The Poem Strikes Back! (creative writing exercise)


It’s a bit strange title for the blog post, isn’t it? This is a different approach to writing prompts and exercises that you are accustomed to on this blog, but the last thing we want is to be boring and monotonous.

And before you dismiss whole idea, because it sounds silly – actually it is all about being aware of different perspectives. This is a sort of continuation of blog posts related to mindfulness and why not taking a role play as a foundation for writing prompt? To go even step further, let’s imagine that you are a poem. What would poem have to say? We use our writing as a tool to release our anger, love, passion, depression, fears, admiration, secrets, desires…Is your poem tired of you? Are you whining all the time? Are you always concentrated on what’s going on inside yourself that you missed a beautiful, strong and passionate  winter storm? The birch outside your window doesn’t have any leaves, have you noticed that?

Or you are trying to please everybody all day and you forgot to smile. Can you count how many times you smiled today?

Do you remember your latest dream? And when was the last time you danced to your favorite song?

Let your poem tell you all that. Imagine your writing is a mirror, what is it reflecting? What is missing out of your life? What is too much?

This is something I like to call reversed mindfulness. You are observing, noticing, listening…but instead of what is, we can focus on what isn’t. Our poem can tell us that story, a sort of self-reflection that shows us where our life is at, right now and what we can change.

It doesn’t matter if its humorous, boring, exaggerating – nobody is perfect, so neither is your poem. It’s about the understanding how we can enjoy life more.

So here’s the setting: It’s time for your writing. You are about to sit at your table but there is already a piece of paper waiting for you. It’s a poem, addressed to you and it says: “Dear_______

So, this is my take on the exercise:

Dear Maja,

how are you today?

Another grey Tuesday in the sunny Hague?

That rainy hat you are teasingly pressing on your head

Forget it…let it blow

like a wild bat…

Feel the wind through your hair,

that boring despair – leave at home

(there’s no such thing  “a graceful yawning”

I can tell you that!)

And why there are only two crossed lines

on your forehead?

Smile with your face,

you don’t have to know everything just yet.

Life unfolds, there is a reason I’m saying you this.

Stay close to me, my dearest friend.

You are not alone – like the Moon follows Earth,

I’m behind you, invisible, most delicate thread

you’ll understand, close your eyes, jump over that doorstep.

What your poem has to tell you?

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38 thoughts on “The Poem Strikes Back! (creative writing exercise)

  1. Hey Maja, Great post. Love the idea of the poem trying to “tell us” rather than having the poet mold the poem. I like to “try” and do that, not sure how successful I always am. It’s great when you can listen to the whispers that reveal what the poem thinks it is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know and we often struggle with what to write about, but instead we are surrounded with so much beauty. I also often say that poetry is my teacher as it brings me in the present and really live the present moment. And I’m very glad you liked this post 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This post is still making me think. Ran across this quote from Robert Frost along the same lines as your post – “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. Robert Frost.”

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent post Maja. I think this links in cleverly with your recent posts about writers block and creativity. If we change the way we look at things we access different areas of the brain, which in turn creates differing perspectives for writing and poetry..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course, when you bring yourself to the present moment, you don’t have to search for inspiration – you become observer and you write about your experiences. Poetry in the same time boosts creativity, but also brings you to the meditative state. Incredible 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To answer your question:

    What would poem have to say? We use our writing as a tool to release our anger, love, passion, depression, fears, admiration, secrets, desires…Is your poem tired of you? Are you whining all the time?

    Clever and smart. I love what you did here. The idea of does poetry itself get tired of us humans. Well, that is the question isn’t it. I would say, maybe poetry does get tired of us, maybe poetry wants us to exercise more into open challenges of other things out there in the world. Who knows…Maja, I love this blog of yours and it did make me question poetry as a concept. 🙂

    Here’s something I danced to. Hope you too, love Nine Inch Nails

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You welcome Maja.

        I agree with your assessment. 🙂

        I’m glad you liked the song.

        Here’s another song I think you’ll also enjoy by: Nine Inch Nails.

        It has a beat and it’ll make you dance.

        Let me know what you think. The message is deep.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The song raises some good questions about being authentic and true…is it even possible? Similar with writing, poets and writers always wonder how original and authentic they are with their words, like we are all part of some larger scheme and program – certainly a topic open to an endless discussion 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh reminds me, am still to dance and yet that was top of my chtistmas list for last year, gosh is it because I ain’t found a partner yet or the time to hit a club or even put on a you tube and face my mirror? Maybe and hopefully tonight. Maja thank you

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hi Maja, thank for liking my poem and that led me here. You see, I didn’t like poems initially because those I read or studied as a kid were so contemporary or maybe even dark ages and dreamy. And then 2 years ago, grief struck and the poetry bug bit me like nothing before. I hesistated exploring that fully, I loved writing prose more. But hmm, when I start writing a poem especially as it flows in my head on the spur, I am amazed at some of them to be honest. Thanks once more

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I really like this post, thank you!
    Sometimes our default as writers when we are ‘feeling stuff’ is to write it out- the release of confession I guess- and that’s fine.
    But (and I hate to use the word) ‘great’ poets are just that because they have just the ability you describe in your post, so any personal experience or angst becomes part of a bigger vision, which speaks more universally. Take Ted Hughes and the almost shamanistic relationship with nature in his poems, Dylan Thomas (sorry to reference two blokes, it was just the first that came to mind), and the humour and joy and pathos of living and loving in Wales/New York…they had epic personal lives but that is just a small aspect of their work.
    I also find-and I wonder if others do too- that the poem does indeed ‘bite back’; most of the time when I start to write with the germ of an idea or emotion in mind, the poem grows its own wings and flies off in a totally different direction! 😄
    Anyway, thanks for keeping us encouraged and on track Maja.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What an interesting, revealing and thoroughly enjoyable writing challenge to take part in. I hope you don’t mind but I am reblogging your post tomorrow when my attempt at the challenge is posted.

    Keep an eye out for the pingback 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Patience, How are you today ? Sunday, feel the dark day blues are melting. The bare winter tree outside – look- has tiny pink buds. See a puffed up pigeon strut his stuff. I’m wrapped in quiet today. Me , myself, I feel calm today, pale peach, tequila sunrise’ish not blue any-more.

    Liked by 1 person

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