A photograph to inspire poetry: turnip flower buds

turnip flower buds

Above is a photograph of turnip flower buds.  This photograph can inspire poetry.  Here is a poem inspired by it:


the turnips sit
with salt on them
as liquid drains
for a time

into the jar
the turnips go
along with beets
for color
and sweetness

vinegar is poured
two inches up
and salt is sprinkled
just enough

water flows
and fills the jar
it sits outside
as all turns pink

into the cold
they sit and wait
two weeks pass
and all is nice

Poetry topic idea: makeup

Today’s poetry topic idea is makeup.  Makeup can inspire a number of poetry ideas.  A poet could write about:

  • Appearance. Makeup is meant to change, and generally improve, a person’s appearance.  A poet could write about appearance and how makeup alters it.  They could focus on before and after, societal ideas of appearance, self-worth, inner appearance vs. outer appearance, and other things.

  • Masks. A poet could relate makeup to the idea of masks.  They could write about things like a person changing how they act to reflect their appearance.

  • Movies. Makeup is used in movies.  A poet could write about characters, roles, and how an actor can appear different with the use of makeup.

  • Hiding. Makeup can be used to hide things such as aging, blemishes, tiredness, and so forth.  A poet could write about this and expand on the idea of hiding.

  • Beauty. Makeup can be related to beauty.  A poet could write about beauty and approach it from different perspectives.

Here is a poem inspired by makeup:

there were black and white movies,
and none thought
that something was lacking.

But then,
color came
and movies were glowing
and bright,
and all of a sudden
black and white movies,
didn’t seem the same.

Once something has been added,
the previous situation,
which seemed sufficient,
becomes lacking.

Poem with an explanation: For the heart, for the mind

The glossy,
there on the carpet of red,
but in the pond,
something different.

Falling down,
with the glance,
and seeing looks,
that aren’t there.

In the fun house,
it isn’t so.

“The white coats,
might be the answer,”
so the voice,
does quietly say.

Hearing the sound,
of the eyes,
there’s nothing like a statue,
to be seen.

But a voice,
from so nearby,
says to see,
what’s really there.

It breaks the glass,
and blows the fog,
and shines a light,
on what is clear.

For the heart,
for the mind,
but for the world,
no more.

Steps and green,
steps and green,
a different white coat,
and different words.

For the heart,
for the mind,
for the one,
who’s beautiful.


This poem is about a woman struggling with her weight and body image.

In the first stanza of the poem, the woman compares images she sees to her own.  She sees beautiful women in magazines (The glossy) and she sees beautiful celebrities (there on the carpet of red), but in the mirror (but in the pond) she sees herself as looking different because of her weight (something different).

In the second stanza, the woman’s self-esteem falls as she looks in the mirror (Falling down, with the glance).  She has this feeling that people are looking at her physical flaws (and seeing looks) even though they aren’t (that aren’t there).

In the third stanza, the woman’s view of herself is distorted like the image in a fun house’s mirror.  She sees herself as looking worse than she really does (In the fun house, it isn’t so).

In the fourth stanza, the woman considers having weight reduction surgery (“The white coats, might be the answer,” so the voice, does quietly say. – the white coats representing doctors in lab coats).

In the fifth stanza, the woman feels that she is being judged by the looks of others (Hearing the sound, of the eyes).  She sees an image of perfection in her mind, like a Renaissance era statue, and sees herself as falling short of this ideal (there’s nothing like a statue, to be seen).

In the sixth stanza, something makes the woman reconsider her thoughts.  Somewhere in her life she has heard that value isn’t based on looks (But a voice, from so nearby, says to see, what’s really there).

In the seventh stanza, the woman considers this idea of self-worth.  The more she considers it, the more her view of herself changes.  She stops looking in the mirror (It breaks the glass) and she sees things more clearly (and blows the fog).  The more she considers it, the more she sees where her value really is (and shines a light, on what is clear).

In the eighth stanza, the woman sees her weight loss differently.  She feels that it is important for her health (For the heart), and for her wellbeing (for the mind), but realizes that she isn’t going to do it to satisfy what she believes society is telling her about weight (but for the world, no more.).

In the ninth stanza, the woman exercises and changes her diet (Steps and green).  She also sees a doctor (a different white coat), but for advice on improving her health and not for surgery to improve her looks (and different words.).

In the tenth stanza, the woman loses weight for her health (For the heart) and wellbeing (for the mind), and for herself (for the one), who she now realizes is beautiful (who’s beautiful.).

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, please take a look at Understanding: poems with explanations.

Poetry essay: How to write many poems about the same subject so they come across differently

Sometimes a poet writes many poems about the same subject.  For example, think of a woman experiencing a pregnancy.  If she were a poet, she might write many poems about the experience of having a child.

When writing many poems about the same subject, a poet might be concerned about all their poems sounding the same.  They might wonder how they can write about the same thing, while having the poems sound and come across differently to readers.  They might wonder how they can have poems that seem new and different, while still having them be about the same subject.

There are a number of approaches a poet could take.  To illustrate them, the example above of a woman having a child will be used.

Different perspectives

One idea to make poems about the same thing sound different, is to write them from different perspectives.  In the case of a mother having a child, she could write about the experience from her perspective, the baby’s father’s perspective, the baby’s perspective, the medical staff’s perspective, the grandparents’ perspective, and others.  The same event would be experienced in different ways by different people, and expressing that could add variety to the poetry.

Different times

Another approach is to write about an experience from different times.  In the case of a mother having a child, the entire experience lasts nine months.  She could pick different times during this period and write about the experience from that perspective.  For example, a poem written about what the first month was like, would be different from a poem written about what the eighth month was like.

Different events

A poet could also write about different events in a subject.  In the case of a mother having a child, she could write about events like finding out she was pregnant, telling the baby’s father, feeling the baby kick for the first time, and so forth.  Each of these events could be a different poem.

Different emotions

In any experience there are different emotions.  It can depend on a lot of things.  Using the example of a pregnancy, a woman might at different times feel happy, excited, scared, frustrated, worried, anxious, and other emotions.  Each of these emotional perspectives could lead to different poetry expressions.

Different forms

Different poetry forms can impart a different feeling to poems, even if those poems are about the same subject.  A limerick about something, will sound different than a haiku about the same thing, and that will sound different than a free verse poem about the subject.  A poet could use different forms to make the same subject come across differently to readers.

Different levels

In experiences there can be different levels that they can be looked at.  For the example of a woman experiencing a pregnancy, levels might be motherhood overall, mothers as a group, a group of mothers, and herself as a mother.  If she writes about pregnancy from these different levels, the poems would come across differently, even though they were about the same general topic.  (As another example, think of a poet who wanted to write about trees.  They could write about nature, forests, a forest, trees, a tree, a branch, a twig, and a leaf.  It is the same general subject, but from different levels.)

Experimental Poetry Form: fifty characters

Today’s experimental poetry form is called fifty characters.  The form requirement is simple: the poem (excluding the title) must have fifty characters.  Characters are letters, numbers, spaces, punctuation marks, returns, and other things that make up text.  The number of characters can be counted by hand, or by using a word processing software.  Other than this requirement, the poet is free to add elements to the form in any way they wish.

Here is an example poem:


brown sugar
whole wheat flour