Prompt #70 “Speed Challenge” – Poems in 20 Minutes


Image: Jeeyoung Lee

Today’s challenge is to write as many poems as you can in twenty minutes.

We are also asked to submit everything we wrote. Well you asked for it. Here’s what I did in twenty minutes.


Twenty minutes isn’t long

Maybe I should sing a song?

Then perhaps she’d stop and listen

See in me such amazing stuff.



My bathroom is in tatters

We have gutted it last week

Built in the 1940’s

Asbestos and all sorts of nasties

Have given us some food for thought.

Over time no wall is straight

Working hard to get it all plum.

In time I shall have a new space

In which to bathe and shower my golden body.

But until then it’s down the back

In a makeshift shower

In what was once a storage cupboard.



I get lost some days

Not sure where anything is

Is up still up

Is down still down

Yes I discover

Finding myself on the floor

I straighten up

Look around

Oh yes it is breakfast time.



Words flow out when I want them too

Like a vacuum they are sucked away

They take a shape in front of me then

I go back and reshape



Never happy

Its what I do

When words do come flowing out.



If I lost you what would I do?

Always I’d ask why?

Where do you go?

Where do I?

But there is always a reason

Fate you say has a say

Determines what should happen

When we’ve no idea.



When I was a boy

I had a toy

A small conglomeration of wheels

It squeaked and groaned

It intrigued me each day

Some wheels went round

Some did not

Some it seemed did and did not

At night I heard it grind to a halt

It sat on the floor

Beneath my bed

I looked at it and it looked at me

It stayed that way

All through the night.



Have you much time I asked?

No you’ve used nine minutes already

Bugger I said

I wanted to write an ode

A ballad even

A piece of rhyme

So now I look at this mindless drivel

What literary merit does it conjure up?

Maybe the meanderings of a tired old man

Or the youthful wishes of an even tireder old man.



Place it there

Just near my heart

Hold it close

I want to feel its beating

I love to know its you

Who once held it to your lips

Now against my heart I feel

You so close

So close to me.



Time is running out you say

Finite it is

Limited today

No chance to reflect

Get down a thought

Its only two minutes and your time is up.

No wait

It’s actually seven

That ode might happen

You never know.



I looked down my yard today

Sun was blazing

The first warm day

As spring approaches

The weeds do grow

My garden hungers for new growth

There are new tomato plants to go in

The fruit will be used

Children will ask

For their fair share

I’ll make some relish

A chutney or two

But always knowing it’s from my garden

This bounty has grown.



The cows outside my fence graze

They reproduce

They graze some more.

Soon the vealers will be in the shops

The mothers will low and lament their lose

Then the bull will

Reintroduce himself

The cycle will begin again.



I discovered the back of my old house

It’s a yellow/orange colour

I knew it was there but never saw it before

I reflected on the days

When so long ago

My great grandparents

Had it painted

Believing it smartened it up

Never thinking it would one day

Disappear behind progress.



And now my time is all but up

I’ve managed a twenty-minute piece

She should be happy I could think this long

So who knows if I will or not

Ever make it as a poet

You just never know it.


Written for:


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17 Responses to Prompt #70 “Speed Challenge” – Poems in 20 Minutes

  1. Wow Michael you were able to write quite a lot! I like this challenge because I can really overthink sometimes and it is quite freeing since I don’t have time to cater my pickiness. I could relate to a number of your poems I find people tend to write more personally about their lives and that is quite refreshing!

  2. Wonderful…isn’t amazing what comes up when one unfetters the mind in this sort of way. Loved your approach, very real and so human. 🙂

  3. There was a bit of absolutely everything in this. I think my faves are 6 and 8. Great you gave it a go a very freeing experience.

  4. Lyn says:

    I’m impressed! I doubt I could write even one poem in 20 minutes, let alone thirteen. It’s quite a mix bag too 🙂

  5. JackieP says:

    Wow, you are one writing machine this week! I loved these, they were writing on the fly and sometimes that’s the best way to go.

  6. Pat says:

    These pieces brought me along on an interesting journey – from the philosophically wandering wonders of up/down to memories of toys, to thinking about history as discovered in paint. Just a delight to read Michael. 🙂

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