You know what’s great about writing prompts? On those days when you’re feeling uninspired but you want to write, they’re there for you. On days when you want to get your writing practice in but don’t particularly feel like writing, they’re there for you. Writing prompts give you a little push to kick-start a writing session, making it easier to face the ever-dreaded blank page.
I adore poetry. When I first started writing on my own, I wrote poems. The creative freedom and elusive nature of poetry captivated me, and as a music lover, I felt that writing poetry was similar to writing songs. Plus, poetry was a great way to capture and express my thoughts and feelings.
Over the years, I’ve learned that poetry is an excellent way to enrich one’s writing. Whether you’re a copywriter, storyteller, or blogger, the skills acquired through the study and practice of poetry writing will give your work flair and personality.
But where to start?
Poetry prompts are a great way to spark your creativity, and sometimes they inspire a truly wonderful piece of poetry.
Five Poetry Prompts
There are lots of different kinds of poetry prompts. Today’s prompts are word prompts.
I chose a few poems I’ve written over the years and selected five words from each poem. I thought it would be fun to take apart my art and then send pieces of it out like invitations or building blocks and see what other people would do with them.
It’s simple: you choose a list of words and then use all the words in that list to write a poem. Of course, one poem with all the words from all the lists would be fantastic! Any combination will do, really, so pluck the words from the lists below at will and use them in a poem.
|Poetry Prompts #1||Poetry Prompts #2||Poetry Prompts #3||Poetry Prompts #4||Poetry Prompts #5|
Do you ever use writing prompts for ideas and inspiration? Do you use them for writing practice? Did any of these poetry prompts inspire you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing poetry.
You do not strike me as before
Your touch is cold steel
I try to pull fragments of truth out from your eyes
Only to find endless depths of deception
You are simply an imitation of the
Man I fell in love with
I must now chisel my heart
From your hands
Saving what is left of it
For my theory of true love
-Tanya Pyle 1/04/08
Nice, Tanya! I especially like the following:
“You are simply an imitation of the / Man I fell in love with”
I love these sorts of challenges. Any chance you’d consider making poetry exercises a regular feature? I’ve allowed my poetry to lapse as well, this is the first since October and they were sporadic before then too. 🙁 I would love to get back into writing poetry regularly but like you found my priorities turning elsewhere. A regular challenge could be the kick needed to keep producing despite our busy lives.
Anyway, here is my result. I’m into heaping the challenge so instead of picking one list, I used them all and was very surprised with the direction it went. 🙂 What do you think?
Children of War
Hidden in a prison of steel,
broken glass mirroring the darkness,
dankness, destruction, are shallow graves
built to house bones of ash death,
and wisps of children, clothed in famine
and washed in dirt. They shiver in the shadows;
chameleons within the chiseled rock,
crumbled stone, and shards of lives.
Memories collide with the din of distant thunder.
Casting off the shackles of youth
they pull about them, the shrouds of manhood;
an imitation born from the womb of survival.
But in the hazardous dreamtime, they cling,
with hungry glass eyes open,
to slippery fantasies
of dandelion fields in the summer.
They fear the boom, the clang, the metal teeth,
that heralds the moving dead-line, the only escape,
and sing silent songs in a woven tapestry
of light and laughter long forgotten;
saving raw throats for their most tortured gasps.
Sitting on the cold hard floors of institutionalization
they are nothing more than a theory,
the committed, a mind lost before the soul.
Wow, Rebecca! What a vivid piece. I especially love the lines:
“But in the hazardous dreamtime, they cling”
“…the boom, the clang, the metal teeth”
You’ve made me long for a poetry workshop. I used to get great enjoyment from them, and they sure helped me improve my poetry!
I like what I read here. If I gather my courage, I’ll be back to participate.
Thank you for putting this site up.
Thanks, Tom! I hope you come back and participate. Keep writing!
Well I just found this because I searched for poetry prompts to get writing again too! So this may be a little late but…here’s mine.
The sounds that I hear
Paint a tapestry in my mind.
My eyes, though they are closed
Every motion sings out
Shouts to be heard.
Nothing is missed.
Though to some
all sound seems a din
and all noise simply
in plain sight.
I go unnoticed
as I paint
Hi Christie, Aren’t poetry prompts helpful? When I want to write a poem but don’t feel very inspired, I often use prompts and writing exercises to get going. You did a good job on this piece; it has a really soft, gentle cadence. I’ll have to get more prompts and poetry exercises up on the site soon. Thanks!
I would greatly appreciate any writing prompts that you have! So far I can’t find any really good websites. Most of them are too easy, such as “write a poem about your first pet” etc. etc. I like challenging ones such as your prompts better. They kind of get my thoughts going, and let me spend a bit more time. Thanks!
