Poetry Challenge #24

The Ballad

Sometimes it’s fun to write a poem on a topic; sometimes it’s fun to try to use a form. I often use a form when I feel like my poem is wandering around or getting wordy. Forms force you to pay attention to the number of syllables you use or to a rhyme scheme.

A fairly easy form is the ballad. It usually has four lines in each verse with an ABAB rhyme scheme (every other line rhymes). It also has a strong rhythm. Lines alternate between four and three beats. If you aren’t good at hearing beats, use eight syllables on one line and six on the next.

Try writing a ballad of at least two verses. Remember you can always write a ballad (or haiku or acrostic

Ballads are great to set to music if you are musically inclined!

Here’s an example I wrote:

The red-winged blackbird sports a white
bar dully on his wing.
His epaulet is not so bright;
he’s not begun to sing.

A yellow bar will soon appear
and then a bright red line.
His red-winged name will be more clear,
and it will be springtime.

Poetry Challenge #23

Where In The World?

An Acrostic Poem is one of the simplest forms of poetry and yet it’s sooo confusing to describe in words. It can also be one of the most fun to write (and thus it’s one of the first forms of poetry children learn). Every Acrostic Poems begins the same way: With a word or phrase. This word or phrase is usually the title, too. (For clarity sake, I will refer to it as “the title” from here on out.)

In short, the title is written in a column down the left side of the page. From there a word or phrase beginning with the letter—which defines or relates to the title—extends off the side of the letter left to right across the page.

Pick a name, any name—of a place in the world. Create an Acrostic Poem by writing that place name down the left side of a page. Then, use words that begin with each letter to describe that place…or, if you’ve never been there, describe what you imagine that place is like.

If you think that’s too easy, try creating an acrostic in which the last letter of each line spells out the name.

Or harder still, try creating an acrostic with the name in the center of the line.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 700 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!

Poetry Challenge #22

Surprise!

Look around you. What do you see that surprises you? The house plants that have added new leaves and height? Dust covering a surface you just cleaned? The red flash of a cardinal in the winter landscape? List as many things as you can and then rearrange them to make a poem. Think about the order and the sound of the words and what makes it the most surprising poem you can make.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge at least 680 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!

Poetry Challenge #21

INSIDE OUT, UPSIDE DOWN & BACKWARDS!

Begin by taking a minute to read through the poems you’ve already written and select one you think is HORRIBLE! or one you are excited to revise.

First: Giving yourself a pat on the back for having written it!

Now: Mix it up. Pluck a line out of the middle and move it to the beginning; move the last line to the first; the first line to the end, etc. etc. And so forth . . .

Why? Sometimes a poem is like a duvet cover, you’ve got to turn it inside out to make it work!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.
Mix It Up, Baby!
Have FUN!

Poetry Challenge #20

Memorize a Poem Day!

Did you ever have to memorize a poem for school? Have you memorized a poem just for the fun of it?

Memorizing poems helps you feel the rhythm and rhyme (if there is one) and forces you to look at each word more closely. Plus, you can recite a poem to get through a tough time or to put yourself to sleep. Amazing the uses!

Today, instead of writing a new poem, read some favorites and pick a verse or two or the whole thing to memorize. Say it aloud! Say it in your head! Say it while walking or doing chores or waiting in line.

Some of my favorite poems—and ones that I know some or all of—include C.S. Lewis’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, lots of Robert Frost (“Fire and Ice”, “The Road Not Taken”, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”), Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot”, Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and many others. What are your favorite poems?

Poetry Challenge #19

It’s a Zippity-Doodle Kind of Day!

Play Time! Before words came letters, before letters came doodles. According to those in the know, doodling, scribbling, and drawing taps into your creative brain–the play filled side. So what happens if we get into a playful mood first, then begin writing?
Give yourself “Permission to Play,” to find your playground voices says Carin Channing, creator of 365 DAYS OF DOODLING, a book Cindy and I are currently using. Time to “Climb Back into the Sandbox, People!”

Start with a blank sheet of paper and pencil (or pen). Doodle your idea of zippity. Zippity might be a thing, a place, or a feeling. Now write a short poem, no more than 10 words, about your Zippity Doodle!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge at least 680 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!

Poetry Challenge #18

Moody Blues

Pick two vowel sounds. Make a list of words that use each sound. Write two verses of a poem—use one vowel sound in one verse and the other in the second. Try to use it in as many words as you can. What mood does each sound create for your poem? Do you want your end words for each line to rhyme or not?

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge at least 650 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!

Poetry Challenge #17

Dream a Dream . . .

Dare to share one of your dreams in the form of a poem. It can be a personal dream, or a dream you have for a friend, humankind, the world, the universe, or beyond! As an homage to MLK, begin your poem with “I have a dream…”

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge at least 650 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!

Poetry Challenge #16

Brr!!! It’s a cold time of year! The sun sparkles off the ice-covered branches, the deck makes loud cracking noises, and I can breathe big clouds into the cold air. Write a poem about the cold. Begin with the line, “You know it’s cold when…” and think of all the things that make you know it’s cold. I hope you’re wrapped up in a blanket!!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge at least 630 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge be sure to let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem, in the comments!

Poetry Challenge #15

This challenge is from Kelly’s blog. Be sure to check it out.

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.” Does that line ring a bell? It’s little Zuzu enlightening her parents, George and Mary Bailey, in It’s a Wonderful Life (one of my favorite holiday pics). This time of year zillions of angels must get wings because Bells are Ringing! (another one of my favorites). In the spirit of the season, let’s get ringing!

Poetry Challenge #15
Ring My Bell!

Bells come in many shapes and sizes, with so many different uses, and sounds!
Begin by listing as many bells as come to mind. Here are a few to get you started: Sleigh bells, steeple bells, harness bells, doorbells, elf shoe bells, cow bells, Santa’s bells . . .
Next, list the different sounds those bells make. List real words and make up your own words by using letters to recreate sounds—after all this is your bell. Does it bong? Ring-a-ling? Clink?

Now, follow Zuzu’s lead and imagine what magical thing might happen each time your bell rings?

Write a poem about it. Be sure to include those sounds. Make your poem really ring!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge at least 630 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge be sure to let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem, in the comments!