Poetry’s Shifting Shapes

Day Four
On April 4, 2018

And now for our (optional) daily prompt. Our craft resource today focuses on the use of concrete nouns and specific details, using the idea of “putting a dog in it.” Today, we challenge you to write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns. Adjectives are fine too! For example, you could have a poem about sadness that describes that emotion as “a rowboat tethered with fishing line to a willow that leans over a pond. Rainwater collects in the bottom, and mosquito eggs.” Concrete details like those can draw the reader in and let them imagine the real world where your abstract ideal or feeling happens. Happy writing!

stab in the heart, letter-opener
sharp, solid, antique silver
blood oozes, fragrance of Ylang-Ylang
crystallizes into gem stones
rubies grow translucent wings
fly off with the winds
settle on cardinal’s ring
spin an iguana’s scary crest
bejewel the snow-owls’ eyes

opals adore the three-inch halo
of the conductor’s hands
watch notes spill from fingertips
sparkle from a quiet brow
orchestra, countless
eyes, ears, voices, instruments in thrall
to subtle waves of dove-winged hands
white, mauve, golden coloratura of tone

amethysts sing in a Geisha’s robe
topaz adorns ample sleeves
raw silk rustles, she raises her arms
sleeves fall back, ruffled
lightning, fiery pen-stroke, across the sky
the string of a viola breaks

witness to the Medusa’s beheading
the Rajasthan princess
garnet bidi brightly shining, serves
coral papaya sprinkled with passion fruit
to the French minister
reciting radical monologues

the dromedary’s hoof hides luscious dates
agleam like tiger’s eyes
from an oasis nearly vanished in a last mirage
sparrow sips from silvery puddle
mysterious melodies, rearranged
shapeshift: a wide-winged swan
awaits midnight’s obsidian velvet

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