Poetry Tow Truck #5: Going Up? And Down?

Looking for an easy way to throw yourself into new thought patterns and create a draft that surprises you? Try this Up and Down technique and see what happens.  Choose any phrase or sentence that happens to be in your head – the title of a song, a television show, or even a common saying and write it vertically down the page. Then turn the process around and write the same phrase from the bottom up. ( I chose Merry Christmas as an example.)

You should have something that looks like this:

















Then use these pairs of letters in one of several ways:

  • Write two-word lines using the pairs as starting letters for each word.


Maybe silence

enters, arrives

reciting memories…

  • Write lines of any length, using the two words as the first two of each line.

Maybe silence is the last thing that

enters, arrives late, apologetic,

reciting memories as mantras…


  • Start the line with a word using the first letter and end the line with a word using the second letter.

Maybe we all sit and wait for silence,

enter a state of suspension, arrive

reciting a mantra of memory…

As you can see, each approach gave the same idea a slightly different twist.  Once you have a draft completed, go ahead and break the pattern for revision. Draft isn’t cohesive and not salvageable as is? Pull some of your best language and free write from there. The possibilities are endless!




14 thoughts on “Poetry Tow Truck #5: Going Up? And Down?

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  3. Donna, I like the exercise and will work on it today as I am free. I did another exercise from a site and I think it might have been this one about dung beetles ??? I did the exercise and then had no idea what site to post it on LOL. It was good fun to do and if it was not your site, then ignore this message. I will try this one though. Thank you 🙂 Maire

  4. My poem, thank you for the prompt and it was good fun 🙂

    HR hum, raspberries
    AE awkward, eagle
    PT pepper, tempting
    PS peep, silence
    YA yawn, apple

    EE explode, emerald
    AY almond, youth
    SP strapless, purple
    TP tears, pretty
    EA earthy, aromatic
    RH rustle, harmony

    AL azure, liquid
    LL love, lane
    LA lift, amber

    The whispering hum
    of raspberry canes
    blushed awkwardly
    along the garden wall
    under the eagle eyes
    of the caretaker.
    Deliciously ripe,
    her mind peppered
    with blistering temptation.

    She peeped through
    the silence of noon,
    yawned into the shade
    of the apple trees,
    the tart fruit exploding
    on gnarled branches.

    Her emerald ring shimmered
    on fat almond fingers
    as she plunged youthful hands
    into dense berry bushes.
    Her strapless top
    hooked onto the blackcurrant.

    Unhinged, she backed out flustered
    blotched and stained purple.
    She wept sweaty tears
    blurting out an apology,
    then prettied herself calm
    with a spray of aromatic herbs,

    The earthy scent
    of lemon balm and mint
    sprinkled the air fresh,
    mingled with the rustle of birdsong
    lilting summer harmonies
    from honeysuckle trees
    as she ambled home.

    Beneath an azure sky,
    the sun shone liquid
    spilling into her lane.
    Her love surprised her
    with butterfly kisses
    lifting her off her feet.

    On the amber table,
    there were glasses
    of peaches and cream,
    bowls of strawberries
    and a bottle of raspberry wine.

    It ended a day divine.

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