Poetry

Poetry Discussions, Part 5: Write Your Own!

Note from Erin:  Thanks again, Pat, for taking the time to lead us in this five-part poetry series! I really appreciate it! So sorry I wasn’t able to fully capture the formatting of your poems. Please join me in thanking Pat for all his efforts!

This is our final week of the poetry blog.  Today, let’s discuss actually writing poems.

I believe that writing poetry is a lot like dancing.  Before you can get really good at it, you have to master the basics.  Before a dancer can perform a great interpretive, modern dance, s/he needs to master the basic forms of dance, such as tap, ballet, and all of the others.  In the same way, before a poet can write a great free form poem, s/he should first master the basic forms of poetry, such as sonnets, odes, lyrical poems, as well as many others.  That way they build upon the basics.

What I would like for you all to do is to write one or more poems and share them with us.  If you can, write a sonnet, an ode and a lyrical poem, using one or more of the tropes of poetry.  If you remember, the tropes are metonymy, synecdoche, personification, irony and metaphor.  Then we, as a group, will discuss your poems – what was good about them, and what could be improved.

To start us off, I’ve given four poems that I have written.  Please feel free to tell me how I can improve them.  I hope this also encourages you to share a poem or three as well.

You Cannot Take My Heart

Listen, Mars’ drum beats, soldiers rape the land;
In similar ways your beauty takes a part
Of my lifted soul by ravaging my heart;
And in defense, my heart’s soldier takes a stand;
Through guile and deceit Mercury finds a way;
Thus do you, earlier thwarted, now by theft
Seek to purloin what little of my heart’s left;
The key though is hid’n, my heart is locked away;
Jove throws his thunderbolt, all is now lost;
Does not compare to the storm that now rages
Within my breast, fighting itself for ages;
My heart stays true; an unimaginable cost.
Through Venus’ charms my heart you now prove,
Belongs not to me – but a treasure for my love.

Power and Chain

Showering blessings upon a downtrodden spirit,
Which until then had been powerless,
Unable to free itself from loneliness –
A categorical love has now drawn near it.
The uplifted soul, without restraint
Has discovered a hidden might
Which before was shrouded in night
Because it was stained by a loveless taint;
Strength flows through muscles and heart,
An intoxication like no other
Found upon this bounteous orb;
Clasping hands and hearts to one another,
This ‘drug’ they can’t help but absorb
To strengthen the bond that should not be torn apart.

These wondrous blessings though come with a price,
That before the cost has been laid
It’s agreed will be eagerly paid –
Until its full force, then cooled, before you lies;
What before you thought was unreservedly free,
Now learned is not so,
For the spirit can no longer go
Where and when it would, unconditionally;
Chained now to one heart, one soul,
To whom only can be given pleasure,
For your heart to hers has been lost;
Realizing her heart is the only treasure
You’ll possess, you gladly pay the cost,
For the power, and chain, of love makes you whole.

Rose Bushes

I gaze upon four rose bushes
And my heart is filled with wonder;
How can any created thing
Be filled with such splendor?

The perfect shape of tiny leaves,
Burgundy, with dark green edges,
Puts to shame the foliage
Of all other blooming hedges.

The blood-red blossoms open
A canopy of fragile petals,
A flood of color more cherished
Than all earth’s precious metals.

Helpless against your power,
I draw closer to gaze
Upon the tiny perfection
Which on my heart preys.

Then my hand’s own mind,
Without thought for me,
Reaches out, to brush you aside,
That underneath I might see.

What is revealed shocks –
An eyesore rises unexpectedly;
The beautiful roses but hide
The decaying stump of a tree.

A Poem to Science

Mistress, you have failed us,
though you have soared upon the winds,
delved deep into the oceans,
slaughtered micro-organisms by the billions,
saved lives by the millions;
though you charm students and geniuses,
and your knowledge attracts us;
though when you speak all stand up and listen,
even when you have nothing to say.

Why does the world,
why do I,
hate you, in the midst of our infatuation?
Despite all your accomplishments,
your pretty airs,
and your winsome voice,
We still feel alone and unloved.

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35 thoughts on “Poetry Discussions, Part 5: Write Your Own!

  1. Think I’ll tackle one poem at a time. We all know how horrible I am at analyzing poems, so this will just be a jumble of thoughts!

    You Cannot Take My Heart:

    The first thing I noticed were the names of gods from Roman Mythology. I’ll list them in case anyone’s not familiar with them (with the Greek equivalent in parentheses):

    Mars=god of war (Ares)
    Mercury=messenger god (Hermes)
    Jove/Jupiter=king of the gods, god of the sky (Zeus)
    Venus=goddess of love (Aphrodite)

    Hopefully I got those right. I liked their usage; it’s a quick and easy way to refer to war, love, etc.

