A photograph to inspire poetry: sideways bird

sideways bird

Above is a photograph of a sideways bird.  It can inspire poetry.  Here is a poem inspired by it:

You know,
if you look at a cat sideways,
it actually starts to look like …

no wait,
it still looks like a cat.

Looks hungry too.

What do cats eat anyway?

Poem Series: George: George was a good bird

George was a good bird.

She used to fly to people’s heads,
and fly from one person to another.

She used to play with toys,
and make a bell ring.

She used to eat bread,
and fruit she was fed.

She used to fly about the house,
and land above the bookshelf.

She used tweet so much,
and just kept going and going.

She used to peck at hands,
if a person played with her.

She used to like her cage,
and felt safe there.

George was a good bird.

Poem with an explanation: They all said the same

They all said the same,
“Stand bright and tall,
and as you do,
the birds will call.”

So hearing the words,
the squirrel did try,
it flapped its arms,
and tried to fly.

And looking to,
the trees so tall,
the squirrel did listen,
for the sparrows’ call.

But songs of joy,
it did not hear,
it was something else,
much like a jeer.

The sparrows sang out,
but the squirrel they did mock,
and there the squirrel stood,
so filled with shock.

The sparrows did laugh,
and jokes they did tell,
they poked at the squirrel,
and its countenance fell.

They said it was silly,
why did it try,
it was a squirrel,
and would never fly.

And the squirrel ran off,
and hid in the trees,
it started to cry,
and fell to its knees.

It then look at those,
who all said the same,
and asked them why,
but did not blame.

And they all stood,
with no words to say,
they thought they were right,
before that day.

And in the quiet,
the squirrel had a thought,
it would not try,
no matter what they taught.


This poem takes a look at a potential negative outcome that can come from well-meaning social advice.

In society, there is the well-meaning social advice that a person should put themselves out there.  That if a person wants to do something different, that they should and that their peers will support them.  This poem looks at a situation in which the positive outcome purported by the advice, does not come true.

In the poem, a squirrel wants to try to fly.  It encounters other animals in the first stanza that tell it, it should try this.  They say that if it does, that the birds who see, will support it.

In the second stanza, the squirrel goes into a clearing in the trees, stands in the middle, and tries to fly.

In the third stanza, the squirrel looks to the trees expecting to hear the birds cheer for it.

In the fourth stanza, the squirrel hears the birds, but instead of cheering the squirrel, they are making fun of it.

In the fifth stanza, the sparrows mock the squirrel’s attempt at flight and the squirrel is surprised by this.

In the sixth stanza, the sparrows laugh at the squirrel, tell jokes at its expense and poke fun at it.  This saddens the squirrel.

In the seventh stanza, the sparrows say the squirrel was silly, and that it would never fly.

In the eighth stanza, the squirrel is very embarrassed and sad.  It runs away, hides, and cries.

In the ninth stanza, the squirrel encounters the animals who gave it the advice.  It asks them why this happened, but does not blame them.

In the tenth stanza, the other animals are speechless.  They thought their advice was good; they thought it was well meaning.

In the eleventh stanza, the squirrel decides that it will no longer put itself out there in social situations.

The idea of this poem is to take a look at what sometimes can be a harsh reality.  Sometimes, when a person does something different, instead of encountering praise from their peers, they encounter ridicule.

Of course the ridicule is wrong, and the poem does not mean to imply that a person should not ever put themselves out there and do something different.  It rather, examines a situation, where this does not work out.  It examines a situation in which the positive view of the advice, does not match the negative reality that was encountered.

An example situation in life might be a person who wants to sew their own sweater.  They talk to some people about this who say it is a great idea and that their friends will support what they do.  The person takes the advice and sews the sweater.  When they wear it in front of their friends though, instead of their friends applauding what they did, they make fun of it.  They make fun of the appearance of the sweater, of the mistakes made in sewing it, and of the person making their own clothes.  The idealized outcome of the advice, did not match the reality the person encountered.

A photograph to inspire poetry: flying bird

flying bird

Above is a photograph of a bird flying above trees.  It may be a hawk.  This photograph can inspire poetry.  Here are some ideas:

  • This photograph required timing. It required being there when the bird was flying and getting the shot as the bird flew and was in range.  The idea of timing could be applied to poetry.  A poet could write about timing in different situations.  A poet could also use timing in their poetry (for example with line breaks and indentions) to increase effects.

  • Obviously, a poet could write about flying. A poet could write about birds flying, flying in planes or flying as if with super powers.

  • This bird may be hunting. A poet could write about an animal hunting for prey.

  • This bird, at the time of the photograph, was flying away from the camera. The idea of going away could be used in poetry.  For example, a poet could write about one person leaving another under different circumstances.

Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

in the dream
trying so hard
could only jump
and have the sense
of the roller coaster
until the moment
of realization
and then with freedom

Experimental Poetry Form: Bird’s Nest

This experimental poetry form is based off of a bird’s nest:  it is tangled, but it fits together.  There is a photograph and an artwork of a bird’s nest as part of set twenty two on MSakran.com.

The tangled part of this form are the lines of different syllable counts.  There are:

  • 3 lines with 8 syllables each
  • 2 lines with 6 syllables each
  • 1 line with 5 syllables
  • 1 line with 4 syllables
  • 4 lines with 2 syllables each

The lines are in the order below:

8 syllable line
4 syllable line
2 syllable line
5 syllable line
2 syllable line
8 syllable line
6 syllable line
2 syllable line
6 syllable line
8 syllable line
2 syllable line

The lines have no meter.

The fitting together part of the form is that all the lines rhyme.  This means that 11 rhymes need to be thought of.  Because of this high number, after the first line, the last word of the line should be checked to see if there are ten words that rhyme with it.

Here is a poem written in the form:

Driving along an unknown way,
during mid-May,
one day,
past fields of cut hay,
with Ray,
   or was it instead that guy Jay?
   Someone who knows might say.
Say hey,
there was this small blue jay,
out where all that cut hay just lay,
said Fay.

A photograph to inspire poetry: a nest


This is a photograph of a nest in a tree.  It presumably belongs to either a bird or a squirrel.

This nest could inspire a number of poetic ideas, including poems about:

Homes (as the nest is like a home)
Nature, generally
Collection (as the nest is a collection of items)
Recycling (as the nest uses some recycled materials in that the materials may have fallen from a tree, for example, and then were used by the animal that built the nest)
Uncertainty (as it is uncertain what built the nest)