Spring

To what purpose, April, do you return again?

Beauty is not enough.

You can no longer quiet me with the redness

Of little leaves opening stickily.

I know what I know.

The sun is hot on my neck as I observe

The spikes of crocus.

The smell of the earth is good.

It is apparent that there is no death.

But what does that signify?

Not only under ground are the brains of men

Eaten by maggots.

Life in itself

Is nothing,

An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.

It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,

April

Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

 

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

WRITING PROMPTS:

1. What “purpose” does April serve for you? 

2. How does the world around you this week appear like “an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers?”

3. Write a poem called “I Know What I Know.” Mention a color, a smell, a texture, a sound and use at least one key word three times.

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.
Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

i thank You God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any — lifted from the no
of all nothing — human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

© E. E. Cummings from 100 Selected Poems, 1994

 

WRITING PROMPTS:

1. Wake up the ears of your ears, and open the eyes of your eyes. Write about what you hear and see today.

2. Begin a poem with the phrase “I thank You God for most this amazing . . .” and play with what comes. Throw in a  color, a scent, a few words from a long-remembered song. Let your joyful memories take you on a sweeping ride across the page.

3. Write a praise poem to things you love about spring. You might make it in the form of a list [for example: “I am waiting to praise tulips with their welcoming cups open to the singing sun” . . . .]

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.
Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.

There is no happiness like mine.

I have been eating poetry.

 

The librarian does not believe what she sees.

Her eyes are sad

and she walks with her hands in her dress.

 

The poems are gone.

The light is dim.

The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

 

Their eyeballs roll,

their blond legs burn like brush.

The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

 

She does not understand.

When I get on my knees and lick her hand,

she screams.

 

I am a new man.

I snarl at her and bark.

I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

 

©Mark Strand, “Eating Poetry” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand. 

WRITING PROMPTS:

1. How do you eat poetry? Do you nibble or glut? Do you ration yourself, or eat until your belly is full? How does poetry effect you? Does it drip out of the corners of your mouth? Does it ring in your ears? Does it buzz like a hive of honey bees? Write about how you feel after a good taste of your favorite poems

2. Write a portrait of a librarian who has come across someone eating poetry in his or her library.

3. Visit your own public library and browse among the poetry books there. Find one delicious enough to sample, perhaps even take home for dessert.

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.
Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

List Poem of Preferences

I prefer laughter and lusty appreciation of life’s vicissitudes.
I prefer roguish men of great humor and gentle spirit.
I prefer life’s fullness, whatever the consequences.
I prefer music that moves me, whatever the genre.
I prefer touching people and being touched.
I prefer life without jealousy and envy.
I prefer imagination to stagnation.
I prefer love without reservation.
I prefer experience to dreams.
I prefer sunsets over water.
I prefer my love of living.
I prefer art from my soul.
I prefer curiosity to fear.
I prefer grandchildren.
I prefer reaching.
I prefer animals.
I prefer change.
I prefer water.
I prefer spirit.
I prefer stars.
I prefer me.

©Marthalynne Webb

Writing Prompts:

1. Years ago I shared this poem with someone who wrote back her own list, beginning: “I prefer things with things in them: chocolate chip cookies, birthday gift boxes. . . .” What do you prefer? Remember what you are preferring to, whether you mention it or not.

2. Write a response to this poet, telling her why you agree or disagree with at least one of her preferences.

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.

Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

Help

Help is strangely, something we want to do without, as if the very idea disturbs and blurs the boundaries of our individual endeavors, as if we cannot face how much we need in order to go on. We are born with an absolute necessity for help, grow well only with a continuous succession of extended hands, and as adults depend upon others for our further successes and possibilities in life even as competent individuals. Even the most solitary writer needs a reader, the most Machiavellian mobster a trusted lieutenant, the most independent candidate, a voter. . . .

- David Whyte

WRITING PROMPTS:
1. How do you feel about asking for, and receiving, help from others? When did you last ask for help, and from whom? And did you get what you needed?

2. Who do you turn to for help? Have you ever received help from a completely unexpected source?

3. Who can you think of today that might need your help? How will you offer it? 

4. Are you equally comfortable asking for AND giving help?

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.

Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized