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Forced Poem

Updated on December 3, 2010


This poem originated as a class exercise in which each person was given 5 slips of paper containing phrases clipped from various unrelated sources. These phrases were to be used in any sequence, and be unchanged (except perhaps for tense), and in their entirety, to construct a poem. Other words could be added around the original source phrases, but could not separate a phrase. The original phrases are underlined. (As I have done here, it was allowed to use one of the bits as a title.)

During Our Lifetime and Beyond

                      Let me have bent my shoulders

                                     to the music that is life;

Not to be one of those--

                       one of the most short-sighted ones

                              Who sense no time;

                                                            have no sense,

Who cannot see

             the urgent need to cut sharply back

                              On the ammunition in the yellow eye of a gun

                                               That threatens to reduce the world

                                                                                              to powder.

But rather, let me have been

                             one of those who played a role

                                             So that the leaders

                                               were helped to find a suitable come back with words,

                                                                                                                not fire.

© C.E. Carl 5-87

© C.E. (Carl) Elias 5-10


Submit a Comment

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks, Sunshine! Glad you enjoyed it! ;-)

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Very clever and creative!! :)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, jhamann,

    Thanks very much! I'm glad you so enjoyed this poem. Thanks for the share!!

  • jhamann profile image

    Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

    What a great poem you have created with a wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing this. Jamie

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ Susan--Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed it. It was a challenge.

    @ AudreyHowwitt--Thank you; I am happy you liked this poem, though I'm more of a free spirit, and not so fond of such "prescribed circumstances." ;-)

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

    Love this--and I love when the circumstances are so prescribed --really well done!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Wow! This is great! Thanks for letting me know about this too!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thank you, habee!

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

    Powerful poem! I love the "yellow eye of a gun"!