Writing prompt for tinywords 17.1

A mainstay of haiku and much of short form poetry is seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. This issue?s writing prompt features the interaction of charged particles with atoms in the upper atmosphere (that’s the textbook definition). But we know them as the aurora borealis, or the northern lights. For those who have seen the aurora borealis in person there certainly is an element of the other-worldly going on. Some form of natural magic. Or maybe you see something else. Let us know in a poem. We invite you to put your best inspired efforts in the comment box below. We?ll select the best of the best to start the next issue of tinywords, due out in mid-March.

Keep in mind, we will continue to accept regular submissions for the next issue (issue 17.1) through the end of February at our Submit page.

Thanks for dropping by and for sharing your poems.

All best,

239 Responses

  1. Jennifer Moore Says:

    too long for haiku
    aurora borealis
    poems in motion

  2. Alan Summers Says:

    the last star 
    straight into morning
    kingfisher dreams

  3. Alan Summers Says:

    clouds of breath
    a stranger in the night
    feeding swans

  4. Alan Summers Says:

    taking the blues
    out of this goodbye
    winter river

  5. The High Priestess Says:

    how beautiful

  6. Alan Summers Says:

    Thank you! That's extremely kind. Britain certainly has a long winter.

    warmest regards,


  7. Ray Zhang Says:

    shifting, surreal forms
    light dancing across the sky
    hints of higher planes

  8. Peg Duthie Says:

    popsicle picnic
    grandmothers whisper
    over our heads

  9. Tony Burfield Says:

    particle leap in collision damp on pine

  10. F.J. Bergmann Says:

    above the forest
    northern lights ripple
    greenlighting space

  11. divadiane1 Says:

    Nice! See mine?

  12. Judith Hishikawa Says:

    in the sky

  13. kiwiskan Says:

    dancing with
    charged particles

  14. Barbara Searcy Says:

    Beyond reach
    My grandchilds
    Paint box

  15. gatheringwonder Says:

    distant memory –
    in the northern lights
    the Big Dipper

  16. Alma Pesiri Says:

    great image!

  17. Alan Summers Says:

    northern lights
    a boy makes a ladder
    out of his telescope

    Alan Summers
    Publication Credit: Blithe Spirit 24.3 (August 2014); Scope (Fellowship of Writers, Queensland) April 2015 volume 61 no 3

  18. gatheringwonder Says:

    YES Alan, wonderful! And a response…

    arriving –
    the constellation
    in slow motion

  19. Alan Summers Says:

    Thank you!

    Ah, yes, the constellations a constant wonder for many of us. :-)

    ursa major
    a plane's navigation lights
    leave the system

    Alan Summers
    Publication credit: Asahi Shimbun, Japan (September 2016)

  20. gatheringwonder Says:

    starlight –
    she receives her eyes
    in her womb

  21. Alan Summers Says:

    It's amazing what the human goes through in the womb. And how we are made up of so many things including stardust. :-)

  22. Sondra J. Byrnes Says:

    another blind date aurora borealis

  23. calikopczick Says:

    Late winter trip north
    Sky like a bruised eye all day
    Too early for lights

  24. Sharon Frizzell Says:

    Above the treetops
    Red Yellow Green draperies
    Frame heaven's proscenium

  25. calikopczick Says:

    Batting the window
    Shut out like gnats in summer
    Strange shadows within

  26. Robert Cochran Says:

    bad water

  27. dmayr Says:

    his finger traces
    the pattern of my bruise
    …northern lights

  28. Elizabeth Alford Says:

    in the end we go
    our separate ways…
    northern lights

  29. pauline gauthier Says:

    after our first kiss
    aurora borealis
    against a black sky

  30. K Ramesh Says:

    sky colours…
    a kingfisher's call
    moves in the forest

  31. gatheringwonder Says:

    within pine needles
    cricket song

  32. brieannne tanner Says:

    graffiti splatters spirit
    spray paint space
    aura marks matter

  33. Ron Scully Says:

    northern lights
    the forgiveness of sleep
    dreams pale jade

  34. Richard Rosen Says:

    lush brushed sky
    tears in my eye
    a long slow sigh

  35. Elizabeth Says:

    looking up
    from our screens
    we feel small

  36. Dave Mohn Says:

    mischievous midnight
    raids the cosmic crayons…
    green and red missing

  37. Judy Says:

    needles and branches
    zing alive
    reaching for color

  38. Elizabeth Says:

    shimmering sky
    what a promise
    might look like

  39. Jeanie Tomasko Says:

    stars are falling out of your pocket

  40. amycastor Says:

    Green and red
    heave almighty
    across a lint
    speckled sky

  41. Elizabeth Says:

    a candy sky
    we taste a hint
    of something unseen

  42. john c Says:

    Sealing up my eyes
    against the city's sharp gaze
    I thought of the woods

  43. Eddee Daniel Says:

    aurora borealis
    once again
    only a photograph

  44. SE Gifford Says:

    Just when you thought
    Everything was black and white-
    Aurora borealis

  45. Elizabeth Says:

    ah yes…beautiful

  46. KNace Says:

    Yes! Attended a lecture tonight on brain science… your synthesis is applicable in so many ways.

  47. Stella Says:

    my favourite

  48. Lynne Rees Says:

    Love this!

  49. Canka Shishkova Says:

    a new hope :-)

  50. Roger Hewitt Says:

    Extraterrestrial visitors
    dally at the edge
    of our senses

  51. SE Gifford Says:

    Aurora borealis –
    We are but guests at
    The great cosmic soiree

  52. SE Gifford Says:

    On this cold winter
    night warmed to the core by the
    fires in the sky

  53. Elizabeth Says:

    out of darkness
    bright fringes of heaven

  54. SE Gifford Says:

    Aurora Borealis-
    the only gift I bring to
    this party is my awe

  55. CJ Muchhala Says:

    a sonata in
    soundless waves of light–
    aurora borealis

  56. Elizabeth Says:

    we and the trees
    stretch up toward the lights
    fall quiet

  57. Kris Lindbeck Says:

    Trees reaching
    to the sun's bright shadow . . .
    winter night

    the cold wind on my face
    frost flowers

  58. Nuvola vagante Says:

    yet clear
    the ultimate dream

  59. edbremson Says:

    did Van Gogh ever see
    the Northern Lights?

  60. Lisa Helen Chavez Says:

    I love that question.

  61. zurq Says:

    This wild world
    Over the damned

  62. serenitysearcherii Says:

    mystic skies amid
    tree-filled horizons-
    imbue ghostly grace

  63. edbremson Says:

    when I was a boy…
    did I see the Northern Lights
    or was it a dream?

  64. Canka Shishkova Says:

    dreams are still alive

  65. spinningwench Says:

    The sky loves the forest
    it reflects its beauty back
    and everything is twice a good

  66. edbremson Says:

    the Aurora forms
    a benediction for
    all live below

  67. magyar Says:

    __ While watching the Northern Lights, seers may imagine the light's rhythm is the guide of their pulse. _m

    lights throb
    above this north forest strand
    the seers pulse

  68. Sam Bateman Says:

    aurora borealis . . .
    beyond any

  69. Dottie Piet Says:

    peace be with you
    spirit of the north
    blesses our world

  70. Simon Hanson Says:

    jade buddha
    the aurora plays
    in the upper atmosphere

  71. Banyan Tree Haiku Says:

    cat's eye
    slipping into the swirls
    of a marble

    -Marianne Paul

  72. Gail Ramsey Says:

    Ethereal hijab
    hovers over night forest

  73. Simon Hanson Says:

    the lives of trees

  74. Frederick Melancon Says:

    spectrums of light
    explode in the air
    above our heads

  75. JeVincent Says:

    that's not okay

  76. Lisa Helen Chavez Says:

    Chlorophyll absorbs
    aurora skyglow. These trees
    know more than you think.

  77. Shirdog1966 Says:

    Lights of heaven
    all colors.

