Saturday, January 14, 2017

Prompt # 272 – Remembering an Old Love



Happy New Year, blog readers! I hope 2017 has gotten off to a great start for you and that it will bring you good health, much joy, and wonder-filled inspiration. As we begin this New Year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back. We all have regrets, as well as happy memories, so here’s a prompt for reflecting on what's been as we move forward.

Do you ever think about old loves, people who were once very important to you maybe even from high school or college? This prompt challenges you to write a poem addressed to an old love. You may choose to take a humorous approach or you may be serious. Either way, you’ll need to recapture the old feelings and write them into a poem.

Guidelines:

1. Make a list of old flames and then select one. You may choose to skip this step (listing) and simply choose an ex-lover, ex-partner, ex-husband or wife.

2. Now make a list of that person’s qualities of character and behaviors.

3. Think about how the person you’ve chosen to write about treated you, and how you treated that person.

4. Is there anything you regret or would change if you could go back and relive the past?

5. Write your poem in 15 lines or less. Be sure to be specific but avoid becoming sentimental or “sappy.” If you have residual anger, write that into the poem. If forgiveness is part of the past, let your poem express that. Just be careful to show and not tell.

Tips:

1. The first line of your poem should be inviting, shockingly interesting or comforting, luring your readers in.

2. Write with an authentic voice—the way something is said is infinitely more important than the intellect of what is said. Be aware of your attitude toward the subject matter and how your attitude becomes part of the subject.

3. Find the right balance between clarity and mystery. Leave your readers with a question here and there.

4. Create a sense of intimacy in the poem, a revealing of something you’ve never “told” before.

5. Experiment with line and stanza breaks. This will help expose weak spots as well as unnecessary repetitions and wordiness.

6. Work from the personal toward the universal. Think about how your poem will invite readers to relate to your experience (even if the details are different from experiences of their own). Create a resonance for your readers that goes beyond the ending of your poem.

Example:

The Chapter Between 

                          By Linda Radice

       Perhaps love is the process of my gently leading you back to yourself.
                                                          
                                                                            –Antoine de Saint Exupery

There was fresh bread on the table the night
we broke up. You leaned against the counter,
wouldn’t meet my eyes, and I held my handful
of un-cooked spaghetti until the pot boiled dry.

All these years later we connect on the Internet.
You send me pictures of your house and the three
dogs you call your “kids.”  I send you wedding
pictures, and one of my granddaughter in her pink tutu.

We trade e-mail memories, vignettes released
from their suspension in time. You tell me you
 “Googled” me and found I was a poet. I tell
you about publications and readings, but not

that I’d never written a poem about you.
You held the car radio in your hands, its wires
dangling, insides half visible and exposed to
the fall afternoon. You watched until I noticed

you, then bent to reconnect each wire with its mate
before you slid it back into place and looked up to
smile at the woman whose eye you wanted to catch. 
You were the chapter between a bad marriage and the

rest of my life.  You put Stephan Grappelli on the stereo
and turned up the volume.  You stood behind me until I
stopped looking over my shoulder.  You were all the
things I’d forgotten without repercussions, and oh –
                                      
You were black silk stockings and making love on the
living room floor. You were my healing pages. 
And if you read this poem – your poem –
I cannot recall the discussion the night you

left, but I remember the first words you said
when we met, how safe you made me feel, and
how the moonlight made shadows on the curve
of your jaw as you slept.  


(Reprinted with the permission of the author.)       



 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!




Dear Blog Readers,

I wish all of you a New Year filled with blessings:
good health, 
much happiness, 
and all the things that bring you joy!

Love to all of you,
Adele




Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wishing You the Gifts and Blessings of This Joyous Season


I send each of you my sincerest best wishes for a holiday season filled with light and love, 
and a New Year filled with good health, happiness, inspiration, and poetry.

By way of sharing, here's a poem I wrote when I was 10 years old.  

What Is Christmas?

 By Adele Kenny, 1958 (age 10) 

A certain crispness in the air?

Joyous carols everywhere?

Giving and receiving gifts?
Or – is Christmas more than this?

Stockings hanging in a row?
Children dreaming dreams of snow?
A day that’s filled with light and bliss?
Or – is Christmas more than this?

Thoughts of what will Santa bring?
Toys and games and lots of things?
Under mistletoe, a kiss?
Or – is Christmas more than this?

