Poem with an explanation: Don’t ever go


Is it play time?

Time for a walk?

Hey, what’s that?

What’s this thing?

Is this moving?

Where’s home?



This is bad.

This is bad.

What’s this place?

This doesn’t look good.

This is that place, isn’t it?


Why this place?


Was it the shoes?

The noise?


It’ll change.

It will.

Home is good.




Is it time to go?

No, that’s the wrong way!

This is bad.

This is bad.

Who’s that?


That was bad.

Who’s that?

What are they doing?



This is bad.

This is bad.

You’re not nice.

You’re not nice.

Is it time to go?




Into the thing.

It’s moving.

It’s moving.

What’s that?








It was horrible.


Don’t ever go.

Don’t ever go.


This poem follows the thoughts of a dog during a trip to the veterinarian.  The dog is simplistic in how he views things and sees things from an emotional level.  Things are either good or bad.

Although the poem is about a dog, it can be viewed as a metaphor for the human experience with medical care.  The human experience in medical care can be one of uncertainty, fear, and feeling that things are happening to you.  The dog’s experience reflects this.

The poem starts with the dog greeting his owner (Hello.)  The dog questions why his owner is there (Is it play time? Time for a walk?)

The dog has a harness put on and is taken to a car.  When he sees it, he doesn’t know what it is (Hey, what’s that?).  When he gets inside, he questions it further (What’s this thing?).

As the car starts to move, the dog questions what is happening (Is this moving?).  He wants to go back to where he was happy.  He wants to go back home.  He expresses this through a question (Where’s home?).

The dog feels a sense of abandonment from his owner.  He says Hello twice to his owner hoping to get some sort of comfort.  When he does not, he feels the negativity of his situation (This is bad.  This is bad.).

When they arrive at the vet, the dog questions where they are (What’s this place?).  The smell of the place fills the dog with foreboding (This doesn’t look good.)  The dog realizes where it is and questions it (This is that place, isn’t it?).  The realization fills the dog with despair (Noooooooooooo.)

The dog wonders if he is being punished (Why this place? Why?)  He questions if it is because he chewed shoes (Was it the shoes?), barked (The noise?), or anything else (Something?).

Fearing the place, and hoping for reprieve, the dog promises to change (It’ll change.  It will.)

The dog doesn’t like where he is.  He thinks of his happy place (Home is good.)  While he waits, he keeps thinking of it (Home.  Home.  Home.)

The dog and owner are then called into the examination room.  As his owner gets up, the dog think’s it is getting relief (Is it time to go?).  As the dog is lead further into the office, he realizes he isn’t going home (No, that’s the wrong way!)

When the dog goes in the office he is very scared (This is bad.  This is bad.  This is bad.)

The veterinary assistant comes in.  The dog question who it is (Who’s that?).  The assistant takes the dog’s temperature, which the dog does not like (Ahhhhhh!  That was bad.)

The veterinarian then comes in.  The dog again questions who it is (Who’s that?)  The vet then checks the dog over, which the dog doesn’t like (What are they doing?)

The vet then gives the dog two vaccinations.  Both fill the dog with pain (Ahhhhhh!  Ahhhhhh!).

The dog doesn’t like where he is (This is bad.  This is bad.)  He feels a sense of betrayal from his owner (You’re not nice.  You’re not nice.)

At this point, the dog’s owner gets up to leave with him (Is it time to go?).  The dog, in disbelief, questions if they are leaving (Leaving?)

When the dog realizes they are, he cheers (Yea!!!).  He wants his owner to hurry (Hurry.) and get into the car (Into the thing.)

As they drive away, the dog is filled with glee and it cheers (It’s moving.  It’s moving.)

As they go, the dog recognizes the area as familiar (What’s that?)  He thinks they are getting near home (Home?  Home?).  When he sees his home he cheers (Home!!! Home!!! Yea!!!).

