Prompted Poems and Prose

This page is dedicated to prompted pieces I have written.

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The restriction of writing around prompts can pull out of you some amazing pieces of poetry and prose. Some of these prompted pieces have a decidedly different tone than my usual work. Take a look…

1000 Words Wausau is run by the University of Wisconsin Marathon Campus. The concept of four 250 word writing pieces each incorporating four word and two phrase prompts started in Portland, Oregon. It was an honor for me to participate in my home town’s version of the writing challenge.

Click here to read my results of the February 2012 challenge.

Click here to read my results of the November 2014 challenge.


Oregon Writer’s Colony Mentor in the House

I was privileged to be mentored by Shaindel Beers, published poet, author and teacher.  One of my assignments under her tutelage was to write a piece using 10 word prompts chosen from a page of ocean and colors themed words. I enjoyed the practice so much that  I used more than 24 of the words. I read the resulting poem at a poetry reading with Shaindel later that weekend. Here’s the poem (prompted words are italicized):

Beach walk meditation

The bronze of sleep still held my countenance
yet the beckon of the aquamarine
tugged at my thistle-filled ears.

Wading through the lemony shoregrass,
parkouring down the rip rap,
I marooned myself on the sand expanse.

The jet of the sunless charcoal waves
lulled back the weight of sleeplessness.

Closing my eyes,
I walked in a kind of kundalini meditation
producing a flash of mindful images.
The sound of cresting and falling waves
recalled a cruise ship.
The umber smell of rotting crabs
a can of sardines in mustard sauce.
The starchy mist clinging to my face
recalled morning tulips dipped in dew
at a house I once owned.

Somehow rested now
I opened my eyes
and became present to
the harsh and fantastic world of ocean shore.
The fragile terracotta of spent crab shells
became fodder for seagulls.
Rotting seaweed like turquoise velvet
hosted sand fleas
and gliding shorebirds
skimmed the water in a seemingly chanceless hunt.

The whitecaps keep coming and coming,
ceaselessly beating the shoreline’s scalloped brow
into the dull wheat of endless sand.

As the tenacious sun burned through the sea mist,
I noticed two castles.
One a sandcastle with four guard towers
and a narrow driftwood bridge across the mote.
The other a basalt mass floating in a mote of mist and sea.
It smoldered in the saffron light illuminating a wide welcoming arch.

The incongruence of the two castles stuck me.
One small and guarded,
One large and mystical.
One child-made and impermanent.
One ancient and created by elemental forces.
This was my meditative message.
The follysome fears of youth wash away
while the ancient knowledge
of openness and welcoming
are a wharf into the universe
working with the force
to create beauty and love
not merely for a weekend
but beyond human time.


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