2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 7 and Week 2 Prompts

Congratulations! We made it through Week 1 of this year’s daily writing project.

It’s Day 7 of our 2016 daily write-in. As you know, this year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

The object of this project is to turn off our inner critics, play with a daily writing practice, and share the results in a community setting.

For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 1 FOUND OBJECTS at this post. At the end of the month, I’ll have prizes for the most frequent contributors. However, there’s no obligation to write every day. Drop in as often as you like.

20140416_120403FOUND: Blood Letting Knife

Today’s prompt from Jone MacCulloch falls into the functional object category. The object, which Jone photographed at a Lewis and Clark presentation, was used for blood letting.

I can’t wait to see what kinds of words streamed out of everyone’s poem-veins today.

The blade prompted Jessica Bigi to set her poem at a barber shop.

How Rumors Start
By Jessica Bigi

Santa Fe Golden Tooth
Barbershop chatter
Silver spurred boots
Spring a ghostly tall
Of gold up there
In those hills
Not to wise Billy barber
Strangely Disappeared
Chatter- chatter-
Chatter Santa Fe
Golden Tooth
Barbershop chatter

Diane Mayr’s poem makes a good bridge between the barbershop gossip and the historical significance of today’s found object.

A Close Shave
By Diane Mayr

The head is tilted
so that the neck is
exposed to the hands
of an expert who with
the flick of a wrist
can deftly de-whisker,
or, as was the case
hundreds of years ago,
restore balance to
the humors in a body
by the letting of blood.

Instead of focusing on the knife in the image, my attention was caught by the brass bowl. I seem to be rhyming a lot this month!

Letting Go
By Laura Shovan

I am a bowl
to catch the blood
as it flows from your arm
in a hot, red flood.
A circle of brass
ringed with rust —
rest me under the cut
where the blade was thrust.
The blade is sharp.
The cut is deep.
Watch the blood drip dripping
until you’re asleep.

Maybe I should change the title to “Bad Medicine.”

I like the way Molly Hogan repurposes the blade in this poem. Molly is also blogging alongside our project. Check out her post.

Before the Photo
by Molly Hogan

A simple blade in capable hands
transforms stick
to whittled whistle,
kisses apple’s russet skin
twirling off
swirling spiral,
and sculpts a blushing peach
into glistening golden slices,
hitching a bit as it nicks
into the deeply crevassed pit.

Wiped clean on cotton cloth
discarded with a careless toss into
the shallow metal bowl
burnished vibrations echo
and fade
as the simple blade
back and forth

Linda Baie writes in, “I did some research, didn’t exactly find the instrument, but close, and then imagination took over. Interesting picture!”

Growing Up at Louie’s General Store

We let him have the back table,
that old man from down the way,
leaning close with old eyes.
He cut tobacco’s leaves for need,
and earned his own pinch for the day’s end.
Men dropped in to fill their pipes
not those who could afford to keep a stash at home,
but those scrapping a few pennies
for the evening’s smoke,
and the evening’s talk.
Low voices ask how things are going;
other’s answer, “fine, could be warmer,”
and take another puff.
Others who enter stay away,
eyes watering, nose crinkling at the reek.
Smoke eddies around that table,
a curtain that keeps others out,
just those old men passing the evening,
cronies all, smoking their pipes.
At last, they leave, empty their pipes in the bowl.
It’s my job to clean it out back,
then I can go home.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

Catherine Flynn describes a common problem that happens when we DO know what an object is. In contrast to our Day 3 mystery object (which turned out to be moth eggs), “Maybe my problem was that I had an idea about what this object is and couldn’t see any other possibilities,” Catherine writes. What do you think, poets? Do you prefer the mystery or the knowing when you sit down to write?

When curing chronic fevers
was a mystery,
doctors thought blood-letting
was the remedy.

Like one afflicted,
a story burns inside me.
I won’t be healed
until words flow unrestricted
from pen to page.

Just as blood once poured
from an incision made with a surgeon’s
keen-edged scalpel
and pooled in a battered, rusty bowl,
my words coalesce into
the shape of something new
and I am cured (for now).

By Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core.

And thanks to Carol Varsalona for turning the question itself — What is this object? — into a poem.

