Poetry Jam - How to Poems

Today's challenge at Poetry Jam is to write a "how to" poem...
and so here is my "How to Write a Poem"...and my "How to Be Six" poem embedded in it.

How to Write a Poem

first write down a bunch of things
all the zany little zings
that just wing
into your
your fenced in frame
of mind.
when your fingers stop and linger
on a gritty, grainy zinger
let it sing
out of your
unfettered frame
of mind.

How to be
How to stop a cat
How to pat a dog
how to clean the refrigerator
how to stuff a turkey
how to make coffee
how to climb a hill
how to try on shoes
how to comb your hair
how to brush a cat/dog
how to open a door
how to close a door
how to calm fears
how to eat a lobster
how to drive
how to crack an egg
how to watch a deer
how to talk to a cat
how to talk to a dog
how to be six

How to Be Six

take away your many years
put aside your grown up fears
look for silly where you are
make a vroom sound for a car
grin and make a funny face
start a rousing game of chase
put an olive on your finger
when its bedtime whine and linger
throw a rock that goes too far
almost hitting someone’s car;
lick your finger, rub your shoe
till it looks as good as new;
put your backpack on your belly,
stick your finger in the jelly;
put on shoes, left on right -
try to tie the laces tight;
put your toys and clothes away,
toss them where the monsters play;
ride a bike, swing on swings,
think of scary, funny things;
ask one question, then another,
when you’re finished, hit your brother;
use a sheet to build a tent
ask just what “inquis'tive” meant;
find a tree to climb real high,
sitting there, become a spy;
watch for strangers and for danger,
then become a forest ranger;
ride your bike so fast you crash,
dig to find a pirate’s stash;
see how deep a puddle is
shake a soda, watch it fizz;
muddy feet and dirty clothes,
clean them off with garden hose;
you’ve become your best at six
another number has some tricks;
time to see how you will handle
another year, another candle;
grab the next list of “How to...”
seven’s here to challenge you.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014, all rights reserved


  1. I enjoyed both the clever construction of your poem and the tone. You have really captured the six year old through the little images you share. I particularly like the olive on the finger!

  2. Very clever! I can see your mental processes as you worked through "how to" ideas. That is how my mind works sometime too. Smiles. Since I have a granddaughter who JUST turns seven years old today, I am very familiar with the 'six-year-old.' Smles. You have really captured the imagination that comes with the age.

  3. this is an amazing capture...lots of how to's.."ask one question, then another, / when you’re finished, hit your brother"...love it..

  4. What a wonderful stream of consciousness meander through the process of writing a poem. Well done!

  5. this is so delightful (◕‿◕。)

    much love...

  6. Loved 'how to be a six'..well written..& nice rhyming too..!!!

  7. I became six again whilst reading the poem - excellent.

  8. ha. i like the creativeness in this....six was a good age...one we can revisit at times....before responsibility...life seemed so much easier.....and i agree as well on writing a poem...you just have to let go and let it flow....

  9. Loved reading this, Donna! You have really captured the magic of that age.


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