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Bottled & Canned: A Secret Poetry Prompt


Clear Glass Bottle Poetry

Bottles and cans are for preservation and transport. We move iced tea from Colorado to New York in bottles. We can our tuna and ship it off to store shelves. For the most part, we know what our labeled bottles and cans contain; the contents hold no secrets.

Poetry Prompt

Think of a secret you want or need to preserve. Maybe you would like to ship it to another universe. Or to the other side of the world. Put it in a bottle or can. Will it go in easily? How will you do the job? This is poetry. We don’t need to know the actual secret. Give it a shape, liquid or solid. Give it a color, a taste, a fragrance, a sound. Your poem will hold whatever you need it to hold.

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

The Find

What is in there?
The voice of the small girl
was hushed.
The old tin can found,
while digging for fishing worms.
Marked with edges of rust.
A few small holes
poked into one end.
Appearing to have never been opened.
The label lost to decay.
The boy held it in his hand.
It felt light as if empty.
Heavy with resolution,
he dropped the can to the ground
and kicked it all the way home.


Call for Tattoo Photos for September Poetry Prompts

Do you have a tattoo? Are you willing to photograph it and share the photo with us, for possible use for our September poetry prompts? (Our September theme is going to be… tattoos.) If so, please share via Twitter or Pinterest and give us an @tspoetry or @EDaypoems, so we can find the share.)

Photo by jafsegal Creative Commons, via Flickr.


Sometimes we feature your poems in Every Day Poems, with your permission of course. Thanks for writing with us!

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Your Comments

13 Comments so far

  1. Lovely to read “The Find” again!

  2. Code-write it in a cryptogram
    with disappearing ink. Roll
    the parchment in a tight, tight scroll
    then tie it with string in a knot as good as
    a Gordian.
    Stuff it in a bottle’s narrow neck
    (and it has to be the dark amber glass
    you can’t see through)
    then transport it by boat far, far out
    to unknown coordinates where ocean depth
    is greatest
    and fling it out to the sea where
    it will sink so deep
    the pressure will surely
    be too much for any diver.
    Above all, make sure the cork is fitted

  3. I’m inspired to give it a try…thanks…

  4. Richard Maxson says:


    The girl with the sleeves moves
    near you in the chandelier light.
    Clouds caught in an unseen mistral
    begird the tilting moon, as she fills
    the water glasses at your table.

    At her touch, flames arc out from stars
    and hearts of darkest garnet, like wells
    of ink that spill her stories in blood that flows
    beneath the silk tempestuous skin,
    into to the blue cruets of her finger tips.

    A dragon emerges in terrible splendor
    out of the rocky hillside, then disappears
    behind a wing of brindled Swallowtail.
    The girl speaks, rising from a Hokusai,
    a hidden sea beneath her neckline.

    This world grounded in the skin draws you
    in. The delirium of your wine says to dive
    into her ocean, profane and sublime,
    but the Maître d’ imposes in his tuxedo
    and asks if you found the meal to your liking.

    You imagine later how the girl would sleep,
    her dreams coiling themselves around
    each limb, arriving at last on the precipice
    of her breasts, where slumber must be deepest,
    in the calm of her still immaculate flesh.

  5. davis says:

    a fine spring
    warm and dry
    time and care
    hearts and tears
    flow into a bottle
    for the future
    to share
    to celebrate
    to drink


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