Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

— Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now


Inspiration for Feather Canyons

The main inspiration comes from Joni Mitchell’s line in Both Sides Now.

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

I was reading about metaphors for a time very long ago where I visited open mics and wrote songs. The line feather canyons makes me wonder what other metaphors are out there? For me that combination of fragility and weight is fresh and inspiring every time I see it.

During NANOWRIMO four years ago, I wanted to reach my goal of 50,000 words with poetry (failed), but came up with a way to find new metaphors (success).

I make two lists of pretty unrelated words then write a list of metaphors. There may or may not be a poem there, but the point isn’t really to write poetry. The goal is to find really good metaphors that anyone can steal and use for their own works.

Here is an example of a “metaphor lab” I did during NANOWRIMO of 2011.

Selections from Metaphor Labs 7-9

  • glass ripple
  • puddle prescription
  • fruited ink
  • ink braid
  • bonded smile
  • minute revolution

These groupings began getting me to think in a more non-linear fashion and often led to poems.

Metaphor Lab 6

  • paper handle
  • scissor skip
  • rock flex
  • arm lean
  • chair toss
  • quarterback foul
  • basketball whip
  • throw warmth
  • blanket pop
  • cold compliments
  • praise rules
  • castle breath
  • life orbit

Life’s Orbit (Poem from Metaphor Lab 6)

I wish I could toss you warmth

to combat cold compliments

ladies and gents

and foul quarterbacks

lay down popped blankets

and leave your castle breath at home

and leave your distracting phone.

Life’s orbit has brought me praise.

I will use this as a crutch through rough days.


Part of me hates poetry. And the idea that some person I don’t know is telling me some words they threw together is art. I make sure to have fun and balance out the artsy fartsy air.

Ode To Poetry #2

Only two

words for

this line

because I

haven’t time

to add

more to

this poem.

Abrupt feel

like an

eel to

my tongue.

I hope

when this

is done

you smell

no dung.


Everyone is welcome to submit. What you write could be a list of unusual phrases. It could be experimental poetry. Whatever helps you push your boundaries to find more and fall into deeper Joni’s feather canyons.