This poem was composed as an exercise in shaping your poem around a random set of words, and a cliche phrase. We were given 8 words (road, cloud, whir, blackberry, lick, voice, mother, and one other I forget), and told to use 5 of them somehow in a poem, which we had ten minutes to write. The poem had to include at least one proverb, saying, or cliche.

I was head over heels
Walking down the road, upright and normal.
How else would you walk?
The clouds were nailed securely to the sky
Instead of cottoning along under my feet.
I could not lick the feeling, though,
That something was whirring along gloriously out of whack
Because my heart was full like a blackberry
Ripe with the sweet richness
Of your lovely voice.

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Wet Walk

This is a short free verse poem in which I recycled another poet’s line, as an exercise. See if you can guess which one is the borrowed one!

On one of those rainy days, when the sun seemed so far away
Under the spatter and
drip
of the then,
You told me you did not want my umbrella.
You were perfectly content to let the
sky
Fall on your head,
And somehow the world seemed suddenly
To make sense that way.
So I put away the sound of the gibberish that the rain
Was typewriting on my umbrella,
And talked to you like a normal human being.
We were wet, us two walking in the afternoon grey,
While the umbrella’s steel tip clicked patiently along,
Metronoming with its tick
Our quiet concerto of talk, and laughter,
The grey and agreeable silence.
I still think you’re strange.

Two

The two feet that carry me
Through my Sunday-blessed,
Sun-blessed world,
They carry me past those two squirrels,
Chattering in their tree-war.

Those two dogs, one black,
His brother white,
Chasing eternally cheerful
After the ball, the ball,
The wonderful ball
Look look look there it goes –

And the two lovers talking
Side by side under the sleeping bag
On the stage in the park.
They know they have a good thing,
However their hearts came by it.

And there were two robins,
But now there are three,
Worm-grubbing with sidelong glances,
Maybe to balance me,
Here alone in the afternoon:
But they’re wrong, for I am sitting with the sun,
Chance companions,
Both beaming,
The two of us.

None of which is to say
That I would never seek another
To walk by the side of.
And she and me
Would walk under the sun where
He waits, expectant, now that I have someone else,
Waiting for his own beloved moon.
That’s the way the world works.