  78. rlene Says:

    somebody else's war
    not mine

  79. Dave Read Says:

    heaven's path …
    an old spirit
    lights the torch

  80. Miho Kinnas Says:

    Only if
    I could see you
    aurora borealis

  81. Dave Read Says:

    spirit dance …
    the light in a dead
    deer's eye

  82. The High Priestess Says:


  83. Dave Read Says:

    Thank you!

  84. Penumbra Haiku Says:

    eventide muse bows
    silent rogue audience sways
    starlit rainbows throb

  85. Malintha Perera Says:

    in heaven

  86. Sidney Bending Says:

    ancestor spirits
    the child throws chalk dust
    into the night

  87. Alma Pesiri Says:

    love this one, too

  88. Sidney Bending Says:

    aurora owl
    feathered night wings

  89. Alma Pesiri Says:

    image I can see…

  90. klacsanzky Says:

    nirvana . . .
    one strand of color
    at a time

  91. klacsanzky Says:

    kaleidoscope . . .
    if only the evergreens
    would sway

  92. Isak Kempe Says:

    northern sky

    the road diverges

    without a sound

  93. gatheringwonder Says:

    ancient thought –
    a fiddlehead fern

  94. beezknez Says:

    the giraffes neck
    so long peeks
    stripping the leaves
    camouflaged in the northern light
    as trees take climb
    the heights of the sky
    the illusion

  95. Conor Kelly Says:

    incandescent sky
    beyond the trees that shed the snow
    near Rovaniemi

  96. David Ruhoff Says:

    Silent light show
    Absolutely free
    cosmic weather
    as predictable
    as grace

  97. RpVerlaine Says:

    And blotter acid
    Fuels the liquid sky

  98. Martin higgins Says:

    God IS real , far now
    Rubber band magnet pings, free
    Radicals alive

  99. Tsanka Shishkova Says:

    aurora in the sky –
    may be message from
    the future …

  100. Tsanka Shishkova Says:

    from the heaven

  101. Tsanka Shishkova Says:

    colors of life
    our sky reminds them –

  102. divadiane1 Says:

    even heralded by greens, reds and yellows
    have they arrived?
    empty forest

  103. nikolaygrankin Says:

    children's coloring book
    the colored spots exceed
    all the bounds

  104. hanshateki Says:

    within Salome's
    seven veils

  105. Grace Galton Says:

    sublime sonata
    Beethoven would have
    penned the notes

  106. Hazel Hall Says:

    northern dawn
    the artist's paintbox

  107. Olivier Schopfer Says:

    northern lights

  108. Michael Henry Lee Says:

    in light of all
    that's happened

  109. nikolaygrankin Says:

    north wind
    the sparks of the bonfire
    rise to the sky

  110. Lee Nash Says:

    my late night
    mystery caller
    Northern Lights

  111. Peter Newton Says:

    a wonderful sense of an untold story here
    as if the speaker awoke to the phone ringing.
    Was it a wrong number? dead air? static?
    and looking up perhaps a bigger mystery revealed . . .

  112. Michele L. Harvey Says:

    the curtain
    comes down on the final act…
    night of stars

  113. Michele L. Harvey Says:

    graveyard shift
    a trucker’s ham radio
    crackles to life

  114. supani48 Says:

    her musical ecstasy
    highlights strings of
    a springing beauty _

  115. Thelma Naylor Says:

    the mirror transformed
    I find myself
    lost in luminescence

  116. sharon Says:

    glowing emerald
    night time river in the sky
    enchantment above

  117. marthamagenta Says:

    northern lights
    the sound of pines
    on the ridge

  118. marthamagenta Says:

    silence of stars
    an ethereal dream
    of iced green tea

  119. marthamagenta Says:

    mystical air
    at the edge of sky
    winter pines

  120. Renee Butner Says:

    Silent pines
    limbs reach upward
    Worship Aurora

  121. marthamagenta Says:

    spiral dance
    the swirling skirt
    of a lenten rose

  122. Tracy Davidson Says:

    northern lights
    a child runs screaming
    from the ghost train

  123. Molly Saccardo Says:

    red, yellow, green sky
    over towering pines.
    a firefly blinks

  124. phantricia31 Says:

