#NaPoWriMo – Day Eighteen – The Poem Fish

There are no hooks or bait.
The skill is standing barefoot
when the ice water runs across your toes
and the feeling goes thick in your fingers
waiting for the hum in the current.
You can be there for months,
lock-kneed and bent into shapes
you must learn yourself out of.
Still the Poem Fish does not swim
in those waters,
or if it does you sense it slip
smaller than a minnow
through the splayed net of your hands,
watch the words melt and rush
away with the rest of the river current.
Other days the Poem Fish arrive in shoals,
thrash themselves over each other
to leap into your hands.
Those are the days you learn
which Poem Fish to throw back to grow
and which you should take a knife to,
split open along the belly seam
and spill onto the page.
Some will turn before you cut,
a dead thing dead before you thump
its scaled head against the rocks,
and filled with sand.
Those are not Poem Fish,
they will not fill you up.

write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words.

NaPoWriMo2021 – Day Eighteen Official Prompt

The difficulty with today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was choosing one chapter title to go with. There were a few that sparked ideas, so I’ve dotted them down on a separate bit of paper to come back to, as you never know when you might need to go fishing for some inspiration.


  1. Oh, this is a PERFECT write for this title, CJ. Waiting for the non-arrivals, or standing among the eager-to-be-captured masses, the poet’s chore is clearly defined. But capturing the catch is one thing, but finding (and sharing) its inner treasure is quite another. You’ve done that (beautifully!) here just writing about it.

    I thought you might enjoy this (brief) one of mine, published quite some time ago: https://eggsovertokyo.blogspot.com/2013/08/persistence-of-vision.html

    Have a great day & THANKIS!


  2. Marvelous. Loved seeing this. And yes use more of my titles! I have an easy time writing chapter titles and a hard time with book titles. New book almost finished. Stay in touch on Instagram? IG site: Susan.Wooldridge


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