Poetry Prompt: Ode to Sickness

Poetry Prompt: Ode to Sickness

It’s the time of year for sniffles and sickness. Today, though, instead of groaning at the common cold, we’re going to channel all the stuffy germ-y sickness into poetry!

Today’s poetry prompt is going to require a little unconventional thinking. Let’s start by imagining a sickness. It could be the sneeze you had last week or the chicken pox you caught when you were little. It could even be an imaginary illness––what about one that makes you puff up and float into the air like a balloon?

Now that you’ve got your sickness imagined, make sure you focus on all of the sensations it causes. Can you smell anything, or is your nose stopped up? What sounds can you hear? Maybe you hear some tissues scratching or tea brewing. What about the rest of your body? Do your fingers feel a little tingly, or your neck a bit hot? Are your knees starting to sprout little tiny strawberries? Be as detailed or as wild as you want!

It’s time to pull out a notebook and paper, because you’re about to begin writing. First, though, you’ll want to decide what kind of poem you want to write. We suggest the ode as the perfect form for writing about sickness. An ode is a poem that praises something by telling it how great and wonderful it is. Think about how powerful your runny nose is. Maybe it’s so runny it could win the Olympics! Or, imagine that wild disease you invented. It deserves some praise!

Start your ode with the classic beginning: “Oh, runny nose…” or “Oh, you horrible cold!”  Then, talk to the sickness and tell it some things you’ve been thinking. You can complain all about your itchy left foot, or you can celebrate how your runny nose is more powerful than all the water pouring over Niagara Falls.

We’ve included an example we wrote below to get your creativity flowing. For more on the ode, see this post from Poetry Teatime!

Ode to a Stuffy Nose

Oh, stuffy nose, the way you scrape when I breathe is the music
of two wooden planks rubbing together.
You were a surprise present that showed up in my nose
and filled it with packing peanuts.
You're like a bunch of balloons floating up into the sky
if all the balloons were all the color of snot
.
I hope you get to go on vacation
from your stuffy job. 
Thanks for your visit!

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