Edited by Maribel Steel
When we need an outlet to express our inner thoughts, especially when facing a life challenge like living with low vision, why not let your thoughts flow onto a page in the form of poetry? “It isn’t about rhyming, meter, or number of syllables,” says DeAnna Quietwater Noriega, “Really, anyone can write poetry.” Usually, when poets create poetry, there is a two-fold passion at play; they want to capture their feelings by observing their rich inner thoughts and hope their reflections truly touch the hearts and minds of a reader. Writing poetry, however, is completely up to you—as the poet. So, if you’ve been holding back your inner poet, let your expressive muse loose, and you might be pleasantly surprised to take your first steps without rhyme or reason with these tips from DeAnna.
Prelude to Writing Poetry
Writing poetry is one way to capture an idea that gets something out of your head and off your mind. It can give you a chance to think through problems or help you deal with the things that really bug you. Even if you never show your poems to anyone else, it’s your personal prelude to making sense of your life with all its rich complexities.
Start with a Postcard Poem
If you want to get started, you can begin with crafting a “postcard poem.” Later on, you can explore other styles, but for the newbie-poet, try the postcard approach.
- Line 1 (L1): The first line is the person you are directing your post card too. For example, it can be anyone: a close friend, a pet, or a person from history.
- Line 2 (L2): The second line is your introduction: “This is just to say; I want you to know; I was thinking especially of you today.”
- Line 3 (L3): The third line is the confession. This is where you put down the main message your poem conveys.
- Line 4 (L4): On the fourth line comes the request, apology, or excuse. For example, “Please forgive me; I hope you don’t mind; I thought you should know.”
- Line 5 (L5): The final fifth line is the conclusion.
DeAnna’s Postcard Poem to Her Husband
L1: My solid rock and safe place,
L2: I don’t think I have ever told you.
L3: How your love is my haven,
L4: When I shatter my wings fighting dragons,
L5: Thank you for picking up my pieces.
The postcard style is only a guide as a beginning framework to creating poetry. You don’t have to stick to the exact line count. Just use the elements the five lines represent and let your heart sore with your inner observations.
Poems to a Special Friend
When you write your own form of poetry, they can be humorous or serious, romantic or insightful. A poem inspired by those we care about make an excellent birthday wish, a thank you note or a personal reflection when you can’t even afford a card!
One Word Inspired Poetry
Another easy way to create a poem is to take a word and write down all of the things it means. For example, if you were to think of the word “peace,” what other words define it to you? Jot them down and try stringing them together.
A friend tried this exercise and came up with: “Pine forest. Ocean. Hot chocolate. Safe.”
The poem borne from these words reads:
The scent of pines
The sound of the ocean
The taste of hot chocolate
Feeling loved and safe.
For special occasions like Valentine’s Day why not surprise cupid and make a list from the word “Love” to celebrate your true feelings.
Your Profile in Five Words
Another way to trigger thought for a poem that can also be used as a group exercise is to write down five words that describe you. In turn, each person in the group is asked to contribute a color, a musical instrument, an animal, a place, and a kind of weather; words in their view that describe you.
Each participant takes their list of personal attributes, adding two of the words from each category to create a poem-profile.
In DeAnna’s personal profile, she defines herself in five words as: “Shy, advocate, determined, mischievous, and creative.” With her choice of words taken from a group list when she did this activity, she selected two key words from each category.
- Color – lavender and gold
- Musical instrument – chimes and voice
- Animal – eagle and otter
- Place – Pikes Peak and beach
- Weather – sunny and storm
Prose to Poetry
Once you have a collection of words, you can put them all together. Begin with the words “I am”… and include your list of words to tell the world who you are. Can you guess who I am?
I am a shy lavender chime,
a creative advocate voice,
a mischievous otter
on a rocky beach of political reality,
determined to be an eagle flying over Pikes Peak,
in the gold of the sun—after the storm has passed and the battles are won.
No excuses now! Write a poem! Be creative, let your muse flow from the senses, and please tell us in the comment section below a little of who you are in your poetic nature.