National Poetry Writing Month 2018, Day 4

The prompt from for Day 4 is to write about something abstract using ‘relentlessly abstract nouns.’ The result of my stab at this is one of the stranger poems I have ever written—and, quite possibly, one of my more successful attempts at ‘show, not tell’.

Conflicted emotions

Hope has attachments
I don’t mean it comes with strings attached
No, I’m talking the serious, hardcore stuff—
thick, stainless steel handcuffs with extra-sharp edges
and heavy leather straps six inches wide
attached to a solid bronze frame
with two-inch bolts securing it to the floor
Hope’s tiny, fluttering heart
darkening and verging on bruised
lies immobile

My resolve is a different story—
its limbs flexed into bizarre shapes
bound by heavy rope (with just enough room left for struggle)
and suspended from old wooden ceiling beams
their lengthwise grain stained a deep espresso brown
four feet above the polished hard-wood floor
Small beads of sweat trickle down its flushed-red temple
Its guttural sounds are difficult to interpret
but when the master’s hand—frail-looking, slightly speckled—
reaches for the rope to lower it to the ground
the howls of protest shatter glass

(3 April 2018—posted April 4th)

6 thoughts on “National Poetry Writing Month 2018, Day 4

  1. I decided to skip this prompt, but after reading yours I’m not so sure anymore. I love it! You’ve turned it into an exploration. Yours makes me curious what I miss out on if I don’t explore. What a brilliant effect.

    1. Thanks! I was surprised by the images that were coming to mind, and I was ready to try a different poem when I finished with this one. But somehow it worked.

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