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My Love Is Like a Red, Red Sky (From Pollution): Prompt

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Craig Santos Perez is one of the best poets writing environmentally-aware poetry these days. His poem posted on my blog today, "Love in a Time of Climate Change," is such a clever embrace of the personal and political. His poem also takes its form from a Pablo Neruda sonnet, as he notes, and that poem is below.

Love Sonnet XVII

by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

So I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Your prompt for today has a few suggestions; take one or more for your draft.

1.) Use a form for your poem by a famous poet. (For the title of this prompt, I used Robert Burns' "My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose.")

2.) Don't just use the physical form, but also repeat key phrases.

3.) Have your speaker "say" the poem as a direct address.

4.) Make it about love.

5.) Use a pressing contemporary issue in your poem. It can be an event the speaker references, a metaphor used throughout the poem, part of the setting, or something else.

As always, cite your source (the poem you used and the poet who wrote it) and have fun!

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