Thorns - A Poetry Prompt

“Is there a thorn you can write about? What is the shape of it? How does it feel?” Karin Fendick


Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”



by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)


Hope is like a harebell, trembling from its birth;

Love is like a rose, the joy of all the earth.

Faith is like a lily, lifted high and white;

Love is like a lovely rose, the world’s delight.

Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth,

But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.


Like the Apostle Paul, I have repeatedly asked God to remove the thorn of pain from my life.


“… so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap (thorn) to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 


“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.


My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”


Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, MSG


My own poem below is sharp with a thorn.




don’t call me courageous

that title belongs to those

who make a choice

to move, or take action

brave? not me

there is nothing I have done

but breathe, or gasp

eyes briefly shut

till the worst of it

passes, dauntless? no

I have simply survived

another moment

another day

I press on, stretch slow

inquire of and lean into my Lord

my petition simple, aching

remove this thorn

or pour out more grace

as You will

that I might best serve You




  • Is there a thorn you can write about? Perhaps you have been hiding it. What is the shape of it? What is the feel of it?


  • Can you think of what other things are as sharp as thorns? List them. Use them in your poem.


  • Think of the roses in your life. Would you forsake the roses to escape the thorns?


  • Let your words speak directly to the thorn. What would you ask it?


  • What would God say to the thorn?


These questions are just to get you started. Sit with the word “thorn” for a bit. Then allow your words to find their own way. Follow them. And when they find their voice, we invite you share them in the comments or submit them to: for possible publication.




You can view our Submission Guidelines here. When submitting a poem, please include a scan or photo of the completed Author Release along with a headshot, brief bio, and links to your website, social media, and any book titles you’ve authored as applicable.


Enjoy the prompt.


We look forward to reading the poems that spill forth!



Thorns - A Poetry Prompt

by Karin Fendick | Read by Karin

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Karin Fendick

Karin Fendick

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, hungry for truth, amazed by love, on the Potter's wheel His work in progress. After five years in Africa, Karin and her beloved husband of twenty years, Rick, are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).

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