Borrowed poetry, or found poetry, is creating an original poem by using lines from another poem, quote, or even headlines from the newspaper as a springboard.

When creating the song “Auburn Eyes,” I borrowed lines from the original Nothing but Trouble after Midnight manuscript.* And one thing that stayed constant throughout  the versions of the book was the song. I knew it would end the story–I just didn’t know how to get there.


by Kimberly Blackadar

I see the past in your eyes

Tender touches with long goodbyes

Friends without secrets or lies

Hid their love in dim disguise


Splash in the waters of our youth

Climb that tree to tell the truth

Cross the woods in the dark

Open the gate into my heart


With you I know, with you I see

A life without uncertainty

For my past, my present, my future lies

Hidden inside those auburn eyes


I saw heaven in your eyes

Caught a glimpse of paradise

More than ever I realize

A love like ours never dies


Open your eyes

(And see me)

Open your mind

(And know me)

Open your arms

(And hold me)

Open your heart

(And love me)


Open your eyes [spoken]


And see the future through my eyes

The two of us, you’ll recognize

Man and wife with joyful cries

Sharing vows under azure skies


Splash in the waters of our youth

Climb that tree to tell the truth

Cross the woods in the dark

Open the gate into my heart


With you I know, with you I see

A life without uncertainty

For my past, my present, my future lies

Hidden inside those auburn eyes


My past, my present, my future lies

Hidden inside your auburn eyes

…Auburn eyes…

…Auburn eyes…



Look around for a book, newspaper, magazine, and extract a line. Use it as your title, opening/closing line, or anywhere you see fit. Traditionally, you put quotes around the borrowed lines or phrases. But since I was “plagiarizing” myself here, I left out the quotation marks. 🙂


 *If you are interested in reading more about the evolution of the NBTAM manuscript, check out the “Author Q &A” in the “Pages” on the right.

28 thoughts on “Poetry Workshop #2: Borrowed Poetry

    1. All your attempts ended up in my “spam” folder. I don’t know why. Sorry for the delay, but I’m so grateful to you for your posts each day. It makes “Workshop” week lots of fun!


  1. Kimberly, I hope my comments take today, they wouldn’t last night. In case it won’t let me post my poem, it’s on my blog.

    I love your poem and I guess I better read that book to find the lines!

    1. I’m so glad it posted today, Ruth!

      And the poem is a song, which Lindsey Kelly and her hubby recorded for me before I finished the book. I used to listen to it while I wrote the end of the book. Nothing like finding inspiration from a song inspired by that same book. An odd cycle of inpiration, I guess. 🙂

    ©Ruth Cox

    “The Incidence of Domestic Violence”
    occurring in
    “The Great American Family”
    may consist of
    “Spouse Abuse : The Skeleton in the Closet,”
    and/or abuse of
    “The Children.”

    “An Overview of Cruelty”
    may tell us
    “What Triggers the Batterer.”

    These triggers may include:
    “The Economics of Marriage,”
    “Verbal Arguments,”
    “Class and Status Variables,”
    “Histories of Violence and Occupational Hazards,”
    “Drunkenness and Alcoholism,”
    “Sterotyped Sex Roles,”
    “Socialization and Sex Roles”,
    “Sexuality as Aggressiveness.”

    “The Victim — Why Does She/He Stay?”
    Victims are
    “Trapped by Fear!”

    And there are
    “Socially Determined Reasons.”

    These may include:
    “Arrest Procedures,”
    “Police Policy and Practice,”
    “Spouse-Abuse Laws,”
    “Protection Orders,”
    which protect no one.

    And, there is
    “Social Services — The Big Runaround!”

    The lack of
    “Emergency Housing,”
    “Public Financial Assistance,”
    “Mental Health Services,”
    “Police Training and Crisis Intervention,”
    and lack of
    “Victim Aid”…
    all render the victim

    These are
    “The Facts of Life”
    Not much has changed since
    Del Martin
    Battered Wives
    in 1976.

    1. This is great, Ruthi. I’ve seen people use headlines from the paper, but have not seen one from a non-fiction book.

      I do, however, believe one thing has changed since 1976. We, as a society, are more willing to discuss and make known the issues of domestic violence. And brave souls like you spread awareness with your creativity.

      1. Kimberly, the quotations are all from the table of contents of the book, chapter titles and subtitles.

        This is the first Borrowed/Found poem I’ve ever written..:-) You’re an inspiration!

        I agree, we do at least speak of abuse out from behind the closed doors now. Unfortunately, the abused still speak of it after we’re out of the abusive situation. When we can get the victims, as well as the abusers, to speak from within their abusive circumstances, then we may make great strides.

  3. Whirlpool
    ©Karen A J Rinehart

    “Around and around I go”
    Sure to become dizzy
    “Entranced by circular flow”
    “I muddle” through
    “Mid ruffling”
    “Of feathers”
    “Fair-weathered” friends
    Abound “in madness”
    “And sadness” befalls me
    I become “entranced by circular flow”
    And once again “around and around I go”

    Taken from the poem by the same title by Ruthi Cox.

      1. Hello, Karen, and thank you for your post. I hope you try out some of the other “workshops” this week! 🙂

        And wow, Ruthi, you are being quoted now. That’s pretty cool!

      2. It was something I hadn’t tried yet, Kimberly. Thank you for allowing me to post here.

  4. “One World”
    Tom Arnold

    One world into another,
    “the broken dreams of a new age”
    the pities and pains of an innocent generation
    one of crime and commitment
    and of disasters of the mind.
    The courage and wit
    demolished by power and prize
    and true being only a memory.
    And the state of direction
    that only existed in a yesterday period
    that never was and never could be.
    The line of refuse that called out
    but was never heard
    and the supreme of nothingness
    that is like a scar of potential
    and a plague that burdens the mind
    heart and soul of a corpse
    the walking dead that never see
    the light of the new dawn
    and the age of humanity
    that does no wrong
    and is everything
    but nothing…..

    Kim, I wrote this about the current political state of our country after reading an article that talked all about how things are going to change and are already starting to change. The article was written from a Christian perspective so therefore comes some of the lines. I took the line “the broken dreams of a new age” out of the article to write my poem. I know this doesn’t sound like your typical poetry, but I am not your typical guy… 🙂 I promise there are meanings behind every phrase. I hope it is not too “out of the box” for you, but I just thought I would share it. I am not too good at stating my political beliefs, but I can write about them.

    1. This is fabulous, Tom, and yes, it is typical poetry. Anything that conjures up strong emotion makes a good poem. And we all know you are passionate about politics. Have a great week!

    1. Mrs. Cox, Thank you, so much, for your kind words. It really means a lot to me coming from an “Word Artist” such as yourself. It was a pleasure to write and share with someone, as I haven’t done this in years…..

      1. Well then, Tom, I think you should share some more writing, as I’ve a feeling you’ve much to say and a talent for saying it.

        Thank you!
        Blessings & a bit o’ sunshine!

  5. Thank you Kim, and Mrs. Cox, for your nice words of encouragement. I “tried” the double word poem. I don’t think it came out that great, but I posted it anyway. Not only am I passionate about politics, I am also a very sensitive guy, hopeless romantic, and passionate about love. And a lot of that comes through in my writing….Thank you Kim for the incredible gift you have given us with this place to post our writings and not be afraid. You are too sweet.

    P.S. The line in my poem that says “The line of refuse that called out” Was supposed to say “The line of REFUGE that called out” Big difference. Sorry for the mistake, but I hope it makes more sense now… 🙂

  6. Hey Kim,
    This is a great poetry exercise for inspiration. We did this in my New River Poets group and really enjoyed it. Here is the one I did using the first line only of another poet’s poem. Actually, we were only give the first lines and not the rest of the poem so to not be persuaded by the theme. Turned out interesting. After reading mine below, try looking up the “Tangerine” poem. It’s really a fun one, thanks!

    by Lindsey L Kelly

    It was a flower once, it was one of a billion flowers¹…
    Whose fragrance made many minds stop and watch
    Hues beyond handsome, a white halo wrapped around gold
    Beaming yellow upon it, upon us all
    Bringing its petals out—pale pink to rosy
    As though embarrassed by its own beauty
    And then, confident
    Hope bursts through simple perfection
    We gaze dumbfounded, yet delighted
    As glory swells into our hearts from a moment that
    Was once twisted inside a green womb, sheltered and fearful
    Like all of us before…

    –Lindsey L. Kelly
    (¹First line poem, authored by Ruth L. Shwartz poem, “Tangerine”)

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