Love Poetry: Monday Challenge

When you think of love poetry you think of young men and women spinning yarns of exaggerated verse such as “your face is more beautiful than the rising sun” and “your presence lightens the day and incites birds to mate” …well…you get the drift, right?

But such is the stuff of poetry that makes poets more feared than their fanged brethren: Vampires! Reading corny poetry like that out in public is perhaps the surest way to lose friends fast and die sad and lonely. And yes you are right…I should know!!!


Truth be told, writing love poems is the hardest kind of poetry. Its is so easy to exaggerate your emotions or drop an unnecessary rhyme or a cliche like “she smells like a rose”…shudder! If at all you use cliches then make them deliberate to make a point like Carol in her poem Valentine.

Juliet and Romeo syndrome

My best advise would be to stay clear from the “Juliet and Romeo” syndrome. While Juliet and Romeo was an exemplary play in its time, centuries later it is a bit of a “been there and done that” and might I add, a bit out of date. So try and get out of the “Juliet and Romeo” mold. Instead chose a more realistic 21st century setting and if you can introduce a 21st century problem then you got our ears.

Also try not to take yourself or your love interest too seriously. Avoid trite settings where your love interest is leaving you to die in gumption mourning her loss. Its so *yawningly* played out.


Can you describe your love without using commonplace words such as, “love”, “beautiful”, “lovely”, “heart”, names of flowers and birds, and celestial objects such as the Moon and The Sun?

If so, then go ahead write a love poem and make us truly connect with your emotions. If you do, feel free to link to my post or send me your poem in the comments section with your name and blog so I may give you the deserved credit. Here are a few to inspire you:


by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.


A Glimpse

By Walt Whitman

A glimpse through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around the stove late of a winter night, and I unremark’d seated in a corner,
Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand,
A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of drinking and oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word.



Eight symmetrical legs spin up a silken web,

With the dexterity of a pianist striking his keys,

back and forth and back and forth,

On the black and white keys

Weaving a breathless crescendo of perfect notes

While the audience watch in enthralled silence

until he stops.

And sits back as if to catch a breath,

And a thousand sighs escape their human chests.

Then the pianist leans back in and strikes his final note,

Just as the spider dances back and forth and back and forth,

on its Silver web lassoing its hapless prey with its sticky hooks.

A short struggle rises and then wanes as its hapless prey ceases to flutter

A thousand people rise in standing ovation.

Monday Challenge: Beguiling Poetry


Monday Challenge: Eating Poetry

When it comes to poetry its just not enough to read poetry. Poetry is far more visceral than that. To really enjoy poetry you need to eat, drink and breathe poetry and then maybe…just maybe you can capture its true essence. Nobody explains this better than Mark Strand in his Poem, “Eating Poetry”.

I love this poem by Mark Strand for so many reasons, most profound of which is the dark imagery it renders. The first line hooks you right away with its “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth” opening sentence. You cannot help but want to know of this person who is consuming enough poetry that its starting to bleed from his mouth…ink and all. Right from the opening line surreal images just leap out from his words into your mind. Within a few short sentences you are transported into the dimly lit library where the “poems are gone”. You can now see what has scared the librarian enough to cause her to “stamp her feet and weep”. The man has consumed so much poetry that he turns into a dog, a joyful one at that, “I romp with joy in the bookish dark.”. His joy is in sharp contrast to the sad and petrified librarian who does not understand what is going on perhaps because she has not yet enjoyed the taste of poetry.

For your challenge today, I ask you to take your own deepest emotions about poetry and turn them into something surreal. Don’t just rhyme or verse, paint me a picture throbbing with vivid imagery. Hook me in with your best hypnotic metaphors. Still unsure how to start, write a snippet of a story that is so surreal, it leaves one panting for more. Feel free to publish the poem on your blog and pingback to ubecute or just copy and paste your poem with your name and blog details in the comments section. Let the creative juices flow…

Eating Poetry
By Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
In case you are curious about what Ubecute has to say about poetry check out this poem written a few years ago.

Monday Challenge: Beguiling Poetry

Poems are beguiling works of art. Good poets will never write that they were sad and cried buckets or were happy and skipped their way to work. For instance take a look at this second stanza (by Algernon Charles Swinburne describing “sorrow”).

“One thought lies close in her heart gnawn thorough
With pain, a weed in a dried-up river,
A rust-red share in an empty furrow.”

He never uses the word sorrow or tears and yet makes you connect with the character in his poem immediately. You can feel her pain and partake in the sleeplessness of the night. Poets rarely talk about things as they are because they use the power of a metaphor to ignite the human imagination and paint a crafty picture of intrigue.

For today’s challenge use a metaphor to describe your true emotions. For this challenge look at your room and take note of any thing that stands out: book shelf, painting, book, cell phone and use a metaphor to describe it. Keep describing it with a metaphor until you think you have painted a perfect picture of the object you are talking about. For e.g. the pen is like an arrow that bleeds its blue blood, or your dirty socks are like dark caves that lead to nowhere. Let nothing stop you, no matter how unbelievable it sounds. You can always take a second or third pass at your poem to make some final much needed edits, but for now let your imagination flow. If you do participate send me your poem with your full name in the comments below or pingback to me using the “Edit/Link icon” in your own post.

To get your creative juices flowing I am sharing a poem by Ted Kooser one of my favorite poets.

A box of Pastels
Continue reading “Monday Challenge: Beguiling Poetry”

Monday Poetry Challenge

Writing poetry is more than a combination of art and science. It takes a lot of insight and a fair amount of practice. Poetry requires the ability to reflect on mundane objects, things, animals or incidents and turn it into an introspective observation that is unique. Good poetry will make you want to think and draw your own conclusion. Good poetry is timeless, people can reflect on it for ages and derive insight or inspiration. I am therefore starting a weekly challenge to coax you into writing or reading poetry that you love.

Each week I will share a theme and some examples to inspire and titillate your creative instincts. Send me your poem in the comments section or write it in your blog and pingback to me.

This week I visited the Aquarium in Long Beach with my daughter. My two year old daughter was absolutely mesmerized with the musical movement of fish underwater. That is the beauty of fish, it can neither talk nor hear you, yet it leaves you mesmerized with its movement. So for this week’s challenge I encourage you to write a poem about a fish, it need not be titled “Fish” but try to include some reference to one. If you would rather not author a poem, then feel free to share your own analysis on any poem about a fish.

Take for instance this poem by William Butler Yeats. Even though the poem is titled “The Fish” and it starts off by talking about the sinuous movement of a fish within “the ebb and flow” of the tide, the poem is not about the fish at all. The fish is an analogy to a person who was perhaps “hard and unkind” or was perceived as such by people. Or perhaps it isn’t about a person at all instead the Fish is referencing the judgmental nature of people or society, who will criticize even the most instinctive behavior of a person.

The Fish

Although you hide in the ebb and flow
Of the pale tide when the moon has set,
The people of coming days will know
About the casting out of my net,
And how you have leaped times out of mind
Over the little silver cords,
And think that you were hard and unkind,
And blame you with many bitter words.