Over the last several years I’ve been participating in various writing projects. I took part in the 100 words a day challenge in which your daily post is exactly one hundred words; I’ve taken on Round Robin Stories on the Nano boards in which you add a paragraph or two, or an entire scene, to a community story; And participated in a GIF interview hosted by the talented Kate Tilton.
Recently a fellow author, and friend, Elyse Salpeter, discussed how writers should become poets as well to help flesh out their creativity in other forms of writing. So I joined in as it looked like fun!
My Early Days of Poetry
Writing poems is not new for me; in school, as we studied poetry, we were required to write our own. The only one that I can really recall from memory is a limerick I wrote for 8th Grade English:
There once was a man named Reagan,
Who often looked like a dragon.
He climbed up a wall,
Although he did fall,
On top of Prime Minister Begin.
My senior year in high school we studied the sonnets of William Shakespeare and, as an assignment we were to write our own sonnet. If you’re not familiar with a sonnet it’s a poem that consists of 14 lines that make up three stanzas and a couplet at the end. Each stanza is 4 lines long and the couplet is two lines and is used to wrap up the poem. Below is the first sonnet I wrote for my Senior English class:
Does Anyone Care?
Does anyone care what goes on in the world?
With people that hunger and need much care?
They have bloated stomachs and legs all curled,
All shriveled, yet young, and entirely bare.
A war goes on every day of the year;
With constant killing and threats made to all.
Everyone is dying and living in fear,
The world around us will fail and then fall.
Won’t someone please stop the hunger and war?
Can’t someone stand forth and give us a hand?
We must feed the people and prevent the gore,
To make life sound and have a better land.
But do not think that the world is a mess;
With all your help we can make it the best.
I enjoyed this experience so much that I went on to write six more poems each titled, “Does Anyone Care?” using a Roman Numeral to identify each. I even wrote five love sonnets about female classmates in high school.
The Acrostic Poem
I read an article in a February issue of Williamsburg Magazine and it spoke of men writing acrostic poems to their sweethearts in the 18th Century. An acrostic poem consists of the girl’s name written vertically and each letter began the next line of the poem. I was very intrigued by this and wrote my own for a short story I had written around 1998. I put the first letter of each line in bold print so you can read the name:
An Ode to Elizabeth
Every time I look into your eyes I know,
Love for me is there it really does show.
I have seen it since I first went to the tower,
Zelphine the sorcerer has no greater power.
Although your outward appearance is new,
Beauty within remains as sweet as the dew.
Every flower bows to your grace,
There is such kindness, I see, in thy dark face.
How I love thee more in your present form,
Still I feel sorry for your previous forlorn.
Kiss me, you cried and when I finally did,
I knew your true self was no longer hid.
Stay by my side my dear sweet companion,
Strength that we share will make us a champion.
I hadn’t written poems for almost twenty years though I made an attempt a couple times within the last two years for a story project. Recently I was introduced to a poetry page on Facebook called, Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam. Every Saturday a picture is posted and you had roughly until the following Wednesday or Thursday to create a poem for the picture. Elyse wrote an article about this and I tracked down the page and knew I wanted to participate. Here’s the first poem I wrote for their picture of a girl who was dressed like a cat burglar and brandished glowing green blades:
The Green Blade Witch
I am not the night,
Nor am I the day.
But I bring justice to this town,
In a stealth-filled way.
I enter like the wind;
Silent and unannounced.
I take vengeance on criminals,
Like a cat I do pounce.
For my husband I do these things,
Though he’ll never return.
I’ll continue to feed my anger,
Until I no longer burn.
The Green Blade Witch,
Is what they call me,
My methods are referred to
As a killing spree.
Stay out of my way,
Or you will be next.
To the criminal underworld,
I do deeply vex.
You can view my other poems on the page under each picture posted.
If you think writing stories is a challenge, poetry is more so as you have to connect lines with rhyming words, and the cadence of each line. Granted, there are poems that don’t follow these rules but are no less challenging.
Have you ever written poetry or considered doing so? Please share your experiences in the comments below and feel free to join us on the Facebook page—Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam.