Saturday, October 16, 2010

Poetry Prompt #27 – I Wish I May, I Wish I Might

When we were children, wishes were part of our immediate reality, and believing that our wishes would come true was easy: “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.” Things change as we grow up, but we always have wishes, and that’s what this prompt is about.

Here are some “wish poem” ideas:

1. A poem based on a wish for more time with someone (recall the words in Jim Croce’s song: “If I could make days last forever / If words could make wishes come true / I'd save every day like a treasure and then, / Again, I would spend them with you.”).

2. A poem based on a wish to see or spend time with someone you lost touch with years ago.

3. A poem based on a wish to see/talk to someone no longer living.

4. A poem based on a wish you had as a child.

5. A poem based on a wish to be a child again.

6. A poem based on a wish that was realized and lost.

7. A poem based on a wish you know will never come true.

8. A poem based on the old caveat: “Be careful what you wish for….”

As an adjunct to this prompt, you might try incorporating anaphora. Anaphora is a kind of parallelism that happens when single words or whole phrases are repeated at the beginning of lines. Shakespeare was fond of anaphora and used it often (in “Sonnet No.66,” he began ten lines with the word “and”). Anaphora can give a sense of litany to a poem and can create a driving rhythm that intensifies a poem’s emotion. In this prompt, perhaps you can use anaphora to intensify the meaning and implications of your wish.

A classic wish poem: 



    You are always sneaking
    into my apartment
    when I am not at home
    using the key you never returned.

    I could not find the screwdriver
    until it appeared
    beneath a bookshelf in a bag
    with the pliers I never put there.

    When I reached for the spaghetti
    in the cabinet above the stove,
    it was gone, so were the corn flakes.
    Did I eat them in my sleep?

    Now the old broom is missing.
    There are no secret closets
    in this small, cluttered home.
    Did you command it to fly away?

    You are always stealing things I need,
    but I know I hide them from myself,
    & you have not come back
    & I have nothing you want.

  2. Thanks for sharing your poem, Bob! The "haunted" quality is powerful; the "dismount" is perfect.

  3. Great poem by Bob ("The Burgler"). Using the familiarity of everyday items to express profound loss and longing brings the experience home for the reader. Great twist and superb ending.

  4. Love the poem by Bob ("The Burgler")! The ending is especially great. Thank you, Bob, for letting us read it.