Spring Prompts

by Ellen Gwin

This season’s prompts will focus on personification and the themes of rebirth/growth that come with spring.

Quick reminders
Personification can be used in poetry:
1. Take the viewpoint of the object
2. Make Multiple objects speak to the speaker or reader
3. Convey abstract concepts

Use the prompt titles, prompt descriptions, etc. as you please— whatever moves you, go with it! 


Metamorphosis can spring a lot of different ideas to people from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to the film The Metamorphosis right down to the biological term.

In nature, a metamorphosis is a physical change creatures undergo after their initial birth (or hatching). For example, tadpoles turning into frogs or caterpillars into butterflies.

Humans undergo multiple metamorphic (and literal– though acute in comparison to that of amphibians and insects) metamorphoses in their lives.

Write from the perspective of a tadpole becoming a frog or a caterpillar into a butterfly. Keep in mind not all is bad for the tadpole/caterpillar just as not all is perfect for the frog/butterfly.

2. Reborn in Fire

Many modern and historical references can be made to a rebirth in fire:

In Greek Mythology phoenixes are said to live for 500 years before burning into ash and being reborn into a new, baby bird.
In Shakespeare’s Henry VIII Queen Katherine says, “My drops of tears I’ll turn to sparks of fire.”

A modern reference includes Collins’ Hunger Games where a common theme is Katniss reborn in fire.
Also, in Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, Serena burns the house to the ground before starting on a new path.

Write from the perspective of either:
1. All consuming fire
2. An object you cling to bursting into flames
3. A living being (a witch, a phoenix, a cockroach) reborn in fire

igna natura renovatur integra — through fire, nature is reborn whole.

3. Morphing Moon

One could look at the moon from many different perspectives: the light thief, only a reflection, fickle, bringer of tsunamis, guider of sea turtles– but in the context of rebirth, one can look to the phases of the moon.

The moon begins whole, shining bright, then slowly it dwindles or hides itself throughout the month by becoming a crescent, before coming back again as the new moon– a rebirth.

One could view the moon as a good teacher
One could view the moon as ancient and resilient
One could view the moon as one that is many, not one
One could view the moon as many, many things.

Write from the perspective of the moon: the fading light, the decision to shine again, etc.

4. Spring Serenades

So many creatures making noises indicative of growth and life appear in the spring!

1. Give the bugs & bunnies around you voices
2. Make the wind whisper and the sun sing
3. Convey the mood of the scene through them
4. Convey your inner monologue through them
5. Discuss ideas of nature or timeless truths through them

5. In the beginning…

Write on an origin story from any religion:
Genesis from the Bible
The greek belief of Chaos
Either Devi (Tantras) or Vishnu (Puranas)

Give your own perspective:
Write from the perspective of a snake (original sin)
Write from the perspective of Devi (matter) or Vishnu (mind)
Write from the perspective of Chaos (or the entities that followed)

6. Rain Rain Go Away

In the context of spring, water could symbolize many different ideas and is therefore a fun vehicle for conveying your thoughts in poetry!

Water could refer to the rain which helps plants grow, washes away the grime (baptism), sets a dreary mood, etc.
Water could refer to lakes to fish in, rivers to swim in, oceans to surf in, etc.

Write from the POV of water of any kind that you find in the springtime!

7. Apollo’s Precious Petals

In Greek Mythology, Hyancinth was a mortal admired by the god of sun, Apollo, the god of west wind, Zephyrus, and the god of north wind, Boreas. Hyacinth chose Apollo over the rest and they began to go on beautiful, luxorious adventures together.
One day, out of jealousy, while Apollo and Hyacinth played discuss, Zephyrus blew the wind so hard that the discuss killed Hyacinth.
In grief, Apollo created a flower from Hyacinth’s spilled blood so that the memory of his beauty would last forever.

Write from the perspective of the hyacinth flower.

8. What I Imagine in Spring

Create a character who symbolizes spring to you:
This could be a fairy who helps gardens grow
A witch who brings dead creatures back to life
A newborn infant discovering life
A rain goddess

Winter Prompts

#PromptsByElle on instagram

This season’s prompts relate to the ideas of love that February is associated with. These prompts will lend a guiding hand in helping poets incorporate allusions and discuss timeless truths.

These little vignettes of each story are my interpretations but many more valid ones exist. 

1.Psyching Cupid Out

Psyche was a mortal woman who held beauty so captivating that even Venus, goddess of Love became jealous. Her son, Cupid, god of Love, upon setting eyes on Psyche distractedly pricks himself with one of his arrows and falls in love with her. 

