Poetry Prompt: Reveal Something Without a Narrative

Sage CohenPoetry prompt, The life poetic3 Comments

My invitation today is to say something without actually saying it. To reveal something through a series of images, rhythms, and sounds that give us more of an experience of, or a feeling about, what happened rather than the actual facts, events and story line. The following questions are designed to help you get loose and wander into a scene or two in which you might want to include your reader.

* * * * *

How do you pray? If you don’t pray, what do you do instead – and how do you do it?

What should you have done?

What can a person die of?

What surrounds your house? How does it protect you or not?

Who left you?

How did they do it? What did their face look like as they left?

What were they moving toward, instead?

What do you want to say to God about this departure?

What do you want to say to the person who left?

Where did it leave you? Doing what?

* * * * *

Solar Wind

By Larissa Szporluk

I don’t pray.
I just walk out there
where it’s thin
with my bow and aim.

But I should have yelled.
I should have changed the world.

A person can die of balance,
just gleam like squid
and disappear.

The fence around our house
is soft with rain.
It can’t stop my arrows.
It can’t stop

what wants to happen,
the meteors I hear, power lines
blowing from the mountain,

or the girl somewhere
who reads you,
whose skin has memorized your life.
Nothing stops her fingers;
they swim with you at night.

Leave if you’re leaving.
Leave plain mud.

I don’t know what else
is on your beard.
It would be mercy, God.

I grow weird in the field.

* * * * *

I admire how this poem seems to be making simple statements, without much fancy language or fanfare, and yet the statements don’t tell us one, particular thing. Instead, they open up a field of possibility, take us somewhere felt, offer a string of images to make our own. Toward the end, a sense of narrative starts to take shape. But, still there is plenty of room for the reader to make this poem our own. And I just love that strange last line, which seems like it shouldn’t work, but somehow does.

3 Comments on “Poetry Prompt: Reveal Something Without a Narrative”

  1. No Answers

    Where did you go
    when you left us
    so unexpectedly
    and did you know
    you were leaving
    did you mean to go so swiftly
    and if so
    at what moment
    did you realize
    you were among the missing?

    And did you know when you
    were leaving you were going
    we’d spend months grieving
    and mending
    while tending to one another?

  2. I was having trouble with a poem, trying to use a narrative format, and your post gave me a new way to write it. Thanks!

  3. Kim, I’m intrigued by the circular proof of: at what moment / did you realize / you were among the missing? Lovely — thanks so much for sharing this here.

    and hm, hooray for a new way forward.

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