How to write a poem without really trying.

at 65o elephant mat elephant at 600 india at 650

1. Find something in your home that has an interesting shape and/or texture or is associated with a happy memory.

2. Think about how the item feels with your eyes shut, open your eyes and write the  detail in prose…no need to think of it as a poem, does it  rhyme etc. free verse poems don’t rhyme.  Just write for two or three minutes without the pen coming up from the page.

3. Now look at your item carefully, what do you see, colour, shape, texture?

4. Does it have a smell?

Now write about these things without too much thought…just write.

5. Does this item have special associations, feeling, emotions? Write some prose about that!

I’ll do the same right now  – using an item found laying about in the house

Ann’s free writing  – (I shut my eyes to get a sense of the item, then open them and write)  Soft and squidgy, several layers, something metal, maybe a clasp.

(Now with eyes open look carefully)  dark green, a golden and yellow moon design, red stars at each corner, made of leather, smells tangy like an orange.

purse at 650

Associated feelings/memories – (Turning the item, a purse, over in my hands) I remember where I bought it, in a gift shop in Brighton, next to the tapas bar were we always go for my birthday, coming down from London by train before we moved down here. It reminds me of all the family being together, my mother always there, loving the gift shop. The meal,  the company, the cake we take, the owner happy to light the candles and  everyone in the restaurant singing  ‘Happy Birthday’ too,  without the slightest embarrassment.

When you have finished your writing ring phrases that you like. This is the basis of your poem. Don’t try too hard, two or three lines will be fine.

I might end up with a poem about the purse, more likely one about the birthday trips to Brighton. But now the green leather purse transports back in my mind’s eye to India and a trip of a lifetime!


It was in the 80s with a friend/colleague, she was Indian and we went with her two children, who had never been to their mother’s homeland before.

After the initial shock of the unbelievable heat, it was all a sheer joy, staying in my friend’s aunt’s flat in Delhi, travelling, visiting her family. Oh and dressing up as an Indian princess, on the tourist trail of course.

Now I have opened the door to memories of India, I want to go and find some of my photos, write some poems about it all.

I dipped very briefly into this theme in my book,  but it was the ‘tip of the iceberg’ – not really the right metaphor for Indian experience!

Arriving in India

The heat sucked life out of her body

her skin felt strangely numb

heartbeat quickened

lungs full of heavy heat

a desperate need to keep focused

her whole body succumbed to fatigue.

So this is India

can death be this simple?

Now good luck with your poems and do tell me how you get on  x


This entry was posted in Brighton - out and about, Cheer yourself up, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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