Doing Words

dictionaries sThere’s often poetry in simple tasks – or in the telling of them.

So today’s writing prompt is for you to write about something you can do, a skill you have – and turn it into a poem.

So what can you do that might make a poem? It doesn’t have to be anything too wild and imaginative, just something you know how to do. And it doesn’t have to be something you do well, the process is what is of interest here.

It might be how you bake bread, chew tobacco, train your dog to do tricks, name stars in the night sky, catch exotic butterflies in the jungle, swim in the ocean, wash the dishes after dinner.

Think about how you might explain this activity to your reader. Is it something you are obliged to do through feelings of love, respect, duty, or for work? Or is this for pleasure, something you do for fun, for comfort or entertainment? Is it something you’ve tried and failed? Something you keep on doing, regardless of success or failure?

If you really can’t think of something you can do, try to think of something done by someone close to you. Go into detail.

Start with a list of words associated with your task – you can use jargon here, find words with music in them to tell your story in a poetic way. The trick is to link the words in such a way as to create imagery which will intrigue and delight your readers.  

Of course, there’s an opportunity here to use your activity as a metaphor for something else. Just who are you punching as you knead that bread dough? Hmmm…

As always, try to use the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.

Listen to the rhythm (and rhyme if you like). Be sure to read your efforts aloud. The voice in your head isn’t the same as the one which speaks out loud.

When you’re done, and looking for a home for your new poem, check out Poetry Ireland’s website which lists poetry competitions and literary magazines submission opportunities here. But please don’t be satisfied with the first draft of any writing. I don’t care who you are, there’s always room for improvement.

 *This is the 66th new creative writing prompt in a series which began in March 2020 as a Lockdown project for my creative writing groups. Every Wednesday afternoon at 5pm (Dublin time) I post an idea to kick-start new writing, such as short stories, flash fiction, poetry, memoir and creative non-fiction. Originally, I created 42 daily prompts and exercises, with a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It began here. Now, the prompts are weekly.