A Different Take

Monday, April 5, 2021/Categories: Entries

A Different Take

NaPoWriMo2021 – Day 5 – April 5, 20201


Here is the prompt:


And now for our prompt (optional, as always). I call this one “The Shapes a Bright Container Can Contain,” after this poem by Theodore Roethke, which I adored in high school – and can still recite!

This prompt challenges you to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem. If I used Roethke’s poem as my model, for example, the first line would start with “I,” the second line with “W,” and the third line with “A.” And I would try to make all my lines neither super-short nor overlong, but have about ten syllables. I would also have my poem take the form of four, seven-line stanzas. I have found this prompt particularly inspiring when I use a base poem that mixes long and short lines, or stanzas of different lengths. Any poem will do as a jumping-off point, but if you’re having trouble finding one, perhaps you might consider Mary Szybist’s “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes” or for something shorter, Natalie Shapero’s “Pennsylvania.”


I have borrowed a poem from Andrew Jeter, please read his very good poetry on his website andrewjeter.org

He got me started on this whole poetry endeavor and has never made me feel inferior, although I clearly am. Today worse than normal in my quest to get “caught up”! His poem, I stagger, is below – then my attempt to follow the prompt!



I stagger


The prompt stalks forward

and the poems fly up and away

from the still-full feeders floating

over the green ocean of grass,

except they are muses instead

of written words

and I do not stalk

I stagger.


A Different Take

Tee up today’s suggestion

an assignment I am unable to embrace

Eff this poetry non-sense anyway

Oh to just have some talent


Eking out what barely passes

onto the page

and off my todo list

I fail

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