a bus at eight;
Unless the bus is not on time
And then I have to wait

When I board the Thursday Bus
I always see this man;
Born in the Caribbean,
He’s far older than I am.

We nod and greet each other
Because we share the bus,
And for a few short minutes
Are friends, the two of us.

The differences are obvious
Nationality and years,
But one more differential,
A belief in god he wears.

I’ve never understood the need
Although sometimes I’ve tried
To believe in something greater,
 A supernatural guide.

He sees his Lord in everything
So should I envy him?
For old and poor, or so it seems,
He wears such pride within.

In the little time I see him
He seems to be fulfilled.
A wonderful achievement
To be so strongly-willed.

The Thursday Bus soon stops for me
I leave him on his own.
His journey takes him far away
On the Thursday Bus alone.
As the poem says, Returning home from work on a Thursday, I have to catch a bus and I always meet this old, West Indian gentleman. We make small talk to pass the time and he often brings Jesus into the conversation. I only travel a few stops before alighting and leaving him to travel on.

The second poem  was inspired by a photograph I took whilst on a weekend trip to Yeovil, Somerset. Seen at Lytes – Cary Manor. Somehow the poem doesn’t seem to be finished, I may yet come back to it complete the piece.

On Seeing A Water Fountain
Water bubbling from an urn
Falling in an arc returns
To the pool from whence it came.

Splashing on it’s joyful way
Wets the statue in it’s way
Singing as it finds its home.

Such a peaceful, calming sound
Glad am I to be around
That fountain calling to me.

Water pumped from holding pool
Sprays the air and makes it cool
Offering tranquillity.

The days at peace, so am I
Watching water from so high
Cascade tinkling down again.

From that urn held up so tight
Stony grip maintains the height
Water falls like silv’ry rain
Playful in it’s merry game.

Addendum: I have decided that the third line in the three line verses, should be two syllables longer. Just found that this helped to make the whole poem flow better. I will be editing and reposting in my next post. Simply shows my writing procedure, if it doesn't work then alter it.

Friday, 20 July 2012

New Poems; A Poem and Nearly Roused To Action

Well the project is faltering but I have had a very busy and difficult time at home.

But here is my answer:-

A Poem

To write a poem about a poem
Almost seems incestuous
But right now I need a subject,
It’s really quite innocuous.

I gave myself a challenge
Write a poem every day.
At first it seemed quite easy
But today, who knows, OK.

Where to start? I need a theme
That I can write about
And then consider what to say
Make it novel so it stands out.

The first line is the hardest
And then others follow on,
The rhymes provide ideas
Until the game is won.

So please excuse this subject
I‘ve struggled for so long;
I’ll write a poem about a poem
It’s really not so wrong.

Well the poem says it all. I have gone a few days without writing anything (or at least anything poetical) and needed to end the dry run. Why not write about the difficulty I have been having. This was the result. It certainly seemed to work since the next poem came in the afternoon. There were quite a few changes as I wrote it and again when I typed it up, but that is to be expected. Hopefully the continual editing is beneficial.

The second piece today:-

Nearly Roused To Action

Nocturnal cries
Eternal sighs,
Dark nightly sobbing.

Unknown sad song
Who knows what wrong
Has been committed?

In the distance,
Some disturbance
Rends the quiet calm.

Should I worry?
What can I do?
Just raise an alarm?

Another witness
To this sign of distress
Will surely make that call.

Safely in bed
Hey, sleepy head;
Pull the covers up!

Not sure where this one came from. I had been reading some “abstract” poems on the internet and thinking about pairs of words which sounded good together. The first lines came together very quickly but I did not plan anything. In fact after the third verse, I completely changed the direction of the poem. Not sure if I like it but it certainly makes me think, “What would I do?”

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Poem Written At The End Of the Day

I am writing poems for my poem-a-day project faster than I am posting them to this blog, I am not sure if this is a bad thing. The blog is really to give me a place to record my progress on the project rather than publish the poetry. For instance, I am posting on Squidoo and on that site I would be penalised for posting elsewhere. So at least some of the poems will be kept for that site. I have just written a lens (=a web article) which outlines this project and gives snippets of some of the poems posted here but it will also contain some of my "better" poems, my personal favourites. So if you would like to see what I consider my best work please pay a visit to that site. It is originally posted with one new poem but I will be adding more as time passes.

