We make promises. It’s how we assure others of our trustworthiness, and keeping promises helps cement our character. Maybe the promises guide us, too, as we put our intentions on the table in a clear way.
Promises almost seem a distinct part of our language. Something separate from other types of speech. Stating a promise has a different effect than stating what we think. By saying something as simple as “I will, ” we make a commitment to it and set forth a course of action; whereas simply stating what we think feels more subject to change.
Each and every promise we make has the potential to grow and deepen relationships, or undermine and destroy them. And while we intend to keep our promises when we make them, life tends to have its say in the matter as well. A promise, in the end, is more complex than meets the eye.
Try It: An Oath, A Vow, A Promise
What is the most important promise you’ve made? Who did you make the promise to? What did it mean to you to make such an important promise? Consider the emotions and atmosphere, and write a poem that reflects the moment.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Andrew we enjoyed:
The floor was thick with autumn’s tears
That covered all the ground
But she was there, and I was young
So I went all unheeding of the sound;
All I remember is a vase, pink as summer
Glowing in the windowsill, and a smile
That shone though age had creased
All that surrounded it.
She was my mother’s mother, and I
Loved her so very much.
We worked together in the yard
To sweep away each bitter shard
Autumn had left to taunt us with.
We talked of many things, I’m sure
That older people must endure
When talking to a child,
But though the day grew dimmer
Her patience did not, and at the last
We’d filled the barrow.
Glowing with happiness, I left her place
And pink, pink vase
A smile across my face.
Because I’d helped her, and she had so very,
Very obviously loved me.
—by Andrew H.
Photo by glasseyes view. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland