NaPoWriMo Day 25 – We’ll get through this

Because it’s a Saturday, I have an (optional) prompt for you that takes a little time to work through — although you can certainly take short-cuts through it, if you like! The prompt, which you can find in its entirety here, was  developed by the poet and teacher Hoa Nguyen, asks you to use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem. (You may remember James Schuyler from our poetry resource for Day 2.) This is a prompt that allows you to sink deeply into another poet’s work, as well as your own.

You can see my poem below. If you think the poem is long, go through the prompt below – its longer!

Day 33 of the lock-down

I sit on my bed

Thoughts swarming my head

I’m wondering what to write

I want to get this right

It’s about meditation, about being in the present

I’m here but my mind’s absent

I’m trying so hard, the lock-down’s getting to me

From the window, I can see the birds flying free

and the sky from where I sit

Its white as if it’s been lit

A blinding light, the sun’s yellow glow

A burning halo

Around the blue dome over the building in the front

the Kites are flying high; they’re on their morning hunt

The squirrels- I see them scamper

I feel the silence, not a whisper

I hear a desperate cuckoo call

The clock strikes eight, I see the wall

Its warm outside

Its stuffy inside

I see the gardens below, the trees in all hues, it makes me frown

I feel my heart sink, it feels like I’ll drown

the hope within me I feel it flicker

Why can’t a  solution be found quicker?

I’m losing patience, I’m going under

‘How long will this go on?’ I wonder

I’d seen an ad ** “White angels on the street” 

Doctors, nurses – its’ no mean feat

Saving lives, watching people die

I think, as on my bed I lie

Its not fair to complain

There’s nothing to gain

It’s the time to stay strong, to face

This war against “the entire human race”

You and me, and the whole of humanity

we’re on one side- and there’s one  enemy

 “There’s no need to cry”

“We can make it a better place” if we try

Let’s help each other, let’s smile

Let’s keep the candle burning, e’en if it takes a while

It’s going to get better

We’re in this together

You and me

And the whole of humanity

We’ll get through this



Open (your heart)


It’s gonna be OK


Each day (is a new day)


Copyright© All Rights Reserved.

*The lines in quotes are from the song “We are the world”

** Angels in white is from the Tide ad

Next, for writing: please see the following suggestions and have them ready for a free write, selecting and using those that further your present tense engagement. Write for at least twenty minutes. You can return to this prompt and write through it numerous more times, to infinity.

  • Bring your perspective and verbs back to the present tense, even when addressing memory

  • Seek the “unforced flow of words”

  • Introduce all of the things that you might ordinarily deem incidental or too small for consideration

  • Include quoted speech (overheard, announced, in dialogue, as song lyrics)

  • Build your lines with associative accumulation (parataxis), move with your attentions

  • Introduce a swerve or observation that serves as interjection, non-sequitur

  • Include at least four colours

  • Animate the landscape or nearby object, imbue it with expressiveness of action or address

  • Include perceptions of the weather without, perceptions of weather within

  • Use a noun as verb that is typically not used that way (anthimeria): “white freaked with red”

  • Introduce the occasional 3- and 4-word sentence.

  • “Let’s make a list”: include a list of things you love

  • Did you remember to ask questions?

  • Include a hemistich line: a line made-up of two halves, of equivalent beats, hinged on a silent beat (caesura): “The world is all cut-outs then—and slip or step steadily down”

Keep writing: if you get stuck, begin again by penning a sentence that begins with the word “And…”

Keep writing: if you get stuck, repeat a word or phrase you wrote earlier and build

Keep writing: if you get stuck, perform an instant acrostic—look up and find a short word and use the letters from seeds to generate language (ex.: I performed an instant acrostic on the word “sky” to arrive at the phrase “said ‘Kill yesterday’”; see fragment of the poem drawn from “Mulberry Mess” in Red Juice below.

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