The Poetry Studio
Welcome to the Poetry Prompts
Poetry is a language of the soul and because of this, I believe that we all have poems within us that long to be expressed. Sometimes, all we need is a rhythm to follow along with that allows the words to begin to flow.
Below, you will find two poetry prompts. One prompt offers a means of writing a gratitude poem or prayer. The other will help you write poems about what you encounter during your time spent in nature
My hope is that the two prompts offered below will give you a way to express some of the poems stirring within you.
For many years now, I have maintained a journaling practice around gratitude. Every morning, I write in my journal and I finish my journaling time by writing down 5 things that I am grateful for as I start my day. I usually start each sentence with the phrase: “I am grateful for…”
Although I know that this practice keeps me connected and aware of gratitude, it hasn’t helped me truly feel gratitude deep in my heart. This journaling practice has helped me to think about gratitude and to notice what I am thankful for, but something has always felt like it was missing. I wanted a deeply heartfelt connection to gratitude.
When I was in a poetry workshop one weekend, we were invited to enter into writing a poem by making a simple list. This sparked an idea, what if I began to write my gratitude list as a poem each day, would that make a difference? Would this small change in how I was journaling my gratitude help me to make the journey from my head into my heart?
I can tell you that it has made a difference. Writing my gratitude as a list poem makes the words flow together in an almost lyrical way that opens my heart to breathe in what I am writing about. I also find that I am noticing different things to be grateful for as I practice gratitude in this way.
Here is one example of a gratitude poem:
For the awakening sun transforming the sky,
For this dawning new day and its many possibilities,
I say thank you.
For sight, smell, taste, touch and sound,
For these senses through which I interact with the world,
I say thank you.
For this gift of life,
For this unfolding day,
For the mystery,
For the beauty of it all,
I say thank you.
One of the shifts that has taken place is in the way I express my gratitude, rather than saying ‘I am grateful for (fill in the blank)’, I am saying thank you, thank you, thank you. This subtle shift has moved me directly into my heart space where I feel my gratitude deeply.
Perhaps you have been doing a gratitude practice for many years as well and writing a gratitude poem will breathe new life into your practice.
If the only prayer you said was thank you,
that would be enough.
There is a teaching that I have come across often in my reading about eco-spirituality, and it is this: that the earth and all of creation longs to be in relationship with us. The earth feels our separation and misses our presence and longs for our attention.
The simple act of paying attention to the world around us brings us into deeper relationship with the sacredness and interconnection of all life. The act of paying attention also draws us into a place of awe and wonder that replenishes the soul.
This past year, I have been reading more about Celtic spirituality. Tom Cowan describes a practice in the Celtic tradition that is called ‘Love Talk’. It is a way of connecting with the beauty of the natural world and allowing ourselves to be drawn into relationship with it. The practice is a simple, but profound one, and it involves going for a walk in nature and naming and acknowledging what you see by using a poetic style of verse. The verse goes like this,
beautiful too, the…”.
As you go for your walk, you name and acknowledge what you see using this ‘love talk to the Universe’. The practice helps us open our minds, hearts and souls to the divine spark inherent in all of life. It also lifts our spirit as we sprinkle words of praise upon the world around us. This practice turns a walk into a rich prayer of blessing and relating.
Here is a sample of love talk from one of my walks this week:
Beautiful the budding linden tree,
beautiful too, the bird’s nest held in her branches.
Beautiful the clear blue sky,
beautiful too, the storm clouds on the horizon.
Beautiful the sound of the breeze in the trees,
beautiful too, the song of the chickadee.
Beautiful the purple petaled crocuses,
beautiful too, the dark green cedar.
Beautiful the field of grasses,
beautiful too, the deer grazing there.
Beautiful the stones under my feet,
beautiful too, the surprising hail falling from the sky.
This practice of love talk is not about being a great poet, it is about practicing the art of connecting to the beauty and diversity of the more-than-human world around us.
I hope that you find these prompts helpful and that you have fun engaging in these practices.