Tag Archives: Paul Simon

Fireflies Under African Skies


Thanks to Elizabeth and Musical Notes for the choice of songs and to Fireflies by Owl City and Under African Skies by Paul Simon for the inspiration.

I stayed, as you will see, close to the titles. There are three different versions. I had to stop myself from continuing, as I was becoming quite engaged in seeing how many of these I can write in 15 words, or under.

She walks her days under African
skies; her nights are lit by fireflies.

At night — with fireflies,
under the African skies —
all worries dissolve.

Under the African skies
on a night lit by fireflies,
I see stars everywhere.

Go on over and visit, if you haven’t yet. See what others are doing. Try it yourself. The beauty of this prompt is meeting new songs, none of it takes that much time, and it’s fun.



Posted by on 20/09/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


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It’s the Truth: Tuesday Tryouts

8:13 a.m. — Atlanta

Hullo! I almost didn’t get here. Got distracted by Elizabeth’s song choices for this week’s Musical Notes challenge. She has ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City and ‘Under African Skies’ by Paul Simon. I love the pairing. I am now listening to ‘Johnny Cope’ by The Corries.

To communicate truths, which is what poetry does, we need to be able to tap into our memories. This seems a given, but what if you want to convey something where the speaker needs to feel an emotion foreign to you, say anger? As adults we learn to repress, or find outlets for, strong emotions. Children have no sort of clamp until their parents and societal expectations put paid to abandoned expression.

I want you to find those moments of abandoned expression, of feeling something to the core, whether it be an emotion, an image, an event, or a place. What is your most powerful memory in each of these four categories, a memory that will never abandon you? Write each memory down and jot as many sensory details as you can. If you need to, make them up [the details, not the memories]. I know, ironic, when we are talking truths.

Your options are several fold. You should have at least four memories, unless some of the categories dovetail. You may, if you are like me, have more than four, [I list while I think]. You can choose one and recreate the moment. If the moment itself conveys a truth, let’s see if you can show us through the retelling, even if you have to tweak the memory to make it work for the poem.

You can take one of the memories and use it to convey a truth about something today. Here, you won’t recount the memory, but will use elements of it to feed your poem. If you want, include process notes with this, letting us know how you took the elements of the memory and used them for something else.

You might notice a thread among the memories and decide to write something that links the four [or two, or three].

You may wish to write four short, separate poems [or two, or three].

Remember that this is about using the memories, not the memories themselves. Play, write, post. Don’t worry if it’s messy. That’s what this is for. I look forward to reading what comes in.

I shall see you Thursday for a couple of links and a discussion opener; Friday for this week’s roundup; and next Tuesday for a prompt on your inner child.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 18/09/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


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