Prose poetry is usually considered a form of poetry written in prose that breaks some of the normal rules associated with prose discourse, for heightened imagery or emotional effect, among other purposes. Arguments continue about whether prose poetry is actually a form of poetry or a form of prose (or a separate genre altogether). Like poetry (intense, sculpted) but without line breaks



When a mother’s phone insistently wakes her from sound sleep, her ears may hear a ring, but her heart hears urgency.  It catches in her throat, and she must swallow it before raising the receiver to greet the caller in as calm a voice as she can muster.  She knows before the completion of the one-syllable “Mom” just how critical the situation.  If the call is particularly unsettling, her legs, arms, and core begin to quiver.  Her body temperature noticeably lowers.  As her heart listens, it raises its voice to the heavens, pleading with its Maker for intervention. For healing.  For peace.  For strength. For grace for the moment, and wisdom for the journey.  But mostly for the journey to end with this call.



The season is slipping away, and I play upon the golden sand a time more. I have stopped keeping score as to how many summers I have squandered (relished) in this lifetime: as the obedient son in my youth; the pubescent ball of raging hormones in my young adulthood. I have been the coalescing boyfriend, fiancee, husband and father – guessing that this place will never grow old. It just starts to get cold as the winds change and the sun retreats, a feat it repeats in an annual dance. The Capistrano swallows know its plight, and it just feels right. The waters leave and roll, extolling in splashes as it lashes the shore and hides once more the mysteries it holds in the stirrings of tides.


  1. Oh, we are a bit of an early-Wednesday week.
    For sure Marie I can Identify with what you have written – as will many parents. So true.
    Yes, Walt, time marches on – but (for joy) once a father – always a father. 🙂

  2. It is ‘early’ but I will go ahead and post what I was working on this afternoon. Poetic Prose no less! Comes from spending a week on the water off the Alaskian and Cananian (BC) coast.

    Moving towards the day’s ending, riding the ocean waves, we watch in peace as sunbeams play like rainbow jewels across the watery spray. The ship’s wake spreads endlessly while dolphins play, a lone whale humps and a school of fish jumps beguiling fisherman to return another day. On a distant rocky point a lone beacon’s steady flash sends boaters warnings of hidden enemies lurking to trap the un-wary. With the sun’s fiery descent the moon rises to bathe the world in day’s afterglow and a gentle breeze surprises thoughts of soft love seeds sown in distant lands.

  3. Meg… Painful… I can feel it…

    I Love Prose poetry… for its slight freedom… 🙂 !

  4. “A Good Life” **

    Pedaling thru the small, sweet community, I can Feel just how precious our human connections can be: A Mom, sitting on a blanket with her baby toddling nearby—–a Dad running with his children, before he has to pack and leave them once again—–a pet dog romping around the backyard with the kids—–a kitten holding on in the window—–The sights, sounds, and aromas of dinner preparation…..Good people returning Home from their day…..

    **(A very warm Thank You to Michael Tomlinson for this Beautiful song off his “Live in the Pacific Northwest” CD)!

  5. Gosh, I just wrote a prose poem for the foodie prompt yesterday at and I’m not sure I have the umph to do it again. For now I’ll just offer up what I wrote yesterday. 🙂 for anyone not wanting to go to my blog, here it is.


    There’s a dead squirrel in the gutter, a tad distracting from the task – I’m trying to recall favourite childhood foods, and now there’s two crows hip-hopping about doing a feasty-dance while they pull maggots from what remains, HA! – what remains! – which reminds me of the first time I was served canned spaghetti as a child. I discovered the meaning of the verb ‘to gag’, and what the heck is that crow doing to that squirrel’s tail? So, I shovelled the canned spaghetti into my little dress pocket, trying to hide it, but my sister started screaming her head off thinking I was bleeding to death as the sauce soaked through. And now that crow is ratcheting the squirrel’s tail round and round, and it’s wrapped all furry-stole like right around its black, feathery neck. Sort of reminds me of a skid-row stripper. Rather fetching if I say so myself, and I doubt the crow will hear grief from the animal rights crowd for wearing fur either. So my mother comes running into the kitchen to see why my sister is screaming like a scared rabbit, and she’s bellowing “Blood, blood!”. And, oh boy oh boy, did I ever catch it for ruining my little dress with canned spaghetti shovelled into its pockets. Mother came at me all fierce and fiery looking, and I took off running for cover, leaking spaghetti all over the floor. And what the heck, that crow is trying to fly off with the furry tail hanging around its neck, but it’s still connected to the squirrel’s arse. I reckon I’ll be watching a flying squirrel soon … which reminds me of when my grandmother scrapped a pheasant off the road that the car in front us hit, and left it flapping about on the pavement like a beached fish. We ate pheasant a few days later.

