Poetry topic idea: butterflies

Today’s poetry topic idea is butterflies.  Butterflies can make an interesting poetry topic idea.  Butterflies come in many colors, their colors have many patterns, they have many different names, they go through a transformation, they are associated with flowers, some types trick creatures with their colors and patterns, some types use their colors and patterns for camouflage, they are considered a “nice” insect by some, people study them, some of them migrate, and they are prey for some creatures.  All of these things and others make butterflies interesting for poetry.

Here is a poem inspired by butterflies:

the flower stood,
upon the stem’s end,
then flew away,
leaving another flower,


Poetry topic idea: arrows

Today’s poetry topic idea is arrows.  Arrows can be used in poetry in different ways.  A poet could write about:

  • Arrows as weapons. An arrow is part of the weapon “bow and arrow” and a poet could use arrows with this meaning in their poetry.  They could write about war, such as in medieval times, or they could write about hunting.  A poet could use the idea symbolically for many things.

  • Arrows as directional indicators. Arrows can be used to indicate direction.  They can be seen on diagrams, instructions, signs, and roads.  The idea is that the arrow points to something or some place that a person should then engage with.  A poet could use this idea in poetry in different ways.

Here is an example poem using the idea of arrows:

                         sought for.
If only there were directions.
If only something could point the
way and show the path.  The place
sought for is hidden though.  No
way is marked out.  No arrow
                         points the

Poetry topic idea: morning

Today’s poetry topic idea is morning.  A poet using morning in a poem could write about:

  • The start of the day. They could write about the sun rising, the way light looks, birds starting to sing and so forth.  They could write about the start of the day in different settings such as in a large city or in a suburb.  They could focus on the start of the day in an external sense (what happens around a person), or in an internal sense (what a person does).

  • The end of night. Rather than focusing on the start of something, a poet could write about the end of something.  They could write about darkness ending.  They could write about cold ending.  They could apply the idea symbolically to many situations.

  • Morning and mourning. Morning and mourning are homophones.  The two words sound the same.  They mean different things.  Morning is the start of the day, whereas mourning is feeling sadness at something, such as the death of a person.
    A poet could take the two ideas and combine them together in a poem.  They could use the sound quality of the words to poetic effect and to get different ideas across.

  • The mornings of people in unique situations. A poet could look at, for example, the mornings of people in prisons, hospitals, outer space, in remote locations, in blackouts, and so forth.  They could examine the mornings of those in these situations and draw a contrast with the mornings of those in more typical situations.

  • The morning after some significant event. There are many significant events in a person’s life where the focus is on the event itself.  In these situations, people sometimes wonder, what happens next?  What happens to the person, metaphorically speaking, after the party is over, the crowd has left, and the music has stopped?  What happens to the person after the viewer leaves?
    Some situations of mornings after that could be examined include the morning after: a person gets fired, a person goes to prison, a person graduates school, a person has a baby, a person wins something, a person is diagnosed with a disease, or a person moves.  A poet could look at these situations and others and examine what happens after the big event has passed.  What happens to the person when the moment quiets and they are left to themselves?

Poetry topic idea: teeth

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

  • A child losing their baby teeth. A poet could write about growing up and life transitions.

  • A person losing their teeth as they grow older. A poet could write about a person missing teeth, a person getting dentures, or a person getting dental implants.  They could write about aging, the idea of losing something and the idea of adding something to a person.

  • Dental work. A poet could write about fillings, root canals, and extractions.  They could write about what it is like to go to the dentist and the emotions involved.  They could write a poem from the perspective of the patient or the dentist.

  • Animal teeth. A poet could write about shark teeth, dog teeth, wolf teeth, lion teeth, and so forth.  They could write about predators and prey and the idea of hunting.  They could write about animals interacting with other animals and animals interacting with humans.

  • Smiling. A poet could write about smiling and happiness and various ideas that go along with it.

Here is a teeth related poem:

If you were to say that,
“getting a root canal,
is like,
getting a root canal”,
would that be
or redundant?

Poetry topic idea: scent

Today’s poetry topic idea is scent.  Scent makes a very good poetry topic idea because of the ways scents are described.

In some way, scents are described either by definition or indirectly.  What do pancakes smell like for example?  The “by definition” answer would be that pancakes smell like pancakes.  The thing itself defines its scent.  The “indirect” answer would be to say that pancakes smell warm, sweet, buttery, like breakfast, relaxing, and familiar.  They can be described by senses and other things.

These ways of describing something are very useful for poetry. 

A poet can describe something with itself (e.g. a lily has the scent of a lily).  This circular type of description can be poetic.

Alternatively, and even more useful, a poet can describe something indirectly.  A poet might write about fresh cut grass.  They could use many descriptive words such as fresh, green, spring, summer, earth, nature, dew, pollen, chlorophyll, light, and fields.  A poet could write about the scent, and get the idea across, without ever stating what the scent is.

Here are some scents you might try to use in poetry as ideas.  The scent of:

  • A person’s perfume or cologne. This scent can be familiar, heavy, light, good, bad, and many other things.  Depending on what a poet wants, many ideas could be explored.

  • Breakfast. A poet could write about familiarity, the different foods, and the mingling of scents.

  • A hospital. A poet could write about the scent of sterilization and disinfectant.  They could write about the scents associated with illness.

  • Dogs. Some ideas might be the scent of a puppy or the scent of a wet dog.  Another idea would be to focus on the sense of smell of a dog.

  • Cookies. Cookies can be a very familiar scent.  The scent of fresh baked cookies is even an idea in society.  Different types of cookies have different scents.  A poet could write about different types and use the scents to explore ideas.

