Artwork to inspire poetry: Shelter

Shelter

The above artwork is of a shelter.  The representation consists of two posts with a crossbeam that is tied with grass.  On the crossbeam, wood is laid.  On top of the wood are large leaves.  On top of the leaves are more wood.  It represents a shelter a person might make if they were lost in the woods.

This artwork can inspire poetry.  A poet might write about, for example, the situation that led to a person having to make such a shelter.

Here is an example poem using the artwork:

all the time
he kept wondering
if civilization
were just over
the next hill

P. S. Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. Happy New Year! As tomorrow is a holiday, there will be no new post on the blog until January 2, 2020.

A photograph to inspire poetry: the top of a tree

the top of a tree

Above is a photograph of the top of a tree.  The tree has lost its leaves except for one green spot.  This photograph can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about things like resilience, holding on, survival, and so forth.

Here is an example poem:

staring at the clock
from the floor where she fell
they would be home
in forty three more minutes

Poetry essay: Poetry expressing a point of view that differs from the perceived societal viewpoint

Sometimes as a poet you may want to express views in poetry that differ from the way you perceive society to feel.  For example, maybe you are a vegan and believe that eating animals and using animal products is wrong.  You might feel that society overall disagrees with you on this issue.  You may feel that society generally accepts the eating of animals and the use of animal products, even if it doesn’t necessarily speak out against veganism.

In situations like this, you may be wondering what you can do as a poet.  While you want to express your viewpoint, you don’t want to be the recipient of negative comments or get into arguments or debates with people.  You may be wondering how you can express your viewpoint without in some sense clashing with others.

There are a variety options.  Some of them include:

  • Writing obscure poetry. You could write about how you feel in a covered way.  You could express the ideas in such a way that, without delving into the poem, readers might not know what you are expressing.
  •  

  • Writing symbolic poetry. You could express an idea with symbolism.  You could write in such a way as to express the main feeling you have without specifically referencing it.
  •  

  • Writing analogous poetry. You could express your point of view with an analogy.  You could find an analogy that expresses the idea you want in a way that you feel your audience might accept.  You could make your point in such a way that they accept the idea at least in the situation you present.
  •  

  • Writing about common ground. Sometimes when you have a point of view that differs from the way you perceive society to feel, you can find aspects of what you feel that you believe will be accepted.  You could write about those areas that those who disagree with your main idea might still accept.
  •  

  • Writing for a friendly audience. There are a variety of outlets for poetry.  If you feel that there is some portion of society that might disagree with your point of view, you could instead present your point of view to those who would agree.  This could be through publications, with various groups, or with simply people you know who feel the same way you do.
  •  

  • Writing in a conciliatory tone. Writing in this way expresses an idea while acknowledging a difference of opinion.  It reinforces the idea that while you may think differently than someone else, but that doesn’t mean you think the person is bad.
  •  

  • Write positive poetry. Sometimes when you have a point of view that differs from others, you might consider writing negative poetry.  This is poetry that says why the differing view is wrong.  Instead of this, you could write positive poetry.  This is where you describe some aspect of what you believe as good, without basing in terms of something else being bad.

Post Series: Advent: A photograph to inspire poetry: Rose hip

This is the last post of the Advent Post Series.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the next day is Christmas.  There will not be a new post on either of those days.  The next new post will be on Thursday December 26, 2019.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

In this post series there have been five poems, five poetry topic ideas, five poems with explanations, four artworks to inspire poetry, three bilingual poems, one experimental poetry form, and one poetry essay.

As there has not been a photograph to inspire poetry, that is the subject of today’s post.

Rose hip

The photograph above is of a rose hip.  It can be tied to Advent in the sense that it isn’t what is normally noticed about a rose plant.

When people look at a rose plant, they will typically look at the flowers.  It is the important part of the plant visually.  It is what people think of when they think of roses.

The rose hip though is important because it carries the seeds of the plant.  It is actually more important in some sense than the flowers themselves.

When Jesus was born on Christmas Day, he wasn’t necessarily seen as important by those in the world.  Some people (the magi and the shepherds) took notice of him, but others did not at least in a positive way.  In some sense, the world overlooked him.  Part of this notion is in the idea that Mary and Joseph could not find a place to stay.

Although Jesus was overlooked, he is obviously very important.  He was more important than the more visually important looking people (like the rich and noble) in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.

This notion, of overlooking what is important can be used in poetry.  It can be applied to many different things.

Here is an example poem using the idea:

the girl was ill
and her father sent
the small boy
to the woods

“collect the leaves
of the small round bush
and bring them back
to make her well”

the boy walked out
into the woods
and found the bush
of which is father spoke

upon the plant
the leaves were dull
a muted green
the blended away

the berries though
were bright and shined
they glistened in the sun
and seemed to call out

the boy did think
his father had been wrong
a mistake was made
maybe in his worry

the boy with a smile
filled his bag
with berries that shined
in the sun

he brought them back
so filled with joy
thinking he had
understood more

he poured the berries
into the bowl
and held them out
for his father to see

“what are these
that you brought here
it was the leaves
you were to get”

“the leaves were dull
the berries did shine
you were surely wrong
these can heal”

