Poem Tryouts: What a Coil

04 Feb

8:07 a.m. – Atlanta

listening to I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen sung by Robbie Williams

Urk! Yes, I do have a blog to write and a hair appointment, not two things I usually forget, but between the SNOW in Atlanta and something the hairdresser forgot, the appointment has been put off twice. It’s no wonder my brain has stopped keeping hold of it. We’ll put off the body series start until next week. I need time andย  space to stretch while I compose! We shall do another word prompt. Hello, everyone.spring1

No matter how it’s used, coil means the same as it did originally, from the Latin colligere: to gather together. Coil’s meanings and uses have everything to do with its shape. Associated words are wind, spiral, rings, loops, twist, and circles.

Even Hamlet’s mortal coil has to do with the shape of a coil. In this case, Shakespeare took the word coil to mean wound up in confusion [i.e. life]. Think of times when something in your life has caused your stomach to feel like it’s gathering itself together in one big twist.

I remember, when I was growing up, when we were out on our junk, watching mom coil the anchor line. There was something mesmerising about the action and something beautiful about the flat white coil of rope when she finished. I used to watch my amah put her hair up after washing it. Black hair, waist length, she would comb it free of tangles, divide it into two and twist each side into ropes which she coiled around her head.

Snakes coil. They look much like the anchor line I spoke of, also mesmerising, but perhaps a little more menacing. Without mosquito coils, when we lived in the many mosquito infested places that make up most of my life, there were times I would have thrown myself off a cliff with misery. Think of incense smoke coiling into the air. Fusilli, one of my favourite pasta shapes, gathers together and holds the sauce in its twists. Slinky was one of the first coils I remember. I would sit on the stairs outside our flat and set it off, watching in delight as it gathered itself before sinuously falling to the next stair.

Think about all the coils in your life literal or metaphorical. You can write a straight forward poem describing a coil of some type, or you can play with form and see if you can make the poem seem to coil as you write about a coil, or you can use several of coil’s synonyms in the poem, or something else that strikes you.

I shall see you Thursday if I find the link I want to put up; Friday for the week’s prompts roundup; and next Tuesday for the start of the body series.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 04/02/2014 in exercises, poems, poetry, writing


Tags: , ,

23 responses to “Poem Tryouts: What a Coil

  1. julespaige

    04/02/2014 at 11:43 am

    (Again) Written before your prompt… this haibun is a coil of fragrant dreams and life.

  2. Carol Carlisle

    04/02/2014 at 2:26 pm

    I was able to wrap my head around this one. Maybe I went too far afield. Need to oil my writing hand perhaps?

    • margo roby

      06/02/2014 at 7:32 am

      Let me know if that works. My hand is rusty!

  3. barbara_y

    04/02/2014 at 2:32 pm

  4. Hannah Gosselin

    04/02/2014 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Margo!!

    I’ve had procrastination troubles today…but the coil of life sprung me back and here I am! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hannah Gosselin

      04/02/2014 at 2:45 pm

      I was busy making a new selfie…I figured my “one eye” photo might be getting a little old… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • margo roby

        06/02/2014 at 7:33 am

        Very different and interesting. I am fighting procrastinating by studying it ;-D

    • margo roby

      06/02/2014 at 7:34 am

      Cute. This word does seem to bring out the punsters!


    04/02/2014 at 5:27 pm

    I have two coiled poems for you, both very old – so old that I had to scan them into the computer in order to pose them on my blog:

    • margo roby

      06/02/2014 at 7:48 am

      I hope going back round the coils of your poem life was fun, ViV.


        06/02/2014 at 9:12 am

        It took a while, there are thousands of the little devils! I found some I(‘d forgotten ever writing, so yes, it was fun.

  6. Irene

    04/02/2014 at 8:22 pm

    My coiled poem here

    • margo roby

      06/02/2014 at 7:53 am

      I like where your poem runs. Unusual.

  7. markwindham

    05/02/2014 at 7:07 pm

    something short and sweet. No, really. No one dies or leaves or anything.

    • margo roby

      06/02/2014 at 7:48 am

      Well, I don’t know if that’s allowed.


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: Logo

You are commenting using your 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: