The Challenge

The poet at work

I cannot remember how I found the Poem-a-day challenge. It came, I think, in an email from one of the writing groups that email me regularly. It has changed everything I held true about myself and writing poems.

For years, I have said I could not write a poem unless I was "inspired." No poems on demand, for me. I only worked through the Muse, who, thankfully has been my constant companion for the past fifty years. After entering, on a whim, the Poem-a-day (PAD) challenge, I humbly admit that I had put great limitations on the Muse. Limitations that have, it would appear, only served to limit me! Shame on me! Mia culpa!

Robert Lee Brewer, the genius behind PAD, began his blog, Poetic Asides, in June of 2007. Since that time, he has shared wit and wisdom with fellow poets and readers, as well as, inspired others to write with great prompts. I have to say, it was his gracious and welcoming manner that gave me the courage to attempt the PAD for 2009.

So, how am I doing? Great! I have posted every day. The prompts have been fun, interesting, inspiring and easy to use. Today, (Two for Tuesday) we had two prompts. I have to admit, I had to sit with them from a bit before I could write, but, sure enough, when I sat down at the keyboard, the words came tumbling out. I am so blessed!

If you have never written a poem, this is a great time to start. Forget everything you have ever been taught or told about poetry. You do not have to have rhyme. You do not have to have a particular format. You do want to use words to paint a picture of whatever it is that comes into your mind.

Like art, you can use words to paint clear and realistic pictures...pictures that have the reader feeling as if they just fell into your poem. Or, you can use your words with the scarcity of an abstract artist...only hinting at what you see, allowing the reader to find their own sense of the subject.

The point is, try. If creating a poem seems too daunting, then simply write. Put words down in sentences, or in lists, or in phrases, but paint your picture. After a bit, you will begin to see a pattern, a glimmer of what could be.

Visit Poetic Asides, read the posts and the comments (comments include the poems other writers have sent in for the day's prompt) and then give it a try. After all, that's why they call it a "challenge!"

This is what I posted for today's prompt of "write a poem about clean and a poem about dirty."

CLEAN

A perfect white crocus
opening to the glories of
spring's sun as a fresh
zephyr gently kisses
its delicate petals,
upturned to receive
April blessings.

DIRTY

In thousand dollar suits,
they gather to discuss
the fates of lesser men
carefully washing their
hands of the filth that
clings invisibly to them.
In times past, their kind
were driven from the
temple grounds by the
prophet digusted by
the co-mingling of
sacred and secular.
In thousand dollar suits,
they gather to greedily
collect the bounty of
their slick deals, while
children die infected
with preventable diseases
and people starve
victims of a life without.

Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
© 2009

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