A poem-a-day for National Poetry Month

Prompt #01: No Narrative

Today’s prompt, to kick off our 30 days of poetry writing, is brought to us by poet Sage Cohen.


Reveal Something Without a Narrative

My invitation today is to say something without actually saying it. To reveal something through a series of images, rhythms, and sounds that give us more of an experience of, or a feeling about, what happened rather than the actual facts, events and story line. The following questions are designed to help you get loose and wander into a scene or two in which you might want to include your reader.

* * * * *

How do you pray? If you don’t pray, what do you do instead – and how do you do it?

What should you have done?

What can a person die of?

What surrounds your house? How does it protect you or not?

Who left you?

How did they do it? What did their face look like as they left?

What were they moving toward, instead?

What do you want to say to God about this departure?

What do you want to say to the person who left?

Where did it leave you? Doing what?

(This prompt was inspired by Larissa Szporluk’s poem “Solar Wind.” I encourage you to find it and compare it to your poem once you have written yours.)



Reminders for Participants: You can post your poem below in the comments, offer a link back to your site where the poem is posted, or comment about the experience of writing the poem (without actually posting the poem). If you’re going to comment on other participant’s poems, please remember that this is not a critique space — comments should be kept thoughtful and supportive. Lastly, remember you don’t have to use the prompt to write your poem — they’re here for your inspiration but they’re certainly not a requirement.

Let the Wild Poeming Being!


45 responses

  1. My effort for today can be found at http://feedingthegeek.tumblr.com/post/4255753817/conduit

    April 1, 2011 at 2:29 am

    • Loved Conduit…for me it was an ocean vacation…the realization that there is no getting away from it…escape and repose can bring up memories that everyday life muffles..

      April 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

  2. Well, that was a bit terrifying! Lovely prompt, Sage, thank you. And good luck to all of us! Can’t wait to see everyone’s work.

    Here’s a link to my poem:


    April 1, 2011 at 3:25 am

    • chloe

      Loved it thanks Nikki. Feel inspired

      April 1, 2011 at 7:11 am

  3. Robin Elizabeth Sampson

    Well, this was very interesting. Sage, I couldn’t find that poem online anywhere, but I’m intensely curious now!

    Here’s a link to my poem (note that some content of blog may be NSFW):


    April 1, 2011 at 4:05 am

  4. Bill Noble


    Shouldering headlands,
    iris bursting to flame,
    breakers smoking shoreward.
    Whatever’s coming,
    here it comes.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:51 am

  5. chloe

    You rock sage!

    April 1, 2011 at 7:06 am

  6. Kosuke Miyata

    500 Bulbs to Bloom in the Dark

    Based on a TV report from Japan’s eastern Tohoku region
    (damaged most severely by the earthquakes and tsunamis)

    When people searched the ruins for signs of life,
    a man was looking for other seeds of hope:
    five hundred tulip bulbs he’d hung to dry
    along the eaves of his deep-rooted home.

    So small when imagined in the disaster’s shadow,
    tonight they still remain to promise growth
    and make him dream they’d bloom to bring tomorrow
    back (all his clocks have been broken since he lost

    his loved ones). We who share his dream shall follow
    him forth, and bury our own bulbs to glow
    another day: in many different hues,
    complexities and forms, they’ll mark the roads

    for everyone like the tender light of the moon
    that is always there, and will become round soon.

    * “Bulbs” here also refer to light bulbs, which are meant to represent all devices that use electricity. Reducing peak energy consumption is a requirement now in eastern Japan, since some of the power plants (including the Fukushima 1st) are not running.

    I’ll be posting poems for those affected by the disaster and nuclear accident.

    April 1, 2011 at 7:28 am

    • Bill Noble

      Kosuke. Your poem is the first great gift of this month, an anchor for all of us. I am honored by your gift.

      April 1, 2011 at 8:14 am

  7. Well Shanna – here is my humble offering.


    April 1, 2011 at 7:30 am

  8. That’s an amazing poem, Kosuke.

    April 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

  9. b_y

    Nice to meet you all.
    Thanks for the prompt.
    For lack of a better title, mine is Home

    April 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

  10. dorlamoorehouse

    I didn’t follow the prompt as I already had the idea when I woke up this morning. Unfortunately, I’m not thrilled with the result, but that’s what revision is for.


    April 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

  11. Pingback: Poem-a-Day #1 « Shanna Germain

  12. Damn! I’m such a narrative poet by nature. But I tried not to write a narrative — I swear 🙂

    Loving all these poems already today!

    Here’s mine:


    April 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

  13. Greetings to all! Thank you for this space. Sage, this prompt opened a vein, and this poured out all at once:


    Eyes straining for that disappearing shore
    cannot linger long enough to hold it,
    dear ones buried and living, bones and flesh,
    familiar words no longer heard,
    the land walked on unfamiliar
    to feet made rough by trails through
    hardship and promise;
    if one had a head like Janus, looking
    forward while looking backward,
    then it would be plain—for love
    of us, who and what we are, and could
    become, the faces of sorrow
    can smile, and troubled hearts find peace.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:35 am

  14. Pingback: A poem a day for April « Tony Linde

  15. Mine (not responding to the prompt) is at: http://goo.gl/aPvv8.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:55 am

  16. My first poem of the month: http://www.artsroundup.com/wp/?p=2807

    April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

  17. This short form is a Fibonacci, after the Fibonacci sequence.


    April 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

  18. First poem of the month:


    April 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

  19. PuzzledDragon

    A link to me poem:

    April 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

  20. Here is mine. I’ve been doing something similar for a few years at my blog. It started as a project for my thesis and sort of snowballed. I’ve been writing a poem every day for three years. Which sounds really long when I write it or say it out loud.

