The long road to a short word

Soviet era abstinence poster (1954). Pic via



Could we maybe try this another time, I’m very busy right now

I would love to but I’ve double-booked and I did say yes to them first

I’m afraid I don’t think I can really manage to do it sorry

Isn’t there someone else who could help you? This comes at an awkward time

Sorry but we made other plans already, we’ll be at the next one

Maybe if I’d had a bit more notice but there’s nothing I can do

Superb idea but I don’t have that kind of cash lying around

How about if we postpone until we’ve both got more headspace OK?

Why would you assume I can just drop everything to help you out?

A thousand apologies I forgot and now something’s come up

Well, I’m not really qualified and what if something were to go wrong…

Trying to be healthy, taking a little break, grabbing some me-time

It’s not you it’s me but maybe we can work things out and try friendship?

There are more important things I’d frankly rather be doing, thank-you

You didn’t fucking ask me properly and now you dump this on me

Perhaps it would be better if I didn’t come, I’m not feeling great

Can’t, won’t, don’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, broken, awful, why me, fuckit



Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing Month prompt/challenge was to write a poem with very long lines. This prompt was inspired the work of the Irish poet Ciaran Carson, who has stated that his lines are (partly) based on the seventeen syllables of the haiku, and that he strives to achieve the clarity of the haiku in each line. Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I’ve gone for 17 lines of 17 syllables each (plus the final one – what a relief!)


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