Poetry topic idea: cleaning

Today’s poetry topic idea is cleaning.  There are a number of ways a poet could write about cleaning.  A poet could write about:

  • Cleaning a building.

  • Cleaning workers.

  • Spring cleaning.

  • Cleaning metaphorically.

  • Sanitizing.

  • Cleaning an object.

  • Clean as a metaphor for being off drugs.

  • Clean in a medical sense.

  • Clean as in containing no objectionable content.

  • Cleaning up a town (as might be seen in an old western).


Here is a poem using the idea of cleaning:

they thought the staff
was overpaid
until the staff left
and they themselves
had to do the work

Poetry essay: writing a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time

As an exercise you may have written a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time.  Maybe something like 5 or 10 minutes.  This might have been something that you did on your own, as a group, or as part of a writing exercise.

There are a number of benefits to writing a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time.  They include:

Sparking creativity:

Under the restrictive time conditions a poet can sometimes come up with new ideas.  Since something has to be thought of quickly, a poet might think of something that they would not have otherwise.

Showing the value of un-refinement:

When a poem is written in this way, a poet may not get a chance to go over it multiple times.  A poet may not get a chance to change word choice, rewrite lines, or experiment with form.

While this may seem like a negative, a poet might be surprised at the quality of their work without these things.  They might find that readers respond well to something that, at least in the poet’s eyes, is unpolished.  They might find that readers can’t perceive the refinement of the poem.

If this happens, it can be good for a poet.  It can teach them that their work can be good even if it isn’t as good as they think it could be.

Showing that poems written in less time can still be quality poems:

Like the idea above, a poet might learn through these exercise that they don’t need to spend as much time as they thought to write a poem that they and or others think is good.  They might find that they like, and others receive well, a poem that was written in five minutes as much as or more than one that took an hour.  This can be a good lesson if it occurs.

Developing a sense of speed in writing poetry:

These types of exercises can be helpful in teaching a poet to write more quickly.  While this may seem like the same benefit as above, the idea is different.  In this case, a poet can train themselves to develop and write poetry more quickly.  This can be good for a poet and might come up in a variety of situations.  For example, imagine a poet was writing to someone via instant messaging.  Maybe the poet had a great or humorous point to get across and thought that it would be best conveyed through a poem (this could be similar to responding to someone with a famous quote).  In this case a poet would have to be quick for the effect to be there.  Practicing writing quickly can help a poet to develop this skill.


Although these exercises have their benefits, they do lack in some areas.  Some of them include:

A comparison to real life situations:

Although, as mentioned above, there are situations when a poet would want to write quickly, this might not usually be the case.  In general circumstances a poet could spend as much time as they want on a poem.  While these exercises might be useful generally speaking, they might not be useful for everyday writing situations.

The potential to build bad habits:

Although there can be benefits to writing poetry quickly and without refinement, if a poet does this too much they might develop it as a writing style.  Although, again, there is value in such writing, a poet might more generally speaking be better served taking their time with their writing.  If a poet did these types of exercises too much, the style could become habit for them.

The potential to spend too much time:

Although these exercises are intended to be brief, if a poet did too many of them it could use up a lot of time.  For example, if a poet did 12, 5-minute exercises, they would spend an hour.  This might not be something a poet considers when they start exercises like this.


Writing poems in a predetermined limited amount of time can have benefits for a poet.  As long as a poet limits the exercises and does other styles of writing, they can learn for the experience.

Experimental Poetry Form: minimalistic flower

Today’s experimental poetry form is called minimalistic flower.  It based off of layout on the page.  It is based off of the artwork in the blog post Artwork to inspire poetry: Minimalistic Flower.  Here is what it looks like:

                       *****         *******
                     *     *        *        * 
                      *     *   * * *           *
                    *     *           *        * 
                     *     *            *      *
                             *          *  *
                                   *     * *
                                       * *  * *
                                          * * * *      * *    * * *
                                                  *  *  *    * * 
                                                   * *    


The idea of the form is simple.  Each * is a letter.  After that the poet can work with the form however they want.  Here is an example poem written using the form:


                       every       sunrise
                     w     i      t      h 
                     b     e   l i e     f
                   h    o            p     e 
                    n    e            e   d
                           a           n d
                              j        o y
                                     d a  w n
                                        m o t i      v a     t e s
                                              f   a i      t h 
                                                i n    


Here on the blog it was a bit difficult to get the spacing just right and to have the top form with the *s match the bottom form with the letters. It is easier in a word processing program where things aren’t distorted and the *s can be cut and paste and then easily replaced with letters.

P. S. There will be no new blog post on the blog tomorrow Friday April 26, 2019. The next new blog post will be on Monday April 29, 2019.

Milestone: Five Year Anniversary

Today is the five year anniversary of the first post on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things.

Five years is a long time.  It feels like a long time.  Including this post, there have been 1,263 posts on this blog.  That feels like a lot of posts.

Shortly after the blog was started, there was some concern about what to post.  It seemed like there were no new ideas.  Of course, something was found.

There are many ideas to the blog.

Part of the idea of the blog is to educate readers.  That’s the purpose of the poems with explanations and the poetry essays.

