Saturday, November 7, 2009

Three Original "NO" Poems

Earlier this week, Tricia of The Miss Rumphius Effect challenged her blog readers with her Monday Poetry Stretch - What Isn't There. She wrote in her post: “Since my poems often try to capture what I see and hear, smell and touch, I thought it might be interesting to write a poem about something that describes it by virtue of what isn't there.”

I started working on a poem for the stretch when it dawned on me that I had written an animal mask poem about earthworms over a year ago that would fit the bill of a poem about “what isn’t there.” Then I was inspired to write two more poems. I’m referring to all of these as my “NO” poems. I think you'll understand why.

First, here is my earthworm poem:


We have…

No bones
No shells
No teeth, as well—
No lips, no beaks
No chins, no cheeks
No horns, no claws
No talons, jaws
No legs, no wings…
No fancy things
Like fins or scales
Or fluffy tails,
No blubber like the big blue whales.

We’re soft. We’re small…
Not much at all.
We’re nondescript—
But we’re equipped
To eat your dirt.
It doesn’t hurt
Us--not a bit.
In fact,
We like the taste of it.
We toil in soil.
We’ve got true grit!

Then, after looking out the window for a while, I was inspired to write a “quickie” triolet about the weather up here on Monday.

No Sun Today

No sun today.
No blue sky bright.
The clouds are gray.
No sun today.
No dazzling rays.
No yellow light.
No sun today.
No blue sky bright.

You can read all the other wonderful contributions to Tricia’s “What Isn’t There” Poetry Stretch here.

Here’s my third “NO” poem. It wasn't written for children.

Analysis of a Fling

No knots
No ties
No long goodbyes
No heartfelt emotion
No loving devotion
No bond
No connection
No REAL affection
No one’s committed
Nobody clings
One must remember
There are
NO strings!


Tricia said...

Thank you for sharing these. I love the last one.

Elaine Magliaro said...


It's always fun doing the Poetry Stretches. Just sorry I can't find the time to take up the challenge every week.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Elaine, your worm no-poem is perfect! In the school district where I teach, "Rocks, Soil and Worms" is the first Grade 1 science unit. Is your poem published somewhere, or can I just pass it on to my fellow teachers? It captures the essence of worm.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I used to teach a unit on soils in second grade. The poem isn't published anywhere but at my blog. You may share the poem with your colleagues. I hope your students like it.

laurasalas said...

Love these poems, Elaine. What a great display of your versatility:>)

I wish I had had time to work on the STretch this week. I did one rough draft not worth sharing. I think I might be out for Nov. because of NaNoWriMo. But what fun to read the results! I love the simplicity of your triolet, especially.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I don't always find the time to participate in the Poetry Stretches every week. I find some of the stretches much easier than others. I think they are definitely good writing exercises.

Henry Lawson Poems said...

The worms poem is wonderful, makes me slither with joy.