A Lime is a Lime, or is It? Tuesday Tryouts

01 Nov

8:23 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello all. How are you? We are experiencing gorgeous Autumn weather here: blue skies, crisp, chilly temperatures, and leaves turning colours. Bring on the hot chocolate.

The instructions for today’s exercise are short: Write a poem of four quatrains that contains no adjectives, no adverbs, no similes, and the word “lime”.

That’s it. I knew I could write a short post. I am off for coffee…No? You would like a tiny bit more? Okay. A colleague and I included this prompt as an option in the final project of our tenth graders’ poetry unit. Few chose it, but the ones who did: Wow! What wonderful, creative, uncluttered poems they came up with.

Look at what you are being asked to do and think about why. What is the effect of leaving out qualifiers [similes qualify in the way they direct a comparison]? Ask yourself this before and after you write the poem.

If you need a kick-start, list all the situations where you might come across a lime. Choose the two or three you find interesting and jot notes next to each. Go with whatever your brain is telling you. Pick one. Remember that quatrains, while they mean four lines to a stanza, do not mean the lines have to be long, or even with each other. They do not have to rhyme. A quatrain is four lines. That’s it.

This is the only step you can be flexible with. If you need fewer or more stanzas, go for it. BUT: no qualifiers and the word lime must be in the poem somewhere. Think strong verbs and nouns. Don’t forget, sensory imagery is your friend.

I do hope many of you will try this. It is one of my favourite exercises to do and to read results of. Don’t forget to post either links, or the poem, in comments. Read what others have written. Enjoy and I will see you Friday for the prompt roundup, and next Tuesday for a less prescriptive prompt.

Happy writing everyone.



Posted by on 01/11/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , ,

30 responses to “A Lime is a Lime, or is It? Tuesday Tryouts

  1. vivinfrance

    01/11/2011 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve made a start, but am suffering severe adjectival withdrawal symptoms!

    • margo roby

      01/11/2011 at 12:57 pm

      Suck it up, ViV! You can do it and you will feel so light and clean for it!


    • tmhHoover

      02/11/2011 at 10:59 pm

      I am afraid I was too. Thanks for coming by my blog and setting me straight!

  2. C.L. Sostarich

    01/11/2011 at 4:37 pm

    This was a fun exercise Margo, thanks!

    The lime looked at me
    From the counter
    Challenging my stare,
    Cut me if you dare.

    I crossed the room
    Knife in hand
    She rolled to the mixer,
    Oh, I would fix her.

    Mixer, basket, Mixer.
    Rolling and running,
    The knife glinted
    My eyes squinted.

    But I need your taste,
    I said to her,
    My guacamole will go to waste!
    She smiled and said, well in that case…

    • margo roby

      01/11/2011 at 5:32 pm

      Carly, I love the poem. It is fun, isn’t it?!


    • tmhHoover

      02/11/2011 at 5:35 pm

      Your lime and my lime need to get together. Nice job.

      • margo roby

        02/11/2011 at 5:49 pm

        Okay, the image of your lime and her lime racing around screaming will keep me smiling all evening!


    • vivinfrance

      02/11/2011 at 5:45 pm

      Such fun, and not a trace of describing words

  3. catlas

    01/11/2011 at 5:17 pm

    Clouds and rain
    I slipped on a lime
    Trash on the ground
    I fell on my spine

    Help, I cry
    Is anyone there?
    The lime replies,
    shall I fetch you a chair?

    I hear the lime talking
    To a stranger on the path,
    “He can not stand,
    You do the math!”

    I close my eyes
    Then open them again.
    I am sitting in class
    Where have I been?

    • margo roby

      01/11/2011 at 5:33 pm

      I love your lime’s persona, Catlas. Glad you had fun with it.


      • catlas

        01/11/2011 at 5:43 pm

        I did! Thank you, Margo! 😀

  4. pmwanken

    01/11/2011 at 6:41 pm

    OK. When I first read your prompt, the only words I could seem to type were adjectives and adverbs! And then…something “clicked.” LOL — I’ll hold you responsible! 😉

    Here’s my poem “limes for margo” for you to savor! Ha!

    • margo roby

      02/11/2011 at 10:20 am

      Our brains are odd things aren’t they, Paula. I’m heading over now 🙂


      • pmwanken

        02/11/2011 at 4:27 pm

        Yes…our brains are odd. And mine has turned off…or something.

      • margo roby

        02/11/2011 at 5:48 pm

        Join the crowd, Paula! I have never run into so many people with so many blocks and blanknesses, including myself. Something’s going on!


  5. Mike Patrick

    01/11/2011 at 7:51 pm

    • margo roby

      02/11/2011 at 10:20 am

      Even the word lime, Mike.


  6. Janet

    02/11/2011 at 11:12 am


    Accolades and words of boast

    are not testimonies sub-lime

    to prove the things we love the most;

    but how we spend our time

    I thought of you the other day

    And how you used to kiss me

    Before you turned and walked away

    Limes always do this to me

    If life hands you its lemons

    Then make some lemonade

    If it hands you limes instead

    Drizzle it on bean-salad

    (it really is delicious on bean salad)

    Do not keep score of failures

    It is a waste of time

    Sometimes life is the gravy

    And sometimes salt and lime

  7. Janet

    02/11/2011 at 11:15 am

    somehow the spaces between the four line-stanzas disappeared??? when I posted. I have trouble with the most basic things…like simply placing a link back to my blog. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and I don’t know why…

    • margo roby

      02/11/2011 at 11:21 am

      Janet, I can’t help you with the link [computers are possibly black magic ;-)], but when you open a file to copy paste for posting, if you open in notepad, or wordpad, or whichever you have, the spacing remains as it should.

      Love your clevernesses: “of boast”…uh huh. Thought I might not notice you getting around an adjective? “Sub-lime” is gorgeous! And not only have you managed a poem to the rules, but you have a moral!


  8. tmhHoover

    02/11/2011 at 12:41 pm

    Ok this was miserably hard for me… just sayin’. This is what I get for not trying the last two prompts. I so should have done the haibun or even the sensory circus prompt. Anyway here is my attempt… I think I surely used something forbidden in there. Just let me know -it would be appreciated. xo teri
    Here is the link-

    • margo roby

      02/11/2011 at 12:51 pm

      Poor Teri 😦 I promise a formless, ruleless prompt next week 🙂 You do know you can still do the other two prompts, yes?

      Going over to read what you wrote.


      • tmhHoover

        02/11/2011 at 11:12 pm

        Margo -My husband will laugh when I tell him this. He claims I could use a bit more structure in my life. In the future I will try to only share my whining with my dog. Also Viv found an adjective hiding in the very first word of my poem. Can you believe it!? Go Viv.

  9. wordsandthoughtspjs

    02/11/2011 at 5:41 pm

    Ok, well, this prompt should prove hard for me, Margo. I haven’t even completed last week’s prompt. One thing at a time. I have also decided to take on the PAD challenge, I must be crazy…


    • margo roby

      02/11/2011 at 5:46 pm

      Well, maybe a little nuts, Pamela 😉 Though for this, if you read some of the others [and for this that’s okay — usually I don’t like to read others before I write mine, but this works], I don’t think you will find it so hard.

      Deep breath.


  10. Patsy Black Sawyer

    04/11/2011 at 9:31 pm

    I scribbled mine quickly and I’m pretty sure it isn’t quiet right.. I did want to link though so that all my visitors might find you too.. I love the great prompts we find here.. Have a great day.. my attempt is here

    • margo roby

      04/11/2011 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you so much, Patsy. I appreciate it and will head over now to read the poem.



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