Sandbox Challenge #26: Neruda Writing Prompt

The Book of Questions, by Pablo Neruda, contains poems made up entirely of questions. I’ve pulled out one of these for today’s writing prompt:

How do the seasons know they must change their shirt?

Write a poem, essay, story, memory, freewrite, description…whatever this question evokes in you.

I’d love to see your creations in the comments if you feel like sharing!

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3 Responses to “Sandbox Challenge #26: Neruda Writing Prompt”


  1. 1 herby February 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    SUBTROPICAL SEASONS DON’T HAVE TIME TO CHANGE THEIR SHIRTS

    The seasons roll on by. They don’t need a calendar to know what to do. The summer sun knows to shine and the crisp winter evenings know they need to force us inside.

    In February the oppressive humidity rolls into town and in August the cold westerly winds threaten to blow us apart. Summer storms come and go ever year like clockwork. Huge exciting cracks of lightning flash across the night sky as puppy dogs and children hide under blankets wishing the frightening display will stop. The water tanks fill every night only to be drained during the day as gardeners try desperately to keep their plants from shriveling in the daytime heat.

    Every March we look at the calendar and say that the long hot summer is finally over only to be reminded that March is the longest and hottest month of the year. It’s not until May that we find any real reprieve. The season nips at us in the evenings until mid-way through the month we drag on trousers to warm our legs. Not the warm woolly trousers of the colder climes but jeans or cords to take the edge off the chill. We might even wear long sleeves without sweating for the first time in the year.

    The seasons don’t need to do anything to change. They know what’s coming. It’s their sun and wind and rain that tell us what to do.

    The winter months are mild. A golden sun radiates warmth through perfect blue skies. There is no snow or frost to cause discomfort. And then, for one week in August, the west winds blow through the streets in August to signal the coming of another hot summer. We huddle inside to avoid the wind’s biting tongue and whip-like sting. The winter cold knows that it will soon be gone and that it must have one last hurrah.

    And then it’s September again. The sun beats down oppressively and the humidity builds over the month until we are again sweating all day and night. Praying the storms won’t be too bad and that our skin won’t burn too quickly in the sun. The seasons change and another year begins.

    The seasons don’t need to know when to change their shirts. They tell us what to do. The sun, rain and wind come and go every year.

    With only two seasons, they don’t have time to think about what they wear or how they feel. There are no falling Autumn leaves to sit under and no Spring blossoms to marvel over. Instead, the leaves fall all year round as their time comes and the flowers bloom all year round. The seasons pass in a powerful rush. There’s no time for a breath, let alone that change of shirt.


  1. 1 Subtropical seasons don’t have time to change their shirt | Living As Herby Trackback on February 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

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