    Happy Poetry Month!

    At Breakfast 4/1

    There is a puddle of copper reflecting the sky

    Everything in the universe becomes charcoal before our eyes

    My finger in the coffee swirls the cream into a universe of two

    Ice glides against the window making that sound that ice makes

    You are sitting there staring at a cinnamon roll

    All melting separating on ceramic pulling itself apart

    We are waiting for it to speak to us to tell us something about something

    April 1, 2011 at 11:27 am

  21. I’m too chicken to post this on my blog! I’ll revise in MAY!
    I am committed to a poem a day, thanks in advance for the prompts!

    Red lips on the phone
    I saw the taillights moving away
    like a dart
    flying away from us, away from me.
    The eruption was later, never face to face.
    Rankle of conversation gnawing
    until we were chewed through.

    Here is when I missed you:
    A review in the paper, that film we saw
    No, the tire didn’t blow
    he was beaten, beat to death.
    It’s as clear as the coast in tag,
    clear as cheers in July.

    Damn if I didn’t miss you again.
    A salad course after dinner
    a spoonful of cheese
    buttoned boots
    whites in the laundry
    and the choke of cat hair,
    what’s the matter with dogs?

    Today the tug of a splinter
    fucking French antiques
    We bought them knowing they’d never fit
    The frames, the ironing boards,
    tossed like tumbleweeds black from thaw.
    It’s never about what it seems.

    Tomorrow I might want to call
    but won’t.
    I’ll have something to make you laugh.
    I know
    The sugar water’s empty but I’m still
    standing here with my hummingbird heart.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

  22. Pingback: departures « Prose Posies

  23. Not the nice light poem I was expecting to write: departures

    April 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  24. One Thing Leads

    In the beginning
    Lilacs / Perceptions / Light Sabers

    Scene two
    Dead Winds / Murder /Flabbergasting

    Sanitation / Insect Wedding / Night

    Ink / Seedling / Phonograph

    Bone / Innumerable /Butterscotch

    Dog Shit / Kiln / Malignancy

    April 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  25. I found this site through someone’s site and thought this prompt was intriguing, not sure if it’s correct, but I did enjoy writing it.
    Hello to some new faces here. Happy NaPoWriMo!


    April 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  26. Dani


    Blackbirds in slow light
    on the lawn, see
    his name is just a whisper
    every morning, inhale
    a quiet bow
    inhale, exhale
    loose shoulders,
    bent neck,
    Into his hands,
    twenty minutes

    April 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  27. Kam Leitner

    how many syllables is
    a haiku
    Is it 5-7-4, what would that be?
    No, I think it’s 17
    One too few
    Well, Yeah. I guess that’s that.
    One too few
    I liked that one

    April 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    • The haiku’s art
      you’ll never glean
      if you can’t count
      to seventeen.

      –Alan Alda


      April 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

  28. I’m usually a rare bird by today’s standards, a rhyming poet, but this one was inspired this morning.

    My first poem of the month:


    April 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

  29. Melissa

    Papers Served

    I’m a dumb
    mute, folded in
    as symmetrical
    a position a
    body can find,
    ESP my sins
    to Jesus, want
    to jive and contort,
    mold new shapes
    of words.
    My mother
    guards her abode
    with angels.
    I ask for a code
    to lock all the doors.
    Both could keep father
    out but mother muted
    the papers. It was written
    he is no longer
    her husband.
    I think he first
    stepped toward
    a payphone, slipped
    a few dimes,
    and a nickel short,
    heard only a hum.
    Then he folded
    the pages in half,
    walked as a dumb
    brute with two coins
    and a faith to find.
    At first, he made me
    long for a season
    I hate, tucked back
    in the huddle and blind.
    Instead I grasped
    the winter, let it seep
    into the marrow of my bones,
    beat it out with my blood

    April 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm

  30. I had a harder time with this than I thought, but I finally found my inspiration. Here’s my entry:


    April 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm

  31. This took a little longer than I thought because I was eating two Carl’s Jr sandwiches and had to keep pausing to wipe myself off.


    April 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  32. chloe

    She loved the sea

    and was mine
    She still travels me.

    Weighs me down

    I wanted to know someone had all my answers
    she gave only questions

    she found life amusing, and
    four times
    and then a fifth.

    I was hers

    April 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm

  33. Better late than never….

    Misconceptions fly
    and dance about
    Fueled by my own desire
    for some utopian accord
    I lost hours in these seconds with you


    April 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

  34. Jennifer Pratt-Walter

    Today’s haiku:

    Beheading a fish:
    metal scales, dark-feather gills,
    blood so red, so cold.

    (I wrote this on 4/1, but put it in the wrong comment list–my apology)

    April 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

  35. Hi everyone, I’m a little late finding you, but wanted to post my offering for today: http://jacquezyon.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/poem2-winter/

    April 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm

  36. Kam

    white shoulder softness
    smooth supple shadowed hair
    so much desire

    April 2, 2011 at 4:15 pm

  37. Here is the one I wrote for Day One. Has nothing to do with this prompt….just prompted from my own life:


    April 2, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  38. Carol A. Stephen

    I wasn’t sure what exactly the prompt was prompting for, so I “cheated” and googled Solar Wind. I suppose it influenced the outcome of my poem, but it was a wonderfully free poem, not like many I write.
    My partner said it was far above the others I wrote in the last three days…

    Thanks, Sage! The prompt did work for me.

    I found the Solar Wind poem here, along with a Mary Oliver poem:


    April 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

  39. Better late than never! Here’s my poem, Questions on Unbinding a Girl:


    April 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

  40. Scott

    Everything I ever wanted

    Given to another

    Without my consent

    April 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm