Auld Lang Syne

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 16 Prompt emptiness

Today is the day to write with white space. Take a stanza or two from a poem you have already written, one that seems to go ON AND ON...

Remove all articles (the, an, a) and prepositions
Remove all adjectives
Remove all conjunctions

LEAVE the spaces where you removed these (this program won't leave the spaces somehow and you will therefore see my revised poem without them... but look at what the result is anyway... pretty interesting. If you do it on paper (remember paper?) you will see a completely different result.

Change all verbs to NEW, active verbs

What is left? Post on my blog.

Here is my attempt: 1st the text unaltered

They come unbidden

to the porch, bits of straw, a berry

or even the leg bone of a baby bird

that died in the nest

dropped with one sad note.

First they dropped and flew,

then they hovered, singing

and cocking their heads

as if to enter a conversation —

as if only I spoke their language.

Birds, like lawyers of glass

came and sang their troubled cases,

me the judge and jury. Jay,

in his strident voice,

spoke first:

First, we need you to stop

the scratching music cats play,

the discordant tail beat of squirrels,

stop the deaths of our babes

from spoiled seed.


NOW, the text altered:

They buckle unbidden

porch, bits straw, berry

faltered nest

leg bone bird

spared note.

burned strangled,

hovered, singing

rustle heads

clear conversation —

I invent language.

Birds, lawyers glass

danced invented cases,

me judge jury. Jay,


trilled :

we beg you thump

music cats scrape,


uncover deaths babes


This is incredibly difficult to do well. But it's a part of the path to deep revision. SO give it a try.

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