Pretty well guaranteed almost any book about how to write poetry will tell you to write lists. I’m not sure exactly what the connection is between listing and how it bleeds into poetic thought or vision. Perhaps when we list things we open the door to lots of possibilities. Or we tell ourselves there is more than one right answer. Or the process of listing is subliminal permission for our mind to go off in many directions.
Whatever, there are certainly plenty of lists in poetry. One such list that’s caught my attention lately is actually a song. Some of the lyrics of the Bruce Cockburn "Southland of the Heart" (Sung by Steve Bell on this album) are really a list of how it feels when life sucks:
When the wild-eyed dogs of day to day
Come snapping at your heels
And there's so much coming at you
That you don't know how to feel...
When your heart's beset by memories
You wish you'd never made
When the sun comes up an enemy
And nothing gives you shade...
When the nightmare's creeping closer
And your wheels are in the mud
When everything's ambiguous
Except the taste of blood...
© 1992 Bruce Cockburn
Lists in poems can also be hidden. Anyone care to guess what the poem "Welcome" in this post, lists?
For another list prompt and lots of examples of list poems - check out this.
And now, for this week’s prompt:
1. Make a list of seven list poems you could write.
2. Write one of them.
3. Post it on your blog or website.
4. Let me know, I’ll link to you – and we might even end up with another list!