So, I just completed a small task set for my Advanced Poetry unit. “Answer the following questions from a hypothetical intelligence test by inventing your answer.” I had great fun with it, so I thought I’d share the result. Feel free to share your own answers! Don’t think about it. Just respond.


1. What can you write using a toothpick and black ink from an octopus?

You can write the night in, line by careful line.

2. If you burnt your shoes, what could be born from their ashes?

The Chinese boy that made them.

3. If the rainbow ends not in your soul nor the horizon, where does it end?

Where it began: in the mouth of a fairytale.

4. What do we thank the clouds for?

We thank the clouds for sailing the seas of the sky, for surviving the windsharks that would tear them apart, for obscuring the deadlight of nevermore stars.

5. What does the butterfly read?

The butterfly reads the limericks of leaves twisting in the wind, and on idle Sundays, can be found nestled in a copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

6. What is the task of the ocean air?

To carry the bitter-flung curses of sailors and DJ their salty baritones with the far-off songs of sirens on rocks that jut out of the sea.

7. How would you handle the dream of a turtle?

With the utmost care, lest it retreat into itself and be lost forever.

8. What can’t you do with a glove?

A false premise: a glove can salve a President’s wounded pride, can repair torn clouds, can be stretched to cover the sky, can – if angled right – stir insects into a frenzy with shadows alone. A glove’s uses are as limitless as the answer to this question.

9. What can you do with a jewel hatched from an ancient storm?

Brew a new storm to follow its aged parent into the deeps.

10. What can you do on the day of the week that does not exist?

You can meet every version of yourself that died with the choices you made; you can see what could have been.

11. How would you speak to a blind giant snail?

Eloquently. A snail has all the time in the world to compose its sentences; I do not, therefore I must strive to match it with poetry.

12. When would you put your dreams on the table and what would you serve with them?

I would never do so – to put them on the table would mean I first had to go into the wild jungle in which they flutter, brightly coloured, and catch them with cruel hooks. Who would cage them so? No one, surely. But every other Monday, I have found, while sweeping the yard, the body of a dead dream (curiously, not unlike a butterfly, though stranger than that) and if I were to serve it up to anyone, it would be accompanied with a detached autopsy. 

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