  6. Love and the Wonder Thereof

    Oh, gentle, purposed blindness, defying the laws of nature, who can completely know you? You, of un-tallied kindnesses demand nothing in return. Unburdened, you are by the cumbersome weight of grudges or by the binding law of duty, but spilling in glorious profusion upon humble vestures of dust; creatures of lust taught by heavenly tenure of things pure and above earthly reason, committing, not random acts of sacrifice, but Being Sacrifice. This is love’s sole language returning ten-thousand-fold its recompense of reward, not for the applause of men but in worship to the Lord.

    • sigh…I really wish I knew what ‘honing’ and ‘sculpting’ is…seriously Walt. In some of these areas I feel like a fish on dry land. I just spill it like I feel it and I wish I knew where to take it from there.

        • Spot on, Hen. Janet, most of us would give our write muse (ahem) to feel what you just expressed. When flows perfectly from pen to page, who needs honing and sculpting? For the rest of us, well …

          I took Walt’s superb idea and used my prose poetry above, hopefully improved on it, and added the haiku. I didn’t change much, but I did change it. See if you can find my changes, if you’re so inclined. Here it is:


          When a mother’s phone insistently wakes her from sound sleep, her ears may hear a ring, but her heart hears urgency. It catches in her throat, as she raises the receiver to greet the caller in as calm a voice as she can muster. She knows before the completion of the one-syllable “Mom” just how critical the situation. If the call is particularly unsettling, her legs, arms, and core quiver. Her body temperature noticeably lowers. As her heart listens, it raises its voice to the heavens, pleading for intervention. For healing. For peace. For strength. For grace for the moment, and wisdom for the journey. But mostly for the journey to end with the swallowing of her heart.

          tranquil dreams
          a ring breaches
          she swallows her heart

          Marie Elena

          • LOVE the changes…You ‘sculpted’ write/right?:) Chiseled away a few words to tighten the image. Gorgeous. You guys are very kind and I missed all the learning and friendship here, but man! Three teen-agers are draining, exhausting me…Marie, that is why your poem resonates with me so well. Also really like the haiku. I need to take another look here tomorrow.
            Night-night y’all:)

        • Hen and Marie, you are kind and encouraging and it is words like this that help to make uncertainties brave. All over this Garden you beam courage to trembling sprouts. Thank-you.

  7. Marie Elena–outstanding insight. Spot on! Walt–we’re on the same wavelength.

    “Old time”

    Five hours ago we were chasing rainbows in the cold sun, where rain and our bare feet slapped against the sidewalk. In her mind she keeps all the treasures she misses— not a birthday, not a rag doll, but her mommy and her doggies. She has lined the couch cushions with pretend puppies—what’s real is fake to her, what’s dead lives, where the rain ends she explores the map in her mind, where dreams are caged in the
    wrinkleless years of Pond’s cold cream and mirrors, this is where she lives, remembering when mirrors were a pleasure vane and I was the one mimicking her every move. At midnight she changes out of her pajamas for a walk to the park in search of dogs that died twenty years ago. There are no dogs. There are no rainbows. There is only time, the same time, same old time with nothing in between.

    • Jlynn, this draws the reader in from beginning to end, tugging at the heart-strings. The ending is so sad and tender. So many great lines here…LOVE this esp. ‘where the rain ends she explores the map in her mind, where dreams are caged in the
      wrinkleless years of Pond’s cold cream and mirrors, this is where she lives, remembering when mirrors were a pleasure vane and I was the one mimicking her every move. ‘

    • OM Goodness… yes… every line is beautifully sad… I loved: “…we were chasing rainbows in the cold sun, where rain and our bare feet slapped against the sidewalk…”

  8. Mom sits at table with spoon paused, midair, over bowl. It is late; she has eaten nothing. She will need help to stand. Such a fragile doily; so sedate. When attendant approaches, she looks up.
    She pleads: “Are you my daughter… Jackie is that you”?
    “No, not now, dear heart, why don’t we take a stroll?”
    Confusion in her eyes but she still remembers she has a daughter. She waits at the table, her spoon over her soup. She waits and waits for someone to come who will help her put all the fragments of her life back together again. Confused, she waits and through her fog makes
    apologies to those near enough to hear. “I’m sorry. Jackie must have lost her shoes! She’s such a naughty girl!” Mom is referring to shoes that I threw out of the back seat of a moving car when I was two
    years old. “Now she will be late… her soup is getting cold, isn’t it?”

