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Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 1/15/2017 3:17:14 PM

This week's topic: Winter. 

For the first week, I thought I'd start slowly, so I'm going to ask you to write a poem about something related to winter. It's a broad topic, and almost anything is accepted, so show me what you associate with the season. Still can't come up with a topic? Look out of the window and describe what you see.

The way these prompts will work is that you're free to write a poem like you want to, with no requirements except that it needs to be somewhat related to the topic of the week. However, I'll be awarding bonus points (again, without actual value) to people whose poems fulfil an additional requirement.


This week's optional requirement: Write a poem using iambic and/or trochaic lines.

The basis of most classic poetry (apart from rhyme) is metre. Basically, the term 'metre' is used to describe the 'rhythm' of a poem, which is usually based on a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. This might sound a bit abstract, so let me give you an example of part of a possible poem for this week's prompt: 

I heard the frozen river crack,
A loud and dreadful sound,
As, icebergs floating on its back,
Through frozen land it wound.

I bolded the stressed syllables in this example. The pattern of unstressed-stressed, unstressed-stressed, syllables used above is called a Iambic metre. (In this case, the lines are iambic tetrameter and trimeter, as there are respectively four and three pairs, 'feet', of stressed-unstressed syllables, but that's a lesson for another time.)

Now, stresses are somewhat subjective, as people tend to pronounce words differently, and it depends on how words are used in a sentence. However, some words just sound wrong if you place a stress improperly. (Most people wouldn't say frozen river, for example.)

Since iambic (unstressed-stressed) feet (pairs of syllables) have a name, pairs of stressed-unstressed syllables do so to, they're called Trochees. Continuing the previous example, trochaic lines could be: 

Ever slowly moving onwards,
Passing open, passing freely,
Glistening with frozen sunshine,
'Til it reached the thawing sea.

I thereby cheated a little bit by ending on a stressed syllable 'sea', but this is quite common in most poems, as it sounds a bit better.

So, for the purpose of this exercise, all you need to remember is: 

Iamb: unstressed-stressed
Trochee: Stressed-unstressed

In order to fulfil the optional requirements, you have to write a poem that uses lines made up of trochees and iambs. It doesn't matter if you only use iambic lines, trochaic lines, or mix them up, but show that you tried to use them. 

Have fun writing!

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

@Bannerlord @Crescentstar @Orange @Mizal @Lancelot @Mayana 

If anyone else wants to join, feel free to post in this thread and I'll tag you the next time. 

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

On the chilling winter breezes

Pines release their fragrant scent

Birds who stayed chirp softly

Falling snow drifts slowly


Skies are grey and gloomy

Nights are almost silent

Save for those few owls

Hooting through the darkness


The thaw is still a while

The barren land in rule

Who can wait til spring

When the land is frozen cold?

(Yeah… I tried. xD)

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

I thought it was really good, to be honest, @Crescentstar XD

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Thanks but... ;-; I don't think I did the stresses right.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

I actually kinda liked this, and for the purpose of this week's prompt, the stresses were fine. 

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Winter's Pain

There was one a boy named Blain
And winter caused him such pain
He remembered the snow
And the heartache it sowed
It drove him half insane

It started many a year ago
The first time he witnessed snow
His mother went out
To do something about
The barn's broken windows

She went out in the white abyss
Leaving Blain with only a kiss
The storm was strong
But she wouldn't be long
She had to save brown Swiss

Then, as the hours ticked by
Blain began to cry
She was found the next day
Yet to decay
Frost had led her to die

Now when he sees a frozen lake 
Or catches sight of snow flakes
His heart quickly drums
And hopes he doesn't become
Another life for winter to take

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Not sure if I'm supposed to do this, but edit lock.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Typically you don't edit lock for these because sometimes you might want to go back and change something - you're not not allowed to.


Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

@Orange Wow. Awesome story! You were using limericks right??

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Thank you! Yes, I tried to use limericks. Not sure if I did it right, though.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

When I read this aloud, I stumbled a few times. :/ Maybe it's just me xD

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

I like the limericks approach, and the story you're telling, but some parts don't scan very well. Your rhyming scheme (aabba) is good, but generally speaking, the first, second and fifth line of each stanza are longer than the third and fourth ones. As limericks are usually silly, this syllable scheme helps deliver the punch line (buildup, short comical twist, punch line). 

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Here is to giving up,
Forged memoirs in your mind,
You try to make it real and natural,
While you know you lie to yourself at night.

Your tears have filled up and frozen the glass,
You think it hasn't but it has,
Things that were and things that are,
This is real, no way around.

She left you in November,
You pretended she was there,
Until the coldness of December,
Bitter departures, admit it now.

Breeze by moonlight,
Beneath snow your cry hides,
Left you cold, like the season,
But you will never know the reason.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Cold Meat - Trochee

Blowing winter winds,
Nipped his face.
Glistening with eternal shock,
Laying, bygone standing.

Snowing, sticking slowly,
Sticking numerously.
Burying injustice,
Burying stained with pure.

Crimson trickles,
Crimson stains,
Seeping excessively after puncture,
Never stopping.

Freezing, decomposing,
Gates of hell or gates of heaven, open.
Angel indent,
Never opening wings.

