Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Plastic Bags

“ A whale just died after consuming more than 80 plastic bags. A whale!”
Shenita Etwaroo 

"Beat Plastic Pollution!"
I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth. Pete Townshend
Read more at:
I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth. Pete Townshend
Read more at:

“I'm not out there suggesting that we should ban every plastic product. But there are some whose environmental costs exceed their utility, and the [plastic] bag is one of them.”
Susan Freinkel, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story

 “So many things seemed to come in plastic bags now that it was difficult to keep track of them. The main thing was not to throw it away carelessly, better still to put it away in a safe place, because there was a note printed on it which read 'To avoid danger of suffocation keep this wrapper away from babies and children'."
Barbara Pym, Quartet in Autumn

Midweek Motif ~ Plastic Bags

So.  I still use plastic bags quite often, mostly for food and for keeping books dry next to my water bottle.  My friends use plastic bags to pick up what their dogs leave outside.  What would life be like without plastic bags? I saw one dance in the film "American Beauty," I imagined them as separate beings in "Flights" by Olga Tokarczuk
     Now I see them from the window of the bus, these airborne anemones, whole packs of them, roaming the desert. Individual specimens cling on tight to brittle little desert plants, fluttering noisily--perhaps this is the way they communicate. . . ."
Your Challenge:  Consider the immanent death of the plastic bag and imagine it into a new poem.  Maybe you are writing an ELEGY, maybe an ODE.

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth. Pete Townshend
Read more at:

By Richard Schiffman

Everything passes, said the Buddha,
and I saw it myself on the river– 
tennis balls and condoms,
waterlogs and dead dogs,
styrofoam battleships,
the mastless schooner of a rubber sandal,
subaqueous plastic bags
rippling their ghoulish curtains,
a belly down, drowned waterfowl
legs splayed, plucked clean by the waves.
But what the Buddha didn’t say
is that everything returns
a few hours later, when the current flips direction,
shuttling eternally in the limbo of the tides.
. . . .
(Read the rest HERE.)

Fifteen Million Plastic Bags

Adrian Mitchell

I was walking in a government warehouse
Where the daylight never goes.
I saw fifteen million plastic bags
Hanging in a thousand rows.

Five million bags were six feet long
Five million bags were five foot five
Five million were stamped with Mickey Mouse
And they came in a smaller size.

Were they for guns or uniforms
Or a kinky kind of party game?

. . . .
(Read the rest HERE.)

Beneath Carnival Lights


Ben Kingsley

You can’t stop morning
from melting plastic bags.

100 other goldfish twisty-tied
up and dreading a hot sunrise.

You’re in mourning together
for the old 20+ gallon tank.

For the familiarity of the green leaf
that released you from an orange egg sack.

How’d you find yourself
in one of these again?
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

Have a nice day and smiley face bag.jpg
Gracious Bag by GorillaSushi at Wiki Commons

 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 ~ Bridge. )



  1. Good morning, Poets United! I was stumped by my own challenge for quite a while. There's something about plastic bags that defies poetry, but already you are paving the path with surprises. Have a great day and a good week.

  2. Afternoon Poets! And Susan, I'm hear it wasn't an easy prompt for you as Looking forward to read responses to this important challenge.

    1. Yes. Hard to say something new ...although poems about plastic bags are rare.

  3. Biodegradable plastic doggy bags, mesh bags for produce and cloth shopping bags are helpful. Tofino and Ucluelet are going plastic free, as much as is possible, this summer. Plastic has turned into a plague. A challenge to write a poem about it, but i love the examples given. Thanks, Susan.

    1. Thank you, Sherry.Hopefully we'll have to bring our own containers to even buy meet soon.

  4. Today's prompt was a real challenge, Susan and so timely! I managed a few lines with the help of William Blake's poem The Tyger. As it's quite late at night I'll see you all tomorrow morning. Happy writing :)

    1. I loved that you used Tyger. Isn't it ironic/awful how Godlike/powerful we are in creations of plastic? I never asked basic questions about plastic bags I ask about nuclear power and weapons! I've used them thoughtlessly over the years.

  5. Susan, what a wonderful prompt. I want to thank you for this. I thought I was aware of the issues with plastic, but to get ideas, I did some research and now I am more educated about it.
    I am blank as far as writing a poem today, but just want you to know I'm grateful that although I'm not writing, your prompt led me tho learn some more.

    1. Thanks for leaving this message. It's amazingly hard to put plastic bags in a poem.

  6. Susan,
    It was indeed a most interesting subject to build into a poem!
    I had the idea of a goldfish in my head, since seeing that the prompt was to be plastic bags, last week.
    I too am better informed, as a result of seeing more facts about this dreadful situation.
    Best wishes, Eileen

    1. You left a great comment on my blog, Eileen. We've got everyone thinking about it.

  7. Hi kids, I have been too busy today and have now hit the wall, so am hoping to do some online stuff tomorrow. I will, however, make the rounds once I am lying down with my tablet. Sorry for my lateness. We have had so many whales washing up on shore along the west coast, in Canada and the U.S., it is very sad. Heartbreaking.

    1. We'll see you tomorrow, then, sweet poet. I'm glad you are so active in the environmental movement, but hope you take care of #1.

  8. So much to save, so litle time. Smiles. The whales inspired my sad poem.

  9. Great prompt Susan! The arrogance of human beings can only be surpassed by our stupidity! We are the gargantuans of garbage.

  10. Dear goodness! that first quote will stay with me for a very long time.


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