Poetry topic idea: expectation

Today’s poetry topic idea is expectation.

Life is filled with expectation.  There are conscious expectations, like expecting to graduate or expecting to get married.  There are also unconscious expectations, like expecting what a restaurant will be like before you walk in.

A poet could write about expectation in a variety of ways.  A poet could write about:

  • Fulfilled conscious expectations. A poet could write about something a person consciously expects to happen.  They could write about the situation before and after it happens.  They could write about how the person feels in both times.

  • Unfulfilled conscious expectations. This is the opposite of the above idea.  A poet could write about someone consciously expecting something and that thing not happening.  Again, a poet could write about what the situation is like before and after this occurs.

  • Unconscious expectations. As mentioned above, life has unconscious expectations.  There are many times when a person expects things to go a certain way even though they are not aware they are expecting it.  The person is expecting the norm of the situation.
    In writing about unconscious expectations, a poet could take different routes.  A poet could examine expected situations.  They could look deep into them and try to find social significance in what is expected.

    Alternatively, a poet could write about what happens when unconscious expectations are not fulfilled.  In some sense, these might be awkward or uncomfortable moments in life.

    A poet could also examine the process whereby unconscious expectations are formed in a person.  They could examine past experiences of a person and how those experiences shaped the person’s view of situations.


  • The expectations of others. In life, a person often has expectations of others presented to them.  A person might have others expect them to go to college or to get married for example.  A poet could write about these ideas from different perspectives.  They could focus on the others having the expectations or on the person to whom they are presented.  They could look at how the expectations are perceived and at what happens if they are fulfilled or not.

Here is an example poem using the idea of expectation:

the scale

there’s a number
that before looking down
you know

on one side
is happiness

on the other

it’s there
quietly beside you
just out of view

Poetry topic idea: radio

Today’s poetry topic idea is radio.  A poet can incorporate the idea into poetry in a number of ways.  Below are some ideas.  A poet could:

  • Use radio in an acrostic poem. The word is short, has no repeated letters and has 60% vowels and 40% consonants.  A poet could write a five line acrostic poem with radio as the base.

  • Write about the idea of broadcasting. Radio has a feature such that, under the right circumstances, anyone with a proper device can listen for free.  There is the idea of freely spreading ideas involved.  A poet could apply this idea to poetry.  They could write about the spreading of an idea.  They could also view the publication of their poetry (either by themselves or someone else) as broadcasting their ideas.  This could influence the poetry they write.

  • Think about radio plays from the 1940s and write a poem in a similar style (with names of speakers, sound effects, actions spoken, etc.) They could write in noir, western, or mystery genres.

  • Write about music on the radio.

  • Write about talk radio.

  • Write about the use of radio in emergencies.

  • Write about radio as a means of communication.


Here is an example poem:

The Detective

“Where were you,
last Tuesday,
the fourteenth,
at 11:30,
at night?”

the question.

Poetry topic idea: lying

Today’s poetry topic idea is lying (saying something that isn’t true).  There are different ways a poet could incorporate lying into a poem.  Below are some ideas.  A poet could write a poem:

  • With a character lying to another character. In this instance, for the effect to be known, the reader should know the character is lying.  The other character or characters in the poem might not.

  • With a lie as humor, satire or sarcasm. The idea is that the lie would be obvious to the reader, and as such, intended to make a point.

  • With a voice of someone lying. They could write a poem where one person lies to another, but only the voice of the lying person is shown.  They could write the poem as if the person was trying to sound believable.  An example situation might be where a person is unfaithful to their spouse and they lie about something they did.  A poet could write what the unfaithful spouse says in a standalone sense such that only their words come through.  They might write the poem without any explanatory statements.  How what they say is viewed would be left up to the reader.

  • Where a character gets caught in a lie.

  • About their own experience in being lied to.

  • About their own experience when they have lied.

  • About the idea of lying in politics, business or the media.

Poetry topic idea: bones

Today’s poetry topic idea is bones.  Below are some ideas for how a poet could use bones in poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Broken bones. A poet could write about injuries.  They could write about how they happened and treatment.  They could write about casts and a person being immobile.

  • Murder. A poet could write about murder referencing the bones of the victim.  They could write the poem in different styles.  They might write it as a mystery or they could focus on the crime aspect.  They could write it focusing on the victim or they could focus on the murderer.

  • Leftover bones from food. Different foods have leftover bones.  Examples might be chicken bones from fried chicken or beef bones from a steak.  A poet could use the bones in different ways in a poem.  For example, they could write about the bones being thrown to animals and a hungry person looking on.  They could focus on the symbolism involved.

  • Anatomy. A poet could focus on the anatomy of a human and all the bones a person has.  They could look at the scientific names of bones and the connections between them.  They could use these ideas either directly or symbolically in a poem.

  • Structures. Structures are sometimes referred to as having bones.  Think of the frame of a building.  Poet could write about structures and their underlying frames.  They could focus on the aspect of the unseen.

Poetry topic idea: the number nine

Today’s poetry topic idea is the number nine.  Below are some ideas for how it can inspire poetry.

  • The number nine is a number of transition. Think if the ages of nine, nineteen, twenty nine, thirty nine and so forth.  Each age with a nine is the end of period of life.  The same idea applies to decades in history as well as in other situations.  A poet could apply this idea to poetry and write about transitions.

  • The number nine is useful for poetry form elements. A poet could have nine stanzas, nine lines, nine words per line, nine syllables per line, nine metrical feet per line, a layout on the page that looks like the number nine, nine rhyming pairs and other elements.

  • A poet could have nine things in a poem. They might have nine subjects or nine metaphors or nine allusions.  A poet could write about a topic in nine different ways.