Poem Tryouts: Limes

12 Aug

8:14 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Simple Blackness by Kip Mazuy

English: Limes at a market.

Limes at a market. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, all. I hope you are well, or at least in better mental shape than I. This morning, at six-thirty, I was putting toothpaste on my brush, by the light of the night light, when I noticed, dimly, a white rectangle propped against my water glass. My brain followed this process: White rectangle = envelope, envelope = card, card = … Oh, it’s our anniversary! Yep! I forgot. Not only that, but I hadn’t even started remembering, say a couple of days, or weeks, ago.

You all I remembered. Having a prompt ready I remembered. This is a challenging prompt and I will continue to toss in this challenge until you behave and try it! It’s a fascinating exercise. If it helps, I set it every year for my tenth graders and they came up with such creative poems and work arounds. So, if a tenth grader can do it… (I know, this from a woman who can’t remember her 42nd anniversary)

The prompt itself is simple: Write a poem of four quatrains that contains no adjectives, no adverbs, no similes, and the word ‘lime. This does occasion possible swearing and hair pulling, maybe even drink. That’s okay. Leeway? How about three quatrains is okay and they can be short lines? And, if you are going to rebel, no quatrains, but a single stanza (which you can then divide up… ). The other stuff, uh uh, although I relax somewhat over what comprises an adverb.

I’m going to try one based loosely on my memory of a student’s. I wish I had a copy of the original. It was better:

At the Store

She walked
down one aisle;
he walked
up another.

They crossed
each other;
eyes making contact,
they smiled.

Baskets filled
they came together
at the end,
meeting over limes.

That night,
at her place,
they got to know each other
over Margaritas.

Go to it. I shall maybe start gearing up for Thursdays and Fridays, so don’t be surprised if you see me. Otherwise, next Tuesday, same time, same place, for a prompt based on a comic strip. Start collecting possibilities.

Happy writing, all.



Posted by on 12/08/2014 in exercises, poetry, Summer


Tags: , , ,

35 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Limes

  1. julespaige

    12/08/2014 at 9:38 am

    Happy Happy!!! You know that when you celebrate every day with the one you love – singling out one day, well that kind of doesn’t matter. (This from a woman who doesn’t get flowers or cards and doesn’t mind… though we are planning a late anniversary cruse this year – so who needs a card? I might actually have to go dark that week or very limited net time anyway).

    May you continue to make every day special! I think at this point when the years start adding up –
    (I’ll be nearing 35) – that the only thing that really matters is knowing just how lucky we are!

    • margo roby

      12/08/2014 at 9:40 am

      Laughing! I agree. But when he remembers and I don’t, yikes!

      So! A cruise. Where?

      • julespaige

        12/08/2014 at 9:52 am

        What be plans? Ah the irony. He travels, he makes the plans… Well we haven’t exactly picked the warm spot yet. But we had better get on the ball!

        This is how it goes on a daily basis: He calls from out of town to let me know how things are and to see what’s up. I tell him about stuff I have questions about and the last time I mowed. And you know give him ‘crap’. So he says fine, he’ll deal with it when he gets home, because at the moment his work site job is stalled… constipated… more crap. That’s our life. Now if we could just turn it all into compost?


    12/08/2014 at 9:43 am

    Here you are: – my adjectival drought. And don’t try and tell me than in is an adjective! It’s a preposition so far as I’m concerned!


    In the limelight
    I squirm with embarrassment.

    In the sun I burn.
    In the shade I hide.

    In the sea I wallow
    Under the sea I am happy.

    In disgrace, I cringe
    In despair, I cry

    • margo roby

      12/08/2014 at 11:06 am

      Clever, ViV. Hey! No argument from me. Several of my prepositions caused me a moment’s thought.

  3. julespaige

    12/08/2014 at 10:18 am

    I may not have followed all the rules – but an English major I am not….

    • margo roby

      12/08/2014 at 11:07 am

      You, Jules? Surely not! I’m proud of you for trying. On my way.

      • julespaige

        12/08/2014 at 11:19 am

        I did even look up the definitions… but I guess I let some modifiers in.

