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.

October 4, 2021

Whew! Welcome to Anyone Can Poem, the time when we scare away the I-can’t-coyotes and embrace the I-will-wallabies.

Yes, our rodeo has wallabies.

Thank you to all the amazing poets who responded to my challenge to murder their children -erm, to remove their unnecessary or superfluous words.

Now, after taking out extra adverbs, adjectives, and grandiose language; we will spend this month filling our poetry with the best words.

How do you choose the best words? Easy.

  1. Decide what your poem (or, intended poem) is about. What moment do you want to capture; what feeling do you want the reader to feel; what action do you want to encapsulate?
  2. Which form (metered, rhymed, free verse, specific syllable count) do you feel works best with your theme?
  3. Take time to free-write descriptors, actions, feelings, colors -WHATEVER about the poetic moment.
  4. Pick your favorites from Step 3. Form phrases. Make it poetic.
  5. Form those pieces into a ‘final’ poem.
  6. Take the poem, line by line, and check if the words you picked are just showing off. Check if they are flowery. Make sure they are not fluffy bits of wallaby fur only intended to look cute.
  7. Instead; pick impactful, meaningful words and phrases that put the reader in the moment.

Let’s say my answer to #1 is chocolate. I want to capture the delectable moment when a piece of chocolate melts across your tongue and drips down your throat. Ah, the anticipation! The sensation! The bliss!

For #2, I choose to write it free-verse.

#3, Free-write: chocolate, rich, tasty, moist, mouthful, bliss, gurgling tummy, slip down, melt, rich goodness, milk chocolate, smooth, tantalizing, anticipation, square….

Now, I pick my favorites (#4) and smash them into a poem (#5):
Milky mouthful slips and drips
Across my licking, moist tongue
Come to me, my choc’late bliss

Slip down down down to my gurgling tummy.

Oh, dear. I have some removal to do of extra words (#6). While I’m at it, I’ll change or add better words (#7):
Milky mouthful slips and drips Rich and silky milky slice
Across my licking, moist tongue -Simmers on my tongue
Come to me, my choc’late bliss -Melting down; oh, choc’late bliss!

Slip down down down to my gurgling tummy. Anticipation, come.

Hmm. Looks like it wanted to be formed after all. In terms of word choice, what do you think? Did I pick impactful or unnecessary? What would you edit or suggest?

Now, as always, it’s your turn. Go through the steps. Edit and refine. Then, send me what you’ve got or share it in the comments. You can also share what you’ve got at any point along the steps, for pointers. I’m happy to help.

And, above all, have fun!

Submissions are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.


©2021 Chel Owens

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  1. SelmaMartin

    I see. I see. ???? I see what you mean. You illustrated this well. How precious you are. Thank you. Appreciate ????

    • Chel Owens

      Thank you, Selma. ? Keep writing!

  2. Charli Mills

    Your explanation is clear, Chel, and your example clarifies each point. I like how you condensed and restructured your original draft. That is the beauty and power of revision. Now I’m searching drawers for my chocolate stash!

    • Chel Owens

      Oh, phew. It’s hard to know how I’ll come across when writing so late at night! 😉

      • Charli Mills

        The muses have better access when we are tired. 😉

  3. Richmond Road

    On the other hand …. sometimes it’s better to leave it raw and exposed. Too much polish can hide the grain.

    • Chel Owens

      I find that raw poetry only works consistently well in the hands of a poet who’s experienced. Like you, Richmond.

      • Richmond Road

        Hmmm …. was that complimentary or patronising? It’s a fine line, I suppose. But, experienced? No. Maybe just old and lazy.

      • Chel Owens

        Never patronising. Always sincere when it comes to writing.

    • Chel Owens

      ‘Quokka’ didn’t quite work with my alliteration, Doug. 😀 They are cute, though.

  4. nightlake

    As a fellow admirer of chocolates, this was lovely, Chel:) The end result of revision is amazing. Just a thought. Perhaps we can add a couple of lines about how the taste of chocolate impacts our mood throughout the day.

    • Chel Owens

      Oh, definitely. That’s a great idea!

  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    Chel Owens would have you know that anyone, yes, anyone, can poem. Click over to the Saddle Up Saloon for her suggestions and savory example. Try it! You can do it!

  6. Bacardi Gold

    Great ideas !

    • Chel Owens

      Thanks! Take a spin!

      • Bacardi Gold

        you’re welcome!


  1. Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem « Carrot Ranch Literary Community - […] We’ve a rough ride this year -through loosening up, parody, forms, meter, and word choice. […]

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