    your last line, so exquisite

  125. Barbara Kaufmann Says:

    northern lights
    the many colors
    of my bucket list

  126. agnesevasavich Says:

    open windows
    what dreams may waft in
    on the breeze

  127. Garry Eaton Says:

    my dowsing wand
    dips downward
    aurora borealis

  128. Stella Says:

    tree phantoms
    warning of blight

  129. amy Says:

    smeary mirror
    evening breeze

  130. everhart2867 Says:

    page of dreams
    a child and I
    color the night sky

  131. Michael Ketchek Says:

    made manifest
    northern lights

  132. Marie Louise Munro Says:

    northern lights…
    the lingering wisps
    of last night's dream

  133. catatonic1 Says:

    Message from the gods
    ephemeral, transformative
    majestic Northern Lights

  134. marthamagenta Says:

    into the mystic
    I dream beyond
    the veil

  135. Garry Eaton Says:

    my dowsing wand
    dips earthward
    aurora borealis

  136. catatonic1 Says:

    Other worldly
    Our nightlight symphony
    Aurora Borealis

  137. LP-NEA (Randy) Says:

    A dream and hope so far away, a promise of peace for us all one day.

  138. Shrikaanth K. Murthy Says:

    Northern Lights…
    in the beginning
    was no word
    i open my mouth
    and leave it at that

  139. supani48 Says:

    very nice interpretation

  140. shrikaanth Says:


  141. aLLI tRIPP Says:

    soothing night breezes
    worlds energy flies by
    lay back absorb time

  142. vijay Joshi Says:

    beyond black and white . . . Aurora

  143. Anna Says:

    white pine woods
    basking in starlight
    rainbow aurora

  144. mcc Says:

    The Patience of a Terraformer

    Waiting on stern glaciers
    to fashion fjords from granite;
    genera to flower, fruit;
    the aurora-abiding longmind
    composes luminous veils of sky.
    Mountains rise. The garden grows.

  145. supani48 Says:

    translucent colors
    highlighting skywards
    in lucid textures.

  146. catatonic1 Says:


    Other worldly
    Our starlit symphony
    Aurora Borealis

  147. kathabela Says:

    standing trees
    they keep their innocence
    amidst the commotion

  148. kathabela Says:

    the dreams of trees
    above our heads

  149. Anton Floyd Says:

    the forest trees
    backlit by coldest fires
    northern lights

  150. Debbie Strange Says:


    ribbons of aurora

    u n f u r l i n g

    we tie up the loose ends

    of our divergent lives

    cattails, January 2015

  151. debbiemstrange Says:

    the northern lights
    over frozen prairie
    I curl my hand into yours

    More Grows in a Crooked Row, Tanka Conversations, Inkling Press 2016

  152. Greer Says:

    (found poem from Kate Lyon’s 2/202017 message from Manitoba)

    green dancing
    with bits of pink
    a blizzard coming

  153. debbiemstrange Says:

    the brilliance
    of New Year's fireworks
    at forty below
    the colder it gets
    the warmer we are

    Neon Graffiti, Tanka Poetry of Urban Life, 2016

  154. James Says:

    winter sky
    memories among the stars
    rocket ice cream pop

  155. michaeldylanwelch Says:

    winter stillness . . .
    time again
    to rotate my tires

  156. Angela Terry Says:

    Aurora's last dance frost garden

  157. Tom Says:

    Please change the spelling in my final line to ether rather than eather…typo….Thanks

  158. dl mattila Says:

    space invaders
    ?coloring outside the lines?
    northern lights?

