Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Design

Stourhead in Wiltshire, England, designed by Henry Hoare (1705–1785)

“design is so important because chaos is so hard” Jules Feiffer

“The evil plan is most harmful to the planner” ― Homer

Midweek Motif ~ Design

Following up Sumana's color motif from last week, let's tackle design.  

I design midweek motif prompts as collages to stimulate a diversity of responses. Besides writing poetry, I love designing window displays and conferences, websites and embroidery patterns. And I love reading between the lines to discover the intent of another's design.

What do you do by design?

Your Challenge:  Please write a brand new poem about design or about how a specific design succeeds or fails.


I pour a coating of salt on the table
and make a circle in it with my finger.
This is the cycle of life
I say to no one.
This is the wheel of fortune,
the Arctic Circle.
This is the ring of Kerry
and the white rose of Tralee
I say to the ghosts of my family,
the dead fathers,
the aunt who drowned,
my unborn brothers and sisters,
my unborn children.
This is the sun with its glittering spokes
and the bitter moon.
This is the absolute circle of geometry
I say to the crack in the wall,
to the birds who cross the window.
This is the wheel I just invented
to roll through the rest of my life
I say
touching my finger to my tongue.

Billy Collins, “Design” from The Art of Drowning. 

Eve's Design

Then there's the Yemeni legend   
of Eve in the Garden knitting   
a pattern on the serpent's back,   
the snake unfinished like the rest   
of creation, the first woman   
thinking to add design, a sheath   
of interlocking diamonds and stripes   
along that sensuous S,   
knitting giving her time to learn   
what's infinitely possible   
with a few stitches, twisting cables,   
hers a plan to mirror the divine   
inner layer that can't be shed   
no matter what it rubs up against.
Source: Poetry (June 2001).



I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth--
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What brought the kindred spider to that height,
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
If design govern in a thing so small.
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?

From The Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem.

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below, 
and please visit others in the spirit of the Poets United community.
(Susan's next Midweek Motif ~Joy~ will appear on the first Wednesday in 2016.)
We'll see you in Sunday's Poetry Pantry in a few days.  
Happy Holidays, Poets United!


  1. Thank you for the last promot of 2015 and for all the prompts this year - beautiful picture...sorry we did not leave this year with too much brightness - I think we even have chairs designed...maybe 2016 will be more joyful - for all

    1. By which we mean chaos designed - although some fancy chairs would be most welcome to brighten the home!

    2. You are welcome, Jae Rose. I look forward to your poem each week. Sometimes I believe that Chaos is the design, but I am not sure whether we are meant to be participants or audience stuck in our seats! May 2016 be, as you say, more joyful for all. Enjoy the silence and song of the holidays, Jae Rose, letting love and writing carry you through.

    3. Thank you Susan - and a brighter 2016 for you also

  2. Thanks to each of you for the inspiration and support this year. Community is even more essential when the world goes mad.
    Greetings of the season to each of you!

  3. Thanks for the prompt and all the prompts. We have had a most creative year and it was by design...
    Compliments of the Festive Season to all.

    1. Thank you, Nicholas--thank you for being creative with Poets United and for the great comments you leave on our poems! Enjoy the festivities and the turning of the year.

  4. Hey everyone,

    Just home from work, gosh can't believe Midweek motif isn't until the 1st Wednesday in 2016! Sharing my poem "Designed to love" hope you guys like it.

    I m so used to writing every week for Midweek Motif.. will miss everyone! Happy Holidays :D

    Lots of love,

    1. Happy holidays to you as well, Sanaa. I'm looking forward to sharing poetry with you in the New Year.

    2. Happy Holidays Susan :D I m excited about that too!!

  5. I'm rushing out to the dentist with my mind buzzing from this morning's reading. You amaze me always and forever, Poets United, reaching to new depths every week. I'll be back!

  6. another interesting prompt today Susan...

    1. I just had to add design to color, Sumana! May health and love accompany you throughout the turning of the year.

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

    1. And to you. Enjoy the Light and promise of this time of year.

  8. Good prompt Susan. I had fun writing to it.

  9. So, it's the last prompt of 2015. Thanks for the prompt, Susan.
    One of the best things that happened in my life in 2015 is Poets United. So happy to meet all of you this year :)
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays :)

    1. Why thank you, Purba! I feel that, too. It's been a year--or is it 2?--since I became part of the team here, so this is an anniversary of sorts. I am grateful for you and every poet who takes part.

  10. Wonderful prompt, Susan. I thought of joining this time before we all take a break for the Christmas and New Year vacation. Merry Christmas! Happy holidays, everyone!
    My little grandy is a darling night owl,... still switching her days and nights!The sleep-deprived parents along with grandma are bravely fighting against her internal clocks... I sleep during the day, so I hardly get time to read n write. I am unable to respond to FB messages also due to time constraints. Last time, I could not read all the poems here. My sincere apologies...
    As her sleep-pattern has marginally improved since last two nights, I decided to write a quick haiku and link it here. I Look forward to reading your poems this time. Shall come back tomorrow. G'nite!

    1. I've missed you, Panchali! Remember that and come back again when Grandy allows.

  11. Interesting motif...we are all designers of our lives...great poems, Susan, thanks! I feel like writing more in the future about design...for now - the circular poem; I find this form/design a very inspiring, creative and productive.... ~ hurry to my students....much of reading - tomorrow... best holidays to all!

    1. A circular poem is also a design. You aced this! Happy holiday and break from teaching.

  12. This was thought-provoking and I love the Collins poem...thank you, Susan!

    1. Apologies for the delay writers...I will be back to read in daylight hours tomorrow. Thank you!

  13. Well, I have mine written. Somehow I turn reflective this time of year. I will be visiting others tomorrow Don't worry! Smiles.

  14. I am very late, kids, in fact I am terribly exhausted and am falling into bed....I will try to write something tomorrow and will get around to you all even if it takes me a while.......good night, all.

    1. Take your time, Sherry. And rest. And we love you.

    2. Now am heading out to work, no rest for the wicked. Will finish making the rounds on my return - yikes, it might snow, and I HATE driving in snow .

  15. Carol Campbell--Word press keeps rejecting my comment on your poem, but here it is: Reading your poem, I get a sense of the artist's passion: the art is on high delight!


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