Bottled & Canned: A Keeping Poetry Prompt

Blue bottles, wine bottles, old-tiny-clear-glass bottles. Sometimes we find them in the woods as children, and we sneak them into our forts or our treasure boxes. Sometimes as adults we put them along a windowsill. Have you ever found a bottle worth keeping? Have you ever collected a whole colorful line?

Poetry Prompt

Choose a bottle (or a whole collection) real or imagined. Sneak it into a secret keeping place or put it in a place of honor. What does the bottle look like, feel like? Why have you saved it? Is there something of you in the bottle’s existence? Put it (or the collection) in a poem, so we can understand the keeping.

Thanks to our participants in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a poem we enjoyed from Maureen Doallas…

Can-ditioned

Nobody goes to the dogs
to ask them what they want

to eat. We throw them
a bone to make them dance

for the crisp, pebbled rounds
of crunchies they crave.

Front paws prodding air,
they never mistake the sigh

that’s let go with the pop
of the top of a can at three,

the opener done teething
its way through aluminum

to expose that solid core
of potato and duck and water

sufficient for processing.
Pavlov got their connection

between having and want,
simple need the greater hunger

measured by an extra spoonful.

—Maureen Doallas

Photo by Paul Schadler Creative Commons, via Flickr.

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Comments

  1. Richard Maxson says

    Penance for Chains and Jars

    The slow pulse of the black-water ballet,
    in the deep country of the fireflies:

    In yellow memory, in chains,
    those petals cupped from the dark lawn,

    became the dancers, we believed,
    born like magic, from a milky stem:

    They fell with the veil of night, laden
    with the bright of sun, and we would wait
    for what was done in the dale of evening,
    in the pale of the moonlit grass. They died,
    if patience failed to hold us for their flights,
    such fragile dolia of blossoms gone to light,
    we galled them with a child’s haste,
    watched their constellations slide
    down blades and on our skin
    with the scent of dandelion.

    In this world of blind intent,
    keep the secrets of your child:

    wild flowers can redeem us—
    wishes gray make wishes green—

    fire hides in the quiet air—

    the choired whispers of the seas
    are born in the twists of shells—

    and this cool water, with its stars,
    sparkles briefly in our eyes.

  2. says

    Found

    what survives a move?
    something I never thought I cared much about.
    years later, while rummaging through boxes,
    “so sure I still had that thing”,
    instead, there IT was.
    that fragile, 7UP bottle,
    as distorted as life turned out to be… like me…
    survived moves of boxes and crates,
    in my mind, in reality,
    across cities,
    across countries.

    Lost

    gems and sparkling goods that make life more beautiful
    maybe even easier…but
    … far less charming

    Reminders

    digging into the past
    may require a heavy shovel.

    Thanks for the prompts. They are great for inspiring to work!

  3. says

    Un-Buried Treasure

    Found-
    what survives a move?
    something I never thought I cared much about.
    years later, while rummaging through boxes,
    “so sure I still had that thing”,
    instead, there IT was.
    that fragile, 7UP bottle,
    as distorted as life turned out to be… like me…
    survived moves of boxes and crates,
    in my mind, in reality,
    across cities,
    across countries.

    Lost-
    gems and sparkling goods that make life more beautiful
    maybe even easier…but
    … far less charming

    Reminders-
    digging into the past
    may require a heavy shovel.

    Thank you for these prompts. It’s great to write for them!

    • L. L. Barkat says

      i love that opening question… What survives a move? And the surprise that something as fragile as a bottle (probably not packed up properly) would be it.

  4. says

    i can see them
    through the window
    all lined-up and cold
    bottle caps
    there’s grape
    but no
    i see orange
    ahhhhh
    yes!
    stick the money in the slot
    open the door
    and pull that bottle out
    stick the cap in the opener
    and push that bottle down
    pssssssst
    oh that orange flavor
    that sugar water fizz
    nothing is better
    to a ten year old
    after nine holes

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