Poetry Friday– Box-4×4 Poem Prompt

American Redstart, © 2020 Michelle Kogan, pen and ink and watercolor.

Happy Poetry Friday!

My two poems below come from the Poetry Sisters prompt to write a poem that has
something to do with a “box.” I chose to write 4 x 4 poems, they have:
– 4 stanzas
– 4 syllables per line
– first line of the poem is repeated again as a refrain in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines of those
respective stanzas
–and bonus points for having 4 syllables in the title!

Thanks to all the Sisters for this prompt:  Laura,  Tanita,  Mary Lee,  Liz,  Kelly,  Tricia,  Sara,  and Andi! Find more of these poems tagged with #PoetryPals.

Stop by the National Ocean Service for some interesting facts about our oceans.


Boxes of love
tenderly wrapped
sent to each home
round our small world.

Compassion filled
boxes of love
hear you and you
help others grow

and empathy.
Boxes of love
given as gifts,

fill with Kindness,
fill with Justice,
fill with new Hope,
Boxes of love.

© 2022 Michelle Kogan

I liked the poem below, it came in my inbox from the Academy of American Poets, and it seemed to fit with my post…

by Peter Streckfus

My grandfather went on his moped to the factory, two hours travel each way.
The rest of the days he fished in the woods.
The fishing rods and the nets he tied to the moped.

When I was old enough, he took me.
We rode with our legs out in the air on the bags.
We fished for eel.

Boiled water out of the creek for coffee, tea, and soup.
If we didn’t catch anything, we had nothing.
At night, when we lay to sleep, the world changed.

Read the rest of the poem here.

I may not have a post or make it around the Poetry Friday posts next week as I will be teaching a Color Theory intensive class at the School of the Art Institute over the first two weekends in January–Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday.

Patricia J. Franz at her blog Reverie is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Patricia! Patricia is giving us all Thanks, and offering us a goose-bumpy-good Blessings poem, be sure to stop by!

Sending thoughts to all folks this past week in the path of the storms.

Wishes for

Joy, Peace & Love

in the New Year!

💙 🕊 💜

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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17 Responses to Poetry Friday– Box-4×4 Poem Prompt

  1. rosecappelli says:

    “Boxes of love” is a beautiful wish. Thanks, Michelle, and good luck with your class next week.

  2. Thank you for sharing about the box poem prompt. I’m going to give it a try this week. And yes, Tender Loving Care – especially for our earth, and Boxes of Love filled with kindness, hope – are wonderfully connected – such good wishes for the coming year. I followed your link to Peter Streckfus’ poem; the link actually took me to a different poet, but I searched and found Chorus. I love his line: At night, when we lay to sleep, the earth changed. It connected for me the same hope that you wrote of in your poems. Happy New Year, Michelle!

  3. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    So much beauty, so many calls to action. I LOVE what you did here.

  4. Thanks for these poems, Michelle. It’s lovely to think of boxes filled compassion–that mix of concrete and abstract, of plainness and beauty. Happy New Year!

  5. maryleehahn says:

    I’m gobsmacked at your 4×4 written in boxes that cascade down the page! WOW! I also love your NEW YEARS WISH. (You could change the title to NEW YEARS WISHES and get the bonus points for four syllables in the title!! winkwink)

  6. I love the concept, the format, and the urgency of “Tender Loving Care.” “New Years Wish” is a thoughtful suggestion. May we all give and receive such kind gifts in the new year!

  7. lindabaie says:

    Thanks for the beautiful picture at the top, Michelle, then the marvelous formatting of your equally marvelous poem. “We’ve only one” really touched me. I saw the poem by Streckfus, a touching memory of earth’s beauty. Best wishes for your class and Happy New Year!

  8. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, Rescue Earth Now is a great refrain in your boxed poem as is “boxes of love” in the second poem. Extra points for the format and the environmentalist slant. Happy New Year.

  9. tee+d says:

    Oooh, I love what you did with the literal box shapes here — so, so cool! And I love the environmental dichotomy – nature is unconstrained, but the poem constrains the reader… which is how it has to be, in order for nature to thrive. Nice.

  10. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oooooooh! That is such a cool concrete poem. And the message is so true and heartfelt. Thanks for the message going into 2023. Happy New Year!

  11. Susan T. says:

    Loving all these boxes of box poems! And, as Linda said above, a very cool concrete poem here. Happy 2023!

  12. Your poems are very interesting, Michelle. I like how they look on the screen – falling squares. Good luck with your color theory class. Color plays a huge role in my life and I’m intrigued by it. Sounds interesting! Thanks! And Happy New Year!

  13. mbhmaine says:

    I love seeing what you did with the box challenge, Michelle. Your structure is so clever on the first one. I also really enjoyed the Peter Steckfus poem and the intimacy of the narrator’s observations, how intertwined human and nature seemed. Good luck with your class! Have fun!

  14. heidimordhorst says:

    How did you format that?! I mean, I can think of a way, but you make it looks easy– your blue & green boxes with the boxy futurefont setting us squarely on our way in 2023! And your boxes of love refrain works so well too. Wonderful! Enjoy your color theory intensive!

  15. Great poem and illustration!
    Happy New Year Michelle!

  16. I love that you made a concrete poem. It was the first thing that my brain thought of when I thought of BOX.

  17. Laura Shovan says:

    That last stanza — the world needs these boxes and these poems.

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