It is the birth of Christ the King –
listen to the church bells ring!
A star led all to where he lay
in a tiny manger filled with hay.
This is Christmas!

To worship him came Eastern kings,
and angels hovered on golden wings.
A chorus sang above the land,
while shepherds knelt to touch his hand.
This is Christmas!

Today we have our gifts and joys,
grownups’ comforts and children’s toys,
but still we worship as they did then
the baby born with love for men.
This is Christmas!

______________________________

Regular posts will resume on January 14, 2017.

In the meantime, I wish you peace and all good things.




Saturday, December 17, 2016

Prompt #271 – Holiday Memories


There are a number of wonderful Christmas/holiday stories (Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” is one of the best loved). We all have Christmases past to remember, and this week’s post is “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” written by the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas about his childhood Christmases in Wales. Originating from a piece that Thomas wrote for radio (and recorded in 1952), I think of it as a prose poem, or at the very least poetic prose—a Christmas retelling from a child’s point of view, a heartfelt memory piece. Powered by the mythos of childhood and memories of an easier, simpler time, it is one of Thomas’s most popular works.

Every Christmas Eve as far back as I can remember, we had dinner with the family (my grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, pets) and, when everyone went home, I set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, placed the plaster Baby Jesus in our crèche, and my mom, dad, and I went upstairs. It was then that my father read “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” to us. It was a struggle to stay awake but, somehow, I always heard my father whisper the hauntingly beautiful concluding line. I still read the story every Christmas Eve, even though my parents have both been gone for many years. With the particular magic of a child’s love, I can almost feel my mom’s hand in mine and can almost hear my dad’s voice. Dylan Thomas’s words never fail to touch my heart. I hope they will touch yours too.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.
Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

“Call the fire brigade,” cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
“There won’t be there,” said Mr. Prothero, “it’s Christmas.”
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting.
“Do something,” he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and ran out of the house to the telephone box.
“Let’s call the police as well,” Jim said. “And the ambulance.” “And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires.”

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim’s Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, “Would you like anything to read?”

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: “It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.”

“But that was not the same snow,” I say. “Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.”
“Were there postmen then, too?”
“With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells.”
“You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?”
“I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them.”
“I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells.”
“There were church bells, too.”
“Inside them?”
 “No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence."

“Get back to the postmen.”
“They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles ....”
“Ours has got a black knocker....”
“And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out.”
“And then the presents?”
“And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger’s slabs. “He wagged his bag like a frozen camel’s hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone.”

“Get back to the Presents.”
“There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o’-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o’-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not to, would skate on Farmer Giles’ pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why.”

“Go on the Useless Presents.”
“Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor’s cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons.”

“Were there Uncles like in our house?”
“There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle and sugar fags, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms’ length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and saucers.”

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing, no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite, to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself.

I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high, so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o’-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements.
“I bet people will think there’s been hippos.”
“What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?”
“I’d go like this, bang! I’d throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I’d tickle him under the ear and he’d wag his tail.”
“What would you do if you saw two hippos?”

Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr. Daniel’s house.
“Let’s post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box.”
“Let’s write things in the snow.”
“Let’s write, ‘Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel’ all over his lawn.”
Or we walked on the white shore. “Can the fishes see it’s snowing?”

The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills, and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying “Excelsior.” We returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly; and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with rum, because it was only once a year.

Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn’t the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. “What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?”
“No,” Jack said, “Good King Wencelas. I’ll count three.” One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry, eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town.
“Perhaps it was a ghost,” Jim said.
“Perhaps it was trolls,” Dan said, who was always reading.
“Let’s go in and see if there’s any jelly left,” Jack said. And we did that.

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang “Cherry Ripe,” and another uncle sang “Drake’s Drum.” It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird’s Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-child-s-christmas-in-wales/


If you'd like to hear "A Child's Christmas in Wales" read by Dylan Thomas himself, 
here it is. 




____________________________________________________________
   
Your writing prompt this week, after reading “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” is to delve deeply into your holiday memories and to describe them in a prose piece or prose poem that is about a single memory or a composite memory of many years. 