    Some of my favorite lines:

    Through guile and deceit Mercury finds a way;
    Thus do you, earlier thwarted, now by theft
    Seek to purloin what little of my heart’s left;
    The key though is hid’n, my heart is locked away;
    Jove throws his thunderbolt, all is now lost;

    I was a little confused by how you started right off the bat with a war reference, but then the rest seems to be more of a love poem. I thought, “Maybe the narrator lost part of his heart to war, then later gave his heart to his love.” But I suppose that the war was not literal, more like a “Love is a battlefield” analogy. I don’t know.

    Overall, I appreciate the combo of mythology and great word choices that make me fall in love with the language. Awesome poem, Pat! 😀

  2. Power and Chain:

    For the power, and chain, of love makes you whole.

    This last line is my fave. 😀 Very powerful.

    I like the rhyming pattern; seems to flow very well. But I had to read it a few times before all the meanings sunk in.

    I find that I do not have strong feelings about this poem one way or another . . . sorry. *sheepish* I like it and agree with it, but it does not make me wild with joy or swoon with love. LOL. Just my opinion though. I still think you are a master of words!

  3. Rose Bushes:

    Oooh, I smell a metaphor!! Maybe . . . I think! Didn’t see it coming until the last two lines . . . and this may not be your intention at all . . . but to me it seems like beauty can sometimes hide ugliness (I’m thinking in terms of people, not rose bushes and tree stumps). There are people who are very beautiful outside AND inside, but it seems less common. Outward beauty can lead to vanity and sin if we’re not wary.

    Pat, way to lure us in with beautiful words and images, then pack a punch in the last two lines! Fabulous twist–love it!!

  4. A Poem to Science:

    I love every line of this poem, but especially these:

    though you have soared upon the winds,
    delved deep into the oceans,
    slaughtered micro-organisms by the billions,
    saved lives by the millions;

    We still feel alone and unloved.

    This poem appeals to me on a personal level, since I have long struggled with the fight between science and art and religion. It’s hard to see beauty and love in the universe when you’re a scientist in the strictest sense of the word. My husband does a good job of balancing science and religion, but I found it easier to focus on religion when I was no longer infatuated with science. And now I try to incorporate some science into my novels, but it’s usually a subplot rather than a theme of the story.

    Pat, I love the message here, and the metaphor of science as a mistress, and even the individual words themselves. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

    Thanks so much for sharing all four poems! Sorry I couldn’t offer any constructive criticism . . . maybe someday I’ll get better at poetry. I suppose I should get to work on a poem of my own . . . sigh. 😀

    • I just had to comment on my favorite out of the bunch. As much as I love all of them, I think that Poem to Science is one of your very best. It speaks on a level that pretty much anyone can relate to – we all feel the pull of science, of religion, and we all struggle with what to agree with. I love how you begin with showing how science has seduced us in its amazing facts, but then slowly bring it all down to the emptiness that fills us when we view live as facts and figures. Free-form is really hard, but you make it look easy – amazing. 😀

  5. Hi Erin, and thanks for ‘evalutating’ these for me.
    You Cannot Take My Heart was written after a gentleman came into my office to talk about a woman he likes (and it wasn’t his wife). I thought how I might respond if in a similar situation, and hope it is like this – thus the ‘war’ reference taking place in the heart.
    I feel the exact same as you do about ‘Power and Chain’ – not my best effort, but good all the same (Vicki really likes that one).
    Yes, Rose Bushes is a metaphor, and it was written with the exact metaphor you described.
    A Poem to Science just so happens to be one of my favorites that I’ve ever written.
    Thanks for the comments. Now, have you written any? C’mon – share them with us – you can’t get any better as a poet if you don’t. =)

    • Nice to know that my opinion counts for something. 🙂 Awesome job, Uncle Pat, really. I’ll be posting/evaluating/whatever later this week – I kind of haven’t finished quite yet, and who knows how much time I’ll have until Friday night.

    • I do intend to write some; just fighting a cold which makes serious thinking impossible, LOL. Or I could dig out some old poems. Ugh, I shudder at the thought. I’ll try to come up with something new!

  6. Okay, I wrote this sonnet last night . . . and should probably wait to revise it and improve it, but I feel pressured to post something! And to be honest, it’s a little too depressing, so I don’t want to spend much more time on it, LOL. Maybe I’ll try a happy ode next. Anyway, feedback is always appreciated!

    Hamartia

    She soared blindly high on her teacher’s praise,
    But one wrong twitch made the approval sink.
    Thereafter she worshipped the flawless ways,
    And secretly feared the failure’s steep brink.
    She viewed this life as a treacherous maze
    Where pitfalls linger and temptations slink,
    So she tiptoed through her childhood days
    Until years had passed in a perfect wink.
    Now awards and trophies fill the white walls
    Of the spacious rooms in her spotless place;
    Her hurried footsteps echo down the halls
    As she scurries by to win her rat race.
    This woman is best in all ways but one:
    Her inner battles rage from moon to sun.

    • Aunt Erin! It’s my turn for a *tackle hug*! 😀

      I have to agree – who would want to spend time on a depressing subject? However, anyone would want to spend time in your words. I may be a little biased *wink*, but you are much better at poetry than you think you are.

      While I was reading this the first time, I was thinking only about what the woman’s obsession with perfection brought about (loneliness, more stress than anything is worth), but as I read it again, I started thinking about what she lost. You and I are perfectionists, but I sure hope we don’t end up as miserable because of it. The rough, but lived life is worth it in comparison to the life that sits spotless and perfect – “I like flaws. I think they make things interesting.” Sa-woon, indeed. ;D

      If I had an open mind, I might be able to find a little thing to revise, but as it is, I’m rather set to keep thinking that I like it just the way it is. Very nice. *love*

      • Vicki! *tackle hugs* Yes, you are biased and much too generous, but I love that about you! LOL. Your “review” made me grin–thanks so much!! xoxoxo

        Yes, this poem shows perfectionism at its worst extreme. You and I won’t end up that way though, cause we cherish love above all else (unlike the woman in this poem). BTW, love your Sa-woon reference! 😀

    • Hi Erin,
      Very good job on this sonnet. Like our beloved neice, it looks like you’ll be much better at exploring the emotional side of poetry than I am.
      Your imagery is great – ‘soaring’ ‘steep brink’ ‘slink’ ‘moon to sun’.
      BTW, what’s wrong with exploring depressing things? Sadness is just as honest an emotion as any others, and can be just as beautiful. Witness the popularity of Titanic.

      I really have only minor suggestions: Don’t feel you need to strictly adhere to an ‘Iambic Pentameter’ meter. At times you overuse the word ‘the’. ‘The flawless ways’ could just be ‘flawless ways’, or if you need to stick to the beat, ‘her flawless ways.’ You also don’ t need the word ‘highly’ in the first line, or as Ann pointed out, the word ‘rat’ later on.

      As a poet, you are great, and I’m sure you would’ve caught those minor things I mentioned yourself, if you weren’t so turned off by depressing things. =)

      Great poem. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

      • Yes, I see what you mean about the meter. I was trying to keep the same beat in every line cause I thought I was supposed to. So it can be flexible?

        I think there’s a difference between sadness and depression. We all experience sadness at various times, and I’m not afraid to explore sadness. Depression is when you begin to question if life is worth living, or if life has any meaning, or if you’ll ever return from the sadness. As long as I believe in God, I won’t suffer depression . . . but I don’t want to trigger depression in anyone else. Does that make any sense?

        I still think you and Vic are kicking my butt at this poetry business, but thanks for your nice comments. Greatly appreciated. 😀

  7. Hi Erin: I had a hard time deciding which of Pat’s poems attracted me the most…but finally decided on ‘A Poem to Science’. The first line is powerful, sets the tone for the entire poem; the reference to science as ‘Mistress’ immediately makes it personal to the reader. There are some lovely descriptive lines: ‘soared upon the winds’ ‘in the midst of our infatuation’ ‘delved deep….’
    The entire poem seems to be a metaphore; science is indeed our mistress and we are infatuated but at the same time not entirely trusting of her ‘winsome’ ways…..
    There is also a lovely lyrical quality to the poem and an interesting juxtaposition of emotion, pragmatism and irony.

    By the way, Erin, congratulations on your Sonnet….not an easy poetic form, and I think you did well. The only thing I might suggest is that you leave out ‘rat’….because using the word ‘race’ alone (as she scurries by to win her race) implies the type of ‘race’ (the one we are all running!)…

    Would you mind if I shared one of my poems with you?

    My fingers kneading dough
    dig the deep earth,
    push the green shoots up.
    A weight of wheat swells
    the expectant sky.

    Today I have made bread.
    The kitchen is content,
    heavy with the scent of it.
    Your hands cup the rich
    round mound of it,
    warm in your mouth,
    moist on your tongue.

    You taste of it,
    earth and honeyed yeast.

    I rise and expand.

    Thanks Erin……hope all is well with you!