For this post, I am including a poem which I wrote whilst sitting in my garden during a lull in the rain which we have been seeing this awfully wet summer. The sun was going down, everything was quite peaceful (no mowers or other garden sounds) just the sound of birds at the end of the day.

Evening Promise

A sound of flapping wings
As birds are settling down
Dusk is fast approaching
And the world is calm

Light fades and birds call
Evening comes for nature’s rest    
I sit and I listen
And the world is at peace

Clouds are floating by
No rain tonight it seems
I will take my nightly rest
And resting offers dreams

Dreams of times long since gone
Confusion creates awe
But with the coming, morning light
Like birds my hopes will soar
 The image was taken quite a time ago and is only used here to illustrate the poem.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A poem-a-day project update.

Just had to make this quick post, to keep up the new impetus. I have been away for a short break and although I anticipated several new poems, things did not work out as I hoped.

The weather in the UK has been WET for the past few weeks and the past few days have been no excepetion. I think we were luckier than many parts of the UKand did see some sun but one road between our hotel and the nearest large town was closed down because of flooding, when the local river burst its banks.

Anyway, I added another short snippet to a poem which I posted on this blog a few posts ago. Let me remind you of it.

21st June


It’s raining again, oh goody!
They told us we were short of water
And to use a hose was out of order.
In case of use a fine would follow
But now that’s sounding rather hollow.
It’s raining again, oh goody!
Well I just had to make a response to this, ahem, little gem. And here it is:-

6th July

Enough Already!
It's wet enough,
It's not as if we need yet more.
But there is one thing
That I have to say,
Beware of what you're wishing for.

OK, back to reality next time. The project is on again after the holiday. And yes despite the rain we did enjoy ourselves. Expect a poem about Glastonbury, The Tor and/or The Chalice Well. Glastonbury has a very long history associated with Authurian legends and I am sure there will be much to write about this lovely and magical town.

There, I have listed a few subjects. No excuses not to write the poems. Be back soon.

Monday, 2 July 2012

New Poems: The Artist's Role & Buddist Chant

Back in quickly to post two more of my daily poems. Not sure that I would rate any of these as world beaters but it is beginning to be easier to start writing on different subjects. Today, I focus on artists and buddhists. Also I am developing a process or/and a routine which I am sure will benefit me in the days (months ?) to come. I would love to know what you think of them, and look forward to any criticsm in your comments.

The images are often of the subject of the poem but the monk was selected rather than the cover of the CD I was listening to at the time.

26th June

 The Artist’s RĂ´le 
Abstract abstraction
Collage perfection,
From imperfect parts
To a meaningful whole.

Textures contrasting
Directional casting,
Calm and contentment
The artists true goal.

A skilful creation
By well practiced action.
A bold affirmation
Of the artist’s proud ole

A colourful flourish
But never too garish.
Artistic appraisal?
It’s food for the soul.

 This is one of two pictures hanging on a hotel wall by the same artist. I enjoy creating collages and rather liked these works. What better way of celebrating them than to write my next poem on the subject of art.

 I found this more difficult to write because I had actually chosen a subject this time. Lots of editing and rewriting but eventually arriving at something I can live with.

In trying to find a rhyme with “whole” in the first verse, I actually found lots of possibilities and decided to make this a feature of the poem. I used a rhyme on the last line of each verse. A different rhyming form for me but one I think works quite well.

27th June

A Better Life

Shining sounds
Of people singing
Clashing gongs
And bells a-ringing.
Some far off temple
Mystic views
A world of fable.

Holy monks
Will chant and raise 
Voices aloud
In simple praise,
To their God
Whose all forgiving
Will reward them all.

Alternative last line for this poem:-

“Their reward will bring”

The song came to mind whilst driving back from a short break; my wife had put on a CD of Buddhist Chants and this set off a few thoughts which I completed after the journey.

I will be saying more about my process in the very near future, although I may well be writing a Squidoo lens (=article). I will be posting  the  link on here though.