Part of the idea of the blog is to give readers ideas for poetry.  That’s the purpose of the poetry topic ideas, artworks to inspire poetry, and photography to inspire poetry.

Part of the idea of the blog is to help readers write poetry.  That’s the purpose of the experimental poetry forms.

Of course, part of the idea of the blog is to give readers poems to read.  That’s the purpose of the poems and the bilingual poems.

Hopefully readers have benefited from all of this.  Hopefully some people out there have gotten something from it.

If you haven’t yet, please follow the blog.  There is a button in the sidebar you can click to do so.

Also, if you haven’t yet, you can check out M. Sakran’s two books.  There’s First Try, a traditionally published collection of poetry, and Understanding: poems with explanations, a self-published eBook of poems with explanations.

If you’d like to send M. Sakran a message about the blog, you can use the contact form on the contact page.

Also, be sure and check out M. Sakran’s website at www.msakran.com.

Thank you to all readers.

Here’s a poem for the day:

the bee flies
from flower to flower
five years of journey

Bilingual Poem: Hey, what’s that?

Doctor’s visit.

Hey, what’s that?

That looks like a needle.

Tetanus shot?

No one said anything about a tetanus shot.

Hey, wait …



Visita de medico.

¿Oye, qué esa?

Ése parece como una aguja.

¿Una inyección de tétanos?

No uno habló nada de una inyección de tétanos.

Oye, espera …


Poem: progress

There were four:

  the horse, the driver, the carriage, and the passenger.

Then there was the horseless carriage and there were three:

  the driver, the car, and the passenger.

Now there is the driverless car and there are two:

  the car and the passenger.

In the future, will there be teleportation, and only be one:

  the passenger?

And after that, will there be virtual travel, and there be none?

Poem with an explanation: the hill, the valley, and the mountain

the hill
did look down
on the valley
and chastised it
for being so low

the wind blew
the rain fell

the mountain
looked toward the sky


This poem is about care for the elderly and perspective.  It is about relative positions in life.

In the poem there are three people: the valley, the hill, and the mountain.  The valley represents the elderly person.  The hill represents the adult child of the elderly person.  The mountain represents the child of the adult child.  This is three generations.

In the poem, the adult child is frustrated with their elderly parent.  They look down on them and chastise them for their physical incapability.  They can’t understand why the elderly person can’t be like themselves.

The adult child is oblivious to the progression of life.  In the poem there are three stages: a mountain, a hill, and a valley.  As a mountain erodes it becomes a hill.  As a hill erodes, it becomes a valley.  The adult child is criticizing their elderly parent for their physical incapability, not realizing they are moving in the same direction.  They don’t see their own erosion (represented by the wind and rain).  They don’t see where they’ve been, and they aren’t realizing where they are going.  They don’t realize they will be elderly someday, and therefore they don’t have compassion on someone who is elderly.

The mountain, representing the person in the third generation, has their focus somewhere else.  They don’t see the hill or the valley.  This shows that they are oblivious both to the treatment of their elderly relative, and of the reality that they will one day be in that position.  They don’t see the future implications for themselves.  They are concerned with other things.

It can sometimes occur in the care of the elderly, that the caregiver doesn’t see themselves in the one they care for.  They don’t see that they too will be in that position.  It can also be the case that younger generations are concerned about other things and don’t see the actions of caregivers or the condition of the elderly.  The poem is meant to highlight these things.

Poetry topic idea: fitness

Today’s poetry topic idea is fitness.  A poet could write about a number of subjects related to fitness.  Some of them include: fitness itself, exercise, weight lifting, cardiovascular health, weight loss, muscle, physical ability, appearance, body image, general health, wellness, running, swimming, cycling, walking, weight, measurements, and goals.

Here is an example poem using fitness:

three thousand five hundred fifty steps
five days
seventeen thousand seven hundred fifty steps

sixty pounds
three sets
ten reps
three exercises
three days
sixteen thousand two hundred pounds

ten laps
twenty five meters
three days
seven hundred and fifty meters

thirty four thousand seven hundred

one body

Artwork to inspire poetry: hand with a rubber band

hand with rubber band

Above is an artwork of a hand with a rubber band.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Restriction.  The fingers of the hand are restricted by the rubber band.   A poet could apply this idea to a person or a group of people being restricted by something.

  • Degrees of freedom.  In the artwork, the thumb is completely free.  The ring and the pinky fingers have less mobility, and the first and middle finger are bound together.  A poet could apply this idea of degrees of freedom to situations in life.

  • Rhyming with “and”.  In the artwork there is a hand with a rubber band.  A poet could see this and think that “hand” and “band” rhyme.  They could then write a poem with other words that rhyme with “and”.  Here are some words that rhyme with “and”: band, banned, canned, fanned, gland, hand, land, manned, panned, paned, rand, stand, and tanned.

  • Boredom.  A poet could see the artwork of a hand with a rubber band and think of someone bored at that their desk who is playing with an office supply to pass the time.  They could extend this idea and write about other ways people deal with boredom.


Here is an example poem:

thumbing through the records
pointing at the band
the one in the middle
and hearing the music ring
as they strummed their pink guitars