Three prompt poems by Eileen Carney Hulme

Today we have something a little bit novel. The Scottish poet Eileen Carney Hulme has been much taken up recently with a poetry writing challenge. One day Eileen came across a post on the Twitter page of Cobh Readers and Writers Festival which was urging poets in lockdown to write a poem a day according to five randomly chosen ‘prompt’ words. Eileen now has over 90 ‘prompt’ poems as a result, so the three published here today represent but a tiny fraction of her recent output! I will follow up this post with another selection of Eileen’s poems, but ones written for a new pamphlet of love poems she’s working on (expected 2021 from Indigo Dreams Publishing). Her most recent collection is The Stone Messenger (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015).


Time stops
a younger skinny me
clumsy and self-conscious
in a post war mining village
posing with friends
and here I am again
skinny still
sitting on a doorstep
with my aunt
arms around each other.
I don’t remember those shoes
I’m wearing
how mum could afford them.
Two jobs to make ends meet
after dad died.
These memories, dusted
washed by rain
close the gap between
then and now,
ghosts from a box
comfort me
as the world splits
spills its pain.

Prompt words: 
Skinny, friends, war, box, clumsy


We place each cork
upon the windowsill
reminding us of celebrations,
a birthday, an anniversary
the festive season,
or the day our daughter
came safely through an operation,
distance a punishment
in times of crisis.
Eventually the windowsill becomes
crowded and we motion them along,
each one having absorbed our happiness,
life’s little miracles.

Prompt words:
Cork, punishment, operation, absorbed, motion


I wonder how my childhood
friends would classify me.
Only child, loner.
I am still that same person
who loved a spelling bee
hated maths
won an English prize
whose favourite toy
was a blackboard
to chalk up little stories
then rub them out
begin again tomorrow.
Currently I’m daily
trying to optimize 5 words.
I still write by hand
my crossings-out
part of my journey.

Prompt words:
Classify, chalk, toy, optimize, person

2 thoughts on “Three prompt poems by Eileen Carney Hulme

  1. I loved these poems. They are so open and fresh. I was impressed too with the way the prompt words were so seamlessly woven in. It takes skill to make it look “easy”.


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