Sometimes it’s fun to work with a time-honored poem as a prompt, so this week I thought you might enjoy trying something I’ve done with workshop groups. It's a bit challenging, but it will cause you to really focus and think. T. S. Eliot’s “Morning at the Window” is our inspiration piece. Begin by reading the poem carefully several times. Then, fill in the blanks with ideas of your own (refer to the inspiration poem frequently while doing this). After you’ve filled in the blanks, look at your “inspired” poem and change it in any ways you wish to make it more completely your own.
By T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens, And along the trampled edges of the street I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids Sprouting despondently at area gates.
The brown waves of fog toss up to me Twisted faces from the bottom of the street, And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts An aimless smile that hovers in the air And vanishes along the level of the roofs.
"Morning at the Window" originally appeared in Poetry, September 1916.
_______ AT THE __________
They are rattling (plural noun)_____ in (adjective)______ (plural noun) _____,
And along the (adjective)__________ edges of the (noun)____________
I am aware of the (adjective)_______ soul(s) of (noun) __________
Sprouting (adverb)_______ at (adjective)________ (noun)_________.
The (adjective)______ (plural noun)________ of (noun)___________toss up/down to me
Twisted (plural noun)_____ from the (noun)_________of the (noun)________,
And tear from a (noun)________ with (adjective)______ (plural noun)_______
A/An (adjective)______ (noun) _______ that hovers in the (noun)_________
And vanishes along the (noun)_______ of the (noun)________.
Here are two drafts from a workshop participant.
Pines at the Start of Night
They are rattling needles in the treetop wind,
And along the loose edges of the night sky
I am aware of the murmuring souls of memory
Sprouting here at grief’s wide gate.
The green sighs of pine boughs toss down to me
Twisted sadness from the years of emptiness,
And tear from a dream with vague hands
A tangible pain that hovers in the heat
And vanishes along the border of sleep.
Pine needles rattle in the treetop wind
and along the sky’s loose edge. I am
aware of memory’s murmuring (like souls
that whisper here at grief’s wide gate) –
a twisted sadness, a dream with vague hands
that vanishes along the border of sleep.