What's it about?

This blog has a very specific purpose: it's a place to post prompts for creative writing during the time of the lockdown. Initially it was for the use of my writing group, as we cannot for the time being meet in person - but I want to open it up to anyone who'd like to have a go at creative writing. I very strongly believe that writing is good for you: while you're writing, you're off somewhere else - you've escaped! And that can only be a good thing during lockdown.

Do sign up to be notified by email when a new prompt is posted - usually on Thursdays - and I would love to hear how you're getting on in the comments. Have fun!

Saturday, 5 December 2020

A poem in winter

Just in case anyone has spotted the word 'poem' and has a bad case of sinking heart, panic not! As far as I'm concerned, a poem is just a short piece of writing, arranged in short lines, with a certain pattern to the rhythm. It can have rhyme, but that's not essential.

There! That's not so bad, is it? Of course, like everything else, as you get further in, it can get more complicated, with talk of sonnets and sestinas and suchlike, but that's the basis of it: a short piece of writing on a theme of your choice.

And our theme this week is 'Winter'. This gives you huge scope, and as ever, I'd suggest a spider chart - jot down all the different aspects and thoughts and feelings that come to mind. You might be drawn to writing about nature, or about a memory, or about winter food or clothes, or about weather, or the sea in winter, or how new growth begins in the garden - the possibilities are endless.

Here are a couple to get you into the zone. First, a very beautiful one by Christina Rosetti, which you will recognise. The second is a contemorary poem by Kathleen Jamie.

In the Bleak Mid-winter

In the bleak mid-winter

    Frosty wind made moan

Earth stood hard as iron

        Water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow

        Snow on snow

In the bleak mid-winter

        Long ago.

The Dipper

It was winter, near freezing,
I'd walked through a forest of firs
when I saw issue out of the waterfall
a solitary bird.

It lit on a damp rock,
and, as water swept stupidly on,
wrung from its own throat
supple, undammable song.

It isn't mine to give.
I can't coax this bird to my hand
that knows the depth of the river
yet sings of it on land.


If you find it difficult to get started, try an acrostic. You think of a title - eg 'Midwinter's Day'. Then you write the title down the left-hand side of the page, and write a line for each letter. Eg:

My favourite bit of winter
Is that first fall of snow.
Down float the flakes, soft and certain,
While children watch... etc etc

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