Saturday, March 2, 2013

Prompt #139 – Edges

Our world is a world of borders and edges. In most spheres of our lives, we’re required to observe prescribed boundaries. We live among separations, always trying to find places where edges meet and connections happen. This week, let’s think about edges and what they suggest to us. Free write for a while, then go back and read what you’ve written. Does anything speak to you?

Ideas for Writing:
  1. Write a poem about edges in your life? Ragged edges? Smooth edges?
  2. Write a poem about a time when you found yourself at the edge of something (marriage, divorce, moving, a new job—any important decision). 
  3. Write a poem about a time when you were caught between edges?
  4. Write about an “edge” in which you met or left someone special.
  5. Write about a time when you (metaphorically) went over an edge?
  6. Write a poem about the edge or edges of something (an object, a place, a state of mind—the edge where land and sea meet, the moon’s edges, the edge of a star, the edge of romance, the edge of a forest, the edges of someone’s face, the edge of a dream).
  7. Write about something (or someone) that’s “lost its edge.”
  8. Write a poem based on this quote from E. L. Doctorow: “We're always attracted to the edges of what we are, out by the edges where it's a little raw and nervy.” 
  • Don’t be afraid to let yourself go with this. It’s okay to be “edgy” (to astonish your readers, not with shock value but, rather, with an element of mystery, a unique voice, and/or understatement). 
  • Use imaginative language and distinctive figures of speech (similes, metaphors). Let your poem stand on “the edge of understanding” (leave room for the reader to interpret and imagine). 
  • After you’ve written your poem, refine its rough edges with careful editing (and remember that good editing usually means deleting rather than adding).



  1. Ab fab, Adele! Another great prompt!

    How about writing about being at the edge of time or at the edge of the universe? Poets might go sci-fi or surreal with something like that.

    1. Great ideas, Jamie—thanks for sharing them! (Ab Fab, what a great series!)

  2. We had studied for the afterlife
    a whistle, a sign of recognition.
    I try to modulate it in the hope
    we are all already dead without knowing it.

    Eugenio Montale (1896- 1991)

    1. Montale was a brilliant poet

      Thanks so much for posting this! You always find the most stunning, haunting, and unusual poems for us.

      Here's another by the same author:

      At the Threshold

      Be pleased if the wind that enters the orchard
      brings back the surge of life:
      here where a dead tangle of memories
      sinks and founders,
      there was no garden, only a reliquary.

      The flapping you hear is not flight
      but a commotion in the eternal womb;
      you see how this strip of solitary earth
      transforms itself into a crucible.

      Beyond the sheer wall is rage.
      If you proceed, you might bump into—
      perhaps you might—the saving apparition:
      here the stories are composed, the acts
      that the game of the future will cancel.

      Look for a broken link in the net
      that holds us down, jump out and flee!
      Go, I've prayed this for you—now my thirst
      will be lighter; the rust less bitter. . .
      (translated by David Young)

      And more here:

      Thanks again, Jago!

    2. Amazing lines, Jago! Thanks so much for sharing. I didn't know this poet before your post, but I'm searching him out on the Net, and his poetry is extraordinary. Grazie!

    3. Oops, forgot to thank you, too, Adele, for the Montale poem you posted in response to Jago's comment.

  3. oh, Jamie , I'm so happy you started knowing Montale by my translation.

    Really interesting the link Adele posted and very beautiful " At the treshold",

  4. This is brilliant stuff, all of it. Not a surprise on this blog!

  5. living on the edge
    north south east west above below
    all unfolds clearly

    1. Very nice, Risa! So much said in so few words!

    2. And to think I was an uncontrollable chatterbox in grade school! Thanks!

    3. Right to the point, Risa! Funny that you were a chatterbox as a child and so wonderfully concise now!