Prompt Five


on her own path

she always had a satchel filled with lavender by her side,
the fireplace roaring and warming her small space; a
wine glass on the side table. she preferred a hardback
to the new-fangled softcovers, one that was sturdy and
would last the ages, as if a metaphor for herself. but

continuing the story from chapter twenty would have
to wait. a ball of wool—cashmere—for her daughter
living up in the big city, rolled from her lap. her knitting
needles never missed a stitch, clacking away the late
afternoon, while a pot-roast sizzled and spit on the stove.

the popcorn stitch, which was what her daughter asked for,
was new to her, but she laboured and worked her fingers
until her knuckles felt raw, to be sure she had it just right.
her daughter was enrolled in university and would be
taking a job soon after graduation. would these needles

then be put away with no promise of little feet to wear
her knitted slippers, or little arms to poke through the
sleeves of sweaters, or patterned blankets to keep the
grandchildren warm? no matter, she thought, standing
and placing the roll of wool on the oak table, where a

fresh sunflower graced a gilded vase. each must take
their own path before the nail seals the coffin, that is
what her mother always told her. a mouse scurried
under the floorboard, a dropped piece of cheddar cheese
in his tiny paws; from her lunch, no doubt, and she knew

he would feast on what he’d found. her daughter would
feast, as well. not just on knowledge, but on the path
she wandered, feeling the firm pavement beneath her
feet. pavement that took her away from home, but on
a path to her future. her destiny. her life.

(I was able to use all ten words from this prompt: Hardback, sunflower, knitting, cheddar cheese, space, wine glass, pavement, nail, oak, satchel)

6 thoughts on “Prompt Five

  1. I love the atmosphere evoked by this poem, especially the first stanza. I love the prompt of a list of words to incorporate and I like to see the variation and connection between poems created by different poets from the same list. Bravo for getting all 10 words in!

    1. Thank you!! I struggled to get them all in and used almost the full hour to write the poem, but I agree that it is amazing to see where these words take each poet and how so many are connected!!

    1. Thank you, Angie! I tried to use a voice and time from the past to also show the daughter having opportunities to leave and do things differently than her mother – not sure if that came through in the piece, but I loved playing with the words and seeing where they took me!

  2. The poem created with these same words felt silly and contrived. This poem has a deliberateness timelessness, it’s an homage to the special relationship between mother and child which last long beyond their time together.

    The thought of those raw knuckles working away to create a labour of love, this image reminded me of my own mother and the way she gave her all to everything she did even if to her own detriment.

    So beautiful. So perfectly written.


    1. Thank you once again, DCS for reading so many of the poems I created during the half-marathon… it warms my heart and encourages me to keep on writing!! I am glad this piece evoked an emotional response as that is what I was hoping for… A writing friend had posted a day or so earlier about how her mom loved lavender and always had some nearby and then with ‘knitting’ as one of the prompt words, I sort of went with it…

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