When the wind is howling and it’s pouring with rain, I find writing poetry very soothing.
You might like to try to write a poem yourself – even if you have never ever written poetry – you can easily.
1. find a postcard of a holiday scene, a good landscape from a mag, my picture above if you like.
2. describe your scene in detail in prose…no need to think of it as a poem, try to make it rhyme etc. free verse doesn’t rhyme – Just write what you can see without the pen lifting from the page…
I’ll try it right now on this computer (I usually use a pencil and notebook for early drafts but it doesn’t matter.)
Ann’s free writing –
White cliffs, a blue sky, tiny white topped waves breaking on to the beach, where pebbles lay, pebbles that have moved in and out with the rhythm of the sea for millions of years, grey, brown, white and black, seabirds swoop to pick over cockles, hunt for a crab. In summer children balance by the side of rock pools dipping nets into the mysterious waters, the wind brushes my face, I smell the salty air ….(keep writing till you have nothing else to say.)
Now take a detail maybe a person in your scene – imagine why they are there, what are they doing, thinking…the colours they are wearing?
I once had a picture of an old woman in a red shawl, with worn wrinkled hands, knitting on a beach. She sits silently letting her memories drift in and out of her mind as her needles click clack and the patterns of her life fall softly into place. (I just made that up from remembering the picture – just go on and on without any crossing out.)
If you have not done so already, add emotions, sounds, taste, touch – either your characters as above or your own…
e.g in sombre mood I walk along the beach, hear the sound of the pebble spit and crack beneath my feet, the wind brushes my face, I find myself walking faster and faster, exhilarated. The relentless waves tumble shift and sift….
…whoops better stop, sure I have used some of these words in the following poem or another one.
Now ring all the phrases that you like, see if you can dispense with the ‘and’ and ‘the’ keep to the heart of your thoughts.
Now you could cut them up into short phrases and arrange them into a pleasing order, or just do it by looking at the page with your notes and re-write the order.
You can decide to keep yourself in with ‘I’ or ‘she’ or ‘he’ or use images without this reference. eg. white waves tumble to the shore, seagulls glide in the current of the wind, pebbles drift and shift etc.
What have you got? May be good to sleep on this draft, or even leave it for a day or two!
Congratulate yourself for having a go…even if you were a genius poet anyway!
If you try this idea with my pic or your own – do send it to me through the comment option at the end. I would really love to read them!
I wrote the poem a poem my book ‘The Salt Sea Wind’ by just holding a pebble on the beach and thinking about it – yours can start with a lengthy description as above and then cut it back. Another poem came from watching a man in Hove on the beach with a metal detector a couple of years ago. I went over and had a chat with him, later the poem wrote itself. (It is also in my book)
It is really important to read poetry if you want to get better at writing it, there’s a brilliant site that sends out poem a day sign into Poets.org and register.
I am not claiming my poetry is wonderful it’s always ‘work in progress’ but there is a certain satisfaction in creating something new. A new interest for you in 2013?
You can see some of my new poems by clicking on New Poems on the header, others are lying in wait for the odd competition!
Where a solitary seagull flew
hopeful of an unexpected catch
an old man moved along
the deserted seashore.
as if to ward off new invaders.
He kept his gaze low,
pausing then pouncing,
hands sifting piles of slippery pebbles,
“Makes a good walk” he called,
digging to retrieve his bounty –
two battered 20p coins.
he called, I nodded
so with one hand cupped
to the side of his mouth,
warding off competition
from roar of the wind
on the incoming tide
he launched into a sonnet.
I clapped respectfully
as he continued to work the beach
as a showman might,
reaping his due rewards for such
a powerful performance.
I run free pop in and write poetry workshops for aspiring and apprentice poets at the Open Art Cafe Rottingdean 10.30 to 12.30 the first Wednesday in the month.
To find out how to write your own love poem please see latest post