“Thus began this painful project”: Exquisite Corpse Poems


At our last meeting of the semester, HCC’s Writing Group followed a version of the “Exquisite Corpse” game: Person 1 wrote a first line of a poem, then handed the paper on to Person 2, who added a line and then folded over the paper so that only this second line was showing. Then Person 2 handed off to Person 3, who added a line based only the line showing, then folded over the paper in the same manner. Each new “poet” was seeing only the last line. The result can (obviously) be all over the map. But since there’s at least some connection from line to line, the results are sometimes surprising. Here are a few…

Thank you God for my eye doctors and their excellent care

For sight itself is priceless

Like a pawnshop reject

Thus began this painful project


And only time could tell if it would work

But since time is still, and all is ill, why not sell your worth?

Rummage, run, and ruin on all things.


Can anything be saved?

Is salvation meant for any?

Or just the chosen ones or those who believe in John 3:16

Or those who say, “Amen,” unseen.




Man is like a river that flows two ways

Which way will he flow that day?

Which path will he choose?

And how wide will it be?


Will we ever know?

Or find the mountain climber in the snowdrift?


Alas, I have no Tenzig Norgay to guide my way

But that light I shall use as my beacon

To send a multitude of visions upon the doorstep of reason

Just cuz it’s that time of season!

This became the major reason


(note: the image is from gregoryabbott.us)


One thought on ““Thus began this painful project”: Exquisite Corpse Poems

  1. what a beautiful poems , I love the inspiration and the imagination the people have, I really enjoyed read it every time I can because I love this kind of literature
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