Garden Noir

Editor’s Note: July is sagging to a close. Hot, hot, hot. How is your garden growing? It’s the time when personal lethargy meets the growth spurt of weeds! Here’s another poem from my friend Charles Goodrich, who knows more about gardening that anyone I could name.

This one is a prose poem, very like a journal entry. I love the vigorous language he uses, don’t you?

 Damn. The squashes have crossed again. This one is supposed to be an acorn squash, but it looks like a billy club with warts. How far apart do I have to keep these plants? Some vegetables have no shame. And look at this: tell-tale spots on the tomato leaves. Under my pocket magnifier, pretty yellow rings with dead tissue in the center. Necrosis, caused by who knows what—a virus, a fungus, a mutant pathogen. Probably infectious. Better rip up the whole lot before it spreads to the peppers. Listen, you’ve got to be tough to grow vegetables. Tough, smart, and a little bit mean. Because plants are headstrong and narcissistic, prey to all the sins of the flesh. They’ll strangle each other when you aren’t looking. Make no mistake—in the quest for food, beauty, and truth, a lot of creatures are going to get hurt.


Charles Goodrich


1. While sitting in front of a fan with a glass of something cold right beside you, write a paragraph about ruthless gardening. What would you dig out, pull out, cut out, or whack down if you were fearless and guilt free in the garden?

2. Take a walk around your yard early in the morning or in the evening when the day is cooler. Take note of how mother nature has kept going even in drought, heat, flood, etc. Take an especially good look in an area you don’t usually tend very much (under a bush or in a far corner of the yard). What is happening there?  


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

Categories: Uncategorized

The Wading Pool

Editor’s Note: It’s half-way through summer, and hot almost everywhere. Who could blame you if you pull up a lawn chair and soak your feet in your child’s kiddie pool? Or turn the hose over your own head when you water the garden?

The community pool, the nearby lake, the yard sprinkler, even a long shower seem to beckon us at this time of year. It’s too early to be cynical (that happens in August!), but here’s a poem that does seem to hint at that wilted feeling that will come on soon enough.



The toddlers in their tadpole bodies,

with their squirt guns and snorkels,

their beautiful mommies and inflatable whales,

are still too young to understand

that this is as good as it gets.


Soon they must leave the wading pool

and stand all day at the concession stand

with their hormones and snow cones,

their soul patches and tribal tattoos,

pretending not to notice how beautiful they are,


until they simply can’t stand it

and before you know it

they’re lined up on lawn chairs,

dozing in the noonday sun

with their stretch marks and beer bellies,

their Wall Street Journals and SPF 50.


George Bilgere


1. Do you recognize yourself anywhere in this poem? Write about your associations to splashing in the backyard, hanging out with your friends showing off your suit, or watching others romping in the pool. Try to capture the scents, sounds, and textures of summer.
2. Project yourself 10 years into the future, and imagine yourself near some water hole during the summer heat. What do you feel, observe, imagine?
3. Freeze a moment in time where you were playing in water and loving it. Breathe deeply into the memory, and write for at least 10 minutes about how you felt then. If you wish, you can combine several memories into one and write as if they happened in the same space of time.

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

Categories: Uncategorized

Superhero Sends a Letter Home

Editor’s Note: After much activity, I am resting a bit. Feeling silly. Feeling light-hearted. What  a wonderful word: “Lighthearted.”  I hope you take time to experience a bit of giddiness now and then.

Begin by reading the following poem! (With thanks to my friend Susan deWardt, who first shared this with me. I’m sorry I do not know the poet’s identify).

Dear Mum,
Things haven’t been too good just lately
Speeding bullets overtake me
My dizzy spells and fear of heights
Inconvenience all my flights.
The purple tights you sent at last
Have given me a nasty rash.
X-ray vision’s not all it seems
I’m sick of seeing bones and spleens.
My tinnitus is getting worse
The seams upon my trunks have burst.
I’ve got an aching in my head
I’m out of breath getting out of bed
To top it all the yoghurt stains
In my satin cloak remain.
My love life hit a downward whirl
I’m no longer seeing Dandruff Girl.
She’s gone off with Ali Tosis
The Bad Breath Boy who smells the mostest.
I’m scared of going out at night
I run away when I should fight.
So as you see things could be better
But not much worse as I end this letter.
My super powers are minus zero
Your loving son,
A Failing Hero

Author Unknown

1. Write a letter in response to this ailing Superhero, from his Mother. 
2. Compose a poem about the superpowers you would like to possess.
3. Write the directions for getting yogurt stains out of a satin cloak. Be very specific!

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

Categories: Uncategorized