May 2, 2006

It's a sign of...

So this month we look at signs. It started with the poem "Slow Children at Play" by Cecilia Woloch which probably was inspired with a sign that looks like the one shown here.

Add to that a little misreading. Blame the lack of punctuation. (There wasn't enough space to make it "Slow. Children at play." and keep all the English teachers happy?)

Of course, that word "sign" is loaded with meaning. We are all looking for signs. We all love to interpret signs. The English teachers especially love that. Putting "sign and symbol" into a Google search only resulted in 67,000 hits. Here's a starting place for you: semiotics (the study of signs - here's a second site to try too)

For May's writing prompt on the site, we look for an actual sign to be the starting place (and also the title) for a poem.

Maybe it's a roadsign, or on a store, even an ad in a newspaper, magazine or on TV is acceptable.

There are plenty of humorous signs out there, so maybe it will lead you to a humorous poem.

How about this thought from "A Song at the End of the World" by Czeslaw Milosz about the signs we are looking for (and these days seem to be missing)

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Check out Cecilia Woloch's website and blog at and her book for more about her and her poetry.


  1. take a look at the signs at

  2. at first I thought about funny signs that I might use in the vein of "Slow Children" - but I'd suggest that writers consider everyday signs like "Ladies Only" "Soft Shoulder" "One Way" "Last Exit" that will only be charged with meaning if you write the poem


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