Prose poems look like traditional prose (they’re written in paragraphs), but they sound more like poems, utilizing techniques such as repetition, rhyme, alliteration, a focus on imagery, and a heightened emotional effect.
Read the examples below, and then write your own prose poem, letting your mind float from thought to thought in paragraph form. Your first draft may be more of a free write… then work on tightening up your language, tossing out any un-needed words, phrases, and sentences.
Prose Poem II
After the storm the ocean returned without fanfare to its old offices; the tide climbed onto the snow-covered shore and then receded; so there was the world: sky, water, the pale sand and, where the tide had reached that day’s destination, the snow.
And this detail: the body of a duck, a golden-eye; and beside it one black-backed gull. In the body of the duck, among the breast feathers, a hole perhaps an inch across; the color within the hole a shouting red. And bend it as you might, nothing was to blame: storms must toss, and the great black-backed gawker must eat, and so on. It was merely a moment. The sun, angling out from the bunched clouds, cast one could easily imagine tenderly over the landscape its extraordinary light.
This tree has two million and seventy-five thousand leaves. Perhaps I missed a leaf or two but I do feel triumphant at having persisted in counting by hand branch by branch and marked down on paper with pencil each total. Adding them up was a pleasure I could understand; I did something on my own that was not dependent on others, and to count leaves is not less meaningful than to count the stars, as astronomers are always doing. They want the facts to be sure they have them all. It would help them to know whether the world is finite. I discovered one tree that is finite. I must try counting the hairs on my head, and you too. We could swap information.