Poetry Writing Exercises 124: Thursday 27th June

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

124 patch 690087You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: blue, cardboard, lady, large, hung
  2. Random: Sinister expression
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Thursday Title: A first look

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!


  • Don’t forget your five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell
  • Show don’t tell: if your character is angry, don’t tell us he is, have him thumping his fist on the table.
  • Colours: Include at least one colour in your story. It does add depth.
  • Use strong verbs and avoid adverbs: Have a character striding instead of walking confidently.
  • Only use repetition to emphasise.
  • When you’ve finished the first draft, read the story out loud. It’s surprising how many ‘mistakes’ leap out at you when you read out loud… assuming you have any of course!

Pictures courtesy of morguefile.com

I love to talk about writing so feel free to email me. I’ll be pasting these prompts in this blog’s Facebook Group so you may find some other comments there.

If you’d like to submit a poem for critique on this site, see Submissions. The other critique writing groups are:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Thank you for reading this and we look forward to your comments.

7 responses to “Poetry Writing Exercises 124: Thursday 27th June

  1. Lady Blue

    The lady silent, blue with cold
    Expressionless from haggered, wrinkled face
    Home no more than cardboard walls
    Within the chilled and wintry space

    This hopeless soul once large in life
    When dreams destroyed by circumstance
    Hung limply drowned in pools of tears
    No hopes of reaping life’s romance

  2. I really like that, David. I know the lady and how she hurts, abandoned by the life force that had always been on her side. The tears are universal. But really, why does she cry? Are the tears for more than self pity? For circumstance? Who am I, the reader, that I should be moved by her tears?

  3. A first look

    First time I ever saw you I was four.
    Dark braided hair and glowing cigarette,
    and you before a window looking out
    had struck a comely silhouette against
    the lonesome woods outside the cabin door
    in blue. You had been a soldier recently at war.
    I did not know what you were about,
    or what you were beginning to regret.

    Large cardboard Santa Claus was hung behind the door
    and tree was strung , but silent in the house and dark.
    I’d not remembered really looking at you until then
    though your face must have been with me from the start
    You’d have been a striking woman when you went to war
    the lady officer who took my father for a gentleman.

  4. What great poems. Thank you, David, Bill (and for your comments).

  5. Blue Lady:

    Stay tonight and be my love
    as I have lost mine
    for you are gone tomorrow.

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