Poem Tryouts: Intelligent Beings

20 May

7:32 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Paul Simon singing Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

Hi, everyone. The sun is finally shining and maybe I won’t have to put on my woolly socks today. Yes, I even had to turn the heat on, yesterday. Crazy. Meanwhile, my brother in Florida [where we are spending this Memorial Day weekend] is emailing and saying: Revised weather. It’s going to be 95! Ack.

If you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s contributions, head over. I do realise that the problem with my ‘post anytime’ policy is that some poems don’t get seen as much as they should. I will try to do an occasional reminder to look and have a read before starting the new prompt. I ran into today’s idea when I came across a couple of quotes regarding intelligence, that fascinated me.

‘Pain and suffering are inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on Earth.’ Fyodor Dostoevsky

‘Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.’ Ernest Hemingway

Dostoevsky. Hemingway. These guys have cred (their own lives, for one thing). Given they were writers, I became curious as to the original meaning of intelligence, not the one we assign to it today. I found “faculty of understanding,” “power of discerning; art, skill, taste,” “to understand, comprehend,” from inter- “between” and legere “to choose, pick out, read” (Online Etymology Dictionary). Of course. Apparently, the meaning we assign to it, of sagacity, only came around in the 15th century. Read the statements again. Now here’s what you can do:

1] Take one of the statements and agree, or disagree, with it. While they appear to say the same thing, not quite.

2] Look up quotes on intelligence (with a similar definition, or connotation) and choose one you want to use as your kick off.

3] Ignore both statements and start with the definitions above.

Your poem can deal directly with the topic, or come at it indirectly through a story, a metaphor, symbols… in some way the poem must deal with the idea that people who have intelligence cannot live a happy life.

I shall see you Thursday for a couple of links; Friday for the prompts roundup; and Tuesday for our image prompt.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 20/05/2014 in exercises, poetry


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19 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Intelligent Beings

  1. Pingback: Duel prompt (reply): trace indicators | Jules Longer Strands of Gems
  2. julespaige

    20/05/2014 at 10:14 am

    Maybe with a shoehorn….

    • margo roby

      20/05/2014 at 10:48 am


      • julespaige

        20/05/2014 at 10:52 am

        I’ve been watching the Cosmos A Space Time Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Very presumptuous of humans to think they are the only intelligent beings out all the planets within our own universe much less all the universes of space.

        • margo roby

          20/05/2014 at 10:53 am

          I agree on the presumption, although the others, if they are there, are far, far away.

  3. Pingback: A Crack of Vowels | The Chalk Hills Journal
  4. Misky

    20/05/2014 at 2:25 pm

    I’m not particularly happy with this one, so presumably it’s intelligent.

    • margo roby

      20/05/2014 at 2:53 pm

      I can’t wait.

  5. markwindham

    20/05/2014 at 9:31 pm

    alright…so I wrote this last night before seeing the prompt…but I decided it fit. The intelligent can find happiness, they just tend to look in different places, and are perhaps more difficult to please. But I think they will all have a ‘thing’, at least one, that brings joy.

    • margo roby

      21/05/2014 at 7:26 am

      I agree with you, Mark.

  6. Hannah Gosselin

    21/05/2014 at 2:36 pm

    Hi!! I’m not going to be a very involved commenter or a very chat-y gal this week either…it’s time, (again already!), for the annual Spring Belly Dance show so these feet, and hips are a-boppin’ trying to get ready…(plus fingers are a-stringin’ beads, too).

    Thank you for the prompt, Margo!

    • margo roby

      21/05/2014 at 3:15 pm

      Non-chat allowed, too😉. It’s just good to know what you are doing. I can now, spend the week envisioning you belly dancing [I am NOT giggling].

      • Hannah Gosselin

        21/05/2014 at 8:29 pm

        Lol you can giggle!! And also, even when I’m trying not to be chatty I still chat it up! It’s kind of a skill I think.

  7. nwian

    21/05/2014 at 6:43 pm

    Here’s my attempt- I’d say rather loosely based…

    • margo roby

      22/05/2014 at 7:36 am

      Loose is fine. You have a poem! I’m on my way.

  8. Pingback: Tuesday Tryouts on Thursday | FredHerring
  9. b_young

    22/05/2014 at 6:33 pm

    Yo, ho Margo. Better late

    • margo roby

      22/05/2014 at 8:12 pm

      Wo ho, Barbara. Always.

  10. purplepeninportland

    22/05/2014 at 11:31 pm

    I am not sure I followed this the way it was intended, but here it is:


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