Embedded image permalink

Late arrivals:

Sorry I didn’t get to post these responses last night. I’m so glad to see everyone experimenting with form. Kudos to Mary Lee Hahn for using an acrostics today. She writes, “I went with tobacco knife, too, and wrote this acrostic after interviewing a (former) pipe smoker”:

A pipe gives a wise man time to think
and a fool something to stick in his mouth.
– C.S. Lewis.

Packing the tobacco correctly is as
Important as the
Proper breaking in of the pipe.
Each pipe
Smokes differently, and a good smoker can
Make one last up to 45 minutes.
One must tap the dottle from the bowl,
Know how to ream the pipe, and
Embrace the subtleties of the experience —
Rather like shooting or fly fishing or drinking

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

And here is a haiku from Matt Forrest Esenwine. In a small space, this poem appeals to many of my senses.

scarlet rivulets
spill into steel; blood, spirit
slip into slumber

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved


I like hearing the voice of the blade in Charles Waters’ poem.


I’m a Silvery Sharp Blade
who, along with my assistant
Shaving Cream, will shear your
forest of follicles leaving that
visage of yours so smooth that
rose petals on a spring afternoon
will snap at you out of jealously.

(c) Charles Waters 2016


Donna uses the blade as an entry point to talking about writing, also.


When I write
The veins open
And the vanes wildly
And I twist
Each word until they
Bleed wildly and
Spilling onto
The white of paper
Where they stain and
Then I sit
Anticipating the silent
Transfusion, as you
The meaning
In the words light
Or dark, flighty or
Bold, wondering, what did you

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


Jone Rush MacCulloch shares a very interesting connection with this object. You’ll want to read the full story at her blog.

Family Myth

“It was believed that bloodletting was a very important part of healing. ~Marcia Leiter

This tale
told to me
as a child.

Benjamin Rush
my fifth great grandfather,
swift in grabbing
the steel blade
and the brass cup

traps the infirm’s arm
slice the vein
lets the red ribbons
of stagnated blood
flow free

In 1799,
George Washington
requested a bloodetting
his physician,
my fifth great-grandfather.

Washington died

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved


I know that you are all chomping at the bit for the Week 2 FOUND OBJECTS. We will have one guest host this week. Thank you to Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche (Day 10).


DAY 8 PROMPT contributed by Diane Mayr (February 8)


DAY 9 PROMPT contributed by Mary Lee Hahn (February 9)


DAY 10 PROMPT contributed by Margaret Simon (February 10 at REFLECTIONS ON THE TECHE)

baie doll

DAY 11 PROMPT contributed by Linda Baie (February 11)


DAY 12 PROMPT contributed by Buffy Silverman (February 12)


DAY 13 PROMPT contributed by Linda Baie (February 13 —  Happy Birthday, Robbie!)


DAY 14 PROMPT contributed by Diane Mayr (February 14 — Happy Valentine’s Day!)

Leave your writing in the blog comments (feel free to post a poem or response in the comments of any project-related post). Be sure to note which day/prompt your poem or prose short goes with so I can post it on the correct day. Send in your writing ANY TIME — early, late. As long as I receive it by February 29, it will be posted along with the object of the day.

Perfect attendance is not a requirement of this project. Write and share your work as often as you like, even if it’s only once. The goal is to practice and share, not to polish, and certainly not to aim for perfection.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Monday, February 1
FOUND OBJECT: 100 year-old mailing box
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Jessica Bigi, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Brenda Harsham, Charles Waters, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona.

Tuesday, February 2
FOUND OBJECT: Fancy peppers and produce
Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Molly Hogan, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Margaret Simon, Jennifer Lewis, Charles Waters, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona.

Wednesday, February 3
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Mary Lee Hahn, Molly Hogan, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona.

Thursday, February 4
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Carol Varsalona, Catherine Flynn, Charles Waters, Donna Smith.

Friday, February 5 at Guest Blog, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
Poems by: Matt Forrest Esenwine, Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Molly Hogan, Margaret Simon, Carol Varsalona, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Charles Waters, Donna Smith.

Saturday, February 6
FOUND OBJECT: Antique Dolls
Poems by: Jennifer Lewis, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie,  Molly Hogan, Catherine Flynn, Heidi Mordhorst, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Mary Lee Hahn, Jessica Bigi, Margaret Simon, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Donna Smith.