In order to wed her in secret, Cupid hid her away in a large mansion where she could hear him but never see him and therefore never know his true identity— there must be trust in order to have Love.

One night, Psyche betrays Cupid by turning the lights on while he is asleep, causing Cupid to flee, hurt by the betrayal. Psyche wondered the earth looking for him for years.

2. Venus Feels Vindictive

In Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, Adonis was a hunter known for extraordinary beauty but he had no interest in love. When Venus comes down from the heavens to entice Adonis, Adonis ignores her, offending the goddess. 

Suddenly, Venus has a vision that Adonis will die if he hunts for boar the next day so she warns him to be careful. He doesn’t listen and Venus finds him dead in the woods. 

In despair Venus cursed love from then on to be mixed with suspicion, fear, and sadness. She then returned to the luxurious heavens to lick her wounds. 

Interesting interpretation:

In Greek Mythos, before the universe was conceived, there was Chaos. Then, the world was organized into four sections: Gaia (earth), Uranus (sky), Pontus (sea), and Tartarus (underworld). “In T.W. Baldwin’s judgment, two platonic ideas– namely, Beaut and Love keep the world from returning to Chaos”– A.C. Hamilton

According to L.E. Pearson, Venus is a destructive agent of sensual love and Adonis is the ideal agent of reason in love. Reason in love prefers love, truth, and beauty over the gluttony of lust and one must conquer the trinity before satiating their lust or else reason works against them. Throughout the poem, Venus is often surrounded by gluttonous imagery. When Adonis is killed due to Venus’ lusty pursuit, so is reason in love, leaving earthly love to Chaos.

3. Ophelia, Baptized in Death

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is the daughter of a nobleman who is interested in Hamlet, prince of Denmark.

At the beginning the play, Polonius discourages Ophelia from having sex with Hamlet. Towards the middle of the play, Hamlet begins making sexual innuendos towards Ophelia, insinuating they’d had sex. 

At the end of the play Ophelia presents an herb, rue, commonly associated with regret before falling to her death into a rushing river. 


Rue: Regret.
This herb was also believed to cause abortions. Ophelia gave this one to herself
This herb is also known as the “herb of grace”

Daisy: Innocence
Ophelia does not give this flower to anyone as no one in Denmark deserves it

Violets: Faithfulness and fidelity. All the violets in Denmark wither when her father dies.

Columbine: Deceived lovers

Rosemary/pansies: Remembrance

None of these flowers/herbs were considered beautiful or valuable at the time, just humble blossoms that often get discarded– much like Ophelia herself.

4. Lilith Chooses Sex Positivity

According to Jewish text, Lilith was the first wife of Adam, made from the same clay as him– as an equal.

When Lilith decided she would not be subservient to Adam, she left the Garden of Eden.

From there, Lilith was seduced by the archangel Samael and became known as the first femme fatale. “A hot fiery female who first cohabited with man”– Zohar Leviticus

Lilith translates from Hebrew into “night creatures.” This translation is simialar to the turn of phrase “lady of the night,” a cheeky phrase for a prostitute.


The moon
Golden hair
Looking in the mirror
Witches, vampires, demons
White roses (sterile passion)

Interesting Interpretation:

While some interpret Lilith as a sinner, it’s 2021! Lilith decided she would take no, one man and that she would instead guide herself with Diana’s helpful moonlight (even though Diana is a known virgin, she helps Lilith because she is not judgmental) and seduce as many men as she felt all the while remaining youthful as the earth grew old.

5. Darcy Battles Demons for Love

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Darcy is a wealthy man living in early 19th century England. He meets a woman named Elizabeth Bennet at a ball and makes condescending remarks towards her which Elizabeth overhears. 

Overtime, Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth and must overcome his flawed feeling of superiority. While he offends Elizabeth in a few more incidents, each time he takes time to reflect and mend the scar in his soul. 

At the end of the novel, Darcy saves Elizabeth’s family from social disgrace by covering up Elizabeth’s sister premarital sex-scandal. He then proposes to Elizabeth and she accepts.

6. Camilla, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl

In a Secret History by Donna Tartt, Camilla is the only girl in the circle of friends learning from Julian. 2/5 of the boys openly flirt with Camilla and make comments that idealize as a person. Richard describes her as being surrounded by some magical light almost every time he sees her.

At the end of the novel, the reader finds out Camilla has been sleeping with her own brother, Charles. All the idealizations around her disappear and she’s finally seen for what she is: dependent and weak.