I’ve made a note to do poetry prompts for the next writing exercise, which should go live this Friday or next. I’ll try to make them nice and challenging too.
I finished the next batch of poetry prompts. They’ll go live early tomorrow. Hope you enjoy them!
This is supposed to be centered but I couldn’t do that here. It reads better. 🙂
She tiptoes to the study,
quietly closing the door,
ready to writes people’s lives,
just like she has before.
Some call it “dishing dirt”,
others, “lowering the boom”,
but either way it is truth.
She gets paid only
if the deadline is made.
She taps out shallow promises
and uncovers the powerful
by telling how they abuse
their power, then makes it news.
It’s important to hurry
before the children rise.
After all, she’s only a mom,
in their eyes.
So she wraps it
all up neatly and ends
with a smile, and sighs softly,
As she finally hits, “send”.
Hi SKingrey. I like your poem very much. You’ve managed to convey a sense of secrecy and create a strong image of the narrator’s life (or two lives?). Nice work!
Thanks. I love prompts but I can’t get the hang of what’s good and what’s drivel. .Thank you for the opportunity.
With a little practice, the good will separate from the drivel. Reading a lot can also help with that.
To the children of Uganda
a deadline is a line
that can’t be crossed –
if you do, you’re shot dead.
It has nothing to do with time.
To the children of Uganda, boom
boom is the sound of war
The repeated sound a gun makes –
not a box that plays loud music.
The disposable children
of Uganda lie in shallow graves
tucked under gritty blankets
of blood and dirt.
A sound piece of work, BTownsend. You could probably get this poem published!
Thank you for your kind words.
She stood in the doorway
casting a glance
the darkened room,
hoping not to find him.
But there he was,
the slippery chameleon,
at the end of the bar
draped all over
his inconsistent lives
Right in front of her eyes,
a bitter end
to a sweet fantasy.
Lovely! My favorite stanza is the second one, and I especially like the lines “his inconsistent lives / changing colors.”
Lift one thread in this tapestry
of life and everything
comes with it. The eye
of the hurricane is not blotted
out by the din of the wind,
they do not collide.
Every night the moon sings
the sun to sleep.
That closing line is beautiful!
Kids for Kids
In her rear view mirror,
their emaciated bodies faded
from sight, but the face of famine
and terror was etched in her memory.
She vowed to return to Darfur
and do something
when no one else would;
but she didn’t leave home alone,
Ahead of her, the southwest wind
blew dandelion wishes
from the children of the UK
to the children of Darfur.
Patricia brought things more tangible:
goats and crossbred donkeys,
carts and handpumps,
Baobab seeds and ploughs.
When Patricia returned to Darfur,
the whole world followed.
Another wonderful piece. I love poetry that deals with social, political, religious, and humanitarian issues. Nice job!
Chisel away each thought.
Steel yourself against theory
in favor of direct experience
only. Accept no imitation.
Sift through every experience
in favor of truth-saving only.
I love short poems! Thanks for sharing this.
I used all five prompts and created set of poems I titled “Verses in an Empty Travel Guide.” They came out quite nice. I’ll post two here.
I’ve been told
I won’t argue with those
who don’t speak to mirrors
Or who don’t butter both
sides of their toast.
Not a single dandelion grows
out of my palm
since the day I was committed.
And Earth’s famine (mankind) gives me
View this tapestry:
A young man’s metal god
drinks to the health of
the molten core.
Unaware, he sings a din
while violins revolt
and set his piano on fire.
That is what catches the eye.
Wow, these are great, Brian. Thank you so much for sharing them here. I hope you’ll come back with more. I especially love the ending” “That is what catches the eye.” My favorite poem endings are ones that make you think and visualize an image. Awesome.
Five Poetry Prompts
Mirror of my Past
Standing in a dandelion field,
With my eyes upon him, my heart did yield.
If only a hazardous sign had been erected,
Maybe my heart wouldn’t have been rejected.
The famine for passion I felt inside,
Set me up for a rollercoaster ride.
As I look into the mirror of my past,
I see love committed that would never last.
Nice job, Patsy. Thank you for sharing your poem with us.
I really like this poetry prompts feature–hope it continues.
I’m working on a new one right now!
I’m going for poetry prompt #4 here. I’m improvising at a library terminal so regard in a charitable spirit, as it were. Here goes…..
I’m a chameleon
oh yes I am
this colour and that
twisting in your long fingers
weaving in and out
slipping and insinuating
knowing the touch
of your skin
our lives stand
in contrapuntal relation
oh no…it’s a fugue!
sound but no echo
we just intertwine
curl up and down
and all around
so much pleasure
there ought to be a
law against it
oh darling touch! touch!
and if all this
seems a fantasy
well, permit me to add
and you’ll see
just how much
I love you
we’ll both change colours
and sprinkle this
sprays of brightness
counterpoints of colour
and when our
our tongues will
at each other…..
