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Poem: Why Is December Called December?


Why Is December Called December?


December is coming
December is here

After December what month is it
December hasn’t changed

December was white
December was gray

December must do
December has days

December is not a noun
December is what season

How is December for Taurus
In December is it cold in Cancún

Where does December come from
What is December going to be like?


These autofill poems are such fun to create; many of the lines are ones I'd never come up with on my own. When I was putting together "Why is December Called December?," I once again got a line like one in "November Lost & Found": "December is Spanish." As much as I wanted to use it again, I set it aside. This month's poem asks a lot of questions—such is the nature of a Google search—so perhaps a companion poem could be made of answers. I'll have to think about it. At any rate, this is one way to create an autofill poem:


1. Go to Google.

2. Type in a phrase with the word “December” in it, like “December is.”

3. Before clicking on the results, read what the autofill comes up with.

4. Pick out the best stuff & write it down.

5. Repeat with another phrase.

6. If you speak another language, try using an international Google (for example, Google Spain) to get different results, and translate them into English.

7. Choose the best lines, arrange them, and see what you come up with!


The Poetry Friday roundup for December 3rd is at Michelle Kogan's blog.

Photo by ST. Pomme de New York, sculpture by Claude Lalanne.


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An autofill poem, how clever and a good idea. I like where the ending went asking about Cancún, where December comes from and what'll be like, hmmm, ponder ponder, I wonder… Fun, and great image too, thanks Susan!

Michelle, thanks for reading! I am working on some other poems, but do enjoy playing around with Google.

I'm always interested in new prompts, new ways of getting ideas for poems. This is a novel one. It's fun thinking about one word and looking at it from all sides. It's a beautiful word, December. Where December come from?

You and Google write some fun poems! Autofill for the win!!

Yep, it's working well for you! I might go back and see what iMessages does for me...tried it once and it was fun. "December must do/December has days" is my favorite part.

Janice, don't you like "Where does December come from?" I think I need to investigate! It has a lot of possibilities.

Mary Lee, gracias. In this case Autofill is my friend. And collaborator. (ha!)

Thanks, Heidi! iMessage is a good idea. I may have to try that, too. Many of these phrases puzzle me...but in a good way, so placing them in a poem is kind of like turning a prism in the light and what it can do.

There is an element of surprise and wonder in this poetic strategy, Susan. Decision-making is to the fore. You have wrangled and directed it to deliver with your collaborator, Autofill.

Thank you, Alan! Autofill is always ready to collaborate, but has to be reigned in a bit.

Susan, thanks for another new format. I can imagine how interesting it is to arrange and re-arrange thoughts so they appear to be poetic. The photo you used is very unique with that pumpkin in the lawn. I imagine you could write an interesting poem about that.

This is a great exercise Susan! Letting AI give you a writing prompt is a powerful way to get inspiration from another brain (an AI brain :) ). Thank you for sharing!

Carol, isn't that sculpture wild! It's just sitting there in a suburban yard as if it were dropped from the sky. The sculptor (now deceased) is quite well known, and I had hoped to see a retrospective of her and her husband's work at the Clark Art Institute, at Williams College, but it ended in October. At one point one of these giant bronze apples was part of an outdoor exhibit on Park Avenue in New York.

Tim, ha! Yes, AI. I never thought of it that way, but you're right. I like the search results because I see them as so unpredictable, but evidently they're not, at least to AI's way of "thinking!" Thank you for reading.

Oh Susan this is new to me, the google autofill prompt. Something I am going to put in my "ideas for writing notebook" and give a try at some point. I can see me heading off to write another poem once I warm up with this. It in a way reminds me of the cento form. Have you tried that one? I love December and I always, though, feel behind. I want to just enjoy every moment. I am drawn to the last two lines in your poem. Have you tried to write your own poem after you do the auto-filled one to see where it has led you? I am curious as a teacher and as a writer. Interesting, so thank you.
Janet Clare F.

Janet Clare F., i love centos! I have two out on submission to a couple of journals. Fingers crossed! I haven’t gone on to use any of the autofill lines yet in a poem of my own, but am thinking about doing so with “Where does December come from?” It’s so open & invites a lot of answers in my imagination. Thanks for reading!

Such a fun way to get a phrase pool for a poem. Kind of like magnetic poetry, where you can pull out what you want. Where does December come from? Great question!

Thank you, Laura. I watched a poetry reading online recently, and afterward the poet said that she keeps a word notebook. I may have to start doing that, too, in addition to the scribbled conversations I keep track of.

I'm going to try this with my Kindergarten poets. I think they'll get a kick out of it -- and a giggle!

Oh, I hope you'll tell us about it when you do that, Christie! One does get some pretty funny results.

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