“no poor son
though the berries
shine in the sun
they do not heal

the leaves though dull
have what’s inside
to heal your sister
from what ails

go back son
and hurry now
collect the leaves
before time runs short”

the boy ran back
into the woods
and found the plant
with the dull leaves

he picked them off
and filled his bag
and brought them back
to his small house

with tears in his eyes
his father spoke
“it’s too late son
your sister’s gone”

the son fell down
upon the ground
as the leaves did fall
onto the dirt

he grabbed the berries
and threw them out
and ran away
into the woods

before the plant
his tears did fall
and he wished he had
believed the truth

Post Series: Advent: Poem with an explanation: they kept the day

the pillows changed
from brown to red
the throw from yellow to green

the plants were changed
for evergreens
with berries that could be seen

a chicken cooked
with leaves of sage
and potatoes in a pot

a pie was baked
with orange yams
just the way they had been taught

a drill was bought
a sweater too
both placed within birthday bags

a truck with wheels
a brand new doll
in blue boxes with no tags

the day did come
and none did leave
no words outside were spoken

they kept the day
beneath the lights
so faith would not be broken

 

This poem is about celebrating Christmas in an oppressive society.  The society has rejected Christmas and its observance.  People who observe Christmas are ostracized.  In the poem, a family celebrates Christmas in a hidden way.

The poem sounds nice.  It seems to show a celebration.  In each stanza though, an element of the hidden nature of the celebration is shown.

In the first stanza, the family can’t decorate for Christmas with traditional decorations.  Instead, they change the throw pillows on their sofa from brown to red and change the throw on their sofa from yellow to green.

In the second stanza, the family is afraid to put up a Christmas tree.  Instead they change out their house plants for evergreens with berries.

Rather than cooking a turkey or a ham on Christmas, the family cooks chicken in the third stanza.  They flavor it with sage to get a sense of the traditional taste.  They are fearful of having a big meal, and only cook potatoes as a side.

In the fourth stanza, rather than making a traditional pumpkin pie, the family makes one with yams.  As the oppression has being going on for some time, the recipe is one they had been taught.

In the fifth stanza, the adults buy gifts for one another.  They only buy one each and put them in birthday bags rather than wrapping them with Christmas paper.

In the sixth stanza, the children are bought presents.  Again they get only one each, and they are put in boxes that are blue, which isn’t a Christmas color.

In the seventh stanza, Christmas day comes.  The family does not leave their house to visit relatives or to go to a church service.  When they do see someone they don’t say merry Christmas (no words outside were spoken).

In the eighth stanza, a summary is given of the family’s activities.  They kept the day beneath the lights of oppressive scrutiny in a hidden way so faith would not be broken.

Although modern society isn’t oppressive this way, there are signs of the secularization of Christmas.  Many ads for example reference “holidays” rather than “Christmas”.  The same occurs with company and organizational observances.  There is a “holiday party” rather than a “Christmas” one.

As any belief means something is not believed there will always be those who either disagree with the belief or who don’t feel the belief should be overtly expressed because others might disagree with it.  It is covering over a belief either because of secularization or political correctness.

The poem shows a society that takes this idea to a farther point.  Instead of covering over Christmas, the society feels it is bad.  As some disagree with the Christmas observance, the society has developed a culture of disdaining the observance.  It has gone from Christmas to “Holiday” to nothing to seeing the observance as something negative.  It sees the observance as bad and sees those who participate in the observance as bad as well.

The poem shows a family that tries to observe Christmas under these circumstances.  They try to observe it in a hidden way to keep the tradition but also not to face backlash.

In terms of form, the stanzas have a syllable count of 4-4-7.  The stanzas are in pairs with the last lines of each pair rhyming.

Post Series: Advent: Poetry topic idea: Advent

Today’s poetry topic idea is Advent.  This matches the theme of this post series.  A poet could write about a number of things related to Advent.  They could write about:

  • An observance of the time.
  •  

  • Anticipation of Christmas.
  •  

  • Special days during Advent.
  •  

  • Religious observance during Advent.
  •  

  • Preparations for Christmas during Advent.

Here is an example poem using the idea of Advent:

forty days each year
it’s an opportunity
don’t let it pass by

Post series: Advent: Poem: Christmas observance

Sometimes,
when a person looks out,
at how Christmas,
is observed,
it can seem,
a bit disheartening.

More and more,
people say “holidays”,
rather than “Christmas”. (Have you seen ads lately?)

Christmas specials,
although they might be special,
can often seem,
to have too little Christmas in them.

Everything,
can seem,
to be about shopping,
and decorating,
and running about,
like Christmas is a verb,
and some sort of expectation,
you are supposed to meet.

It is like,
society invented a festival,
and if you don’t do all the things,
you’ll be missing out.

Instead of feeling bad though,
or complaining,
or writing long social media posts,
maybe,
it would be better,
to just observe Christmas,
in a better way,
yourself.

Maybe,
by doing things,
like giving to the poor,
volunteering,
praying,
reading the Bible,
going to church services,
being kind,
and reflecting,
on the purpose of all of this,
you can feel a little different.

Maybe,
by observing Christmas,
in a better way,
you can have more,
of an impact,
on how others observe it.

Maybe,
the best way,
to change things,
is to start,
with yourself.

Understand though,
this isn’t a criticism,
it isn’t,
the opposite,
of what these words,
purpose.

Rather,
hopefully it’s something,
that can help you,
to less see something as bad,
and rather,
focus instead,
on doing something good.