Poetry Workshop #1: Finding Inspiration

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Welcome to a week of poetry workshops. All the examples were written by me, starting with poetry from my youth to a poem from the first abandoned manuscript of NBTAM. But I must warn you: Poetry is not my forte. I liken it to art or music–it is something I appreciate but lack the gift. (And no, I’m not being humble!) 

 

POETRY WORKSHOP: Finding Inspiration

~My Example~

I wrote “Untitled” when I was sixteen. It was written in pencil and torn from a notebook and now lives in my big black binder entitled “Writing: HS & College.”  Many years ago, I found inspiration from a beautiful moonset–where the moon settles on the water and illuminates a path to the shore.

“Untitled”

Hand in hand

We travel the illuminated path

Toward eternal happiness

The moon is our guide

And the stars are our chaperones

Just you and I

Alone in our paradise

A place that we dreamed of

A place that we have created

There is no turning back, my friend

Relinquish your fears

And take my hand

My love – my only love

 

~Your Turn~

Now close your eyes, search your mind, and travel to find your inspiration. Go to the top of a mountain, an unforgettable sunset, or a sprawling countryside to conjure up the images. Jot them down and form the phrases into a simple free verse* poem. And most importantly, be brave enough to share it with others. Post your poem as a comment. I look foward to reading it!

* Free verse is poetry without a pattern or a rhyme scheme. Yet it is so open-ended that Robert Frost said it was like “playing tennis without a net.”

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12 responses »

  1. Mount Pleasant Path
    Me and My Girl
    ©Ruth Cox

    I hike the high hills,
    dark caverns, too,
    step over fallen rock,
    dodge and deal
    with mishaps
    strewn along the path.
    Dog barks up ahead.
    Yes, I brought my friend.
    For without her…
    Harm
    may come once again.

    She laps of –
    I jump into –
    the cooling water.
    She trots alongside,
    never leaving path.
    She has known the chill
    of my loneliness…
    I am grateful for this fact.

    Back on the bank,
    the crooked creek’s edge,
    I sit,
    I rest,
    thoughts dance among the dead.
    A lick upon my face says,
    All is not lost;
    Never alone;
    Friend guards your back.

    We climb the mount, slowly
    reaching for the top.
    The sun guides our footprints
    upon the path we walk.
    Strongest of the rays
    points the way –
    Go around.
    Go through.
    Life awaits you two.

    The top draws near,
    we rest once more,
    listen to the waterfall
    flowing in the distance.
    Sound travels,
    an arrow,
    aimed for the heart.
    I think…
    This must be
    where love got its start.

    My gal disappears,
    seemingly runs astray;
    I hear yelps of glee,
    leading me unto the light;
    brighter as I go.
    This must be the pathway
    of the things I should know.

    I feel the need
    to rest a moment more,
    settle myself
    on the dirt of the floor.
    I feel the warmth
    as I hold
    the ground in my hand.
    But time is ticking,
    I tell myself,
    Rise.

    Dog appears
    in the clearing ahead,
    waits for me to catch her,
    then…
    stands her ground.
    Her tail another voice,
    it wags, Delighted!
    Then it halts, Who goes there?
    And it curls, Friend, not foe.

    Together, we
    stand
    at the peak;
    our world at our feet.
    Just me and my girl.

    • What a pleasant surprise! I am reading your poem as I sip my morning coffee.

      I love how the dog portrays various roles in the poem: protector, companion, friend, empathisizer, playmate. The poem is about your relationship with your dog, but delves into your past–all while taking us on a scenic climb up the mountain. I love the layers and the imagery.

      Your poetry never disappoints me, and with each one, I feel as if I know you better.

      Thank you for a “bit o’ sunshine” in the darkness of the early morning.

      ~Kim

      • Kim, you perceived my poem perfectly, thank you. I have to say that as I wrote the original freewrite, eyes closed, I was even amazed at the theme of the verse as it grew out of the dark.

        Tidbit turns 10 this year, she’s aging quickly, and I cannot imagine not having her with me always. She has been the best friend I’ve ever had.

  2. Kimberly, I couldn’t italicize a few lines here in comments, the voices.

    Your poem from high school is awesome! I’m thinki’ you should try a current free verse!

    • Aw, I understand the limitations of wordpress all too well.

      And you are too kind, but when I read this poem all these years later, I realized something: I was a die-hard romantic even back then. No wonder I write love stories now.

      • No wonder, indeed! It shows how little we change over the years, how our “being” is developed at an early age, we just spend a lifetime developing our dreams.

  3. Hey Sweetie Pie,
    I love your poem. It has a very deep spiritual truth to it as well, beyond what you may realize or had intended…my perception is it’s a wonderful message of a spiritual awakening. I really truly LOVE THIS!!! I want to post it on my site and FB also!!! Thanks Kim! Love you!

    • Thank you, Lins. And you know I’m chuckling here, since I am quite certain my sixteen-year-old self lacked the spiritual depth of which you speak. Thanks for the kind words, though. Love you back!

  4. There could be so many meanings behind these words. I can see the slaves using them on there passage to freedom or a couple looking for there home where they can raise a family.

  5. These are very nice. I enjoyed reading them and the comments. Looking forward to the rest of the week. (I know. I’m way behind.)

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