Friday, March 07, 2008

March Poem Prompt 2 - A Simple Wish

It's easy in our sophisticated, fast-moving world to overlook the simple things, and that includes writing too, and we can often read too quickly over what appears rather simple and straightforward. I have to remind myself to read differently when I pick up a book of poems, not to be in a hurry to turn the page, to find out what it has to offer. If I slow down, with the right poems, of course, then there is more of a chance I will uncover riches.

I've had Kate Barnes' collection, Kneeling Orion, for some time now, but I can't remember reading the following poem. I was obviously in too much of a rush. But before you read it, have a go at the following exercise first.

1. You wake up and hear something. What is it?
2. The sound reminds you of something. Describe it using precise concrete language.
3. Make a wish for someone or something. Someone connected to that memory or event.

Once you have the first draft of your own poem, read Kate Barnes' 'Wishes'. Look at how she's shaped her poem on the page, her line breaks, her lovely rhymes - both internal and line end that add music to her poem - and work with the shape, lineation, and rhythms of your poem to reinforce your theme and emotional tone.


Waking before dawn, I hear
first one shot, then
three or four, and it isn't even
light yet. I think of how, at night,
the deer lie down in the big field, of their beds
in the rowen hay, the way
they turn their heads when anyone enters
their wide, starry chamber;
................................and I wish that buck
a whole skin, and no luck
to hunters.

Kate Barnes
from Kneeling Orion

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anne.kenny said...


Waking early morning, I hear
a pheasant near and raw
from sleep – I settle on the sheen
of bronzed feathers, lodged deep
in memory. As a child, I saw
one - wings pinioned, in a window
nook – clawed feet caught
on a slab of stone. I think of how
I wished it flight one day
and how it still returns.

Alyss Dye said...

Scarves on the Stairs

8.00 am and the front door slams,
shaking the house like
an earthquake.
She has gone without saying goodbye.

I collect the debris:
mugs of cold tea,
yesterday’s papers,
piles of wet towels.

On the landing, there’s a muddle
of discarded scarves –
one cyclamen, one rose,
and one Indian paisley cascading
like a red and gold waterfall
down the stairs.

I gather their softness
into my arms,
seeing the child who once
solemnly gripped the bannisters
as I urged her to be careful
not to fall.

I wished her then old
as now I wish her young.

Alyss Dye