Poetry Prompt: The Myth of Sisyphus


This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved.

In found poetry, we look at a completed piece of writing and ask “what can we do with this”? We find a new subject, a new use for old language, another shape for human experience. We start over.

In honor of the 100th birthday of Albert Camus, we ask you to write poems from The Myth of Sisyphus (from The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus). Create an erasure poem by blacking out/erasing most of the text (in order) and leaving behind the text of your poem. As always, please share your efforts in the comments. And then of course, start again.


Image: Sisyphus (cropped) on Wikimedia Commons


  • November 10, 2013

    Amanda Earl

    history is made
    for the imagination to breathe life

    as myth, straining
    the fresh star with armament

    rushing back to hell
    heavy to the torrent hour

    breathing to turn
    this myth airless and rebellious

    at the same time fate
    take joy

    woo me run to me. crush me. cast me in gold and nobility
    make me sole stoic for the absurd hero

    do not cover temptation
    happiness is parable, a take on a swell telling

    oft heard ringing
    odd satisfaction and a preference

    for hymns of the earth
    secret invitations verse the shadows sent to know the night

    inevitable and desperate for life, turning the sun again
    blind night has no end, is still rolling

  • November 10, 2013


    Practice the labor of stone,
    the weight of the rock its own

    to discover. The same tasks
    performed a hundred times over

    can take place in joy. Love
    of the effort is the purpose, fate

    liberated a matter of time. In
    the breathing space of each

    silent atom — in mountain,
    in water, in earth and in sun —

    is benediction. Grasped, hands
    outstretched master the rolling.

  • November 11, 2013

    Robert Swereda

    condemned of its own weight most prudent was disposed
    of a certain levity. deserted, silent empire rashly obtained warm stone
    grasp absurd passions myths are made for the imagination to breathe
    the whole effort of a body. the cheek tight against clotted hands
    measure space down, that pause interests me. leaves sink toward myth

    rare moments of wretched condition crowns scorn. I fancy melancholy.
    blind and desperate is the hand of tempt. echos dissatisfaction.
    slight pivoting universe sterile. each atom filled struggle, itself.