Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Poetry Stretch - Abandoned Barn

On a drive in a rural county this week I saw several abandoned buildings. Those sights got me thinking about this week's writing prompt. I don't often use photos for stretches, largely because Laura has been doing this for years so fabulously with her 15 Words or Less prompt.

However, I couldn't get those images out of my mind, so this week I offer a photo as a prompt. I won't hold you to a word count or form, so feel free to explore.

If you are interested in photos to inspire your poetry, check out the book Picture Yourself Writing Poetry: Using Photos to Inspire Writing by Laura Purdie Salas.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem for this photo. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. I love photo prompts, especially Laura's! But I'm in a weird mood about this one… so here's my poem:


    It’s his turn to be the abandoned barn.
    He tries looking pathetic, posing
    beside a rusted-out car and a winter tree
    stark with cold, it could use a scarf.
    But he’s in a good mood and ends up
    looking strong, like nothing can really
    keep his boards and beams down.
    Even the sky refuses to cooperate,
    painting in clouds that move like
    they’re going somewhere, not tragic
    at all. And hey, what’s wrong
    with abandoned? Who needs a farmer,
    who needs cows? Maybe
    with a little snow he could pull it off.
    But he just looks stoic. Even heroic.

    —Kate Coombs, 2015
    all rights reserved

  2. I am enjoying Kate's response to this evocative image. I like it that the barn isn't needy. Testing the ol' boards a bit more...

    Abandoned Barn
    by Jan Godown Annino

    Such a busy place
    I've become
    Home to a forest of fungi
    Nesting nook for wrens, swallows, tufted titmice
    The last wild horses grazing in these parts
    poke their noses in to check me out
    even walk full in when caught in a storm-

    Why say, "Abandoned Barn?"
    What do they know of barn mice
    feral cats
    And what about that human
    who comes out day after day
    with paints and a wood board
    I know what's on the other side
    of that board

    JanGodownAnnino, 2015 all rights reserved

    Appreciations for this prompt.
    I think that ride must have been memorable.

  3. OOh--I love your poems.

    Here's mine, a sort of sonnet.

    Photograph of an Old Barn

    It stands infirm on trimmed down feet,
    floor dusty as a drought,
    wears age like an old overcoat,
    its collar turned inside out.

    Its memories, like photographs,
    in shades of brown and gray,
    reliving nightly breath of cows,
    the smell of cows each day.

    Its roof slumps like a farmer’s cap.
    A silage barn crowds by its side.
    Above them both an ancient tree
    opens trembling arms so wide,

    The world takes note upon the page,
    of solemn, sloping, shrinking age.

    ©2015 Jane Yolen all right reserved

  4. Wow, Jan and Jane, nice! I like the feral cats and the promise of paint, also the collar turned inside out and the ancient tree, the "solemn, sloping, shrinking age."

  5. Thanks for the shout-out, Tricia. I've been out of town and just saw this. Today's photo is from the Rush concert I went to last week. A bit different from the naturey pics I tend to share:>)

  6. These poems are lovely, Kate, Jan, and Jane. I keep coming back and reading them again -- three times now in a week -- and finding something new to appreciate.

    Skeleton branches graze against the side of this knackered, unloved barn.
    Victimized by a government to selfish in helping its former residents,
    assisted by nature’s year-round, uncaring disposition. Spirits circle around
    like ghosts. They watch over this abandoned property without any means to help.

    (c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.