Note: If any of this does not count, I can write another.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

December nights at four AM,
I lay wake thinking rabbinical thoughts.
Note filled pockets remind me who I am
Holy dust, not perfect, and at a loss.
For words, for the notes were not my own choice.
I love myself but I do not know why,
But love songs are sad, sung in quiet voice,
Self hate eludes me, like a butterfly.

Winter nights staying awake one foot cold,
Writing of butterflies with wings like snow,
As I embrace the darkness, full blindfold,
Administrating my form of control.

December nights, the cold wind howled bold,
Lay awake dreaming of both my feet cold.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

One does not simply make the subject a season and not receive a Haiku, thusly I give you my best attempt at a winter-oriented, catalectic, trochaic Haiku!


Dark with chilled quick wind,

Sat a man as cold and sad

As the dying fire.


This isn't very easy.



Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Probably going to do a separate feedback for these things next week.

@Bannerlord Your poem most certainly fulfils this weeks requirements, good job. Though you're of course still free to submit anything else if you want to (though you won't receive extra points for extra work, not that they have any value anyways). 

@Kwism1127 I really like your submission. I actually hadn't thought of anyone doing a haiku, and the use of trochees throughout definitely helps set the wintry mood in your poem. 

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Good to know and thank you! I probably won't submit another one since I found iambic and trochaic lines pretty difficult to work with.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Thank you! I remember one of my English teachers describing Haiku as a 'season's poem' once, which has stuck in my mind since due to it's absurd over-simplicity. I considered iambs at first, but I settled on trochees because I liked the way it added a nip to the edge of the haiku like an encroaching frost as opposed to softly fading away.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 1/17/2017 12:16:55 AM

Thinking of You 

Relax, unwind

Relax, unwind

The passing of my winter

Mindset fading into darkness black.

Waiting for a message back

From you is painful, joyful as the snowfall thickens,

Quickens upon reminiscing of my hand about your back.

Dances roaring, music soaring through the air cannot compare

To holding you fast in my arms,

Wooing me with bashful charms and sidelong glances.

Maybe I should take more chances,

Send the message with reply

To which I might conspire to hide

My obvious and subtle intentions.

Should I mention

That I want you here right now? 


Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

I really like this one!

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago

Thanks, man!

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 1/17/2017 2:41:06 AM

Woke to the river skin cracking

Beads sewn into my window ledge:

Sidelong glances from a lonely season,

Forlorn in their refusal.


I made my bed and coffee

Sat up over the hill mid-morning,

When the sun in its newness dared to speak first

And its little voice fell on the foothills

Raising the hairs on the hoar-frosted things.

I swallowed the air and it melted right away,

Not all that unlike the water I carry

Which freezes unfreezes but carves out its paths

Moraines where it so pleases

Cirques in the wells.


Pastoral in Pleistocene,

My cheeks frosted pink and I was certain: 

No flower is as sweet as this bitter bloom.

But new porcelain is traded for pennies;

There was one set of boot prints in the snow

And they were mine.


Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago


Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 1/17/2017 9:50:36 AM

I saw the frozen flowers weep
And silent waters start to run
As winter's fingers, running deep, 
Were parted by the rising sun.

Through fallow fields rung out the call,
At spring's arrival, winter's end,
Of little Wren and Cardinal,
A 'welcome back' to north-bound friends.

I wandered o'er neglected paths
Where snowy drift still lingers on
And knelt down where I saw you last.
Spring's arriving, but you're still gone. 

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
I tried, I really did, but I am just bad at writing poems. Here is what I wrote, any advice to make it better would be nice.

When it snows

While playing in the snow, still so young,
you've got cold fingers, colder toes,
you catch snowflakes on your tongue,
you love it when it snows.

Some time later, when puberty hits,
you fall in love and buy a rose,
you love her smile, love her lips,
you love her when it snows.

Then you get older and think you're smart,
walking around in fancy clothes,
you're late and the car won't start,
you hate it when it snows.

And it's your own car by which you die,
the smell of fire escaped your nose,
to your love you say goodbye,
you're buried when it snows.

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 1/21/2017 1:58:54 AM

@Mayana To be fair, you didn't submit a bad poem per se. I for example liked the recurring theme in the last line of each stanza, and the age progression throughout your it.

Having said that, for me personally the ending came quite abrupt, and was unexplained. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's a nice twist, but in this case I felt that it didn't really fit in with the rest of your poem. 

I do like that you're experimenting with the syllable scheme, and I can't remember seeing a 9-8-7-6 scheme before. It's not bad, especially in combination with the rhyming scheme, but it might be a suggestion to try and implement a more structured metre, to make it a bit easier for your readers to follow along, as they might not notice the syllable structure at the first glance. 

Poetry Prompts - Week 1

5 years ago
Thank you for that reply, Romulus.
Now when reading this again I see what you mean, the ending seems slightly random. I think I'm going to remake this, already have some better ideas. I in general seem to have a problem with endings, Candlelight (contest entry) had the same problem, the ending was to sudden.
I like playing with syllables, I once wrote a poem with a syllable scheme of 2-3-4-5-6-7, so this one isn't quite as bad. I don't plan on changing that, at least not for this poem, I like how it turned out. Will keep it in mind for future works. Thank you again for all your advice.