Poetry Challenge #91: Words! Words! Words!

Words! Words! Words!

I’m so sick of words!

I hear words all day through/first from him, now from you/is that all you blighters can do?*

YES, Eliza! The answer is unequivocally, unapologetically, YES!—so on to the Challenge:

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Poetry Challenge #91

A Few of My Favorite Words

Do you have favorite words?  If you do, pause right now and jot them down.  

I love to collect words I hear or read that are unfamiliar or that have an interesting sound. I try to remember to write them down to use another day. As you go through your day, pay attention to words that you like the sound or meaning of. Write them down! Save them! 

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A few I like are: Lilliputian, grommet, butterfly, whimsical, and gumption. 

Think of five of your favorite words and write a poem using them.

If you can’t think of words, open to a random page in the dictionary and find a word you like.

You can use some of my favorite words if you like.

Keep collecting words to use another day!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

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*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1200-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. (This one is Cindy’s; the “I” is her speaking. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #90: Like a YO-YO, Yo!

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“I used to be a swinger/Til you wrapped me round your finger . . .” Who can forget inspired lyrics like those by Joe South—or the singer who sang them to Hit status in 1971? (BTW: It was not Yo-Yo Ma.)

June 6th was National Yo-Yo Day. (Sorry for being tardy, I was so busy bopping to that oldie but goodie Donnie Osmond version, and twining vines around my backyard arbor, I completely forgot to post this prompt.) But, just like a Yo-Yo, I’m back!

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Take a moment to ponder YO-YO. Who could have ever imagined how, with the flick of a finger, one could make a disc roll up and down on a string* thus providing endless hours of entertainment, inspiring more than one hit song, and now, if you’re game, poetry!

Poetry Challenge #90

Like a YO-YO

Write a YO-YO poem. It can be about a YO-YO, playing with a YO-YO, feeling like a YO-YO—up and down about something? Or, sure, YoYo Ma. Roll the sounds of it around in your mouth for a while and see what comes of it, Yo!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*According to the Museum of Yo-Yo History, “It is believed that the yo-yo most likely originated in China. The first historical mention of the yo-yo, however, was from Greece in the year 500 B.C. These ancient toys were made out of wood, metal, or painted terra cotta disks and called just that, a disc. It was customary, when a child turned of age, to offer toys of their youth to certain gods. “

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1200-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #89 Famous Last Words

Charles Schultz was onto something: Wah-wa-wah WAH. . . Halloween  Wah-wa-wah WAH . . . Great Pumpkin.

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So was Margaret Mitchell when she gave Rhett the best parting shot: “Frankly Scarlett I don’t give a damn.”

He’s whispering a famous first line here…a prompt for another time!

He’s whispering a famous first line here…a prompt for another time!

Shultz and Mitchell knew what my kick-butt senior English teacher, Miss Reedlinger (the finest 5-Paragrah Essay coach of all time) called the secret to the best Dagwood. The secret she said, was in the bread. Start every paragraph with the tastiest crunchiest, best tasting bread and finish with a slice that’s just as tasty—if not tastier—just keep stacking them one on top of another on top of another. They may not remember the fillings, but they’ll remember that Dagwood, er essay.

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Or, to quote an aptly named band of Reedlinger’s Second Period English era, BREAD, “How many came before it doesn’t matter just as long as you’re the last.”

Where are we going with this? You guess it:  

Poetry Challenge #89

Famous Last Words

For this prompt, let’s start at the bottom, with potentially famous last words, and work our way up. Try using one of prompts below as the last line of your poem. (Replace the blanks with whatever you choose.) Don’t forget to give your poem a title.

  •  I remember when ___________

  • You can’t be serious.

  •   I love the smell of ___________

  • Under my bed is ____ and ____.

  • I collect…

  • Wah-wa-wah Wah __________________

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1200-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #88-What They Said . . .

I am a shameless eavesdropper. So bad in fact, that I’ll often shush Curtis (who does not talk much anyway) so I can focus on other diner’s conversations. Yes, I’m that bad…

New Haven Train Sign

Which may be why an old sing-along-in-the-car song, called Humoresque aka Passengers Will Please Refrain, has long been one of my favorites. Set to the tune of Dvořák's Humoresque Number 7 it’s begins with a New Haven Railroad toilet sign ends with If Sherman’s horse can stand it so can you and in between are snippets of conversation.  

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and Yale law professor Thurman Arnold take full credit for the “Bawdy Song.”  In his autobiography, Go East, Young Man (pp. 171–72), Douglas notes, "Thurman and I got the idea of putting these memorable words to music, and Thurman quickly came up with the musical refrain from Humoresque."  Because I know you’re curious, here are the abridged lyrics:

Passengers will please refrain
From flushing toilets while the train
Is in the station. Darling, I love you!
We encourage constipation
While the train is in the station
Moonlight always makes me think of you.
If the woman’s room be taken,
Never feel the least forsaken,
Never show a sign of sad defeat.
Try the men’s room in the hall,
And if some man has had the call,
He’ll courteously relinquish you his seat.
If these efforts all are vain,
Then simply break a window pane-
This novel method used by very few.
We go strolling through the park
Goosing statues in the dark,
If Sherman’s horse can take it, why can’t you?
— https://lyricstranslate.com/en/oscar-brand-humoresque-passengers-will-please-refrain-lyrics.htm
Your Poem Could Be A Song, too!

Your Poem Could Be A Song, too!

Poetry Challenge #88

What They Said . . .

