Words for Rebecca

Here are four new words for Rebecca to use in a poem. The rules are simple: she can use them in any order, in a poem of any length and form, but she must use all four words somewhere in the poem. Can’t wait to see what she does with them.


I hope you’ll drop by to read Rebecca’s effort. In the meantime you can see our earlier poems (and words sets) below. Feel free to use one of the sets of words to make up a poem of your own. We’d love to see it :)



Both Rebecca and I took a little time to come up with poems to our last set of words. So I was determined when she set me new words to get straight onto it. Fortunately the idea for this one came quickly. I think the arrangement of the magnets made me immediately think of measuring lives, and the rest just came.

Walk Pic June 14


Some people measure their lives
by the achievements they’ve made
the people they’ve met
the money they’ve earned.
Some people worry
how they’ll be remembered
and who they’ll be remembered by.
But stop for a moment
and take note
of the breaths you take
the songs you sing
and the loves you love.
Treasure immeasurable.

(Sally Murphy, 2014)


When Sally gave me my latest word prompts, I wrote a very silly poem about ‘ox’ rhyming with ‘fox’ and ‘box’ but how you can’t rhyme ‘oxen’ with ‘foxen’ or ‘boxen’ — but then I put that poem aside. Because the one I’m posting below was brewing, and I liked the idea of it more (even though it wasn’t written yet!). ‘Ox’ had reminded me about Judith Wright’s poem ‘Bullocky’. I’d first read that years ago, at highschool, and really loved it. So then I decided to write something from a bullock’s point of view.


This team of oxen,
under relentless Australian sun
we pull —
leaders at the front, polers at the back, near the wagon.
Two by two we move
by dry creek beds,
two by two
along dusty tracks
and the bullockies crack their whips.

The bullockies shout curses
because of the flies, or the ridged track
worn too far one way or the other —
mustn’t tip the wagon-load of wool and wheat,
“Git over!”

At night the bullockies
squat by flickering firelight, under starred skies
and leave us to find feed,
leave us to drift, to dream.

What are a bullock’s dreams?
I dream of green grasses,
cool waterholes,
and freedom —
walking without another shoulder yoked to mine.

Rebecca Newman, 2014

My Granny

It’s taken me quite some time to tackle Rebecca’s latest set of words. I’ve been busy with many things, but also find that sometimes I just have to wait for the muse to tell me what to do with a writing prompt. Today is that day! I must confess this poem is almost about me – I am a Granny, after all. But I don’t think I’m quite as energetic as this fictional Granny.

My Granny

My granny’s pretty groovy
If you saw her you’d agree
That she’s a grooving granny
Who is such a sight to see.

She is always energetic
Running here and dashing there
Till we all start to wonder
If she ever stops for air.

But there’s something I must tell you.
It’s a secret I can’t keep.
My granny does not stop moving,
Even when she is asleep!

Sally Murphy, 2014


I walked around with Sally’s challenge words in my head for quite a few days. They seemed to be words that go with exclamation marks and I originally thought I’d write a loud sort of poem … but my imagination had different ideas. I had a particular scene in mind by the time I wrote my first draft. 


Now if you shut your eyes
you will not hear the shouts and calls from the picnic ground.
The cars, the dogs, the children with their balls and skipping ropes
have gone.
By the billabong, a shadow stirs and stills
a soft light spills
as the moon rises full and true.
The shadow slips to the water’s edge
and sniffs at the air
before drinking.

Copyright Rebecca Newman 2014


When Rebecca gave me the latest batch of words, I had no idea what those three words would provoke. I started writing, and this is what came out – about an issue close to my heart.


I sing

of a courageous tree

which struggles on

beside the sea

in spite of wind

and waves

and sand


betwixt ocean and land.


I sing

of snail

that battles on

though winter’s rains

are so long gone

and shelters


in fragile shell.

How long

till rain

he cannot tell.


I sing

of you

embattled child

whose land

and life

have been defiled.

Who seeks new home

new hope

new place

Yet languish now

in no-man-s space.


I sing

to tell the world you’re there.

I sing

to let you know I care.

And like that tree

and like that snail

I sing in hopes

you will prevail.


I sing for you

young refugee

in hopes one day

you will be free.


Sally Murphy, 2014