Poem Tryouts: Misperceptions

03 Feb

7:45 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Called Out in the Dark, sung by Snow Patrol

Hello, all. It’s 22F outside, negligible in the face of the NE US, but damn cold anyway. I am finally winter bundled, as I type. I usually have a prompt in mind, but this time I’ve been dithering between two. I’m not sure why I couldn’t make up my mind which of the two to offer. I went with a third.

Sometime last year, my son and I were having a phone conversation. I’m not sure how Biros came up. I must have been talking about my first pens. When I mentioned the Biro as my first ballpoint, there was a brief silence and Houston said ‘Biros are pens? I thought they were notepads’. In what context had they come up for him previously? Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where Adams’ posits a planet for lost ballpoints: the planet Biros. (In his defence, he was very young when he read the series) Houston allowed as how he might have to reread Hitchhiker with this new image in mind.

Misperceptions change interpretations. The previous statement allows you a wide scope for material for a poem. Begin by recalling times when you thought one thing about the meaning of a word and drew a conclusion, or made a judgment (no matter how inconsequential), based on your perception. How long did you carry the incorrect meaning? How did you find out the correct meaning? How did the new meaning change your interpretation of a situation, or event?

You can write a poem about the misperception itself, or you can take the idea onto a broader stage. What happens when we have a misperception and make a judgment based on it? How does the ensuing discovery of the actuality change the original interpretation and what consequences are there? Do you have an instance that would make a good poem?

I feel like I’m being vague in my instructions, but that’s happened before and I know you all always find a poem. So, go forth and write.

I will see you Thursday for links and whatnot; Friday, for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for another of my prompts.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 03/02/2015 in exercises, poetry


Tags: , ,

30 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Misperceptions

  1. b_y

    03/02/2015 at 9:33 am

    Church signs are almost always more interesting the first time I read them. Don’t know why those are so easy for me to misconstrue. Why do I never write them down?

    • margo roby

      03/02/2015 at 9:40 am

      I adore church signs. Some of them are a hoot and I’m not sure I’m misperceiving them. My most common misconstruing is hearing a word wrong in a song. I was in my thirties [forties?] when I discovered that Neil Diamond sings ‘forever in blue jeans’. I heard, still do, ‘reverend blue jeans’.

      • b_y

        03/02/2015 at 6:18 pm

        don’t go out tonight
        they’re bound to take your dime
        there’s a bathroom on the right

        • purplepeninportland

          03/02/2015 at 11:58 pm

          I heard it exactly the same way!

  2. Carol Carlisle

    03/02/2015 at 10:47 am

    Until, would you believe it yesterday, I had heard the Beetle’s song as Paper Back Ridder! Maybe that’s a Spoonerism right up there with the hymns Gladdly the Crosseyed Bear and Bringin in the Sheets. I hope I warmed you a little with laughter if not a poem.
    Happy Tuesday

    • margo roby

      03/02/2015 at 12:20 pm

      A loud and hearty laugh, Carol. How gorgeous. I’m so glad that you are going to stop by every now and then.
      Have a lovely day,

    • purplepeninportland

      03/02/2015 at 11:59 pm


    • georgeplace2013

      04/02/2015 at 8:41 am

      Carol, my (then) six year old daughter one summer went around singing “tennis and tie shoes” until I finally figured out the VBS song “If Sinners Entice You”

      • Carol Carlisle

        07/02/2015 at 2:50 am

        He he! Those little rockers

  3. barbcrary

    03/02/2015 at 12:06 pm

    And then there are the misconstrued lyrics to “Blinded by the Light” which I don’t even want to print out here, but the real line is “Revved up like a deuce,” not “Wrapped up like a “fill-in-the-blank.” This is not where I want to go poetically today. Stay warm, friends.

    • margo roby

      03/02/2015 at 12:20 pm

      Barb: Grin!

  4. Pingback: A Short Distance to Old | Who Is Selma Siri
  5. Misky

    03/02/2015 at 4:13 pm

    Still looking for a photo to go with this one.

    • purplepeninportland

      04/02/2015 at 12:01 am

      I absolutely love this! Perfectly titled.

  6. barbcrary

    03/02/2015 at 5:24 pm

    I took a while but this is where it went:

  7. purplepeninportland

    03/02/2015 at 11:58 pm

    I reached back for this one.

    • georgeplace2013

      04/02/2015 at 8:38 am

      Ha. Mine was epi-tome

      • margo roby

        06/02/2015 at 9:05 am

        Hey! Mine was too. I was in my late thirties when I put it together. I had never seen the word that people pronounced ‘epidemee’. And I had never heard the word I read as ‘epi-tome’. The light bulb happened in my department’s faculty room, the one full of other English teachers. I was so amazed at the discovery, I was happy to have provided the laugh.

  8. Pingback: A Porcelained Skin | Who Is Selma Siri
  9. Misky

    04/02/2015 at 9:13 am

    Ha. You betcha.

    Time to move on now, I think…

  10. Pingback: My Treasure : a haibun (for 5 prompts) 2.4 s | Jules Longer Strands of Gems
  11. julespaige

    04/02/2015 at 12:25 pm

    When it works…I stuff ’em. The prompts that is…and still only a page long.

  12. Pingback: Fresh Perception | Metaphors and Smiles
  13. Hannah Gosselin

    04/02/2015 at 2:29 pm

    Yay!!! I’m here! I so disliked missing last week with teeth and guest…I’m so glad I got to sit down today and that you stretched my brain, (left and right), to work on this. Thank you, thank you!

    Hope you’re staying warm…I won’t protest when Mother Nature brings us spring. πŸ™‚

    • Hannah Gosselin

      04/02/2015 at 2:37 pm

      P.S. I apologize if it takes me a while to get back around to return comment this week…I will be back in to read though!!

      Happy week to you, Margo and writers!

      • margo roby

        06/02/2015 at 9:13 am

        I’m just happy you are here, Hannah.

        • Hannah Gosselin

          06/02/2015 at 1:33 pm

          Thank you, Margo!! πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      06/02/2015 at 9:12 am

      Hannah, you have left me with an image: reaching in and grabbing your brain then stretching it like dough πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ :-D.

      • Hannah Gosselin

        06/02/2015 at 1:34 pm

        I love it!!! What fun!! I’m so happy to be here. :)’s

  14. georgeplace2013

    05/02/2015 at 6:54 am


Join the discussion and feel free to critique, or suggest an idea for any poem I post.

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

Gravatar Logo

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: