Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Written by Chel Owens

Chel is a person, much like you. She also writes occasionally, reads often, mothers daily, and sleeps and eats in her free time.

March 1, 2021

Well, howdy! My name’s Chel Owens and I’ve a small confession to make: I’m not much of a rancher. The closest I’ve gotten to a rodeo is watching “McLintock!” The closest I’ve gotten to a saloon is to use the bathroom at a bar during a road trip.

What do I know? Poetry. And -believe me- poetry is amazing. It’s clever, awful, silly, serious, snarky, sincere, and beautiful.

Take Ogden Nash:
The Termite

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.


Or, William Shakespeare, the master prose-smith:
Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Poems are the beat of life; the catchy jingle we hum whilst eating French fries (chips); the wandering phrase we think as our heart flutters in love.

Poems also terrify a large number of writers.

That’s why I’m here. Or Pal and Kid said I could use the bathroom. Either way, I’m up on this stage and I’m going to get you to write poetry. Everyone can write poetry, just like everyone can write. We each have a voice that needs expression and is beautiful when it finds itself.

So, for this introductory post, I’m not going to ask much. All I want is for you to take yourself on a date.

You heard me.

Get yourself alone, somewhere safe. If you can, go somewhere beautiful and inspirational. The catch is that I want you to bring along a notebook and writing utensil. Yes, I want paper and a pen. No, I don’t want those new-fangled electronic devices.

Step two is to get comfortable.

Third, soak in your surroundings. Meditate. Find your happy thoughts.

After all of that, I want you to word dump prosaically. Write words, phrases, observations, descriptions, and even the odd knock-knock joke –all in the form of a freelance poem.

Once you’re ‘finished,’ you’re allowed to look it over and lightly edit. Maybe you misspelled epiphany and it’s bothering you; you are allowed to fix that word. Perhaps you really hate how you compared a winter’s day to your ex-husband’s drinking habit; you may compare the snowscape to something more appropriate. The only thing you are not allowed to do is crumple up what you wrote and throw it into the saloon’s toilet.

If you’re comfortable, return to your computer thingy and share your masterpiece with me using the submission form. If not, I’ll settle on an “I did it, Chel” in the comments or through the form.

You can do it. Believe me. I can safely say that I have seen the worst poetry ever, and yours is not it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. We’ll have you poem-ing in no time.


©2021 Chel Owens

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  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Anyone kin poem! I believe that’s true
    an’ since I got time, I’ll see what I kin do.

    Sure is good not runnin’ the bar t’day
    But I ain’t gone very far away

    I’ve took pen an’ pad up the Poet Tree
    Tryin’ ta write some lines fer our frien’ Chelsea

    Wanna be able ta say ‘Chel, look what I did
    Some rhymin’ lines from A. Kid’

    Ah shift. Ya ever git stuck when ya write?
    I’m in these crotchety branches an’ wedged in tight!

    Don’t reckon I’ll git down anytime soon
    Good thing Chel’s got the saloon

    Anyone kin poem, cain’t ever’one climb
    But I’m likin’ this program, think it’s real fine.

    -A. Kid

  2. Norah

    A fine challenge.

    • Chel Owens

      I expect everyone to do her homework. 😉

  3. Charli Mills

    Howdy Chel! Mighty fine outfit for the Saloon! Okay. I’m one of those I-write-don’t-poem keyboard clackers and I’m going step up, step out, and accept your challenge.

    • Chel Owens

      Yesssss! And, my husband, The Almighty Photoshop Genius, dressed me. That’s what I get for teasing him about adding fringe. 😀

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! A buckaroo must have her fringe, Chel. He is a genius with photoshop, that’s for sure.

    • Chel Owens

      Your muse is much, much closer than you think. “I’m still resisting but the muse is in sight” was a very well-metered verse. 🙂

    • Anne Goodwin's Sugar and Snails is free in February

      I owed Chel a pome. I thought I might write it while awaiting my turn.
      Time to fill. An experience to savour. But how can you schedule the muse?
      She caught me before dawn as I composted old tea leaves
      Having woken too early.
      Excited? Needing a wee.
      Back to bed with my cuppa
      In the dark, scorning pen and paper
      As birds serenade at my window
      I winnow through feelings
      To harvest words.
      I had a pome. But reality wasn’t listening.
      Quicker. Smoother. No odours I’d imagined. The soothing smell of a medical mask.
      No grid of chairs. No queueing in the cold.
      No fuss. No celebration. No tears.
      Should I change my morning pages? Admit her tattooed arm hid the needle?
      I have a pome. Semi-spontaneous. This isn’t it.

      • Chel Owens

        ?? I love it!

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    It’s the first Monday, which means Chel Owens is running a poetry prompt out of the Saddle Up. Ride on over and take part in the fun.

