Ballade paint chip poetry prompt

Linda Kruschke has set a challenge for this week’s paint chip poetry. Unusually she has not yet posted her poem for the prompt, but has promised it for Monday 11 January. Her full post with the paint chip colours is here.

To quote:
There were some interesting choices, including Beat Poetry, but I decided on the Ballade.
The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with are cowboy, polished stone, raw silk, spinach, avalanche, Rocky Mountains, and robin’s egg. I would like you to pick three of the paint chips for your Ballade. Choose the three that you think have the greatest connection to each other.

I learned that the form of a ballade is 3 verses of ababbcbC and an envoi bcbC, where C is a repeated line. After clicking on Linda’s links I consulted a wonderful paperback for further clarification of this form – How to be Well-versed in Poetry Edited by E.O.Parrott. I mentioned it previously on this blog and how I came to buy it on my photo blog.

A Ballade of Hazardous Weather

The avalanche of snow slides down
One of the Rocky Mountains.
Its whiteness mixes with brown,
As with a loud roar it gains
More and more stains.
Logs, rocks or polished stone
Cause terrible pains.
Selfless kindness will be shown.

Buried in snow’s no way to drown.
(Minor complaints like chilblains
Give some skiers a frown.)
Ski sticks akimbo like canes,
Their faint hope wanes.
Will they be able to phone
For helpful snow-chains?
Selfless kindness will be shown.

A rescuer coming from the town
Has brawn as well as brains.
He does not seek renown;
Hollow praises he disdains.
Common sense reigns.
The skiers are flown
To safety and trains.
Selfless kindness will be shown.

Now when it rains
Logs, rocks or polished stone
Can block the storm drains.
Selfless kindness will be shown.


New Year thoughts

I am putting off writing my next book review post until I have gathered my thoughts about how I intend to spend my time in 2021. So I am procrastinating already!

Many bloggers are looking back over the past year and forward to the next. It can be a useful exercise. On the More than Writers blog, to which I have been a regular contributor for a few years, there was a post about #myoneword.

I chose a word for 2016 and another for 2017. Since then I have not picked a word, but have aimed to use my time productively. (Is spending time on social media productive?)

This year I have been wondering about picking a word again. Listen was a contender. It occurs in the Bible hundreds of times, a good example being in Proverbs 1:5

I prefer Focus, which could include attentive listening and an element of mindfulness. I tend to be thinking about other things, when I am doing routine tasks. It is not particularly healthy. Sometimes it leads to not remembering what I have done or not done! I also have a bad habit of reading, writing or doing puzzles while the news is on the radio. I can knit (easy things) or colour pictures from a beautiful book (Images of Joy by Jacqui Grace) and listen at the same time.

In the hall of residence of my student days a small Christian Union group used to begin every meeting by singing the chorus, Turn your eyes upon Jesus. That is one way of focussing.

Looking back at how my life has changed over recent years is easier with my hand-written journal and my blog. Occasionally I notice that someone has viewed a blog post I had completely forgotten about. I read it myself and find that my life has moved on in some way from that point. For example, I used to update my journal every few days, trying to remember what had happened. Now I write about the previous day as part of my quiet time every morning. It is easier to remember from one day to the next. I had intended to make this more of a spiritual practice, but I find it very difficult to write my feelings down.

Perhaps that is something I should focus on. It isn’t that I am unable to do it, as I found out in a journaling workshop led by Tracy Williamson and Marilyn Baker on Zoom in September.

My regular readers will know that words fascinate me. My three words (2016, 2017 and 2021)  have a progression of shared letters – ReST – TRuST; TrUSt – FocUS.

Have you chosen a word to help keep you on track in 2021?

Whether or not, Happy New Year!


Abstract poetry paint chip prompt

Linda Kruschke has devised a new style of prompt for 2021.

For her complete explanation, the colours and her poem, please click the link.

The paint chip words and phrases we have to work with are snow daysafety orangecampfireseedlingravenmud, and shadow.

I would like you to use all seven words and phrases as you abstractly paint with these very fall and winter colors.

Examples that Drury offers the poet are “Soul Says” by Jorie Graham and “The Descent” by William Carlos Williams, as well as the poetry of John Ashbery.

This is not my usual style, but I have had a go:


A seedling idea is no more than a shadow
Glimpsed through the window.
Perhaps it is as clear as mud
Until the penny drops with a thud!
A snow day has contrasts of white,
Safety orange and raven-black night.
A seedling idea is no more than a shadow
Glimpsed through the window
Or a half-remembered song begotten
From remnants of a campfire long forgotten.
On a snow day the awesome contrasts of raven-black,
White and safety orange may knock you (wonder-struck) back.