Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Surprise!

“If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it . . . .” 
― Heraclitus

"Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise." ― Alice Walker

The Muse, Modeled by Nina Longshadow at Opus

Midweek Motif ~  Surprise!

If only life could be serene with no upheavals and few changes in relationships. No surprises, please! But for waking up from the laziness that threatens daily perception? Nothing is better than surprise.

When were you last pleasantly surprised?

Your challenge: Write a new poem with surprise as a recurring motif.  The poem itself need not surprise, but if you can wake us up a little through a pleasant surprise, do!

Clown in surgery.jpg

Apparently With No Surprise 

by Emily Dickinson

Apparently with no surprise,
To any happy flower,
The frost beheads it at its play,
In accidental power.
The blond assassin passes on.
The sun proceeds unmoved,
To measure off another day,
For an approving God.

Surprise by Dorothy Parker

My heart went fluttering with fear
Lest you should go, and leave me here
To beat my breast and rock my head
And stretch me sleepless on my bed.
Ah, clear they see and true they say
That one shall weep, and one shall stray
For such is Love's unvarying law....
I never thought, I never saw
That I should be the first to go;
How pleasant that it happened so! 
Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise. - Julia Cameron

for Sitti Khadra, north of Jerusalem
My grandmother’s hands recognize grapes,
the damp shine of a goat’s new skin.
When I was sick they followed me,
I woke from the long fever to find them
covering my head like cool prayers.

My grandmother’s days are made of bread,
a round pat-pat and the slow baking.
She waits by the oven watching a strange car
circle the streets. Maybe it holds her son,
lost to America. More often, tourists,
who kneel and weep at mysterious shrines.
She knows how often mail arrives,
how rarely there is a letter.
When one comes, she announces it, a miracle,
listening to it read again and again
in the dim evening light.

My grandmother’s voice says nothing can surprise her.
Take her the shotgun wound and the crippled baby.
She knows the spaces we travel through,
the messages we cannot send—our voices are short
and would get lost on the journey.
Farewell to the husband’s coat,
the ones she has loved and nourished,
who fly from her like seeds into a deep sky.
They will plant themselves. We will all die.

My grandmother’s eyes say Allah is everywhere, even in death.
When she talks of the orchard and the new olive press,
when she tells the stories of Joha and his foolish wisdoms,
He is her first thought, what she really thinks of is His name.
“Answer, if you hear the words under the words—
otherwise it is just a world with a lot of rough edges,
difficult to get through, and our pockets full of stones.”

Image result for surprise
Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
      (Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be Peace on Earth.)


  1. "The Muse" is such a striking piece. It drew me right in. This is an excellent prompt that should elicit a number of wonderful poems. I'm excited to read them.

  2. My goodness, "The Words Under the Words" made me cry.

    "My grandmother’s voice says nothing can surprise her.
    Take her the shotgun wound and the crippled baby."

    And that ending ... are so powerful.

  3. Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday! Really enjoyed writing to this prompt Susan. And such wonderful selection of poems!

  4. Thank you, Silver and Sumana. Hello all! I should be shocked at waking up at noon! But I've been under the weather and not sleeping well, so the rest is as welcome as it is surprising. Which is perfect for this prompt. I'm here with my "morning" coffee, and looking forward to reading poetry. Yum.

  5. Happy Wednesday everyone

    much love...

  6. Loved the prompt, Susan!💞 Sharing my poem 'Letter composed on the corner of 26th Street.' Happy Wednesday!☕

  7. Evening, Poets! Thanks, Sue! Happy Wednesday, all!

  8. Well, I had a more astonishing surprise in mind but decided it would not be respectful to post it........hope you are all having a nice Wednesday..........Thanks, Susan.

  9. Elements of surprise keep our vigor alive! Thanks for the prompt Susan!

    1. Welcome Kislaya! Which poem did you want to post? Tell me and I'll make the link which right now goes to your home page. Also, link your poem to us, mentioning that it's for our prompt. Thank you.

    2. Thank you so much for the welcome :)
      I have linked my poem in Mister Linky's magical magical widget - 12. Kislaya
      But here is the link anyway -

  10. Thank you so much for sharing 'The Words Under the Words' and introducing me to Naomi Shihab Nye, Susan. It reminded me how special grandmothers are - I hope my grandson remembers me with such deep affection.
    I'm a bit late posting and linking up but almost there.


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