  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    How do I love this post? Let me count the ways.
    1) “Everyone can write poetry, just like everyone can write. We each have a voice that needs expression and is beautiful when it finds itself.” That is so very Carrot Ranch!
    2) “I’m not going to ask much. All I want is for you to take yourself on a date.” Reminds me of The Artist’s Date ala Julia Cameron
    3) “I want paper and a pen.” Love the low-tech retro take. It comforts me.
    4) “go somewhere beautiful and inspirational” You bet. Maybe there’s a poem out there waiting for me. If one catches me, I’ll bring it here.
    5) I love seeing the saloon stage getting used for a poetry platform.
    6) I love that it’s you on that platform and those two yahoos can go fishing. (If Kid manages to get out of the Poet Tree)

    • Chel Owens

      😀 Truths, all.

      And, Pal and Kid need a break now and then! ????

  6. tnkerr

    Love the outfit, Chel.

    • Chel Owens

      😀 Thanks!

  7. Ann Edall-Robson

    A great opening act at the Saloon, Chel! I love your challenge. My bookshelf filled with journals of writing this, that, bits, and pieces from meadows, back roads, nooks and crannies loves your challenge. I do not write a lot of poetry, but the light-hearted get-at-it instructions are definitely an encouragement to wander down that trail. Thanks for shaking the Poet Tree here at the Ranch.

    • Chel Owens

      You’re welcome! I love the ideas of writing bits in journals. There are many times when inspiration strikes, and coming out of that with something poetic is not a difficult step!

  8. Ann Edall-Robson

    When you travel the backroads with your camera, field glasses, notebook, and pencil, you never know what might happen. An attempt at cowboy poetry and some awesome pictures were my gift on that day a few years ago. There is no place like the great outdoors to be inspired to do a lot of things you never thought you would.

    Coyote They Must Be
    by Ann Edall-Robson

    Ramblin’ along
    at a slow easy pace
    Out west and a bit north
    from the home place
    The sun was a dancin’
    so bright late in the day
    Shadows and shapes
    and a squawking jay
    There on the horizon
    some 800 yards out
    An unusual movement
    needed to be learnt about
    Come close glasses
    making the scan
    Not one but two animals
    scattered on the land
    Coyotes they must be
    moving so fast
    Across the creek
    up the draw
    onto the hill at last
    Seemed awful big
    to be seen from here
    But the distance
    they’d travelled
    made it quite clear
    Topping the ridge
    those critters swung ‘round
    And laughter erupted
    at what had been found
    Them coyotes’ a-runnin’
    from that waterin’ hole
    Turned out to be cows
    up there on that knoll

    • Chel Owens

      😀 ???? Situation, details, ranch, and humor! Wonderful!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      A fine bit of cowboy poetry! I really enjoyed your imagery, Ann. <3

  9. Ritu

    I did it Chel, and submitted it too!

    • Chel Owens

      Yay! Thank you!!

      • Ritu


  10. RuthScribbles

    99 syllables? Or free flow?

    • Chel Owens

      Free flow, baby!

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I just couldn’t do the free flow, Chel… But I tried. 😀

      • Chel Owens

        Hey; if you’re past the nervousness of first-time poeting, you can count yer syllables. 🙂

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL! It’s funny how our minds work, isn’t it? This was great fun, Chel, and I loved your new cowboy duds. Your hubby did good! 😀 <3

      • Chel Owens

        🙂 Thanks!

  11. Jules

    Howdy, Chel,

    I just saw I left my cushion on my stone bench…I musta been out for about ten minutes… but I didn’t want to freeze my derrière. (I’ll be right back…)

    OK I submitted my verse for better or worse.
    It’s just an observational piece in 99 words… though you didn’t say if there was a word limit… this is CR after all. So I did some minor editing 🙂

    • Chel Owens

      No limit!! And I wondered how many derrières were going to freeze!

      • Jules

        It’s still winter!! Though I’m counting down the days until spring 🙂

      • Chel Owens

        Believe you me, it’s definitely still winter where I’m at! ?

  12. Chel Owens

    Reblogged this on Chel Owens and commented:

    Here she be: my guest post about poeming. I encourage everyone to mosey over and take a gander!

  13. Doug Jacquier

    Great to see your face here, Chel. Love the outfit. In Oz we’d call you a jillaroo. Anyway, straight out of my dripping pen on this fateful day comes my spontaneous contribution, barely dressed to be out in public.

    Join the Q

    What happened to rejection slips,
    those faux regretful ‘get-out-of-heres’
    phrased as ‘not for us this time’
    and ‘we hope you find other outlets’?

    At least you could use them to cover cracks
    and tears in (and tears on) your wallpaper
    or hang them on a nail in the outhouse
    to serve a useful purpose.