Suggestions:

1. Evoke the time, what you saw and did, who was there with you, the sounds, the smells, the feelings. 
2. Create images that emerge from the world of your childhood. 
3. Think about the ways in which Dylan Thomas used adjectives to enhance description and meaning—work toward doing the same.
4. Invite your readers to see and feel what you saw and felt. 
5. Pull out all the stops: become the child you were again, narrate the writing through your child eyes.
6. Think they way you thought way back when. 
7. How do specific details in Thomas's writing invite readers to insights into childhood and adulthood? Try to create some special insights for your readers.




Saturday, December 10, 2016

Prompt #270 – Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Over a hundred years ago, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial on Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. I've read Virginia's letter and Francis Church's reply every year during December for many years. I hope it will touch your heart as much as it always touches mine.


The Editorial

    DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
    Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
    Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
    Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

    VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
    115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

    VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

    Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

    You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

    No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


_______________________________________________

The first poem I ever had published was a letter to Santa that I wrote in December of 1956 (I had just turned 8 years old and still believed in Santa Claus). My poem was published in the Grover Cleveland Elementary School newspaper. Happily, my mom saved all those early writings, and I have an original copy of the newspaper.

Your prompt for this week is to write a letter to Santa in which you list the things that you wish for. These needn’t be material things!You may also consider writing about what you believe or need to believe.

Suggestions:

1. Think in terms of non-material gifts you’d like to receive. (For example: spiritual well-being, healing from (and cures for) illnesses, an end to homelessness and hunger, peace in the world.)

2. Think about your family members and friends. What would you most like for them?

3. Is there a relationship in your life that needs healing? What would you ask for in terms of that relationship.

4. What about our world? What would you ask for?

5. Is there something you want or need to believe? How would you ask for that belief?

Tips:

1. Observe the usual caveats: avoid the passive voice, eliminate “ing” endings wherever you can, don’t use too many adjectives.

2. Use more one-syllable words than multi-syllable words in your last couple of lines (think in terms of strong verbs and no superfluous language).

3. Try (minimal) repetition from another part of the poem—sometimes this can work very well.

4. Try to link the end of your poem to the beginning but not overtly—and don’t over-write.

5.  Write beyond the last line, then go back and find the last line hidden in what you’ve written.

6. Leave your reader something to reflect upon.

7. Point toward something broader than the obvious content of your poem.

8. You may want to try a prose poem  or to use letter format. Here's a letter from Santa Claus that Mark Twain wrote for his daughter Susie:

 
Mark Twain's Letter from Santa Claus
Written for His Daughter Susie


Palace of St. Nicholas
In the Moon
Christmas Morning

MY DEAR SUSIE CLEMENS:

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me by the hand of your mother and your nurses; I have also read those which you little people have written me with your own hands--for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples' alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters—I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself—and kissed both of you, too, because you are good children, well trained, nice mannered, and about the most obedient little people I ever saw. But in the letter which you dictated there were some words which I could not make out for certain, and one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock. Our last lot of kitchen furniture for dolls has just gone to a very poor little child in the North Star away up, in the cold country above the Big Dipper. Your mama can show you that star and you will say: "Little Snow Flake," (for that is the child's name) "I'm glad you got that furniture, for you need it more than I." That is, you must write that, with your own hand, and Snow Flake will write you an answer. If you only spoke it she wouldn't hear you. Make your letter light and thin, for the distance is great and the postage very heavy.

There was a word or two in your mama's letter which I couldn't be certain of. I took it to be "a trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o'clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to open the door. Then he must go back to the dining room or the china closet and take the cook with him. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak—otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse's bed and put your car to the speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, "Welcome, Santa Claus!" Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not. If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be. Your mama will help you to name a nice color and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say "Good-by and a merry Christmas to my little Susie Clemens," you must say "Good-by, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much and please tell that little Snow Flake I will look at her star tonight and she must look down here—I will be right in the west bay window; and every fine night I will look at her star and say, 'I know somebody up there and like her, too.' " Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while. I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall—if it is a trunk you want—because I couldn't get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know.

People may talk if they want, until they hear my footsteps in the hall. Then you tell them to keep quiet a little while till I go back up the chimney. Maybe you will not hear my footsteps at all—so you may go now and then and peep through the dining-room doors, and by and by you will see that thing which you want, right under the piano in the drawing room-for I shall put it there. If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven't time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag—else he will die someday. You must watch George and not let him run into danger. If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and somebody points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus's boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

Good-by for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen doorbell.

Your loving SANTA CLAUS
Whom people sometimes call "The Man in the Moon"