Skip to content

prompt 157 Zen and the soul of body maintenance

May 15, 2013

What happens after a dark spell? (I’m assuming your protagonist had one. If not then skip that sentence.) The yellow orb is back! Your protagonist is having a Zen moment. It’s a body & soul thing. Write the body and you write the soul, poets. Be a poet who writes about the body. Taking it literally? Maybe your protagonist is into body art. Show us that tattoo. Or you can write about the body. You probably know Lucille Clifton’s “Homage to my hips”, and can’t help admiring how she did it so sensually. Here’s a small swagger of it:

these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.

You may decide to describe the protagonist’s body. Do you want to focus on one body part like Lucille (hmm, how about the ear?) or go over the whole as if it’s an interesting landscape? Or have the protagonist describe someone’s body, especially if that body loomed in some way. This is how Sharon Olds writes about the partner’s body in her poem, “I love it when”:

I love to feel you grow and grow be-
tween my legs like a plant in fast motion
the way, in the auditorium, in the
dark, near the beginning of our lives,
above us, the enormous stems and flowers
unfolded in silence.

Body is soul. That’s the theory we want you to explore. Be transcendent.

Since we’re thinking Zen, and the positive aspects of body maintenance, so to speak, try not to go dark on this one. Get some fire into your protagonist’s belly. I like to move it move it. That’s the spirit. Go on, be inspired by the Madagascar song.

So this is the fourth poem in the series. We’re working on ten prompts for the series. You may choose to write selectively to any prompt as if it’s a stand alone prompt or you may choose to write a series of poems on the protagonist. The choice is yours. You are not compelled to write ten poems on the protagonist. Only if you want to.

You can link your poem to this post once it’s written. You have all week to write. Next Thursday, we’ll see you for a new prompt. Like we said, you are free to write a series or treat these prompts as separate jumping off points for a new poem. However, if you choose to write a series, then the idea is that the protagonist will somehow tie all your poems together so there’s a kind of storyline going on. We’ll go on exploring, making the ordinary extraordinary.

  1. May 15, 2013 4:52 pm

    Well, I wrote mine here:

    Miz Fish is a bird-of-paradise

  2. May 15, 2013 11:37 pm more of Poseidon. Probably more than you wanted to know.

  3. May 16, 2013 3:58 am

    Here is mine.

  4. May 16, 2013 6:06 am

    Not, I think, what you had in mind. Not what I had in mind.

    • May 16, 2013 4:34 pm

      What you wrote is beautifully superlative.

  5. May 16, 2013 10:39 am

    Not quite what it started out to be…but then, when does it ever finish the way we plan?
    For what it is worth:

  6. May 16, 2013 1:55 pm

    If I keep tweaking this it will eventually end up in the bin, so I’ll stop and post it now.

  7. May 16, 2013 3:04 pm

    My apologies, Irene, I know this is not what you had in mind. But, Marlene has a mind of her own.


    • May 16, 2013 4:31 pm

      Protagonists have a mind of their own, don’t we know that! Go with the flow, someone else said that. It’s pretty difficult to fit them to a mold.

  8. May 16, 2013 4:45 pm

    Oh my, you peeps are so quick to the draw. My kind of peeps. Goodness gracious. Now we have to wait all week for the next instalment. *twiddles fingers*

  9. May 18, 2013 12:14 pm

    “From the ground up” is another installment in my on-going series. It is a little long, but goes in a new direction.

    • May 18, 2013 10:54 pm

      Hunger & nourishment – what a great take on body maintenance. I’m sorry, Marian, but I can’t comment on your blog.

  10. May 20, 2013 8:52 pm

    Haven’t been doing the protagonist thing, but here’s one anyway: Heart’s Thaw

    • May 21, 2013 7:32 am

      Yes! Feel free to dip in as you like. It’s tough to string along a protagonist but it’s something to remember for sure.

  11. May 21, 2013 6:07 pm

    Still haven’t figured out who the 3 poets are, but they sound really interesting!

    • May 24, 2013 8:50 am

      In a few days, I’ll probably post the answers, as I’d like to give more folks a chance to read it first. Have fun guessing!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: