Poetry Month Day 20: On Storage

This poem is also an entry for the Slice of Life weekly writing challenge. Go give them a visit!

What do you do with all of your ideas,
they wondered
that you gather during the day?

She thought a moment,
pursed her lips
looked real hard to her left
(as if something were there)
then she shrugged her shoulders and said,


The idea might be thin and wispy
so I’d carry it like a scrap of paper,
tucking it wherever it might fit best

Or it might be rough and scrabbly,
so I might work it with my hands,
roll it around my brain
until it’s smooth and shiny

For the one that might be handy
I’d plunk it into my pocket
and carry it around
with the keys
and the loose change
and the day’s worries
until I needed it

Some others still
just need to live in my mind,
traveling in and out of rooms
whispering when they want to
and shouting when they must.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

21 thoughts on “Poetry Month Day 20: On Storage

  1. So many ideas and so many places to house them until they are needed. Sometimes one flimsy idea pairs with another flimsy and together they become a force to be reckoned with.

  2. I love the way you described each scenario–so accurate. Although I think I need one more stanza about the ones that get lost and are so hard to get back! LOL.

    1. Ah! Yes! That! ‘course, I could be all crafty and tell you that’s why I left them out of the poem. Wish I were that savvy 😉

  3. This is a delightful find! So apt and familiar these descriptions: “carry it like a scrap of paper” and “roll it around my brain
    until it’s smooth and shiny” – Yes! And it’s these final lines “whispering when they want to / and shouting when they must” which just seal it for me! Each line rings so very true.

    1. Thank you! It’s really hitting me how much of my day is actually spent with ideas for writing or lines of poetry…

  4. So much to smile about here! The second stanza is my favorite (love the details!), but the whole poem just lays out your solutions to the dilemma so well.

    1. Thanks, Tim! I guess looking over the last couple days I’ve been overrun with my thoughts. Perhaps that’s…a good problem to have…?

  5. The last two lines, “whispering when they want to
    and shouting when they must” speak to the vulnerability I feel when deciding what to write about. I love how this poem states what many of us go through as writers constantly collecting ideas.

    1. Thank you! I would say that participating in SOL has made me feel so connected to the writing community, and on my own practices as well. It’s incredibly validating to know that I’m not alone in my struggles.

  6. So much thinking around an idea! The last stanza is my favorite because that seems to where most of my ideas are!

  7. There really are textures and “feelings” to ideas – I get this. I once heard that “a new idea is a fragile thing.” I know it is true. I think my favorite of all these images is the kind of idea in the last stanza:

    traveling in and out of rooms
    whispering when they want to
    and shouting when they must.

    These are mighty ones, indeed. The important thing is – in connection with your title – is that each idea needs a keeping-place.

    1. Yes, each idea DOES need a space. I’m not always entirely tidy, though – sometimes that gets to me. As for the ending, thank you. There are times when I’m at a loss for how to end a poem, only to realize that it’s best to leave my work as it stands. This was one of those times…

  8. I enjoy the various descriptions you provide about ideas. I’m also reminded of the picture book, “What Do You Do With an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada. My favorite stanza: “For the one that might be handy/ I’d plunk it into my pocket…”

    1. Ah yes, that book! I love that one! How did I not think of it when I was writing today? Thanks for the memory and the smile.

  9. Ah, where do all words and idea that say “Yes, write me, but not right now we plea!” go until they’re ready for the world to be seen? I enjoyed how you write the process.

    1. Oh yes, THOSE. I have some poems and stories that aren’t yet ready for me to write them. You are 100% right on that.

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