    (I do not know if this would be considered poetic prose or not…)

    • Beginning with Marie Elena’s and Walt’s, these are all wonderful, touching, insightful – some humorous (like Misky’s) but really just fine vignettes; prose poems and lovely reading to go to sleep on … I’ll try one on true Wednesday when I’m rested tomorrow – maybe combine it with Robert’s prompt since I think it may work well. Thanks everyone … it’s been a slice.

    • Call it what you may… It is Gorgeously sweet, and touchingly sad, and I must tell you that I burst out laughing when I read the tender part about your shoes… ” Ahh… I just can’t tell you, with words, how that deeply touched me… Thank you, Jacqueline!

    • Jacqueline, This made me tear up and smile at the same time. My daughter works in a home for the aged, some weeks she is in the Alzheimer’s wing and this is such an echo of her stories…

    • Jacqueline–seems we’re on a similar journey with our moms. I have begun a series on my blog with dementia/Alzheimer’s poems. I love how you compare yours to a fragile doily.

  9. Creation Myth

    Christina Danielle, to save her mother from future woe, unpacked and conserved alongside her mother’s packing and giving away. Leaving forever the house that knew the daughter and sons, foundation of stone to terra cotta roof cap; that knew the husband to fret him in his dying; the mountain house and its troll of acreage–for a neat urban flat. Donating everything minus a minim and growing a new slender self, was the act of a mother in widowhood shock, and Christina knew Mother, when senses returned would rue having thrown away handprints and holiday tablecloths.

    What’s this? she asked her mother, removing from “send-to-Goodwill” a clumsy-made boot-box-size rattling chest, painted all over with hearts and skulls. What’s this? she asked, what’s this? Her mother pretended ignorance, saying only: trash.  And by that Christina Danielle knew the thing must be saved, its rattle of yesterday savored, its mysteries prised out and prized. 

    What is it? Who made it? And why? and what was the rattle inside?

  10. Sometimes, Peace

    She sits in guilty pleasure, cigarette in hand, soaking up surrounding serenity. In her year of caldrons bubbling with troubled stews of illnesses, anxieties, and deaths,
    she ran on forced fuel. Now she is on empty, tears dried, mind unclouded, and speech slowing down to her usual rhythm, instead of espresso express.

    She blows out a stream of smoke, places the cigarette on the ashtray’s lip,
    and breathes. The yard is forest green, it’s center light wood decking. A candle flickers in a hurricane holder, and an aged dog lays at her feet sighing contentment. A new chapter begins.

  11. It’s All a Bunch Of Hooey

    So, her mother called me late last night, says she’s back in the nuthouse – not the old lady, my kid – this must be what – the tenth or eleventh time? I don’t know, who keeps track, not me, that’s for sure. Don’t know why Lois thinks I want to know, I think she does it just to annoy me, not the kid, although that’s always a possibility. I’ve often thought she did that crazy act just to break her mother and me up but that’s not what I meant. No, I think Lois likes ringing me up in the middle of the damn night just to scare the hell out of me – you know what it’s like, you hear your phone ringing in the dark, you figure somebody’s croaked for sure – I should be used to it by now; the kid never pulls one of her stunts at a normal hour, no, no, – that’d be too easy. What am I sayin’ is, that kid never made anybody’s life easy except hers…Every time things weren’t going her way she’d just shut down, climb into bed, and stay there, wouldn’t get up for anything and if we tried to make her – well shit, she tried to off herself… Not really – at least I don’t think she meant it ‘cause one of us always found her in time and got her to the hospital but it got her a reputation you know? As a sicko, some kind of a nut-case or something. Not for a minute was I buying that load of crap. There was nothing like that in my family – well my mother got a little strange in her later years but hey, she was old alright? That happens to old people lots of them. Didn’t mean she was nuts, right? And look at me – perfectly fine – nothing wrong with my head. And Lois, she has her ways – grant it – but nothing whack-o; nothing you could point at and say, well – that’s insane, no wonder your kid is nuts, it figures. No, there’s no way in hell that kid is really crazy I can tell you that; and now her mother is telling me, they want to commit her indefinitely? I say good, let them. Maybe it’ll teach her a lesson – it’s like that story : the watchamacallit, “boy who called wolf” story? Remember that one? Yeah – like maybe if she’s locked up for a good bit, she won’t be so quick to take too many pills again. Although her mother says it wasn’t an overdose this time, she says this time, she cut herself pretty bad – I stopped listening as soon as she started talking about blood but I did hear her say something about the slashes being vertical and that didn’t sound too good; even I know vertical wrist slashes are harder to stop from bleeding. Hey – I watch ER and stuff – I’m not a complete moron, you know. But sheesh – it’s not like it’s her first time; she knew what she was doing… probably has it worked out to the second how long it takes the emergency guys to get there – be too bad the day she estimates wrong, huh? Or maybe not – she’s sure a pain in the ass with all this drama all the time. She’s driving me nuts, I can tell you that much, and I don’t even live with her.

