Bilingual Poem: with time

With time
the words
say something new
if you read
with new eyes.

 

Con tiempo
las palabras
hablan algo nuevo
si lee
con ojos nuevo.

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Poetry topic idea: time

Today’s poetry topic idea is time.  There are a number of ways a poet could write about time.  Some of them include writing about:

  • The past
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  • The present
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  • The future
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  • Running out of time
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  • Aging
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  • A specific time
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  • A specific moment in time
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  • Infinity
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  • The end of time
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  • The relativity of time
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  • Waiting
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  • Too much time
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  • Things that are timed
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  • The time it takes to do things
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  • The measurement of time
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  • Telling time

 

Here is an example poem about time:

sitting in the room
feeling every tick
when will the door open

Milestone: 1300th post

This is the 1300th post on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things.

Please send M. Sakran celebratory thoughts using the box below:

Here’s a poem:

Hey post,
what took you so long?

It’s taken,
like five years
(and 1 month, 3 weeks, and 4 days),
for you to get here.

Really,
you should learn to be more punctual.

Poetry essay: writing a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time

As an exercise you may have written a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time.  Maybe something like 5 or 10 minutes.  This might have been something that you did on your own, as a group, or as part of a writing exercise.

There are a number of benefits to writing a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time.  They include:

Sparking creativity:

Under the restrictive time conditions a poet can sometimes come up with new ideas.  Since something has to be thought of quickly, a poet might think of something that they would not have otherwise.

Showing the value of un-refinement:

When a poem is written in this way, a poet may not get a chance to go over it multiple times.  A poet may not get a chance to change word choice, rewrite lines, or experiment with form.

While this may seem like a negative, a poet might be surprised at the quality of their work without these things.  They might find that readers respond well to something that, at least in the poet’s eyes, is unpolished.  They might find that readers can’t perceive the refinement of the poem.

If this happens, it can be good for a poet.  It can teach them that their work can be good even if it isn’t as good as they think it could be.

Showing that poems written in less time can still be quality poems:

Like the idea above, a poet might learn through these exercise that they don’t need to spend as much time as they thought to write a poem that they and or others think is good.  They might find that they like, and others receive well, a poem that was written in five minutes as much as or more than one that took an hour.  This can be a good lesson if it occurs.

Developing a sense of speed in writing poetry:

These types of exercises can be helpful in teaching a poet to write more quickly.  While this may seem like the same benefit as above, the idea is different.  In this case, a poet can train themselves to develop and write poetry more quickly.  This can be good for a poet and might come up in a variety of situations.  For example, imagine a poet was writing to someone via instant messaging.  Maybe the poet had a great or humorous point to get across and thought that it would be best conveyed through a poem (this could be similar to responding to someone with a famous quote).  In this case a poet would have to be quick for the effect to be there.  Practicing writing quickly can help a poet to develop this skill.

 

Although these exercises have their benefits, they do lack in some areas.  Some of them include:

A comparison to real life situations:

Although, as mentioned above, there are situations when a poet would want to write quickly, this might not usually be the case.  In general circumstances a poet could spend as much time as they want on a poem.  While these exercises might be useful generally speaking, they might not be useful for everyday writing situations.

The potential to build bad habits:

Although there can be benefits to writing poetry quickly and without refinement, if a poet does this too much they might develop it as a writing style.  Although, again, there is value in such writing, a poet might more generally speaking be better served taking their time with their writing.  If a poet did these types of exercises too much, the style could become habit for them.

The potential to spend too much time:

Although these exercises are intended to be brief, if a poet did too many of them it could use up a lot of time.  For example, if a poet did 12, 5-minute exercises, they would spend an hour.  This might not be something a poet considers when they start exercises like this.

 

Writing poems in a predetermined limited amount of time can have benefits for a poet.  As long as a poet limits the exercises and does other styles of writing, they can learn for the experience.

Poetry essay: Does the meaning of a poem change over time?

If you’ve ever read a poem that was written years ago you may have wondered about this question.  Are you seeing the poem in the same way as readers did when it was written?  Are you seeing the poem the same as the author intended?  Does the meaning of a poem change over time?

From one perspective, the answer to this question is no.  There is the idea that when a poet writes a poem they impart meaning to it.  There is meaning in the symbolism, the word choice, and the form.

In some sense, this meaning is fixed.  The poem means what the poet wanted it to mean.  Whether people later (or even at the time) interpret it differently doesn’t change that.  The original meaning is still there.

In another sense though, it could be argued that the meaning of a poem does change over time.  There is the idea that a poem changes with history, the audience, and with language.

Think about a poem about a current event.  When the poem was written, the event was current.  Readers would see the poem from the perspective of the present.  In the future though, readers have the perspective of looking back on the past.  They, in some sense, know what happens later and so have a different perspective on what happened before.

