April 5, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Kelley White

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Kelley White:

(this ‘prompt’ formed the basis for my book TWO BIRDS IN FLAME which relates to a catalog of Shaker items for sale a few years back in New Hampshire)

Chose an object that has a special meaning for you (a piece of jewelry you inherited from your grandmother, your prom gown, your first car, your baby’s first lost baby tooth–the possibilities are endless.) If you wish, you can assign a price to it.

Describe it very specifically (color, sound, taste, feel.)

Then use this as a taking off point to create a poem that somehow is triggered by or reflects an experience. You might end up writing about your grandmother (or yourself), pop music in 1970, a road trip in the 80’s, memories of your child. . .Or something completely different! You may surprise yourself.

Here’s a piece from Two Birds:


Two Birds in Flame

One-Drawer Work Stand, Important

figured maple, bird’s-eye and tiger

maple one-board top, slightly beveled

underneath, over a single dovetailed drawer,

original cherry turned pull, deep maple

skirt, delicately tapered legs, 26” h,

18 ½” w, 25 ½”d, (ex. Dr. Sprowls

collection).                              $8,500


You understand this light

is prayer and I have set myself

to live in it. We are alone

when we work. Even in a room of others.

The work separates us. Concentrates us.

It is the thing we own. I have been guilty

of pride. Of sin in the way I let others

praise my skill. Do you not see that I have none?

That it was all in the manner of shaping

the Light to use? That I had merely to move

my hands and carve the pure and holy

rain into the wood’s singing wheels?

That I finished into darkness. The song

I did not own. Set away. I own nothing.

Skill given me but a moment. And now I move

my empty hands in the flickering

firelight. See their torn blackened nails,

the one finger lost to the sugaring fire,

the tip of the right thumb swallowed

by a log. Oh, light has shaped me.

And I am forgotten. Gone into evening’s

failed dawn.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.
#napowrimo #poetry

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