Narrative Poetry and Paint Chips
Hey there, poetry friends. Sorry for the missed prompt last week. A family issue was taking up all of my thoughts and energy and I just couldn’t get it done. But I’m back and I don’t plan to make a habit of missing Friday prompts. Which is a good thing, because the fact that I post these weekly has been shared by one of you—Susan at https://suestrifles.wordpress.com—who wrote about these prompts in a wonderful article for the Association of Christian Writers website. You can read that article here.
This week we are in the N section of the poetry dictionary and I’ve selected one of my favorite types of poetry: narrative poetry. I love to tell stories and that’s what this form of poetry calls the poet do.
NARRATIVE POETRY Poetry that tells a story. It is one of the three main genres of poetry (the others being dramatic poetry and lyric poetry).
Narrative poetry presents characters and leads them through a plot. Its oldest form is the epic, such as Homer’s The Illiad. Traditional ballads are also narrative. “The Demon Lover,” for example, tells the story of a woman who is seduced and taken away by a man who changes into a demon as soon as their ship reaches the high seas; he sinks the ship to the bottom. The rise of the prose novel diverted more and more of the narrative impulse away from poetry, but some late-twentieth-century poets, such as Louis Simpson, Andrew Hudgins, and Jimmy Santiago Baca, have brought storytelling back into verse.the poetry dictionary, pg. 184
Your challenge is to write a narrative poem, to tell a story. It can be true, completely fictional, or a combination thereof. The format is up to you. Couplets, free verse, rhyming or not.
The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with are antique rose, surf’s up, mistletoe, mustard seed, skyscraper, easy peasy, and jack-o’-lantern.
I would like you to use at least four of these paint chips in your poem. For an extra twist, perhaps incorporate one or two of the colors themselves, using whatever name you would ascribe to them.
Surf's Up They told Judy she couldn't do it, over and over the surfers taunted her. Surf's up, but you'll drown if you try. Except for Jack, nicknamed Jack-o'-lantern because of his bronze tan and slate gray eyes. He encouraged her, told her that with faith as small as a mustard seed she could surf with the best of them. It's easy peasy. A wave rolled in as high as a skyscraper and crashed on the shore. Judy's faith in her ability to surf was small as a grain of sand. But Jack believed she could do it. He promised to teach her and he was the best. Maybe that, and sun shining in the cerulean sky, were enough. Let's go to the a different beach, away from these naysayers. She picked up her antique rose surfboard and followed Jack to his VW Van. Her heart skipped a beat to think that maybe, just maybe, he really liked her. Remembering that day, sitting in the waiting room of her counselor's office, tears welled in her eyes. Perhaps it would have been better if she'd tried to surf alone and drown, like the other surfers warned. Judy's new counselor, a sweet middle-aged Christian woman, called her back for their first session together. Hi, I'm Melinda. Tell me why you're here. She had no idea where to begin. But the warmth of Melinda's smile assured her there was hope. There is always hope.
Okay, that took a dark turn before I knew where it was going. Yikes! But I couldn’t leave it there. I despise a story with a sad ending. There is always hope. Always.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Write your narrative poem in the comments if you like. Or you can post it on your blog and drop a link in the comments. It would be awesome if you shared this prompt with your other poet friends, like Susan did. The more the merrier. I love reading what you all come up with based on a dictionary entry and a few paint chips.
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The web address form my article has changed. It is now http://www.christianwriters.co.uk/
Sorry, that should be https://christianwriters.co.uk/
I will try to write something for this before the end of the night here in California!
Here it is. 😀
Nice to have you back Linda! I’m not sure this serves as a narrative, but here it is. Sorry its not happy. And it is totally fictional in my world right now anyways.
Its Not Always a (Good)-bye
Her hands ran across the glass table
An antique rose sealed between glass
She remembered when he gave it to her
This was how she made the memory last
Breathless and still
Now she was the one that couldn’t breathe
Autumn turned to winter too soon that year
Sudden death is a whiteout
No colors appear
Now she felt like a jack-o-lantern
A flame in a hollow shell
Burning tears run down
Till all is melted on the ground
How many more mustard seeds would grow
Mistletoe above her waited
But no one kissed
Sad but beautiful. I love the antique rose under glass.
I liked the hopeful ending in yours and I wonder what happened to Jack. I feel confident she learned to surf.
Here is my attempt at the challenge:
The Night of the Jack-O’-Lantern
The jack-o’-lantern’s hollow nose
turned darkly down on Antique Rose.
It’s scornful eyes pierced Mistletoe.
It’s toothy mouth warned them to go:
“It’s easy peasy in the street
Where greens and pinks and yellows meet.”
But pleasure wasn’t why they came.
No morbid magic, flashing flame
Could substitute for righteous light.
They stood their ground, prepared to fight.
The jack-o’-lantern burnt all night.
It’s pride at dawn collapsed within.
Mistletoe knew they would win
And so did joyful Antique Rose.
Their faith like Mustard Seed’s still grows.
Yours is a hopeful tale too. The rhyming is perfect.
Love this Frank.
Thank you, Mary!
I’ll be posting mine on Sunday, Linda. These colours were fun and your poem tells a story.