    Family ties
    DNA blessings
    In the dark a phone rings.

    • OM Goodness… these are words that you simply cannot put down–as painful as they are…! Fantastic writing, Sharon!

  12. Perfectly White

    The cortege emerges from the fog as if by magic, a gleaming white hearse in the lead. Grave-diggers exchange glances – a white hearse? What’s with that? They look away, remember the smallish hole they were instructed to lay open in the soft earth, lean on the back-hoe, try to become invisible. The parade of cars is not very long; three cars counting the hearse, stopped now, the back door opened like a one-winged butterfly. More whiteness. A small, almost tiny, coffin is being slid out and four people surround the wee box – just patting the thing, murmuring, smoothing the pristine top. One, a woman with wild hair, dressed head-to-toe in black, falls to her knees suddenly, embracing the coffin, sobbing. The rest stand back awkwardly; no-one seems to know quite what to do next.

    a small gathering
    a soul unformed
    one perfect rosebud

  13. Implant

    My neighbor’s dog has an invisible fence to keep him home, a collar with a shocking device to keep him from barking at cats and squirrels and any suspicious stranger that could happen by. She’s learned that an implanted chip will help her locate him if he should escape the invisible limitations surrounding him, quietly stalking away from that yard she calls home and he (or well, I) calls hell. Yes, a microchip implanted could help her locate her baby and bring him back to her mute yard. I watch him silently chasing squirrels and digging for chipmunks, a frenzy of nerves and rage, and I’m thinking that human lives are not so much different than his. Back and forth we go, hardly ever straying from the same route, hemmed in by nothing visible–thoughts, fears, hopes. Is there in us a homing chip tracked by our maker all these years, a heavenly blipping blue light tracing our wanderings as we go where we’ve always gone, loyal but eternally lost? Weary of earth’s current shocking us small again, will our divine implant finally guide us home, wordless with wonder, eyeing heaven’s meadows where we can run collarless, panting for our final great escape?

  14. Found this late tonight (Wednesday) and thought I’d throw in a short one while I thought about it. When you read it, do so with a Southern accent. That detail is most important. Enjoy.

    Suffering a Little Accident

    Must I languish here, a victim of mere coincidence, without fellowship or eager visitors? How can one’s simple thoughts compare with conversations that stimulate one’s creative side with ideas bursting forth, tossing possibilities willy-nilly like so many strings of beads at Mardi Gras? Do deep sighs count a commentary?

  15. Mirage*

    A cool, clear mirage in the distance disappears… and it Hurts to continue to see it reflected in my mind’s eye, every moment of every day… and yet to be unable to reach out and Touch it…

    I don’t look up any
    more~~I cannot bear to not
    see your eyes…not there.

    *(Sylvia… thank you for your song; it helps me thru…)

  16. A couple of days went missing this week. An inbox as long as all the arms in France and my guilt swells to an uncomfortable lump as I hold down shift, scroll up and delete the lot. See what I missed? The chance to write a prose poem, free as the wind, no need to count syllables or words or think of rhythm, or even of blues. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

  17. (Life…..I just can’t figure it out! Hmm… maybe I am not supposed to)!

    Hourglass and Weather

    I count each grain of sand as it slips through the hourglass. Outdoors, the thunder rolls… One thousand one… one thousand two… How many grains will fall before the lightening strikes?

    The storm has brought a
    new electrical surge that
    enlivens my air.

  18. Everything has crowded in on me this week, late to this party, as I was late at We Write Poems, where they wanted something about hands. This is what I wrote in excuse, and they said it was a poem:

    My hands have been busy with other things this week – I have finished assembling the top and lining of a double bed quilt, and started hand quilting laurel wreaths in the plain squares. Last weekend I spent hours putting together instructions and photographs of my hands making a crochet bag for my blog. The garden has got away from me rather, and courgettes became marrows became sweet chutney with windfall apples. My head? Yes, a few haiku, but alas no poem for We Write Poems. I shall enjoy reading everyone else’s instead.

  19. Rest

    Through the storm there is a deep, inner calm~~a warm reassurance in this single moment…

    Breathing in…..and out…..
    Slowly…..I Feel you again,
    and it brings a Peace…

  20. I love the story-telling aspect of these prose poems. The debates rages on that prose poetry is not really poetry. But your have all shown the adding the emotions and heart of a poet makes a great deal of difference. Great job all!

    • It was fun… thank you for being open-minded in allowing the Form, and helping us to grow! 🙂 !

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