Week 26: Squiffy Gnu, Where Are You?

Squiffy is in hiding, after a couple of major setbacks. Firstly, last Tuesday the Serengeti Arts Council withdrew funding from all poetry groups, following an unfortunate incident involving financial reserves and antelope racing. Then, to make matters worse, his Elvis-loving cousin Quiffy Gnu announced that he was also starting a poetry prompt blog, and was planning to tap up dead poets for contributions, using an opiate-saturated ouja board.

What can we, as a herd, do to help Squiffy, and coax him out of his hermit-like trough ? The Admins think we should write him some promotional poems, maybe a radio jingle or two, something to boost Squiffy’s profile.

Or you may take the view that the best promotion would just be to see many new, high quality poems appearing on the Group page. In which case, how about writing on the subject of publicity, or privacy ?

Prompt by Chris

Picture credit – I can’t see anything by Satish Krishnamurphy


Week 25: You Choose

This week’s prompt is not intended to channel your thinking in any particular direction. There are as many possible topics as blades of grass on the savanna. There is only one requirement—Squiffy would like you to post something you’ve written yourself and which you like above all others. It doesn’t matter if it has or hasn’t ever been published, or posted before. Our Revered Leader doesn’t care if no-one else understood or appreciated it. If you wrote it and you experienced that unique thrill, that touch of euphoria that gladdens a writer’s heart, that mists the eye with a tear of joy or sadness, please share it with us this week. Show Squiffy what you’re made of!

‘Prompt’ posted by Colin on behalf of His Squiffiness.

Image credit: /www.flickr.com

Week 24: Lord Foulsham

Squiffy was really only being polite when he invited mid-league wildlife photographer Harry “Lord” Foulsham to call in at his savannah home, if he was ever passing. He hadn’t expected to be sitting up into the early morning, swigging cheap Amarula juice and having to defend his championing of the poetry prompt scene, even though, as Foulsham claimed, “there’s no money in it -what’s the point? ”

Piqued , Squiffy pointed out that the only significant literary income Foulsham had ever secured was from a range of 1950s leisure books. But as his followers know, Squiffy is a diplomatic soul, and spotting a perfect prompting opportunity for a bank holiday weekend, is inviting you to consider the attached listing of the would-be noble’s many instructional manuals.

Poems about card games, public speaking, the slightly odd juxtaposition of dark fantastic dreams with basic radio maintenance, prove Squiffy right, expose Fousham for the cynical hack he could very well be…

Prompt and photo by Chris

Week 23: Discomfortability

What—it’s not in your spell-checker’s dictionary?  Well, according to Squiffy, it’s the capability of stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s a characteristic of mountain climbers, lone yachts-men and women, epidural refuseniks and people with a lot of tattoos or piercings. Gnus have discomfortability, but hippopotamuses haven’t. (They’re rather stick-in-the mud.)

It’s probably not a good thing if taken to excess. However, as Squiffy once said (in a moment of reduced squiffiness): ‘If you’re not ready to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’

Have you ever faced, voluntarily, a challenge you’d like to tell Squiffy about? Either successfully or as a learning experience?

Prompt by Colin.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com

Week 22: School Days

“At school they all stop and stare,
probably because I’m far too old to be there.”
“Leader of the Pack”
Julian Clary as the Joan Collins Fan Club

Now Squiffy doesn’t like to cause offence, but he’s guessing that for most Gnus, writing about school days will be a retrospective matter. There’s no problem with that of course, and many ways to approach the subject; with hindsight, or after dusting down those old diaries, fond anecdotes, or catharsis, your school days, or someone else’s…

Squiffy thinks this prompt could be a good workout for writing from all five senses, and communicating something that you remember vividly, but readers may not (except for Gnus who also had Mr Harbottle for woodwork; “the dogs, the dogs, the massive oaken dogs”)

You had to be there, well, you did for a few years anyway.
(from a suggestion by Peter King)

Picture Credit: Flickr Creative Commons- Rainy Day by frankieleon

Week 21: The Gods Next Door

Marie Phillips novel ‘Gods Behaving Badly’ imagined the gods of Olympus alive and well in the twenty-first century, but crammed together in a London townhouse – and none too happy about it. And they’ve had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ.

Diana Wynne Jones novel ‘Eight Days of Luke’ connected Norse god quarrels and manoeuvres with contemporary life, giving Thor a leather-jacket gang in a pinball arcade and putting one-eyed Wutan in a business suit.

So what would it be like to have a god living with you in today’s world or next door in human form? What would the god think? Perhaps this, as written by Philip Levine https://goo.gl/Gs9B8A  Or perhaps the god is bemused by his country now, perhaps he’s your lover? – possibilities in this poem from a Native American perspective by Esther Belin https://goo.gl/f13W1G

So Squiffy, who knows a thing or two about Pan and other gods ( https://goo.gl/VlDWMS ), wants you to tell him about the god next door, or the one you live with. Just give him hints, say what you see or suspect. He wants to work out if he knows them.

Prompt by John Alwyine-Mosely

Picture Credit: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/

Week 20: Fascinating Ruins


The result of decay, chaos, conflict with nature, or mankind—is it dereliction or synthesis? At one level, this link, sent to Squiffy* by Vicky Hampton, offers a fascinating glimpse into a lost world.


Any one of these ten photos could be the basis for a poem. Partial destruction can reveal more secrets than were originally apparent. But what are the forces involved? What’s the story behind the changed state? Can ruination be creative? Even beautiful?