Think about reading a poem about some event in the 1960s.  An example might be an election taking place.  If you look up the election, and know who won, the poem might seem different to you than it would to a person who was reading it at the time who didn’t know who was going to win.

In addition to this idea, readers of poems can change.  Society can change.  Attitudes and preferences can change.  A poem written in the past might seem very different to a present audience and by extension would seem different to a future one.

Think about gender roles in history.  These can change over time.  A poem portraying the status of a woman in the 1800s might seem very different to today’s audience.  A poem that was meant to be very progressive at the time, might seem just the opposite to someone reading it today.

In addition to this, language can change.  Over time people don’t use the same words and they might not use the words they use in the same way.  Readers of poems might get a very different meaning if they understand the language differently.

Think about dialing a phone.  In the past, if used a rotary telephone, you actually dialed a number.  You physically turned a dial to input each number.  Now the word simply means to input a number to make a phone call.

If a person was reading a poem from the past, and it talked about the physical act of dialing a phone and related it to other things, the meaning might not be clear to them if they don’t understand the word in the same way.

There are implications to these ideas.

First, if you are reading a poem from the past, you might be concerned that you aren’t getting from it what was intended.  You might feel you are missing something or are seeing it in the wrong way.  This same concern applies to any poetry interpretation, whether a poem from the past or a new one.

Second, if you are writing poetry, you might wonder how readers of your work will perceive it over time.  Will they see the same things you intended?  Will history change the tone of your work?  Will they read the words in the same way?

This might be a concern if you want your work to be lasting.  You might worry that time will change your work.

If you are concerned about the first issue, you might try to place poems in context.  Learn about the author and the time period of the poem.  Read their other work.  This can help you place the poem in perspective.

If are worried about the second issue, you could first try to write poetry that is clearer in meaning.  Leaving out the issue of obscurity will help the meaning of the poem get through.  You could also consider writing explanations of some your poems, as M. Sakran does for some poems on this blog.  That way readers would know your meaning even after time changes.

Does the meaning of a poem change over time?

In some sense the answer is both yes and no.  A poem has a fixed meaning, but the meaning that people get from it can change.  As a reader and a writer of poetry you should consider this.  It can help you try to see poems from the past from the intended perspective, and it can help you to impart more lasting meaning to your work.

Poetry topic idea: nostalgia

Today’s poetry topic idea is nostalgia.  A poet could use this idea in different ways.  A poet could:

  • Write about something nostalgic. It could be a food, a television show, a song, a tradition or something else.
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  • Write about the moment something becomes nostalgic. Given certain qualities, there is a certain amount of time that must past before something becomes nostalgic.  This amount of time varies depending on circumstances.  Whatever it is for a particular thing, a poet could write about the moment something makes a transition and becomes nostalgic.
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  • The change in view of something nostalgic. When things are looked back upon nostalgically, they can look better than they were at the time they happened.  A poet could write about this idea.  They might write about how something is viewed when it occurs and contrast that with how it is viewed years later.
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  • Write about the qualities of something nostalgic. Rather than write about something that is nostalgic, a poet could explore the qualities that something nostalgic has.  A poet could apply these qualities to different ideas.

Here is an example poem using the idea nostalgia:

Watching the show,
from thirty years ago,
wait, wait, he’s going to say …

Poem: tears of regret

There’s a moment,
where you think someone may die,
and as you sit by their bed,
holding their hand,
you are filled with regret.

You regret the time,
you didn’t spend with them.

You regret the anger,
that you showed them.

You regret all the meaningless things,
that you put before them.

In that moment,
as you watch them breathe,
and pray that it will not stop,
the days and years pass by in your mind,
and all those moments that should not have been,
are reminded to you.

You say kind words,
and express your love,
and say from within your depth,
that you are sorry.

In this moment,
whatever happens,
learn from this.

Learn from the regret,
learn from the sorrow,
learn from all that you believe you lost.

In time,
either good or bad,
the time will pass,
and when it does,
do not forget.

Do not forget,
the feelings you had.

Do not forget,
the sorrow you felt.

Do not forget,
your regret.

Do not,
let things,
become normal again.

Do not,
let things,
be as they were.

Although the effort may strain,
and the logic may strain,
and the petty things may strain,
do not forget.

The day will come,
again,
when you sit by a bed,
and hold a hand,
and all those words,
and all those logics,
of why you should not have changed,
will shatter like glass.

Don’t let that happen.

Don’t be in that place.

Learn from the tears,
and go a new path,
so that by the bed,
in the future,
while there may be tears of sorrow,
there will not be,
tears of regret.