When the dog arrives home, he greats another dog that lives with him (Hello.  Hello.)  He tells the dog of his experience (It was horrible.  Horrible!) and warns the dog to never go (Don’t ever go.  Don’t ever go.)

Experimental Poetry Form: letter

Today’s experimental poetry form is called letter.  It based off of layout on the page.  The form is arranged like the elements on the front of a letter.

On the front of a letter there are three elements: the return address, the sending address, and the stamp.  They are laid out as follows:

*****                                                                               *****
*****                                                                               *****
*****                                                                               *****





The return address is in the upper left corner, the sending address is in the center, and the stamp is in the upper right corner.

The return address and sending address elements both have three lines corresponding to: name, street address, and city and state.  The stamp element has three lines because of its size.

From the point of view of the person receiving the letter, the sending address is read first, the return address is read second, and the stamp is noticed third.

For the poetry form, there are three stanzas, each with three lines.  Each line has five syllables.  The first stanza is in the center, the second stanza is in the upper left, and the third stanza is in the upper right.

Here is an example poem illustrating the form.  Remember, the center stanza is read first, the upper left stanza second, and the upper right stanza third.

Alone in the house                                                         In a field of stones
everything feels still                                                       emptiness gathers
and time moves so slow.                                               to speak silently.


                                                  You’ve been gone so long
                                                  you’re now an image
                                                  a thought in the mind.

Poetry essay: Improving your poetry

As you write poetry, at some point you might look to improve your work.  Maybe you feel your poems could have more impact.  Maybe your poetry isn’t getting the response you want.  Maybe you feel like you’re not getting your message across.

As you look to improve the poetry you write, there are some things you can do.  Here are a few:

Read more poetry

One way to get better at writing poetry is to read more poetry.  The more poetry you read, the more ideas, forms, techniques, and so forth you will encounter.  As you read, you can pick up on things and improve your own work.

Analyze poems

As you read poetry, you might take some time to analyze what you are reading.  Think about why you like a poem or don’t.  Think about what makes a poem effective or not.  If you take notes, and read enough poems from different poets, you might start to see trends.  You could find that you think certain attributes make poems good and others don’t.  At some point you could even make a list of the qualities of a good poem.

Analyze your own poetry

As you spend time analyzing the poems of others, you should also spend time analyzing your own work.  Look back over poems you wrote and think about them.  Think about their effectiveness and impact.  As you do, you could discover trends in your own work.  You could find things that you think work and others that you think don’t.

Write more poems

Although your goal is quality, one way to move toward it is with quantity.  The more poems you write, the more chances you have to use ideas, forms, metaphors, symbols, literary devices, and so forth.  The more you practice, the better you will get.


As you write more poems you might try to experiment.  Write about ideas you haven’t before.  Use forms you don’t normally use.  Try different techniques.  As you do, you can pick up on things that work for you and things that don’t.  You can use what you learn to improve your work.

Study poetry

In addition to reading, writing, and thinking about poetry, you might also try studying poetry.  There are books on poetics that you can read.  You can learn about poetry techniques, poetry over time, poetry in relation to other things, and other ideas.  By studying poetry you can learn things that can help with your writing of it.


One way to improve the poetry you write is through research.  The more you understand about the something, all else being equal, the better you can write about it.  Depending on what you are writing about, go places, find people who are experiencing the thing, experience the thing yourself, or read books about the thing.  You might find that by doing so, you pick up on ideas and details that you never thought of.

Get feedback

Find people to critique your poetry.  This might be through comments on a blog, at writing groups, with friends, and in other situations.  See how others perceive what you write.  Find out what made sense to them and what didn’t.  Find out what ideas they picked up on and which they missed.  You can use what you find out to improve your work.

