Saturday, August 19, 2017

Prompt #289 – Letting Go (Summer Re-Run #3)

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there
are signs of great strength.
However, there are times when it takes much more strength
 to know when to let go and then do it.

— Ann Landers

In any context, letting go can be a painful (but sometimes necessary) part of life.  On the flip side, letting go can free us in much the same way that forgiving does. Have there been times in your life when you let something go and felt better for it?

In many ways, the past informs the present, but letting go is about much more than the past. Importantly, letting go is about freeing ourselves from fears, from impractical expectations, from uncertainties about ourselves, and it’s about affirming our value in the world.

This week, write a poem about a time that you let go.


1. Is there a dream you’ve let go?

2. Is there a person or group of people you’ve let go? Have you ever ended a relationship that wasn’t working? Have you ever deliberately said “good-bye” to someone or something and felt better (or worse) for having done so?

3. Has there been a job you had to let go?

4. Have you ever let go of any personality traits, ways of thinking, old habits?

5. Has there ever been a hurt or an anger that you let go?

6. Has there ever been something that you couldn’t let go?

7. Is there something (or someone) in your life right now that you’ve thought about letting go?


1. A poem should astonish its readers, either with an amazing story, with a unique view of something, or with insights that challenge (or change) the reader’s thinking.What insights can you share about letting go? What can you "let go" in your poem?

2. Your poem should contain at least one image or idea that takes the reader’s breath away.
3. Work on a sense of immediacy (even when you write in the past tense).

4. Stay away from the passive voice, and be wary of words that end in “ing.”

5. Be specific—avoid abstractions and generalizations. Imagery is key. Write about things, not ideas. William Carlos Williams wrote: “No ideas but in things.” Tell it “like it is” in specifics, not through philosophical musings on the “meaning of it all.

6. Work on a dismount that elicits a “wow.” 


This beautiful poem by my dear friend Linda Radice (1952-2017) describes having to "let go" of the family home in which she grew up and which she loved

Little Enough by Linda Radice

I don’t know why I drive by the house.
The new owners painted over my mother’s

blue doors, butchered her beloved Chinese Maple.
They tore off the steps my dad built. The circle

of rhododendron bushes my brother and I played in
were ripped out by the roots, discarded

with ivy yanked from the brick on the shadiest
side. The light colored roof was replaced

by a black one; the peak over the porch is gone.
There is little left familiar enough to call home.

Maybe the spruce my grandfather planted the year
I was born knew something I don’t. It fell in a

hurricane just months before the sale, barely brushed
the house, dented a gutter, gave in gracefully.


  1. Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more, Lainey! Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Linda Radice was taken away from us way too soon. She lives on in spirit and in her poems. This is a beautiful poem and a great prompt. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your comment, John! Much appreciated!

  3. I love Linda Radice's work so much and always enjoy when you include one of her poems in your post. I've read her online and visited her blog many times. I wish there was a full-length book of her work.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Jamie! I hope there will be a collection of her poems published under one cover someday!

  4. A very thought-provoking prompt. Having known Linda and having heard her read, I was especially happy to read her poem here. She was a special person and a gifted poet who lives on in memory and in her poems. God rest her soul.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Bob! Linda was a very special person, and I know you and she thought highly of each other. She's greatly missed!