Poetry Tow Truck, http://djvorreyer.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/poetry-tow-truck-30-mix-and-match/, had a tough challenge for us this week. They wanted us to 1) compile a list of clichés 2) scramble them and 3) make a poem out of the scrambled clichés.

The first part wasn’t too difficult. This the list I came up with.

Straight as an arrow.
Slippery as an eel.
Delicate as a flower.
Hard as a rock.
Lovely as a sunset.
Gentle as the rain.
Sweet as candy.
Green as a gourd.
Crazy as a loon.
Tougher than a boot.
Tall as a tree.

This is my scrambled list, along with the direction I thought I might be able to use in a poem.

Straight as the rain from a quiet sky.
Slippery as candy, when lying in the street.
Delicate as a gourd’s design when carved by God’s hand.
Hard as an eel to catch within the foaming sea.
Lovely as a rock, rolled smooth along the stream.
Gentle as a loon’s soft call when crying for it’s mate
Sweet as an arrow’s flight, when last it cuts its mark.
Green as a boot, when first sent to war.
Crazy as a flower in its attraction to the bee.
Tougher than a tree that survives the forest fire.
Tall as a sunset’s clouds, turning red to blue.

Then, all I needed was a theme that would hold them together in an understandable form. I came up with a theme, but the scrambled clichés were so diverse the poem turned out pretty weak. I didn’t use all my scrambled clichés, I couldn’t, because this was hard.

by Mike Patrick

One need not look so very far
to find exemplars of God’s hand.
As straight as rain falls from the clouds
onto a quiet thirsty land.

As lovely as a rock that’s rolled
and polished by a chuckling stream,
or crazy as a flower’s pull,
to the bee’s unwavering dream.

What’s tougher than a tree which stands
throughout a forest fire, or gentle as
a loon’s soft call between the dark
and dawn, echoing what God has asked.

What is as tall as a sunset’s clouds,
while changing red to midnight blue.
or sweet as any arrow’s flight
when it strikes its mark so true.

These are the sorts of precious things
we see upon an average day:
small gifts from God we have at hand,
which show the beauty of his way.

This entry was posted in Iambic, Poetry, Poetry Tow Truck, Rhyming, Tetrameter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I am so perverse: while I can admire your rhyming poem for the cleverness which produced it, my love is for your scrambled list: Now that’s what I call one beautiful poem. There are more ways of skinning a cat…(sorry about the cliché)

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thank you, Viv. I wrote my original clichés, then began scrambling them beneath the original list. As I wrote each one scrambled, I tried to think of any way I could turn them into a coherent sentence. As something came to mind, I added it on the end of the cliché. When I started cutting and pasting into the post, I almost erased those additions, but it was too much trouble, so I pasted the whole thing. I certainly never considerd them a poem.

  2. siggiofmaine says:

    Good write with difficult prompt.
    You encourage me to try, again…
    this one a bit harder
    than the last.
    ☮ Siggi in Downeast Maine

  3. I am impressed that you tried to use all of them – I was focusing on creating one small stanza!

  4. margo roby says:

    I was trying to figure out what you didn’t like, aside from the lines that don’t scan, because the new phrases fit seamlessly, and then it occurred to me that’s the problem. The new phrases fit too seamlessly don’t they? They don’t stand out as wonderful new similes. How funny to do the exercise and then have the new phrases work too well.


    • Mike Patrick says:

      The problem is, they don’t scan. They don’t make a coherent poem. It’s like fixing a dirty window by nailing boards over it. It’s just not right.

      • margo roby says:

        Yeh, I figured that was driving you nuts. For you, take your saved version of the poem, don’t worry about the wordle words, and fix the metre. At some level, you will be happier.


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