  159. Lynne Rees Says:

    looking up
    at the light
    in the dark

  160. Anne b grote Says:

    In this sacred time

    Earth and sky beckon each other

    Aureal delight

  161. James Says:

    Somewhere over
    the rainbow bridge

  162. Sally Biggar Says:

    aurora …
    once again the Earth rejoices
    without us

  163. Lee Nash Says:

    the height
    of my grandmother's shawl
    Northern Lights

  164. Alma Pesiri Says:

    warm shifting colors

    sensuous shifting shapes

    we love again again

  165. Julie Bloss Kelsey Says:

    angel wings

    I worship

    the sky

  166. Michael Henry Lee Says:

    in so many words
    northern lights

  167. Michael Henry Lee Says:

    if i didn't
    know better
    northern lights

  168. rigdonia Says:

    luces del norte
    cantan la alabanza
    de su gloria

  169. Lesley Anne Swanson Says:

    Bach's Magnificat
    the forest rapt
    in silence

  170. Azure Says:

    dream remnants
    in morning sky
    the swans cry

  171. Betty Shropshire Says:

    clearing the air
    between us
    a sweep of pines

  172. hana Says:

    Edge of Alaska

    I'm watching the TV show dedicated to a bunch of people settled in the abandoned miners' town McCarthy, isolated from the whole world during the long winter. When asked about their motives, some of them mention the unspeakable beauty of a wild nature, or a chance to prove themselves in the struggle for survival. But above all they treasure the seclusion, when there's not a soul for miles around, no need to talk to anybody, and one can live upon his own rules.

    I find it strange that someone needed to get to such a wilderness to achieve it. Alaska is all around us. The light years of loneliness, deep snow-white banks of silence, depleted resources, a signal lost in the vast ether.

    smoky saloon –
    a glimpse of northern lights
    in the empty glass

  173. mpaone Says:

    aurora borealis greener treetops

  174. nikolaygrankin Says:

    star night
    the eyes of a stray cat
    isn't from here

  175. Wendy Rathbone Says:

    the trees
    the turning
    the kaleidoscope sky

  176. Wendy Rathbone Says:

    now saffron
    and scarlet
    the sky remembers itself

  177. Wendy Rathbone Says:

    trees bow
    to the beaming spindrift sky

  178. Wendy Rathbone Says:

    cinnabar citrine new-green

  179. Greer Woodward Says:

    night lights
    in a Star-Child's

  180. Michael Henry Lee Says:

    of this
    I am sure
    time and space

  181. Greer Woodward Says:

    forged in ice
    and auroral light,
    the Snow Queen's
    crown of creation

  182. Aniket Nikhade Says:

    Imagination turned into reality
    Bright colours spread everywhere
    Spread far and wide
    Like painting on a canvas.

    Everyone is taken by surprise
    Everyone has got the same question in mind
    Definitely what's this?

    Nothing else, but it's aurora borealis.

  183. supani48 Says:

    brilliant brain
    flying high in colors
    reaches sky space..

  184. marthamagenta Says:

    aurora borealis
    crème de menthe
    on the rocks

  185. Patriceop Says:

    light streams
    in the darkness
    coloring my life

  186. hana Says:

    gleams on the blade ~
    the fallen vikings' names
    sound like aurora

  187. abra Says:

    my daughter paints the sky
    her magic show for all
    belle surreal

  188. monstersofourowndestiny Says:

    shimmers of night sky neurons
    these neon strands of thought
    skip, skittering and fluttering

    as if sun, a primal and collective love
    were surging across the cold
    through windswept drapes

  189. Sam Bateman Says:

    a child colors
    our imagination—
    aurora borealis

  190. Lianne Kamp Says:

    they new it was coming
    the trees gathered
    by the hundreds

  191. Lianne Kamp Says:

    oops. spell check did it to me again. "new" should be "knew". I re-posted a corrected version.

  192. Rosa Clement Says:

    aurora borealis
    the man with an iPhone
    finally looks up

  193. phantricia31 Says:

    sky models
    nature's latest fashions —
    trees watch the show

  194. phantricia31 Says:

    stars playing dress-up…
    look at ME!

