Poem Tryouts: Flannel Me This

01 Oct

7:46 a.m. — Atlanta

I Will Wait sung by Mumford & Sons

Hello everyone. I hope things are fine. People who hold jobs with the US government (like my daughter), I am so sorry. Your stomachs  must be churning. It won’t pay a salary, but write it out.

Two weeks ago on imaginary garden with real toads, Marian gave us a prompt about the Harvest Moon that included in a list of possible topics: Neil Young, the Harvest Moon, being still in love, dancing, flannel, trucks, sexy backup singers. I have an odd sense of humour and flannel tickled me, still does. Thus, an entire prompt built around flannel. I am not flanneling you. Did you know that flannel can be used as a verb?

I doubt that anyone has no association with flannel. Think about your childhood, your growing up, now. Somewhere flannel made itself part of your life. Maybe your wash cloth, your blanket, your pyjamas, shirts, jackets… there is a lot of flannel about.

Or, if you are from Great Britain and its colonies former and present, you might use flannel to mean flattering or evasive talk. Also, to hedge, prevaricate, soft-soap, waffle, flatter, or butter up.

It’s not easy to write well about something everyday, something mundane. Consider what it is about flannel you want to convey before you start conveying it. Consider how you are going to make us understand what you convey. Think tactile-ly. Be specific and don’t use flannelly adjectives. Think of similes. Consider whether what you write should be free form, or more formally structured.

Flannel has become my new verb of choice. I find it amazingly adaptable. I spent yesterday seeing how many situations I could use it in. Before you do that write a poem.

I shall see you Thursday for a link or two; Friday for the prompt roundups; and not next week. The blog will be dark for a week while we visit Vermont, our son and his wife, and our grand-daughter.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 01/10/2013 in exercises, poetry


Tags: , ,

45 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Flannel Me This

  1. barbara_y

    01/10/2013 at 8:48 am

    Reading Gertrude S. for ModPo this morning. “Flannel” seems perfectly in keeping with Tender Buttons.

  2. Jeep Walters

    01/10/2013 at 9:18 am

    Neil Young and Kurt Cobain explain flannel nicely. Picked one; thoughts of the other.

    • margo roby

      01/10/2013 at 9:28 am

      With two such apparently unflannely people, I look forward to this.

  3. markwindham

    01/10/2013 at 10:25 pm

    could not get past ‘shirt’ in thinking of flannel…still, something I do not say ever, I like this one. Which surely means it is awful. 🙂 Seeing as how the ones I usually think are awful others seem to like…anyway, I managed a poem and a form.

  4. whimsygizmo

    01/10/2013 at 10:40 pm

    • margo roby

      02/10/2013 at 7:27 am

      Thanks, de. I was, as I say, thoroughly tickled by it.

  5. rosross

    01/10/2013 at 11:32 pm

    The British definition of flannel certainly never entered the Australian vocabulary and I never heard it in India or the three ex British African colonies where I have lived. Flannel is a fabric or the washcloth you use for your face, which, originally was of course, flannel. Do you have a link for the other definition of flannel? I am curious.

    • margo roby

      02/10/2013 at 7:55 am

      I’m going to give you a couple of links, Ros, as I’m not sure which you think of as creditable sources for this kind of thing. Although it’s vague, my brain chimes loud that I knew that definition of flannel from Hong Kong.
      You will need to scroll down to where they put outliers:

      • rosross

        02/10/2013 at 7:02 pm

        Thanks for the links Margo. Yes, interesting, although as I said, it never came into use in Australia, or if it ever was, it did not last long. One wonders if it lasted in China because of the overlay of British culture as opposed to it being source. Then again, I never heard it in India either. No doubt that meaning has its source in Old English because having lived in the UK a couple of times, I never heard it used in that way either. Also my grandfather was English and it was not something which UK rellies used. It is fascinating how language evolves and how meanings can change – awful being a classic example.

        • margo roby

          03/10/2013 at 7:15 am

          No problem, Ros. I suspect it is an idiom from earlier times and, as you say, Hong Kong was so British and somewhat piratical still that usage may have lingered.

          I love following that sort of thing, as well. Awful is one of the best examples.

  6. barbara_y

    01/10/2013 at 11:52 pm

    Brain’s not fully functional.
    Come to think of it, flannel-ly

    • margo roby

      02/10/2013 at 7:28 am

      See. Great word. We don’t use it enough.

    • margo roby

      02/10/2013 at 7:29 am

      Greetings to you, earthling ;-D

      • Misky

        02/10/2013 at 4:13 pm

        buenas noches, pequeño dragón.

        • margo roby

          02/10/2013 at 4:16 pm

          buenas noches, picatoste (i may like that better than crouton)

          • Misky

            02/10/2013 at 4:42 pm

            Not sure, my petit’ dragón, as it sounds too close to pick-a-your-toes….or pick-a-toaster. I’m more of a rigidly square, hard, crunchy, old piece of stale bread. Yes, that’s me: stale, dry, dusty …

            • margo roby

              02/10/2013 at 4:59 pm

              I am not laughing… snortle…. dry, dusty, stale it is. Croûton fits the bill for ‘igidly square, hard, crunchy, old piece of stale bread’. Otherwise, it’s: Yo! Crusty!’

              • Misky

                02/10/2013 at 5:13 pm

                Crusty was a clown. A creepy crown at that. If Croûton is out maybe something rabbit-ish.

                • margo roby

                  02/10/2013 at 5:17 pm

                  I love crouton… who’s throwing it out?

                  I’ve been sitting here thinking about things that fit your bill. Crouton and crumblet remain my top.


                • Misky

                  02/10/2013 at 5:23 pm

                  I am after all A Rabbit. I prefer Crouton. Suits me to a tee. I think my husband has fallen asleep downstairs. Perhaps I should wake him so he can go to bed. Sleep should be in a bed.

                • margo roby

                  02/10/2013 at 5:30 pm

                  Well, that settles it. Sweet dreams to both, ma petite croutonne.

                • Misky

                  02/10/2013 at 5:43 pm


  7. georgeplace2013

    02/10/2013 at 7:31 am

    Who would have ever thought to write a poem about flannel? Margo did!

    • margo roby

      02/10/2013 at 7:35 am

      I tell you what, that Margo can be a nutty woman.

      I laughed when I saw your title. Can’t wait to read the poem.

  8. Carol Carlisle

    02/10/2013 at 1:09 pm

    Took me a while to track the Wily Flannel (see title of today’s Blog). Flannel led me so deep into the wilderness of memory I’m just coming out today. What fun thanks for the memories 😉

    • margo roby

      02/10/2013 at 4:17 pm

      That’s the best sort of result, isn’t it!

  9. val dering rojas

    02/10/2013 at 11:28 pm

    “Did you know that flannel can be used as a verb?” ….I do now! 😉

    I had one flannel nightgown in my lifetime– I’m thinking age 7… Way too hot in California most of the time for anything flannel. But I will gladly use it as a verb.

    • margo roby

      03/10/2013 at 7:11 am

      Val, in the last few days, flannel has filled my thinking, as a verb and as a noun. It is such a useful word. I don’t know how I made it this far without it in my life 😉

  10. Hannah Gosselin

    03/10/2013 at 2:32 pm

    Hi!! How are ya, Margo?! 🙂

    This one is different in a generic kind of toast and butter for breakfast way. 😉

    I like all your thoughts and more absorbing thoughts on flannel…gray matters of mind become plaid in this line of thinking…verb indeed!

    • margo roby

      03/10/2013 at 5:52 pm

      gray matters of mind become plaid in this line of thinking

      love that!

      • Hannah Gosselin

        03/10/2013 at 6:50 pm

        🙂 I thought you might! So glad to make you smile.

  11. purplepeninportland

    04/10/2013 at 11:38 pm

    I learned all about other kinds of ‘flannel’.


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