Friday, July 16, 2010

A New Poetry Prompt

Last week, I wrote about the Monday Poetry Stretch, hosted by The Miss Rumphius Effect. I think my first effort was pretty good. I just couldn't hack it this week, though. The challenge was to write about a saying, particularly one repeated in your youth by a parent or grandparent. Two obstacles seemed to stand in my way: drawing a blank on anything repeatedly quoted to me as a child, and not wanting to sound like I was ripping off Hal Sirowitz's brilliant collection, Mother Said. (His poems are hilarious and poignant, by the way. I couldn't find any shared with permission on the web, so you're on your own to seek them out I guess. I'm doing my best to follow copyright rules!)

Anyway, long story short, I stumbled upon a pretty cool site the other day: Big Tent Poetry. Each week they offer up a writing prompt of their own and invite others to share. This week's prompt called for examples of Steganography, which simply put is the "art and science of writing hidden messages" in such a way that none but the sender and intended recipient can understand the message. Um, yeah. I didn't fare too well with that one either.

I really wanted to write about the last race I ran in and how amazingly fast I was and how annoyed I am that I've let my running hobby lapse lately. I couldn't find any sort of code to embed, though. Maybe there is one there, planted by my sub-conscious mind, but I doubt it. So in an effort to be brave and keep sharing my poems, I'm posting it here today and encouraging everyone out there to check out Big Tent Poetry and all they have to offer. In addition to reading some terrific poems that have been submitted, I've also found some great new poetry blogs to follow.

Back Then

Back then I could fly--
back then a mere
nineteen months ago.
One race. Only three miles.
But you know--
held back by nothing--
I could have run fifty
that day.

Since then,
I’ve been
Can’t muster
the energy,
the time,
the speed.
You should have seen me
back then.

Tell me it’s time
for another shot.
Another chance
to see what was
there all along.
What is still there
Tell me
I can fly again.



  1. My body has given me a "back then," too. Frustrating!

  2. I like the challenge embedded in that poem of yours. Maybe your secret message is hidden under there?

    Thanks for the link to Big Tent. New to me, and I see there are a lot of links to explore. Just the push I need in the lazy heat of summer!

    I am putting your blog on my bloglines roll now. Coming back often!

  3. Good luck with your running re-boot, BC. I love the Sirowitz collection you mentioned. Heard him read many years ago. He was hysterical.

  4. Andromeda, thanks for the link. I have returned the favor.

    Amok, I'll need all the luck I can get with the re-boot!

  5. I think I might have found a code in your poem. It's about looking back for the feelings, instead of looking forward. I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I would think a runner who constantly looks back, wouldn't be able to get up to speed. But, your poem isn't just about running, it's a wonderful metaphor for a whole lot of things in life. Welcome to BTP. I've only been here a few weeks myself, but am always astounded at the quality of what I find, and the inspiration that abounds here.


  6. Food for thought, Elizabeth. Isn't it strange how sometimes you can write a poem with unintended, yet fully intended (thanks to the subconscious) meaning? Does that make sense???

  7. It's time for another shot (at running).
    And, you can fly again.

  8. It's hard to imagine doing such a huge event again. I, though, am betting on you!

  9. The mind is a powerful thing. If you need encouragement maybe the thrill of running was only fleeting?!

  10. I love this piece. My going back wouldn't be running, but climbing ever taller peaks.