Ocean-Themed Poetry Prompts to Help Your Creativity Flow

As temperatures rise, many of us long for relaxing days spent by the ocean: the feeling of sand between your toes, the sense of peace you feel while wading in cool water, the sun’s comforting warmth on your face. Pure bliss.


Beaches are a quintessential summer escape, but they also provide a wealth of creative inspiration for your poetry. This season, whether you’re planning beach vacations or simply daydreaming of wide-open seas, let these ocean-inspired poetry prompts help you go with the flow.


Craft a poem about your perfect beach day


Envision your perfect day at the beach, from beginning to end, sunrise to sunset. Whether you pull inspiration from a beloved memory or simply use your imagination, capturing a common experience like this in a poem helps you and your readers appreciate the everyday.  


In your mind’s eye, what do you observe? Describe the scene in detail. What shapes do the waves create? Is the water calm and still or treacherous and turbulent ? Is the sky blue and bright or overcast and dull? How do these conditions affect your mood and perception of the beach? Can you use these ocean elements as metaphors?


Also, consider how you would spend your day. Do you lose yourself in a book? Enjoy a cold beverage? Walk along the shore as the tide rolls in? Go for a relaxing swim? Are you solo or joined by a few friends? Write about how these joyful moments deepen your gratitude for the beauty of life.


Incorporate a lighthouse metaphor in a poem


Lighthouses are an ever-present metaphor throughout storytelling mediums, often symbolizing hope and guidance, which makes them an interesting subject to center in a poem. 


Perhaps someone in your life is your metaphorical lighthouse, helping guide you home—back to yourself, back to loved ones after trying times, which you might represent as treacherous seas. 


Write a poem from the perspective of marine life or shore-dwelling animals


Although people often enjoy living near or visiting beaches to rest and recharge, these natural places are home to countless marine life and shore-dwelling animals. Systemically, human activity continues to negatively impact and destroy important habitats for these incredible creatures. 


Use your voice as a poet to advocate for ocean wildlife, writing a poem from the perspective of one or multiple animals. Consider how an endangered bird might feel as beach-goers narrowly avoid her nest in the sand. You could also bring attention to marine pollutants, like plastics, which wildlife commonly mistake for food. To add detail to your writing, research the animal you want to feature in a poem, including its habitat, behavior, and food sources. 


For even more inspiration, check out these 10 mesmerizing poems that invoke the ocean tide. Also, as a fun summer writing challenge, bring a notebook on your next beach trip to write a few poems, letting your creativity flow like a wave.