    Now their dismissive misery bombs
    come in electronic packets
    wrapped in New Age platitudes
    generated from recycled Hallmark cards.

    But I have a cunning plan,
    at this moment slowly unfolding,
    to re-invent myself as
    as an avatar to suit the literary times.

    Amidst hints of urban hip and grunge,
    I’ll be genderless, but nevertheless,
    the full alphabet of political correctness,
    dystopian yet mystical (think Rowling meets Attwood).

    I’ll deluge them with agonies and ecstasies
    forbidden love and conspiracies,
    all couched in incomprehensibility
    and seeing Anon is taken, I will be known as Q.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Well done. The ‘Rowling meets Attewood’ thought made me smile at what the outcome might be.

    • Chel Owens

      I can see that you’ve poemed before. 😀 I guess I’m a Jillaroo. ????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I’m always in awe of the way your words just ripple and flow. Lovely poetry. <3

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thank you so much, Colleen. That’s exactly what every writer wants to hear.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        It’s well deserved my friend. <3

  14. obbverse

    OK, I’ll add to the choral. Yo, there Mizz Chel!

    What Chel? i-Pads an’ tablets an’ i-Phones are banned?
    This poetical premise gives me a far-too-free hand,
    So I’ve wandered, Wi-Fi free to this ‘ere fallow field,
    But my poetical muse won’t be moved nor revealed.

    It’s a frustrating caper,
    A blank sheet of paper,
    Not a thing comes to mind;
    My stress can’t be underlined.

    This ol’ ballpoint pen is no match for my keyboard-
    I miss the humming comfort of my Mac umbilical cord,
    I don’t wanna be out of my megabtyte comfort zone,
    I miss the good chimes when I recall on my i-Phone.

    Access to files-Denied!
    Same for Punctuation Guide,
    I’m redooced to writing dreck
    Coz I really rely on Spell Check.

    But well, for Chel, I’ll give it the Old Skool College try,
    But the thoughts I hoped would lyrically soar don’t fly,
    And as I sit doin’ this left field writing I stop and think…
    How perverse it is to run out of inspiration and ink.

    • Chel Owens

      😀 Honestly, you seem even better without your umbilical HDMI cord. 😉

    • Doug Jacquier

      A gem, Obb 🙂

  15. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    She said I could do it
    I don’t know why
    That I should write a Poem

    I forged past My doubters
    And here it is Chel
    My work so you can show em’

    Laughter is contagious. Start a pandemic

    • Chel Owens

      ???????? Encore!

      • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

        I posted my Poem
        And she wanted more
        They clapped and they clapped
        And shouted encore

        I wanted to write it
        Most surely I did
        My ego was willing
        but just not the id

        It will not be long
        so I cut it by half
        And all I can say
        Is to tell you to LAUGH

      • Chel Owens

        😀 Very nice.

      • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

        Thank You Check out my blog sometime. You will laugh

  16. Colleen M. Chesebro

    write a
    poem she said—
    close your eyes and create
    thoughts running wild and free
    syllables drop
    in line…

    I just couldn’t help myself. I guess I think in syllables now! Blame it on the full moon and the fairies! Besides, I just finished my taxes. All that counting did it to me again. <3

    • Chel Owens

      😀 Now I want to write a poem about taxes – specifically accounting. What if I wrote it on graph paper?

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL! No, I prefer the bookkeeping ledger sheets. That way you can keep your debits and credits in line. 😀

      • Chel Owens

        ???? Hm. Bar graph poetry?

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        You know, it would be a great visual on your blog.

  17. H.R.R. Gorman

    Lookit’ thar! I’m feeling silly for not jumping in the saddle earlier – is there a “due date” for a participating poem?

    • Chel Owens

      Heck no, little writer! I’m just barely gittin’ to the first ones!

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Lol. I’m so behind on everything.

  18. reading journeys

    Hi Chel,

    I just read your 2nd post – anyone can write a poem; and was thrilled to read I could still fulfill this first challenge!
    I love to read poetry. but writing a poem?

    Anyway – here it is – no rhyme or rhythm but the lines do turn — “reverse” —
    and done the pen-paper way- as you suggested. This was fun!

    Flying Away?
    It’s April, beautiful red flowers
    On berry shrub near the patio.
    Flash of dark green
    Darts in and out of shrub
    Humming bird!
    Breeze sets into motion
    Pine trees tall and short
    Shadows sway on sandstone wall
    No poets swaying in the trees
    Remembering Frost’s poem
    If you watch the swaying trees
    Long enough
    You may start to sway
    Open the window and fly away!

    Thanks Chel!

    Saifun (Carrot Ranch)

    • Chel Owens

      Great! I love how I can see and feel what you did, and that you ended with flying away!

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