April is National Poetry Month. Big Tent Poetry has listed seven prompts, for the first seven days of National Poetry Month, for those who wish to write a poem-a-day to commemorate it. I don’t know if I will be able to keep up because some of the prompt look impossible, but in the spirit of the month, I thought I would try. I’m going to take the prompts in order. The first one is: Write about standing on a balcony with someone you’ve read about in the paper.

I started out with quatrains and every other line rhyming, but with no particular meter; however, after the first draft I noticed that by happenstance it was mostly iambic trimeter. With a little tweaking, I got all but the first stanza to comply (well a little bit in the last one too). Fight it as I might, I haven’t been able bend it into iambic trimeter. It will require future adjustment.

by Mike Patrick

Fiery looking clouds

KomondorO // Paco LopeH

A cup of scalding coffee
graced the balcony’s wide rail,
while Satan stood beside me
twitching his red tail.

The balcony’s great height
revealed a splendid view
of lava flows and fires
the damned were running through.

“Just look at all these sinners,”
he said with evil glee.
“And every one of them
now worships only me.”

“All this, someday, is yours,
but focus on your goal.
If you learn my evil ways,
each soul you will control.”

Twas with an awful start
I finally awoke,
to a room full of heat,
the ceiling choked with smoke.

No fire was found within;
the smoke did slowly fade.
I took a long hard look
at errors I had made.

I never want to wake
to that burning sulfur smell,
and find myself with Satan
on a balcony in Hell.

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18 Responses to THE BALCONY OF HELL

  1. pamela says:

    I don’t want to be there either, Mike. A dark write on the balcony scene and an excellent start to the April madness.


  2. This made me sweat a little, good thing I don’t believe in Satan! Good write Mike! Happy April!

  3. Brenda says:

    Ha! I love it. The meter works, your rhymes aren’t forced, and the images are strong. I’m with you, best not to barter with the devil, as he’d demand his do. 🙂 It will be a fun month, I’ll look forward to reading your words as you work your way through the prompts. ~Brenda

  4. Becca Givens says:

    Great job, Mike. Your imagery brought me to the balcony with you … and I totally agree with the last stanza. Bravo ~becca

  5. vivinfrance says:

    Brilliant, and I can’t fault the rhythm! You’ll not be going down there, I reckon.

    BTW you don’t have to use all the Bigtent prompts – Poetic Asides are doing them: and also the Napowrimo site itself. : Have you registered your blog on the Napowrimo site?
    At lease with a good choice of prompts we stand a chance of finding one that inspires.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thanks, Viv.

      I thought I would go through the Big Tent prompts in order just because some of them strike me as impossible, and I want to see if I can come up with something. It seemed to take forever to come up with someone on the balcony. Didn’t know Poetic Asides was doing them too.

      Until today I had never heard of Napowrimo. Checking it out.

  6. Laurie Kolp says:

    Mike~ I LOVE this… the rhyme, rhythm, meaning… a dance with the devil is no fun.

  7. RJ Clarken says:

    (Claps hands!) A [pointy] tale well told! ☼

  8. thingy says:

    Wow. Scorching!

  9. Tilly Bud says:

    Good story; scary.

  10. Well told. I like the idea, the form, the rhymes you’ve chosen. It gets smoother and more intense as you go along, and ends with a bang.

    1 thing to consider: “choked with smoke.” I found this line somewhat awkward to read. Is there a word you could use instead of choked? The word adds imagery, but does not feel right in that spot.

    Otherwise, excellent writing! I love it.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thanks, Blues. “Choked” was the only thing I could come up with having the single syllable I needed to maintain the iambic trimeter. I’ve worried around it a bit, but so far have not been able to come up with anything better–and that’s aggravation because there must be a thousand words out there which will work.

  11. Sizzling, Mike. I think you’re very close to getting the meter perfect. There are so many prompts out there–I think I’ll skip around till I find one I like and just aim for a poem a day.

  12. versebender says:

    Great job with the rhyme and meter. Nice , well constructed piece with a life changing moral. Vb

  13. 1sojournal says:

    This is a h*** of a beginning Mike. Wish you success with your adventure,


  14. Cathy says:

    Great poem but sometimes it does pay to be in the league with the Devil 😉

  15. earlybird says:

    great image of sharing the balcony with Satan ‘twitching his red tail’. Well done, Mike.

  16. wayne says:

    I like it Mike…thanks for sharing your words

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