Go somewhere crowded (preferably public) with a pen and paper. Jot down snippets of conversations. Or. If you can’t do that, brainstorm greetings—all the ways/languages/terms we use to say hello, goodbye or thank you. Arrange and rearrange the terms to create a poem with a melodic, interesting—maybe surprising order. Title your poem “Conversations” with the location and date. For example: Conversations at Starbucks May 22.

Go Forth and Eavesdrop.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 3 years ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #87-How's This for an Idea?

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Sometimes, my head is full of ideas. But sometimes . . . At those times a little prompting is in order.

Poetry Challenge #87

How’s This for an Idea?

Choose one of the prompts below as your first line and write as fast as you can. If you get stuck, try another prompt. Or: How’s this for an idea: Write a 4 line poem using each prompt for one of the lines.

  • No one knows I’m here…

  • Here’s a neat idea…

  • I’m scared of…

  • I wish I could remember…

Pick a Prompt

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 3 years ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #86: Riffing Chicago Style

On a flight from Chicago, munching Garrett’s Popcorn (the best part of O’Hare layovers), my bygone Chicago Blues popped into mind—specifically one night I heard Albert King play Crosscut Saw*. It’s nicknamed “that dirty blues song” but, it doesn’t have to be. That’s the challenge!

The Garrett’s Kiosk at O’Hare, opposite gate B8

The Garrett’s Kiosk at O’Hare, opposite gate B8

Poetry Challenge #86

Riffing Chicago Style

Chicago Style Blues started as musical improv, performers creating on the fly, riffing off each other, daring each other, challenging each other and themselves to come up with song verses that fit the pattern. A performer starts with one line that fits a beat. That line is then repeated. Then a third longer line finishes the stanza with a word that rhymes with the previous two. Simple as that—if you’re a smokin’ guitarist.

Here’s the opening stanza of Tommy McClennan’s Crosscut Saw as Albert King played it:

Crosscut Saw
I’m a cross cut saw, Baby/ just drag me ‘cross your log I’m a cross cut saw, Baby/ just drag me across your log I cut your wood so easy, you can’t help but say ‘Hot dog!’
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosscut_Saw_(song)#Albert_King_version
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It’s said, one reason the second line repeats the first, which is so much a part of traditional Blues, is to give performers creating on the fly, time to think of a rhyming last line. For fun, blues players toss the song around, challenging each other by taking turns coming up with new stanzas.  Let’s give it a try. Here’s a template to get us started:

I’m a something or other, name,  just doing something somewhere.

I’m a something or other, name,  just doing something somewhere.

I verb the noun so easy, I’ll say or do something that fits and ends in a rhyme

My Effort: 

I’m a green frog, Henry, just sitting on a rock. 

I’m a green frog, Henry, just sitting on a rock.

I’ll hop and croak so loudly, I’ll blast you off your dock.  

Now that you’ve set a pattern, try stringing 2 or 3 stanzas together—or 5 for your own blues song.

Grab your air guitar and get Bluesy!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*From Wikipedia: "Crosscut Saw", or "Cross Cut Saw Blues" as it was first called, is a dirty blues song "that must have belonged to the general repertoire of the Delta blues".[1] The song was first released in 1941 by Mississippi bluesman Tommy McClennan and has since been interpreted by many blues artists.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1100-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #85-Yes, You May!

It’s May! It’s May! Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, grass is growing, trees are branching out—and so are we! Hooray! Hooray!

Ring around the May Pole

Ring around the May Pole

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Taking a cue from the musical Camelot’s Lusty Month of May song, in which merrymakers prance about singing “It’s May! It’s May! The month of Yes, You May!” we’re giving ourselves permission to break a few rules.

 

 

Poetry Challenge #85*

“Yes, You May!”

With “Yes, You May” as the title, write a poem giving someone (or something)—maybe yourself—permission to be naughty, mischievous, daring—in other words, to do something he, she, it—YOU—would never, ever do. As this poem is a celebration of May, use flowery, colorful, provocative language. And, if you’re in the mood to be extra daring, give permission to go all out by having every line begin with “Yes, You May” . . .

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

As if you need permission

As if you need permission

“Yes, You May!” Playlist:

Lusty Month of May from Lerner & Lowe’s Camelot

 *Full disclosure: This is a repeat of #33. We had so much fun we decided to do it again, because…We Can!

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 750 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

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Poetry Challenge #84: To Be or Not To Bee

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I’m no Hamlet—never played one, don’t live in one—But . . .  I do know the beginning of Prince Hamlet’s Act 3, Scene 1 Soliloquy in To Be or Not to Be. And now, if you didn’t, you do too. Thus primed, prompt on fair Prince/ess:

Poetry Challenge #84

To Be or Not to Bee

 “The verb "to be" is one of the shortest and most important—yet oddest—verbs in the English language. It is an irregular verb; indeed, it is the only verb in English that completely changes form in every tense. The verb "to be" is probably the most important verb in English.”—from “Thoughtco.” By Richard Nordquist:

Below is a list of past and present forms of the verb “to be.” And, just for fun, a fuzzy black and yellow buzzy bee. Write a Bee poem using as many forms of the verb “to be” as you can. One way to begin is to write each form of the word be on a line and take it from there.

Past and Present forms of the verb “to be”:

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I am                 I was

You are          You were

He/She/It is     He/She/It was

We are             We were

They are          They were      

And if you want to try perfect tense:  have/has/had been

Be bold! Be silly! Be—gin!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1100-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. (This one is Cindy’s.) If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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