A Phrasal Verb Primer: Poetic Hill

Natasha Saje. Photo: David Baddley

Natasha Saje was born stateless in Germany and grew up in New York City and its suburbs. She learned to love DC (Pier 9! Museums!) as a University of Virginia student, lived in either DC or Baltimore from 1978 to 1998, when, equipped with a PhD from the University of Maryland, she took a teaching job at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Now happily retired from that job/exile, she lives in the Broadmoor (Cleveland Park) with her Veterans Administration employee (and Boston sports-fan) wife. Saje teaches poetry and non-fiction writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of five books of poems, a memoir-in-essays (“Terroir: Love, Out of Place”) and a postmodern poetry handbook.

At a poetry reading, the writer Bob Ross suggested that she would have fun using phrasal verbs in a poem. She went home and looked them up, and yes! Verbs followed by prepositions are wonderful idioms. To tell a story, this poem restricts itself to phrasal verbs and offers options for completing the sentences.

A Phrasal Verb Primer
you and I did not use up  (what we had)
I looked after  (you)  (myself)
you went through  (who can know)
after you ran out  (of time)
I turned down  (sheets)  (nothing)
I am getting on with  (a new life)  (a wife)
you made sure of  (the setting sun in a crimson sky)
        (a watermark moon)
what can add up to  (a memory)  (forgetting)
I give back  (what you gave me)  (to someone else)
I do over  (better)  (with more or less heart)
let me spell out  (guilt)
don’t look over  (here)  (at us)
I’ll go on  (as long as I live)
and answer to  (no one)  (myself) 

Southwest DC resident Sandra Beasley is the author of four poetry collections. If you live in DC and are interested in being featured, reach out to her at sandrabeasley@earthlink.net for questions and submissions (1-5 poems).