  195. Betty Shropshire Says:

    imaginary numbers i swerve like the rest

  196. Marietta McGregor Says:

    eye sockets weep…
    an ancient mammoth
    out of melt-water

  197. Marietta McGregor Says:

    shimmering above
    those old ice-floe hunters
    curtains of mystery
    how many more millennia before we
    truly know the ways of Earth and sky

  198. Michael Henry Lee Says:

    the science
    of gossamer
    northern lights

  199. RpVerlaine Says:

    The spaceship landing
    A prism of stars and light
    We run from praying

  200. Lianne Kamp Says:

    they knew it was coming
    the trees gathered
    by the hundreds

  201. Betty Shropshire Says:

    color blind the wind whistles

  202. marilynfleming Says:

    dancing in the lights
    this urge
    to skip with you
    my darling

  203. Julie Warther Says:

    through the baby monitor
    winter solstice

  204. Megan Webster Says:

    morning's palette
    shatters my dream
    sky ablaze

  205. Dyana Basist Says:

    his eyes discover mine
    aurora borealis

  206. Greer Woodward Says:

    Arctic Lights Carnival

    Charged Particle Popcorn
    Greenish Glow Sodas

    Ride the Solar Wind
    Frozen Fun House
    Crazy Coronas

    Geomagnetic Storm Alerts
    Sled Dod Parking

  207. William Merk Says:

    winter breeze bent with color

    frozen sheets hum
    beneath a pin-cushion sky

  208. bouwebrouwer Says:

    northern lights
    my laptop jumps
    to screensaver

  209. JackieMaugh Robinson Says:

    dark night
    of heated words evaporate
    colors of forgiving

  210. Eva Limbach Says:

    northern lights
    those moments
    when we know

  211. Kathleen Trocmet Says:

    cold borealis flames in his eyes —
    I and the wolf look at each other
    turn and go our own ways

  212. Barbara A. Taylor Says:

    coloured flares cruise
    the freezing night

  213. Jane DeJonghe Says:

    in flight

  214. Peg Duthie Says:

    this ain't no disco
    yet the sky
    is dancing through your hair

  215. Peg Duthie Says:

    swamped in tar
    scientists seek words
    for skylight

  216. Dru Philippou Says:

    northern lights
    an autistic child shapes
    meaning out of words

  217. Betty Shropshire Says:

    his sermon to be

  218. Betty Shropshire Says:

    solar wind
    her last breath
    joins the fray

  219. Dru Philippou Says:

    northern lights
    she wants to hear the fairy tale
    over again

    northern lights
    she weaves herself
    into the fairy tale

  220. Dru Philippou Says:

    northern lights
    she reads the fairy tale
    over again

  221. mara Says:

    Falling on me

  222. Yesha Shah Says:

    mixing the palette
    with brighter hues…

  223. Jeff Ferrara Says:

    northern lights–
    an early god
    in the mountain's face

  224. th. vandergrau Says:

    electric night
    I am as restless
    as the sky

  225. Carol Raisfeld Says:

    northern lights take me
    beyond words, beyond myself
    beyond my being

  226. Carol Raisfeld Says:

    the curtains flutter …
    northern lights touch
    one another

  227. anthony engelhardt Says:

    empyreal bridge
    a solar winds' coarse caress
    mercy from malice

  228. The High Priestess Says:

    Tracing the shafts of light
    making their way in through the
    blinds of my mistakes

  229. Kashinath Karmakar Says:

    as if the sky

    will soon sing a song-

    aurora borealis

  230. Kashinath Karmakar Says:

    one more reason

    to look at the sky-

    aurora borealis

  231. kjmunro Says:

    viewing northern lights
    is also
    a pain in the neck

    (after Soin)

  232. janewilliams Says:

    early morning
    the neighbour's lights
    still flickering
    the colours of disco or
    some kind of devotion

  233. Anna Maris Says:

    my way into your dreams
    northern lights

  234. Judy Wucherer Says:

    an orgiastic sky
    fans out all the cards

  235. ecmoran Says:

    childhood in Iceland
    the aurora borealis
    pulsing in my veins

  236. martin1223 Says:

    black out
    filling the empty room
    northern lights

  237. Douglas Obenhaus Says:

    ether rains
    whets the appetite–

  238. Anna Goluba Says:

    The aurora borealis –
    Greetings from space
    Of the unspoken

  239. Ken Olson Says:

    all the tea
    in China, spills
    from this cup

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