Poetry topic idea: dream

Today’s poetry topic idea is dream.  A dream can be different things.  It could be an aspiration (e.g. a person dreams of owning their own business), it could be a fantasy (e.g. a person dreams of living on another planet), it could be a story imagined during the day (i.e. a daydream) and it could be something a person subconsciously imagines at night.

Some poetry ideas using dream might be where a poet writes a poem:

  • About a dream (as in the kind at night) that they had.

  • In the style of a night dream, using imagery and symbolism.

  • About their dream (as in aspiration).

  • About an unrealistic dream (a fantasy aspiration).

  • About a daydream. They could connect it or contrast it to reality.

Poetry topic idea: escaping

Today’s poetry topic idea is escaping.  There are different ways to apply the idea of escaping in a poem.  A person could write about:

  • A person escaping something harsh, like captivity.

  • A person escaping something mundane, like a boring meeting.

  • The idea of a vacation as an escape.

  • Escaping in a light fashion, like someone escaping from a date that isn’t going well.

  • Escaping from different points of view, such as the person escaping or a person who might not want that person to escape (e.g. a prisoner and a prison guard).

  • Escaping metaphorically, like a person escaping a way of thinking.

Poetry topic idea: food poisoning

Today’s poetry topic idea is food poisoning.  There are a number of ways this could be worked into a poem.  Some include poems about:

  • The effects of food poisoning. A poet could write what it is like to suffer from the effects.

  • Food poisoning that occurs because of negligence. For example, a poet could write about a lax food preparation worker.

  • Food poisoning that occurs because of intent. A poet could write about someone intentionally poisoning someone else with food.

  • A broad view of the phrase “food poisoning”. A poet could write about food that is unhealthy (for example, because of too much cholesterol) or unsafe (for example, because of pesticide residue), but is not considered food poisoning in the sense that it isn’t food that has a bacteria that causes illness.

Poem with an explanation: still awake

going along
seeing the dream
still awake


This poem is about unfulfilled aspirations.  The person in the poem is going about their life, they see the life they want, and they realize that they aren’t living it.  They have had the aspiration and have struggled toward it for some time, but have not reached it.

An example might be a person who works for someone else, but dreams of working for themselves.  They have tried to move in that direction, but haven’t made any progress.  One day they are driving along and they see someone opening a store for the first time.  They see it, realize that is what they want and then realize that they aren’t there.  There’s a certain sense of defeat in the situation.  The person wants to be there, has tried to be there, but isn’t.  To see someone else achieve what they want, emphasizes to them that they haven’t achieved it.

The poem is not about envy or jealousy, but rather it is about a person feeling bad about their unfulfilled goals.  The poem is inward looking rather than outward.

In terms of form, the poem is three lines with a word count pattern of 2 – 3 – 2, and a syllable count pattern of 4 – 4 – 3.

Poem with an explanation: You who call in the night

You who call in the night,
what do you need?

Is it

  a resolution?
  a warning of dread?
  an insignificance?
  just a presence?

You who call in the night,
what do you need?


This poem has two levels, the literal and the metaphorical.

On the literal level, the poem is about a simple idea: a dog outside a house barking with a sound to get attention.  The dog is the one who calls in the night, and the person in the house asks what the dog needs.

The person in the house believes the dog is barking so that:

  the person will bring the dog food
  the person will solve a problem for the dog (ex. something is caught on the dog’s collar)
  the person will be aware of something bad (ex. a storm, an animal, an intruder)
  the person will just listen, and there is nothing the dog needs,
  or the person will come outside and spend time with the dog.

When the dog barks, the person questions what the dog needs.  After the list of things, the person questions the dog again.  It is interesting, that at the end of the poem, the person does not actually see what the dog wants, nor does anything for the dog (at least it isn’t stated that they do).

On a metaphorical level, the poem could be seen as about a group in humanity calling out for help.  It could be refugees or the poor of some area or people affected by a war.  Although not equating the two, the poem uses the literal idea of a dog barking for something, to express the idea of the group calling out for help.

The group calls out in the night (from some place of darkness) and others in humanity who hear, question what they want.

As with the dog, they think the group is crying out for:

  aid (sustenance)
  a solving of what is causing their problem (a resolution)
  to warn others that what is harming them might harm others (a warning of dread)
  for no reason (from the perspective of the ones hearing – they may not realize the significance of the plight of the group and think their call is insignificant) (an insignificance)
  for intervention (just a presence).

Again, as with the dog, the ones who hear question the callers, but nothing is said if they help them or not.

The idea of the poem was to take something simple (a dog barking) and apply it to something significant (the plight of some group in humanity).

Poem with an explanation: Home

what is good seems more,
what is bad seems less

the mundane grows flowers,
the tree,
the wall,
the difference in the sky

all things seem different,
like a lens was changed

the colors are new,
and all is better.


This poem is about the perspective of someone who has been away from home for some time.  They were away in an unpleasant situation.  It might have been a long arduous trip, for example.  The person is relieved and happy to be at home.

At the start of the poem, the person is standing in familiar surroundings.  They are home.  They feel a sense of peacefulness and serenity after what they have been through.  They have a new perspective.  The good things at home seem better, and the bad things seem less bad.

The mundane things in their life at home seem to grow flowers and grow better.  They notice with fondness ordinary things like a tree and a wall.  Because of what they have been through and their changed perspective, even the sky looks different.

All things seem different to them, like they are looking through a new lens and can now see things as they really are.

Things look so different that colors seem new.  All seems better to them.

Poem with an explanation: Freedom

the sunshine
and nothing


This poem is about ending an ordeal.  The ordeal can be a variety of different things, but generally is something negative that was endured.  It could be extremely negative, like prison, or slightly negative, like a week with in-laws.  Generally though, it is an experience that is endured and the end of which is looked forward to.

The idea of the poem is to convey everything in something small.  The first line of the poem is “the sunshine”.  This is the relief.  This is the end.  This is the freedom from what has happened.  This is the moment where it is all over.

The moment is significant.  There is much to it.  There are tears in the eyes, and a multitude of emotions inside.  It’s quiet, but the significance is loud.  It’s like walking out of prison free.  It’s all that moment contains.

The next line, “and nothing”, expresses the speechlessness of the moment.  It is hard to describe (even in this explanation).  There are no words for it.  Nothing conveys it correctly.  It’s a thousand words that need to be expressed as two words.  Imagine meeting someone as they walk out of prison, and asking, “So what does this feel like?”  There are no words to describe it.

One thing about the poem, is that it is incomplete in some way.  The idea of the poem is that the freedom experienced is simply profound and there are no words that adequately describe it.

This poem is about freedom.  It is about being free from something that was overwhelming.  The idea was to express it simply but in a way that got the point across.

Poem: return

To return,
after flying to the moon,
and seeing the stars,
it’s a little bit much,
just the thought,
of seeing the Earth grow larger,
and sensing familiarity,
and calm,
it’s peacefully unexplainable.