We Didn’t Start the Fire…

It’s taken me nearly a week to chew over this one, so apologies for my slow reactions, dVerse Poets Pub.  

On the 9th of MarchBrian Miller and Gretchen Leary suggested two different types of prompts.  One was to ask someone to give you a few words to incorporate into a poem – but my own family came up with such delightful combinations as ‘poohead’, ‘smosh-smosh’ and ‘supercalifragilistic’, so I soon gave up on that one.  The second was to think of a seminal song from when we were growing up and I instantly thought of Billy Joel’s ‘We didn’t start the fire’.  So, for the past few days I’ve been trying to add a few verses to that song, to bring it up to date.  This has been far more difficult than I thought! [Perhaps I will write another time a post about the difference between hard-working form or imitation versus spontaneous poetic outburst.]  In the end, my rhymes and verbal verve are not quite up to the original, but here goes:


One day like this or a few weeks of medal fever, cheering loud,

Being nice, a good sport, no rain falling from our cloud.

Dontcha feel unsisterly vibes at work or when you raise your child?

If you’re poor, endure the jibes, you’re universally reviled!


People killed every day at the click of a mouse,

Together we are forced to stay, shore up the value of our house…

Celtic Tiger lost his roar, gulf in Spain is golf no more,

Pension plans are sinking down, bankers screwing everyone.

Gladiator, Amelie, turned all blue in Avatar.

Lucky we can drive away in our silent Prius car.


We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

US is divided nation, tsunami and radiation,

Greeks protest austerity, nought left for posterity.

I don’t know where to  turn –  is there anything left to burn?

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it

8 thoughts on “We Didn’t Start the Fire…”

  1. Marina Sofia – Oh this is so inventive! And you’ve captured some of the main events quite well. I’m especially happy that you did this, being the Bill Joel fan tha I am. Very nice 🙂 🙂

    1. Always pleased to please you. I wasn’t a special fan, but once you look at his songs, how inventive and diverse they are, you realise how many of them have been a seminal part of my experience: ‘My Life’, ‘Always a Woman to Me’, ‘River of Dreams’, ‘Vienna’ and ‘Piano Man’.

  2. Yeah, not a pretty picture we’re looking at. You’ve caught the attitudes and postures that some assume, the hurts that some endure as they fall out of the dream. I wonder how successful we’ll be fighting this fire. Gotta keep trying.

  3. Nice! I like it! I can see how something like this would be extremely difficult, and I think a post about spontaneous versus prompt writing would be very interesting 😀

    1. Thanks. Yes, I’ve started relying less on spontaneity in my poetry and trying to work harder at form or edits etc. With the result that I have written less…

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