Saturday, August 4, 2012

Prompt #112 – How Many Ways Can You Say "I'm Sorry?"

We all know we’re not perfect, and we all make mistakes in friendships and relationships that cause pain to people we care about. When you’ve said or done something that causes hurt, how do you apologize? “I’m sorry” isn’t easy, especially when it’s heartfelt, but apologizing can be the first step toward understanding in a damaged relationship. Can you say “I’m sorry” in a poem this week?

Things To Think About

1. What makes a good apology?

2. Is there someone in your life to whom an apology is due?

3. Is there someone in your life who owes you an apology? What would you like that person to say to you? Would you consider requesting an apology from that person?

4. Has there been a time in your life for which you owe yourself an apology?

5. There’s nothing quite as disappointing as receiving an apology that doesn’t seem sincere, or worse, a grudging apology. Sincerity is expressed by what you say and how you say it, and sometimes apologies sound dismissive. Have you ever received (or given) an apology that didn’t sound sincere? What makes an apology "ring true?" What’s wrong with an apology that begins, “I’m sorry, but ….” ?

This Week’s Poem

1. Write your best apology in a poem (any form, including a prose poem): be honest, be straightforward, show (don’t tell) how sorry you are, take responsibility, ask for forgiveness.

2. For a bit of a twist, how about trying an apologia (\ˌa-pə-ˈlō-j(ē-)ə\) poem? An apologia is a formal apology, especially on behalf of some belief or doctrine, but it may also be a defense of one's opinions, position, or actions. Read the following examples (but remember that your apologia needn’t conform (in content or style) to what other poets have written):

3. Another possibility for this week’s poem is to write a response to someone who has apologized to you. Tell that person what his or her apology meant to you – why it was healing or why was it "too little too  late."


"A Verseman's Apology" by Robert Service


  1. Good prompt! No time for something new today. But some time ago I wrote something right on point: Belated Apology.

    1. What a hoot, Madeleine! Thanks so much for sharing.

      Readers, just click on "Belated Apology" in Madeleine's comment above to visit her blog and to read her funny apology poem!

    2. Madeleine,

      This is great - the prompt topic suggests something serious, but you came up with something wonderfully funny, and we all need to laugh! Thank you for sharing with us.


  2. What a great prompt! Thanks, Adele for continuing to inspire and challenge us!


  3. Hi Adele,

    We're in London for the Olympics, but I popped in to read your blog this afternoon and wanted to say thanks again for all the inspiration! (I especially enjoyed the sports poems prompt for its timeliness.)

    Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Maire, and enjoy the Olympics!

  4. Hi Adele, I'm Jamie's sister, and she suggested that I work with your prompts! What a fantastic blog! Thank you!

    1. hi Nicola,

      Welcome! I'm so glad to know that you and Jamie are both enjoying the blog!

  5. If I could say "I'm sorry"
    to everyone I should
    I'd need another lifetime
    I can vigilently practice
    sensitive awareness
    turn my back on ignorant behavior
    humble myself
    I've been to slow
    "I'm sorry!"
    and mean it!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Risa! I look forward to your weekly poems, and I know other readers do too. This one offers practical (and spiritual) "advice" through your personal reflection. Thanks again!

  6. When I saw this prompt, I had to have a go: it touched me on the raw -