  4. b_young

    12/08/2014 at 10:37 am

    But wait. Articles. Possessive pronouns.

    I should have read your example and saved myself a lot of hair-pulling

  5. kaykuala

    12/08/2014 at 11:17 am

    Quite a challenge to the prompt. Well done Margo!


  6. Misky

    12/08/2014 at 11:57 am

    Peder and I celebrated our anniversary on the wrong date for 15 years. We didn’t care; we still love each other, and we’re still together. 34 years. Happy anniversary to you both. xx. I can’t write. I’m seriously drugged after an excruciating session with the dentist. I’m also on antibiotics. Gums. Damned gums. Later, darling, later.


    • margo roby

      12/08/2014 at 2:10 pm

      How funny. As you say, it’s almost irrelevant, now, except as a reason to go out for a slap-up meal. Oh lord, I have to in to my gum doctor. I have been putting it off.

  7. Carol Carlisle

    12/08/2014 at 12:00 pm

    Put the lime in the coconut
    and drink it…up
    Dang, that won’t work 😉
    My daughters 10th grade teacher once asked the class to write an essay without using any to be verbs…That seemed just mean.
    Happy Anniversary! You must have been married when you were 10.

    • margo roby

      12/08/2014 at 2:12 pm

      Put the lime… isn’t that where we came in almost?!
      I never allowed my students more than two vobs per paragraph and they had to show me they were necessary. Sometimes one wants a vob. The two best things anyone can do for their writing: remove verbs of being and cut them per cent of the words [you can remove adverbs, too ;-)]
      Close 😉

  8. Sasha A. Palmer

    12/08/2014 at 1:03 pm

    Congratulations, Margo! 42nd Anniversary Hooray! That’s wonderful.

    Here’s my attempt:

    Gives you lemons –
    Neither trash them, nor trade –
    Make lemonade.

    Quit the sneezing, don’t whine –
    Make that wine.

    Your perspective,
    Do not fret, do not pout…
    You’re in doubt?

    Gives you limes –
    It’s your vitamin C.
    Can’t you see?

  9. georgeplace2013

    12/08/2014 at 2:22 pm

    I’m afraid I’ve been out of school too long. I throw myself at your feet in abject shame and hope this passes muster.

    I light the fire
    arrange the candles
    blues on the Bose
    shades drawn.

    Check the canapés
    let the wine breathe
    chill the glasses
    cut the limes.

    A special night
    to celebrate
    plan forward
    no regrets

    A toast to me
    “Alone is better
    than together
    with a jerk.”

    • margo roby

      12/08/2014 at 2:46 pm

      Well done! And a laugh at the end.

  10. Misky

    13/08/2014 at 11:35 am

    Goodness, WordPress has changed the entire new post setup.

    • margo roby

      13/08/2014 at 12:09 pm

      WHAT?! What? It was fine yesterday, she whined.

  11. b_young

    13/08/2014 at 1:12 pm

    Thought I’d try another. oops. forgot my lime

  12. purplepeninportland

    13/08/2014 at 3:18 pm

  13. markwindham

    13/08/2014 at 6:27 pm

    No time for anything serious…

    Ms. Lime

    Once upon
    a time
    there was a teacher
    named Ms. Lime,

    her skin a
    hue of green,
    giving children
    an excuse to be mean.

    She would pucker
    her lips
    and stand with fists
    on her hips,

    her lessons taught
    with zest,
    warning of each item
    to appear on the test.

    • margo roby

      15/08/2014 at 8:39 am

      Well, thank goodness for that. ‘Sides, a serious poem that involves limes? I particularly like the clever use of ‘zest’ ;-).

      • markwindham

        15/08/2014 at 9:16 am

        zest, pucker, green…all the lime I could fit in. Now, for our teachable moment of the day, since I cannot remember high school English class (or any of the ones before HS), would ‘zest’ in this case be considered an adverb, describing/describing the action of teaching?

  14. margo roby

    15/08/2014 at 10:51 am

    Very good young man ;-). Head of the class. For our purpose it’s one of those constructions that makes it closer to a noun. Zest itself is a noun. It’s the with that’s tricky.


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