Poetry topic idea: the color blue

Today’s poetry topic idea is the color blue.  A poet could write about a number of blue things.  Some include:

the sky

blue flowers

blue eyes

planets with blue

moons with blue

water reflecting the sky

blue birds

blue gems

blue insects

blue ice

blue colored food


blue paint

blue ink

blue clothing

blue fish

blue lights

blue stars


A poet could also write about blue as a reference to sadness (i.e. feeling blue) as well as blue in expressions (e.g. out of the blue).  There are other ideas as well.

Here is an example poem using blue:

Her roommate,
saw her sitting,
in blue light,
wrapped in a blue blanket,
wearing blue pajamas,
with blue fingernails,
eating blueberry ice cream,
with a single blue iris,
watching a blue screen,
while a movie with blue in the tile,
was loading.

To which she asked,
“Break up again?”

And heard the reply,
(sobbing, and wiping with blue tissues),
how did you know?”

A photograph to inspire poetry: a black and red insect on a citrus leaf

a black and red insect on a citrus leaf

Above is a photograph of a black and red insect on a citrus leaf.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Predators and prey. This insect may be hunting something.  Presumably, something could be hunting it.  A poet could write about this relationship.

  • Uniforms. The insect is black and red.  A poet could write about a group with black and red uniforms.  They could create a story around the idea and have it in a poem.

  • Size. This insect is very small.  It is about the size of a pencil tip.  A poet could write about size and things that are very small.

Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

In his black and red uniform,
he came on to the rugby field.

Alone he stood,
just with his shadow,
and saw all those,
who would soon play.

Alone he stood,
in the silence,
and heard the sounds,
of the game.

Poem with an explanation: so far away

1, 2, 3, 4


1, 2, 3, 4



1 minute later



Doing the math

moving faster


Doing the math

so far away


1, 2, 3, 4


1, 2, 3, 4



This poem is about exercise and weight loss.  In the poem, a person is moving on an elliptical machine.  They have decided that they want to burn five hundred calories in their workout.  They believe if they do this, they will lose weight.

The person starts to move and they count their steps as they look at the calorie counter on the machine.  They count four steps (1, 2, 3, 4) and notice the counter go up one (1).  They count another four steps (1, 2, 3, 4) and see the counter go up again.

They watch a clock for a minute (1 minute later) and see the counter is at ten (10).

They do the math in their mind (Doing the math).  If one minute burns ten calories, then fifty minutes would burn five hundred calories.  They realize how long a time fifty minutes is and realize they need to move faster (moving faster).

As they move, they do the math again.  They have heard, although aren’t certain, that to burn one pound of fat they need to burn three thousand five hundred calories.  They do the math in their mind to figure out how many days they will need to run on the elliptical (Doing the math), and realize they have a long road ahead of them (so far away).

As they move they decide to just keep moving.  They count their steps (1, 2, 3, 4) and see the counter go up one (1).  They count again (1, 2, 3, 4) and see it go up again.

The poem has some form.  Stanzas 1 and 5 are the same.  The first lines of stanzas 3 and 4 are the same.  Every line that starts with a number starts with the number 1 (the number 10 starts with the number 1).

Artwork to inspire poetry: Hand holding an apple

Hand holding an apple

Above is an artwork of a hand holding an apple.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Picking fruit. A poet could examine things like an individual picking fruit from their own tree, or they could look at something like farm labor.

  • A person handing a piece of fruit to someone else. This idea could be applied to many contexts.  As an example, a poet could write about someone handing someone else a piece of fruit at a food pantry.

  • Someone looking at an apple. A poet could examine different things the person might be thinking about.  An example might be the color of the apple reminds the person of something.

  • A person about to do something with an apple. They might be making an apple pie or they might be turning it into juice.

  • A person with a disability. An example might be writing about a person that has trouble using their hand, and holding things, like an apple, might be part of the therapy they are going through.  As another example, a poet might write about a person who lost the use of their hand and finally regained the ability to hold something, like an apple.  A poet could write about that moment.

Here is an example poem:

After staring at the apple,
for ten minutes,
he gave up.

looks so easy,
in the movies.