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Prompt #115 Counting fingers plus two

July 19, 2012


Counting fingers plus two

what’s that mean?

We Write Poems:

So really, what does that mean?  Nothing “cosmic” I assure you.  
Simply, write a poem that uses twelve (12) words, no more, no less.

It’s about brevity.  That’s an obvious part.  And about breathing in and breathing out, in this week by week poem process.  (The process is bigger than just one week you know.)  So be simple.  Be concise.  Perhaps a pirouette – but just one.  The topic, the form, the style, the phrasing, the shape, the voice – that’s all up to you.  No rules.  No constraints.  BUT just that one – twelve words please (else it’s not a game!).

You can even make up a name for this unformed forming poem, if you like.  Maybe an American haiku, but without those rules of form.  This is also an opportunity to observe what a writer can say without directly saying the words.

Can you condense a sentence, a phrase into just one word, or two? Maybe take what “lines” you’d commonly write, then reduce it to the essential word. How might that read or sound?

And here’s one tangential hint – can you break rules when there are no rules?  (Allowing here for the rule of twelve, but that’s all.)  Allow your imagination to consider that.  (And yea, poems are for real.  They’re just not serious!)

Come back next Wednesday when you see,It’s Post Your Poems Day!” and leave a link to the poem on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, then please, post your poem in the comment itself. *** You are invited to respond to the prompt given here, but if you have something else you’re just itching to share, please feel welcome in doing that. Our first desire here is to encourage you to write and learn and share. *** When leaving comments to other’s poems, please be appreciative and encouraging. We are not a poem “critique” site (unless someone specifically asks for that). Be kind with each other (and yourself!). *** Please consider including a link with your blog poem back to the prompt response here at We Write Poems so that others may see and join our community. More participants do make better soup!

  1. Irene permalink*
    July 19, 2012 5:16 am

    Is twelve a magic cosmic number? *thinking out loud*

  2. July 20, 2012 3:47 pm

    Mmmm – I don’t know about that, Irene… just that it’s a dozen. One more than an Efjie…I was going in that direction but then I took a different track…well you’ll see.

    • Irene permalink*
      July 20, 2012 4:44 pm

      It made me think of the twelve apostles..and then there’s that song that goes “on the twelfth day of Christmas..”..and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a play of mistaken gender/identity..

  3. July 20, 2012 8:45 pm

    Well Irene, honestly, it’s just arbitrary. I could say 10 fingers, plus 2, but what’s the 2? Really I just made it up. Many I suppose will relate some numerical meaning, but that’s theirs, it is not “implied” by the prompt. I can, and have, done that relational thing, but to me it is just a place to hang my hat (poem).

    I’m more minimalist, if you haven’t guessed by now. You can’t have “nail soup” without the nail; it’s just a place to begin. Now content, meanings, inner and outer dialogs, that interests me a lot, but I like to allow individual “discovery” that way too.

    I could wish that folk will use the prompt, the severe brevity, to learn something more about language and meaning. (As I still am myself.)

    So, the bowl means nothing much. What we put into it, that gets interesting…

    • Irene permalink*
      July 21, 2012 1:51 am

      I know it’s kind of arbitrary, but then, I still think it’s a number with significance. You remember the old song called “The Twelfth of Never”? So if a date is “the twelfth of never”, it refers to eternity. And I’m already amazed by the poem that popped out of my hat. Twelve word poem could turn out to be a form yet, not sure if anybody else thought of it first. If not you shall be crowned the originator of the form. But only if lots of twelve word poems get written until the twelfth of never, sigh!

  4. July 23, 2012 1:39 pm

    This one caught my eye and my imagination. I like the idea of it becoming a form. Maybe the “Twelfth of Neil” form?


    • Irene permalink*
      July 23, 2012 3:11 pm

      Sleepy & sleepless both, I wrote another. Wanted to, since you like the idea too, Elizabeth. Kind of an interesting eponymous name for the form. Let’s give it some time, shall we, and spill some ink. 😉

    • July 23, 2012 11:40 pm

      Hmm… amusing Elizabeth. But you know how I feel about “forms” in poetry, much like plates, they’re made to slip between the fingers, and be dropped. Yet I’m glad if this meager prompt caught your attention my friend. 🙂

      And we’ll see what results! What about a “reductionist” poem? What’s that you ask? Guess?

  5. July 24, 2012 12:12 am

    I love this prompt! I haven’t been here in ages, it’s nice to be back.
    Yes, Irene, I liked your FB page.


    “As Paintings Fade”

  6. July 24, 2012 12:16 am

    Oops, bad link …

    “As Paintings Fade”

    • July 24, 2012 12:29 am

      It is only Tuesday, but Mexico declared an emergency Leap Day, so the government forced me to post early. ¡Viva Mexico! Oh, and sorry ’bout that.

      • Irene permalink*
        July 24, 2012 4:09 am

        I already peeked! It’s so great, because it’s as short (shorter) than haiku, so haiku-ish. And because it’s a twelve word poem, it could bend to another form. Also great that you’re back Pamela, so we’ll feel less lonely. 😉

        • July 24, 2012 8:40 am

          Thought I was the only one missing in action. So glad to know I am no longer alone. It feels good to return. I have missed all of you,


  7. Irene permalink*
    July 24, 2012 3:24 pm

    I know I know lots of prompt sites. But then, you know the saying, the people who write together play together (well, actually making that up). Encouragement received has given our writing a space to practice and grow. It’s been two years since WWP started, it takes love to keep us going. So glad you’re back too Elizabeth.

  8. July 25, 2012 5:28 am

    I was led to this by following from blog to blog. Enjoy my poem!
    (14 words)

  9. July 25, 2012 9:56 am

    Did I miss the chance to post my poem?

    • July 26, 2012 3:11 am

      Hi Susan! No, however poem links should go to the following Wednesday post (that is now up). That’s where folks will be looking for poems, not here with the prompt. You might want to read our WWP “about” page.

      And sorry (wrote a great comment to your poem!), but Blogger won’t let me set an identity, so can’t post the thing. Appreciate all that your poem says (and doesn’t). Thanks, neil

  10. July 25, 2012 11:22 pm

    Hi! This is the first time I am here. I am not really a poet but I like a challenge. Here’s what I have written

    • July 26, 2012 1:24 am

      And yea, welcome here. If you write a poem, then let’s not say poet, but a person who writes poems. That’s fair, as well the truth! And I’d rather be a person than a poet any day!

  11. July 26, 2012 1:40 am


    We post a poem prompt every Thursday, then give you a week to think and write. The following Wednesday come back for a second posting when-and-where you can leave a link to the poem you wrote (or the poem itself if you don’t have a blog).

    Comments to either post are welcome, but if you leave your poem link on the Thursday prompt post, other participants here aren’t expecting that, so your fine poem participation may get missed. Not “wrong” you see, but we’d like your poems to get seen!

    Happy writing. ~neil

  12. July 26, 2012 6:04 am

    Thanks so much to “justanotherwakeupcall” for directing me here. I love this prompt. Have written a poem in ages.

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