Both Richard and Francis idealized Camilla without ever spending very much time with her or ever truly getting to know her flaws and accept those. To them, Camilla was a manic pixie dream girl. 

7. Persephone’s Compromise with Hades

Hades took Persephone to the underworld to be his wife with her father’s, Zeus’, permission. However, both Persephone and her mother, Demeter, wanted her returned. 

Hermes went to retrieve Persephone, but Persephone had already eaten some pomegranate seeds: food of the underworld. If one eats food from the underworld they must spend 1/3 of the year there. 

So, Persephone spends each winter with her husband Hades in the underworld and every other season she’s free to roam both heaven and earth. 

Due to this myth she’s become known as the vegetation goddess because when she ascends from the underworld in the spring vegetation springs and when she returns at the end of harvest season, vegetation withdraws. 

8. Anna Karenina: Lasting Love or Passing Passion?

In Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Anna is a woman married to Alexei, a government official and moralist. Although Anna has stability, a child, high social class, and devotion from her husband, she feels unsatisfied.

It’s then that Anna meets a young officer named Vronsky who she begins to lust after. Anna then has to make a decision between the lasting love of her husband or the passing passions of Vronsky. One will keep her life happier in the long run while the other will give her the greatest happiness for only a short period.

Despite her indiscretions, Alexei gives Anna multiple occasions to come clean and be forgiven. In the end, Anna chooses passion over love and winds up committing suicide by jumping in front of a train.

“I have no peace to give, only misery or the greatest happiness.” –Vronsky to Anna

“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long” –Lao Tzu

Prompt: Write About a Greek God or Goddess

Brainstorming ideas:

1. Pick a God or Goddess

For example:

Hades: Olympian God of the Underworld

Hera: Olympian Queen of the Gods, Goddess of Marriage & Birth

Athena: Olympian Goddess of Wisdom & War

2. What powers do they hold?

Hades: Has the ability to become invisible.

Hera: Can bless or curse a marriage.

Athena: Holds the ability to invent useful crafts such as: the ship, chariot, plow, and rake.

3. What are they associated with?

Hades: Hades is associated with the pomegranate. While the pomegranate symbolizes fertility, it also symbolizes death. Hades is also associated with the Cypress tree, serpents, and dogs. Specifically Hades is often depicted with a three-headed dog: Cerberus.

Hera: Hera is also associated with the pomegranate due to its connection with fertility. Other symbols Hera is associated with include: peacock, cattle, lotus, and scepter.

Athena: Athena, praised by the city of Athens, is often associated with owls and olive trees. She’s known for crafts such as spinning and weaving; ironically she is also known for peace-weaving.

4. What personality traits are associated with them?

Hades: Hades is depicted as morbid and unforgiving, but not unfair. Hades is often connected to depression, anxiety, and grief.

Hera: Hera holds strong family values but she is also known for her vengeful nature

Athena: Athena is known for her wise advice, however, if she is in a bad mood that day, she will not lend you any helpful words.

5. How are they commonly described physically?

For example:

Hades wears a black robe made of the souls of the Underworld, he sits on a throne made from human bones, and uses with a sinister smile. One would be surprised to catch a glimpse of him because he is surrounded by an helm of darkness that makes him invisible.

Hera wears classic Greek dresses and a silver crown. She often appears to humans as a beautiful older woman or a bird accompanied by a lion.

Athena has dark hair and gray eyes and often carries an owl. She never smiles and walks with both grace and authority. She’s often seen wearing a Corinthian helmet and holding a spear.

6. What are some myths associated with them?

Hades: Zeus gave Hades permission to kidnap his daughter, Persephone. When Demeter, her mother, found out she became enraged and set out a search for Persephone. Helios, powerful sun God who sees all, told Demeter where she was and Demeter demanded Persephone back from Hades. Hades allows Persephone to go, but not without tricking her first. He made Persephone eat pomegranate seeds from the underworld, forcing her to spend 1/3 of each year (winter) in the underworld.

Hera: A mountain nymph named Echo used to distract Hera so she would not catch Zeus cheating. When Hera realized this trick, she cursed Echo to only be able to repeat the last words the person before her said.

Athena: Zeus feared his next child would overthrow him and swallowed his pregnant wife, Metis. Soon after Zeus began to experience piercing headaches and asked Hephaestus to strike him with an axe. Athena sprung from his forehead in full armor with a war cry so powerful that even Uranus and Gaia were terrified. In juxtaposition, Zeus was proud.