(Greg Cameron, Poem, December, 2010, Surrey, B.C., Canada…with a flick of the tongue!)
Nice! I’m glad these prompts inspired you to write a piece of poetry!
(I’m going for poetry prompt #2 – I’m tired so don’t expect too much)
Every Mirror Cracked
how can you look in the mirror?
outside the sky is falling
the sun prepares to explode
introspection is a hazarous activity
news of the world –
another famine, another genocide
leaves lick the wind
dandelion seeds scatter
clouds try to get away
waters turn to blood
white turns black
the whole thing threatens
to screech to a halt
everything depends on you
glance at the clock
your dog paws at the window
drops of moisture start to
run down the wall
you remain committed
to the cause
hopeful everything can be
salvation is but
a click away
and when you press
everything goes up
(Greg Cameron, Poem/Improvisation, December, 2010, Surrey, B.C., Canada)
Hi Greg. That’s excellent. I love the ending: “salvation is but / a click away.”
Ths is one of the best writing-prompts websites l’ve found in a fair while, so firstly: thanks for that!
Although the original lot of resposnes to the set of poetry prompts have been done and considered some time ago, I’d like to offer this one I did today, for #4 -that included words ‘chameleon’, ‘slippery’ etc:
A wizard’s chameleon
A wizard’s chameleon keeps a tight grip
on its slippery branch,
considering its next prey
while the robed figure in the study
practises casting spells that might or might not affect other lives –
the wizard is not as strong with his magic
as his reptile is at keeping its grip.
Thank you, Tim. There are plenty more writing prompts coming. And thank you for sharing your poem. You did a great job!
Hello, thank you for your wonderful poetry tips. I am deeply illuminated by this.
I know it’s far late when i found these prompts but thought it well to try them anyway.
We’re never sure if we are ever late, are we?
See what result i got!
THEORY OF BEFALL
The scorching sun
On ebbing savanna lives
As steel pair
Of axial arrow dart,
Its chisel tongue
Piercing the hot air
One kind and its other
Flow side by side
Like meanderless serpents
With wide lips
Loaded to brim
With vendible venom
As of trained needles,
They collide with their deadline.
The lone living mass yells
Committed to gravity touch
High head first
Bottom bossom last.
Hush rush ushered in
In a rigid cage
With a pair of live balloons
Their booms a din,
Of angered doldrum
Fatigued feeble eyes
Grobe in shallow sockets
Peering at looming deadline
Casting hops of hope
On dry dirt
In thirsty river-bed.
Fearless face of famine,
In the competetive jungle
Grimace at aidless creation.
From track of harmonics
Hugging hazardous fate,
A final thread
Of tapestry of being
Pulled at last.
Of jungle’s expirience
Dangle a head,
In a flash of film,
That, slippery edge;
Glad dancing dandelions
Cheerful singing children
Chameleon like sky;
Emerge from a saving,
That coccoon of spaceless realm.
At smileless soul,
The last of its specie;
Of old home
Who so designed,
The theory of befall
Even before its time!
Good work; I get a distinct sense of the setting in this piece. Thanks for sharing it!
Uniform rows of grey trousers
devoid of dirt
flap in the breeze
As the laundry deadline looms
My children see cleanliness as a challenge
something to be tackled head on
or maybe jump in with both feet
preferably into a shallow mud puddle
Thanks for sharing your poem, Sonia.
Great prompts Melissa
Across the lawn moves to pounce
Ebony feathers presented to shine
Blackbird- beak precise as a drill
Unearthed the buried treasure
Lifts to hold and gulp
Appears as a skein of wool
Down the gullet slides the worm
A look of ” gotcha’ from that squirm.
Thank you for sharing your poem. I’m so glad these prompts inspired you!
The children’s eyes as hard as steel,
Looked in the mirror casting deadlines that were real.
The hazardous tapestry of theory and fantasy collided with famine.
Seems like the end, shallow, not saving.
They were not something that came from chisel-their lives could not be drawn with a number two pencil
They play with imitation dandelions while the chameleon sings
and prepare for a flight, with undeveloped wings.
A slippery slope of right and wrong
Where have all the children gone?
Dirt to din
Boom they are gone.
It’s so fun to see how many different poems can come from these prompts. Thanks for sharing yours, Tammy.
As chameleons our lives
Slippery and as a tapestry
Weaved into patterns
The eye swivelling around the vista
At times collide
A loud boom echos reminds us
Of imitation, fantasy that gets
In the way of the truth
Thoughts sing songs of our ideas
We are the story tellers of our fate.
Thank you for sharing your poem. It’s wonderful to see what people make out of these word prompts!