Friday, May 16, 2008

Poetry on Demand: An Original Poem

I just finished writing this poem for Tricia’s Poetry Stretch - Six Words. You can find out about where Tricia got the idea for the six-word poem stretch at her post. You can read the Poetry Stretch Results here.

Here are the six words I used in my poem: bucket, candle, friend, hole, ocean, snake.

Poetry on Demand
By Elaine Magliaro

Our teacher explained the writing test:
“You must write a poem.
Your poem must contain the six words listed on the board:
bucket, candle, friend, hole, ocean, snake.
Your poem must make sense.
It must contain imagery and figurative language.
It must be finished by the end of this class period.”

When I heard the words You may begin,
I rolled my eyes and groaned.

Then I crawled out of my dark
of desperation
and found a candle of hope
glowing in my imagination.
Grasping my pencil
like a best
in an hour of need,
I let it snake
a trail across my paper.
As it slithered down the page…
it left poetic scenery behind:
an ocean of onomatopoeia,
a seashore of similes,
a meadow of metaphors,
a lovely landscape littered with alliteration.

I was inspired.
I was on a roll.
I was putting the final period on my paper
when I heard the class bell ring.
I skimmed through my poetic masterpiece
as the teacher strolled down the aisles
collecting our tests.
That’s when I realized
I hadn’t used the word bucket.
Aw, @*&# it!
At Blue Rose Girls, I have Happiness, a poem by the late Jane Kenyon.

Two Writing Teachers have the Poetry Friday Roundup.


Anonymous said...

A perfect ending, Elaine...Made me laugh out loud!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I had an easy time writing the poem with FIVE words. I just couldn't seem to fit the sixth word--bucket or scarecrow--into it. And I didn't feel like writing another poem--so I came back to the poem this morning. I reread it and decided I could make it work with bucket. I can just hear a kid muttering those words under his/her breath in such a situation.

Tricia said...

Such language! And yes, that's exactly what a student would say. Bravo! I too was laughing out loud.

Kelly said...

Hah! I love it. Thanks, Elaine :)

Anonymous said...

*stands and whistles, applauding*

The ending wsa hilarious, Elaine. And the middle with the oceans of onomatopoeia, etc., was glorious.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I just couldn't resist that ending. I think the reason the last line works is because it rhymes with bucket.


You know I don't usually write poems that end in that fashion. I'm glad you liked it.

Kelly F.,

Thanks for the standing O! I really got stuck on this poem--so I put it away for a couple of days. I find when I put poems aside for a time, I'm then able to revisit them from a new perspective.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Ha! When I worked on this poetry stretch it was just like this only I didn't have a bell to ring to get me out of the situation. I kept forgetting "hole". Nice work, you!

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks! That sixth word can be tricky to fit into the poem, can't it? You finished your poem much sooner than I did. I almost gave up on mine...then yesterday morning I decided to give it another try.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

So great! Very clever, too. Thanks for that great ending.

Jules, 7-Imp

Elaine Magliaro said...


So you liked that ending, did ya? I'm glad! I couldn't figure out any other way to finish the poem and include the word bucket (or scarecrow).

Anonymous said...

Ha! What a clever poem--wouldn't middle-school kids love this! And I just read I Am Writing a Poem About...a few days ago, so how cool to have a totally modern application of it!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Laura! I think what's especially interesting about the three-words and six-words poems that Myra had the students in her master class write is how they all turned out so different from each other. I found including six words in my poem a real challenge.