As the snow has begun to melt, and my backyard comes into clearer view again, I've been happy to see the lawn but less thrilled to realize that the backyard fence needs replacing. I've also been working on a video trailer for my forthcoming poetry collection and spent a whole afternoon last week searching for a fence photo. Needless to say, I've had fences on my mind, which led to this prompt.
The "prompt proper" this week is to write a poem in which you move from one side of the metaphorical fence to another; that is, each stanza you write will be followed by a partner stanza that's an answer, affirmation, rebuttal, or argument. For example, a statement made in stanza 1 will be followed by a direct response in stanza 2. Stanzas 3 and 4 may continue the thread or move to another subject. You may have as many stanzas as you wish: the only requirement is that each stanza be answered in some way by the stanza that follows it. There are lots of possibilities – to rant and then rave back, to make a statement and rebut it, to "talk" to yourself from two different perspectives, to make a case for something and argue against it, or to create a dialog between two people with each speaking in every other stanza.
If this doesn't quite work for you, here are some alternative fence prompts:
1. Write a poem entitled "Both Sides of the Fence" or "Fence Sitting."
2. Write a poem about an actual fence (picket, barbed wire, chain link, stone, electric).
3. Write a poem in which a fence is your extended metaphor (a metaphor that is drawn-out beyond the usual word or phrase through the entire poem by using multiple comparisons).
4. Write a poem about the proverbial "other side of the fence."
5. Write a poem about what you see through a hole in your backyard fence.
6. Write a poem based on the famous line in "The Mending Wall" by Robert Frost: "Good fences make good neighbors." ("The Mending Wall" by Robert Frost)
Fence Poem Examples: