Tag Archives: spotlight


On Saturday the writing prompt at NaPoWriMo included a Paris Review interview of Kay Ryan. In it I discovered that she enjoys using clichés as inspiration:

I often find myself thinking in clichés. I’ll urge myself on with various bromides and chasten myself with others. When I want to write they’re one way to start thinking because they’re so metaphorically rich. For instance, take the word limelight, or being in the limelight—not really a cliché but a cherished idiom. Before electric light, they heated lime, or calcium oxide, to create incandescence for stage lights. In my poem, “Lime Light,” the limelight comes from a bowl of limes. It’s ridiculous, but it’s not nothing, not just a joke. It’s thinking about how limelight doesn’t work very well. You can’t do anything by limelight. – Kay Ryan (entire interview…)

It reminded me that I have a such a poem. Today it gets its place in the limelight…

Clematis blossom in sunlight

Clematis blossom in the spotlight of the sun (Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly)


I am in the limelight
not the head,  red,
blue or black light
but the light produced by a flame
of mixed gases
directed at a cylinder of lime
this being not avocado or sage
kelly, chartreuse or pea
but egg-shell white
with a lens that concentrates
that light onto me
guaranteed to turn you
lime with envy.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


Prompt – Inspiration

This word-play poem  began with the prompt: “Take a dead metaphor and get specific with it in a poem.” It took off when I did a little research into limelight, which Wikipedia describes as:

An intense illumination is created when an oxyhydrogen flame is directed at a cylinder of quicklime (calcium oxide),[2] which can be heated to 2,572 °C (4,662 °F) before melting. … Although it has long since been replaced by electric lighting, the term has nonetheless survived, as someone in the public eye is still said to be “in the limelight.”


VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!


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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Light, Objects


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