The Tin Man Talks to His Creator

The Tin Man Talks to His Creator

I’m just a “thing” made out of metal,
stovepipe legs, my head a kettle.
When it rains, I rust apart
and so expose my lack of heart.
It is no mystery, no riddle
that I’m empty in the middle.
Some say a heart is of no use.
It is a trap. It is a noose.
It is an organ of abuse,
at best of times, merely a truce
in the battle of the sexes
between them and all their exes.
They say, “When born without a heart,
there’s nothing there to tear apart!”

Yet still I feel that all that pain
would not, could not, be in vain.
I’d bear the sadness for the start
of love that I’d feel with a heart.
And so, I pine and wish and stew
that I might be born anew
with a beating corazon
so I’d not feel so alone,
and though I would be made of tin,
that living heart that pulsed within
would let me feel at last what they
take for granted every day.
What care I that I fall to dust
if I could love before I rust?

Once more, I pray to my creator,
to that great procrastinator.
I ask again to have a heart—
what I’ve asked for from the start.
I say, “The pain, without a doubt,
can’t be worse than going without.”
Then that Great Tinsmith in the sky
looks me firmly in the eye
so the truth I cannot miss
as he gently tells me this: 
“A heart’s not something I can bestow.
It is a thing you have to grow.”


Forgottenman says I should tell you what I told him about this poem.  I actually wrote it after midnight while sitting outside in what might loosely be called my hot tub. Since the night was quite cold and the water had been sitting for two days, it was something less than hot, even less than lukewarm. I was writing on lined paper using a flashlight with a magnetic bottom that stuck to the metal bench beside the tub. (I sent Forgottenman photos of my crumpled, water-dotted original manuscript and he insisted I post it on my blog.  If you are curious, see it HERE.) Once started, I didn’t want to stop so tonight I really did suffer for my art!  I believe I finally couldn’t take it anymore and the last few lines were written inside. I was driven by the fact that the last two pieces I’ve written for dVerse were not accepted because although I started them before the deadline, by the time they were finished, the Mr. Linky would not accept them as the deadline had just closed. So this time, I was superstitious and wanted to get finished in time.  Luckily, this time it worked. One day I need to figure out just how long the submission period is. I am terrible about such things.


Public Domain Illustration. The prompt was to write a poem about one of Dorothy’s three traveling companions  from The Wizard of Oz. For dVerse Poets. 

45 thoughts on “The Tin Man Talks to His Creator

      1. lifelessons Post author

        I expected it to be warmer, but once in, I fell subject to a sort of inertia as I figured the outside air was even colder than the water and I didn’t want to face it. This in addition to being intent on finishing the poem and not wanting to break my concentration.

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          This is what Frank said to me: The dVerse submission period is usually 2 days except for the Monday one (quadrille or haibun) which lasts through the week. (I think the regular dVerse posts on Tuesday but his “usually” makes me think different people may post the prompt at different times. Let me know if you agree on the Tuesday date. That was the day it was posted on this week. I believe at 9 a.m.

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        2. lifelessons Post author

          Further word on that, V.J., from Frank: Tuesdays are for “Poetics” but we consider all of our prompts as regular prompts (Monday Haibuns alternated with the Quadrille, Tues. Poetics and Thurs. Meeting the Bar alternated with Open Link Night. Hope that clarifies it. (He gives no standard time.)

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        3. lifelessons Post author

          Here is more:
          Yes it is. All the prompts begin at 3 p.m. EST. 🙂
          The Monday prompts continue as the Tues. and Thurs. prompts open, but you would then have to access them from the right margin. The Tues. prompt runs until Thurs…around noon or sometimes later that day. It’s best to post as early as possible as some people do not return to read the later posts, which is unfortunate. The Thurs. prompt may run into the weekend, I believe it closes on Saturdays. I hope this helps!

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            1. lifelessons Post author

              Me, too. It has to be enjoyable.. not an assignment, yet I want to support all of the prompts done by friends. That’s why I combine four prompts into one. Ane, it pricks the imagination as well.

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  1. Frank Hubeny

    The dVerse submission period is usually 2 days except for the Monday one (quadrille or haibun) which lasts through the week. It is kind of a rush.
    I like these lines: “When it rains, I rust apart
    and so expose my lack of heart.” I especially liked these lines: “Once more, I pray to my creator,
    to that great procrastinator.”

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, thanks, Frank. I was hoping someone would take pity on me and clarify re/ the cutoff point for dVerse Poets. Is the regular prompt always posted on Tuesday?

      What I love about rhyming is that it exposes us to some thoughts we might otherwise not have. Thus the realization, for me, that to the tin man, his creator must seem like a procrastinator, since he didn’t get what he wanted no matter how many times he asked. I wonder how many people feel the same way about their own deity–blaming it on them instead of themselves? All that is obvious, I know, but something that I would not have thought of if I hadn’t been searching for a rhyme. That’s what keeps me on this rhyme and meter track, even though I know it isn’t a particularly popular one in the world of poetry. I like the challenge and the surprises. Glad to see you do as well.

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      1. Mish

        Tuesdays are for “Poetics” but we consider all of our prompts as regular prompts (Monday Haibuns alternated with the Quadrille, Tues. Poetics and Thurs. Meeting the Bar alternated with Open Link Night. Hope that clarifies it. 🙂

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          Are they always posted at the same time? I thought this week’s was posted at 9 a.m. but Mim’s entry says doors open at 3 p.m. EST. V.J. is also confused about this and asked me to clarify it to her, so this is a chain! Thanks for clearing it up for both of us.

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  2. rugby843

    Maybe that’s what’s happened to some of the things I write, not recognized by the “creator” of the challenge. Oh well, at least my followers see it.☺️

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  3. Mish

    This was a treat to read! You had me at the first two lines. I enjoyed the sound of a natural rhyme and how you captured the struggles of the Tin Man. A unique response to the prompt as he converses with his Creator.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Mish. Wanted to ask you a question about the timing of dVerse. On your Tuesday post, you said doors open at 3 p.m. E.S.T. Is this always when the prompts start?

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      1. Mish

        Yes it is. All the prompts begin at 3 p.m. EST. 🙂
        The Monday prompts continue as the Tues. and Thurs. prompts open, but you would then have to access them from the right margin. The Tues. prompt runs until Thurs…around noon or sometimes later that day. It’s best to post as early as possible as some people do not return to read the later posts, which is unfortunate. The Thurs. prompt may run into the weekend, I believe it closes on Saturdays. I hope this helps!

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          Thanks, Mish. I didn’t even know there were 3 prompts during the week. Given a couple of comments on my blog, I think a few other people are confused about when to post and have had work rejected because they posted too late. I wonder if it would help to post this information on your prompt pages? Just a suggestion. I’ll send it to the people who have said they were confused as well. Again, thanks for hearing our plea!

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  4. Pingback: In the Rough | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  5. Christine Bolton

    Thank you for all your efforts! The end result was spectacular 😊
    I love your handwritten notes and rhyming words in the margin. ❤️ I carry a journal with me when I don’t have a laptop handy and i have similar scribbles all through it.
    Thanks for sharing.

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