Found Poem

Cut with a kitchen knife
Cut with a kitchen knife

Pull several short phrases from a text – especially evocative and vivid phrases from a story or novel (write them on scraps of paper).

Arrange/modify/edit/group the phrases into a “found poem.”

For a “Dadaist” flavour, pull the slips of paper from a bag randomly and use them in the order drawn.



Found Poem from The Truce by Charles G.D. Roberts.

Every now and then a woodsman pays with his life for failing to recognize
that the bear won't always play by rule.
The wilderness loves a master; and the challenge was not accepted.
From that moment he was a veritable demon of vengeance,
his hunger was all forgotten in red rage.

A light of elation came into his eyes,
And he felt himself able to win the contest against whatever odds.
Then, even as he spoke, a strange, terrifying sound ran all about him,
a straining grumble, ominous as the first growl of an earthquake.

He bit off a chew from his plug of "blackjack,"
and with calm eyes surveyed the doom toward which he was rushing.
Now that he and his enemy were involved in a common and appalling doom,
the enmity was forgotten.

He made ready to plunge in and at least die battling,
when fate took yet another whim.
He rose cautiously and crouched,
every sinew tense to renew the battle for life.

His late enemy, alive, strong, splendid, and speeding to a hideous destruction,
was of the keener interest to his wilderness spirit.
There might be the ghost of a chance for him,
but the man saw that there was no chance of his adversary's escape.

In his eagerness, and without any conscious thought of what he was doing,
the man stepped down into the water knee-deep.
For a moment he wondered if he could hold on,
but he soon saw that his caution was unnecessary.

Whoever might be the victor, what remained for him?
The situation was not satisfactory from any point of view.
After a long, sagacious survey of the flood,
he drew his knife and cut himself an alpenstock.

This was the moment for which the man was waiting.
The man picked his way across the slippery, chaotic surface.
He strode up the trail till the great woods closed about him
and the raving thunders gradually died into quiet.

Whoever might be the victor, what remained for him?