Writing Exercise #3: Shuffled Lyrics Poetry

IN HIGH SCHOOL I wrote a poem that eventually got published in the school’s literary folio. I wrote the poem for a class exercise, and the result wasn’t particularly brilliant or anything — a classmate even made fun of it for being “too dirty” — but it was my first attempt at poetry that actually looked and read like a poem.

Anyway, the exercise was pretty basic: my classmates and I were tasked to write “random” words on pieces of paper, the teacher shuffled the words in a mug, then we all had to take some x-number of words from that mug. The challenge was to write a poem using the words that we drew — we could only add connecting words like prepositions and articles, but we couldn’t include new verbs or nouns or adjectives.

This morning I woke up wanting to write a poem (char!!!) and because I was no longer in Poetry class, I decided to shuffle words from song lyrics instead. I checked out the first three English songs that came up on Spotify, I searched for their lyrics and I pasted the words onto this online word shuffle tool. I deleted punctuation, prepositions, and other commonly repeated words just to make things easier.

I took liberty in removing the words that I didn’t feel like using and I also modified some of the verb forms (e.g. from root to past participle). Except for these small diversions I stuck to the rules: I didn’t add new words in the mix, and here’s what I came up with:

everything, a dream

faces turn to ice on a Saturday
like fleeting tears and plans

in early May the dark sheets are empty seas
of turning looks and possibilities

two years far in time, a knowing heart
in season disappears

when days walk and nights feel
we rearrange blames in souvenirs

of falling suns and flashing TV’s
it’s true, Baby, see – matter is a concept

as beautiful as space, you refuse
a morning mirror breaks

while lights veer into a box
a vision slips: photographs

Feel free to do a similar exercise or share your thoughts on the poem above. Every time I read it I still find something off, but I’m going to keep it as a draft for now. Maybe I’ll go back to it someday; maybe not.

The featured image is a tea kettle and it has nothing to do with anything. Meh.


  1. buddy71

    as a senior in high school, i submitted a poem for inclusion in the yearly “literary magazine.” the “poem” was written by randomly selecting words from a dictionary. it was chosen and the selection committee wrote it was one of the best and insightful works they had reviewed. lol after it was “published” i reveled to a friend who was on the committee how it was written. the committee did not know who submitted any of the works until it was published. he laughed so hard as he said all of those on the committee raved about the poem. lol the committee was made up of a couple of students and the teachers from the english department.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jolens

      nooooo, i think you should do it too! it’s almost like cheating na nga e, kasi when you shuffle words from a song you will most definitely find words that rhyme hehe. it’s not as challenging as it seems, promise! 😀


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