What a Poem Needs #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018



A poem needs companions
The words of writers
Who traveled this path before

A poem needs a question
Wonderings and discovery

A poem needs space
The distant view out windows
Fields to wander in

A poem needs light
Sunshine to balance the dark
Of difficult things

A poem needs time
A quiet introspection
Solitude, with cats

Notes: I’m pretty pleased that I managed to get prairie (sort of), poetry, AND cats squeezed into one poem, as those are the three topics I have most enjoyed writing about this month and written about most often. The stanzas mix haiku and reverse haiku. I wasn’t sure if reverse haiku was a thing when I was drafting this, but the Internet assures me it is. (There is even a version of reverse haiku which reverses syllable count and also insists on rhyme!). The poem is loosely inspired by the last couple of chapters of Mary Oliver’s wonderful book, A Poetry Handbook. And the cat pictured is Toast, who always takes a good photo.



, ,



10 responses to “What a Poem Needs #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018”

  1. glenda funk Avatar
    glenda funk

    This is a wonderful last poem. Toast is beautiful. I wrote my Tuesday slice before commenting this evening, and I see my thoughts distilled in this poem. I’m thrilled to know reverse haiku is a thing. I’m adding it to my list. I think poets need space, light, companions, time, and questions, too. I could not have done this poem writing thing w/ out companions. Your poems and Carol Wilcox’s have been my favorites. Thanks for traveling w/ me.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I still need to write my reflections on a month of poetry. It was different, that’s for sure. And yes, yes, yes to poetry companions. I enjoyed our journey together!

  2. cheriee weichel Avatar

    So wonderful Elisabeth. As I was reading this I was thinking about how people are poems and how much we need all these things. Maybe that was your intention?
    I ended up by sharing some poetry writing that I did with primary children. So I shared poetry by me, us, and them.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hadn’t made the connection with people are poems too–but that’s really lovely! I still have posts to catch up on and comment on from poetry month and can’t wait to see yours about writing with the primary children.

  3. Cathy Mere Avatar

    Elisabeth, what a perfect tribute to poetry as we end the month of April.

    A poem needs a writer
    willing to grapple with words
    to find its beauty.

    (Pardon the one syllable addition)

    It found that in you.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you, Cathy. I am honored to have this beautiful comment from you.

  4. Juliana Ellington Avatar

    Congratulations on completing this writing challenge!! Amazing work and endurance!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes to the endurance required!! Not sure I will ever do it again, but I am proud that I completed the challenge this year.

  5. […] A conclusion to Poetry Writing Month with “What a Poem Needs” […]

  6. […] I mostly want to write poems about poetry, the prairie, and cats. Given that I am not a poet and don’t know that much about poetry, it was perhaps ridiculous to write so very many poems about poetry during April. But it was a way to distill my wonderings and questions and struggles. The prairie is an endless inspiration for me: I marvel daily at what I see on my drive, how different this landscape is from any other landscape I have known. And I believe cats are basically walking poems anyway, so they’re a natural subject for poetry. I started to feel like I was overdoing it with the poems about poetry, the prairie, and cats, so I tried to make myself write about other things, but I think I would have been happiest just focusing on those three topics for the entire month. (And I am quite proud that my final poem for the month managed to combine all three!) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: