My first challenge, as we're coming up towards the end of the year, is to write a poem about endings, or one particular ending.
Once you've decided on your subject matter, allow yourself to free-write around the material before trying to shape it into a poem. Don't edit and select during this process; try to be as honest as you can with the page. Once you've done enough free writing, try and identify the dominant emotional tone and be aware of that as you shape the poem on the page? Is there a tension to the material? Do you need short lines that cut the reader's breath to reflect that? Is there a burst of energy? Will longer exuberant lines support that? Do you need the 'containment' and control of a traditional form, e.g. a sonnet? Whatever you decide, try and work consciously with the form and let it reciprocate with the subject matter.
Post your poems via the 'comments' facility below and I look forward to reading them over the next few weeks.
In the meantime here's a poem of mine about one particular type of ending.
My mother said Girl
you’ll be late for your own funeral.
She was right
but who could blame me for wanting
a last look at the waves
the smell of salt.
And you know the timelessness
of the sea and what was meant to be
a glimpse became three hours.
I picked up the sensible court shoes
and ran along the quay
through the town’s busy streets
regretting the choice
of Friday afternoon, the flesh coloured tights
fraying on my feet
but what struck me most
was the effortlessness of that run –
the silence of my heart
not a single squeeze of lung.
As I cornered the crematorium gates
and saw them hunched together
in the porch I thought of running
straight past their stricken faces
and across the memorial lawns
as if this was what I was made for
as if this was how I’d always
planned to spend the day.
From Learning How to Fall (Parthian 2005)