Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Six Words

Don't fret, this isn't a sestina! Today I have a different six-word poetry challenge.

In the book I Am Writing a Poem About . . . A Game of Poetry, Myra Cohn Livingston writes about three of the assignments she gave to students in her master class in poetry at UCLA. The third assignment Livingston gave was to write a poem that included six assigned words. Here is a description from the book's introduction.
About the last assignment--a six-word-based poem--there was some debate. Everyone agreed that holefriendcandleoceanbucket, and snake presented possibilities, but a few preferred the word scarecrow to bucket, so a choice was given. Holefriendcandleocean, and snake were mandatory, but one could choose either bucket or scarecrow as the sixth word.
Now, that is a challenge! Let's follow Livingston's directions and write a poem that contains the five words holefriendcandleoceanand snake, as well as either bucket or scarecrow as the sixth word. I hope you'll join me in writing this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Fears

    I am never asked by men
    on dating sites what I fear,
    so I will tell you outright:
    heights, snakes, a sink hole
    opening at my feet, the ocean
    at night, a scarecrow dancing
    down the path towards me,
    a lion and tin man walking
    arm in arm.

    I would not do well
    in Oz or in Wonderland.
    Happily they lie quiet
    on the page.
    But give me a friend--
    even an old man
    hiding behind the curtain
    of his own fears--
    who can hold up
    a candle in the wind
    and I will dance
    along the cornrows
    until I fall into
    a happy sleep covered
    by red petals,
    or manage my flamingo
    on the queen's Old Course.

    ©2016 Jane Yoleb all rights reserved

    1. "but give me a friend--
      even an old man...(holding)..a candle in the wind"

      it really *is* all you need!

  2. All you need...

    When she discovered you had slithered
    like a snake into an ocean full of empty,
    being a true friend, at once she lit a candle
    to seek a water bucket with no hole.

  3. I used both bucket and scarecrow. Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!

    Ocean and Snake

    An ocean and a snake were friends.
    They used to hiss and undulate
    together. But one day the snake
    came no more. Snakes do not live
    as long as oceans. Nothing does.
    Then the ocean had a hole in her heart
    like a place scooped out by a bucket
    the size of an island. She tried
    making friends with a scarecrow,
    but he was lost in her waves, floating
    like a drowned man. She tried
    befriending a candle, but the flame
    only hissed once, when she touched it
    with a wet finger. After that
    the ocean was friend to no one,
    and cared not who hissed or drowned.

    —Kate Coombs, 2016
    all rights reserved

    The hole in my spirit cannot be replenished again.
    No more healing whispers from my best friend
    or trips to the ocean trying to baptize myself
    to rejuvenation. I’m a candle wick flickering away.
    This bucket of pain I endure feels too heavy to carry.
    I feel like a scarecrow being pecked away by vultures.
    I wish there were an 11th Commandment that states:
    No parent should have to outlive their children.

    (c) Charles Waters 2017 all rights reserved.