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
from Kneeling Orion
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