How To…’Be There’

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 19 (to prompt)


Stand and breathe in,
The deep breath that fills the lungs
And satisfies your soul.

Sit and breathe out,
Fast and hard until there is no more
And your heart burns.

See everything around you,
Absorb the scene, drink each detail
Until your being is fit to burst.

Listen hard,
Caress the wind with your mind,
Remove the whistling moans.

Touch the air,
Taste the subtle burning spice
And feel the slow cooking cornucopia.

Release the pent-up store,
Let the panacea loose
And thrive in the moment.


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane


The Prompt: “Many years ago, “didactic” poetry was very common – in other words, poetry that explicitly sought to instruct the reader in some kind of skill or knowledge, whether moral, philosophical, or practical. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write the latter kind of “how to” poem – a didactic poem that focuses on a practical skill. Hopefully, you’ll be able to weave the concrete details of the action into a compelling verse. Also, your “practical” skill could be somewhat mythological, imaginary, or funny, like “How to Capture a Mermaid” or “How to Get Your Teenager to Take Out the Garbage When He Is Supposed To.” Happy writing!


5 comments on “How To…’Be There’

  1. Your poetry generally has a wonderful flow and rhythm to it, regardless of the style, which I enjoy. This poem however, feels stilted and unnatural to me. Although you technically met the challenge, as a reading experience it left me a bit disappointed. Looking forward to see what you will be sharing with us tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thich Nhat Hahn would certainly approve of this poem, and you’ve included all of the senses! I always think the problem with instructions is that they can’t help but be forceful, and what is needed is a lack of force. To quote Lao-Tzu: Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cynthia. Humbled that you feel “The Other Dalai Lama”would approve of this and I agree with your feeling on instructions. I have learnt they do not necessarily lead to ‘real’ learning. This reminds me of a surgeon who told me, “You can watch a thousand appendicectomies, yet you only start learning how to do one when you pick up the scalpel for the first time.”Of course, to do so, he was taking action! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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