    Ann (Canada)

    • Ann!!! How are you?? Where have you been?? I’ve missed you!! *hugs*

      I totally agree with everything you said about “A Poem to Science.” It’s my favorite, too!

      Thanks for that “rat” suggestion! I see what you mean about it being redundant—very good point! I am struggling with this poetry business, but it’s easier to bear with friends. 😀

      Of course I don’t mind if you share a poem—thanks for sharing!! I love how I can feel/taste/smell the bread (I’m actually getting hungry, LOL). Also love the connection of growing wheat to the bread in the kitchen. And great last line!! The only thing that tripped me up a little was the POV switch. It goes from “I have made bread” to “Your hands . . . ” then back to “I rise and expand.” And if that’s intentional, I apologize for misinterpreting it! Otherwise, I can’t find anything else I want to change . . . nicely done! 😀

      Don’t be a stranger, okay?? Hope to talk to you again soon!

    • Hi Ann,
      Thanks for the nice comments on my poem. I appreciate them.
      I love your poem as well. There are so many ways it can be taken. And don’t change the POV. It’s perfect as it is. I love so called ‘confusion’ in poetry – it leaves room for interpretation.
      Thanks for sharing.

  8. Erin…thanks so much for your reply and your kind comments….I agree that the POV in the poem is somewhat confusing and I appreciate your pointing that out and I think it merits another ‘think’…..shall work on it.

    Yes, I shall endeavour not to be a ‘stranger’ in the future….shall email you further in the near future and in more detail about the novel I’m still working on.

    Have missed you too; *hugs* back.

    Lovely to hear from you!!!!!

    Ann

  9. Here’s my second attempt, an ode this time. Not exactly a happy one, but hopefully not quite as depressing, LOL. If odes express an emotion, can you guess the overall emotion of this poem? Just curious to see if I made it too obvious or not obvious enough. 😀

    Lotus

    Slip away, no one will notice;
    Hush now, no words to say;
    Linger here, with fruit of lotus;
    Savor all, with the dying day.

    Tick tock, tick tock,
    Chides the clock.

    Welcome Venus to the sky;
    Wink at Star who takes her cue;
    Shiver at Owl’s haunting cry;
    Bask in Sun’s fiery adieu.

    Soon depart, soon depart,
    Warns my heart.

    Breathe in Wind’s calming whisper;
    Feel cool Breeze ignite the skin;
    Seize the fleetingness of Wonder
    Before it’s lost to raucous Din—

    Run away, run away . . .
    I lose my way.

    • I loved this one even better than Hamartia – you’re so wonderful, Aunt Erin! I don’t care if I’m biased, this poem is, simply put, beautiful. And kind of sad also, but I don’t really have room to talk, do I? ;D I’ve got a soar throat and a runny nose and I’m all bundled up, but this made me feel better. 🙂

      Not sure what you were thinking of, but I think you were trying to portray a desire to stay with nature? It sounds to me, as in ‘saver all, with the dying day’ and ‘seize the fleetingness of Wonder/Before it’s lost to Din,’ like he/she knows she must leave, but finds it hard to. I love every line of this, but my favorite stanza is the second ‘Welcome Venus…’ Very well done! *poetry hugs*

      Oh, this poem, probably because of the lotus reference, reminded me of a book I read in 7th grade for my book report, called “Mara, Daughter of the Nile.” I loved that book – it’s got really interesting Egyptian lifestyle references (I love the Nile River civilizations), plus romance. Have you read or heard of it before?

      • Thanks, Vic—you’re so sweet! I like this one better, too, probably cause of all the nature references, LOL.

        I haven’t heard of “Mara, Daughter of the Nile” before. Sounds good! I did have a reason for using the lotus, though it’s actually related to Greek Mythology. More on that later. 😀

        Thanks so much for reviewing when you feel so sick! Hope you get better soon! *poetry hugs*

        P.S. And no, you don’t have room to talk about sad poems, LOL!

    • For someone who doesn’t like depressing things, you sure write about them a lot.
      Like Vicki, I like this one better as well. It’s not quite as obvious what you are talking about.
      No suggestions. Good poem.
      BTW, this isn’t an ode – you’d need a much more complex rhyming pattern for it to fit that category. This is a generic lyrical poem (generic in the sense that it doesn’t fit a specific category, not in the sense that it is plain).

      Great job once again.

      • I believe you if you say it isn’t an ode, but I’m confused (LOL). I was specifically looking at “Snow-flakes” by Longfellow when I wrote this poem, and trying to use the same rhyming pattern he used. Snow-flakes is an ode, isn’t it? Where did I go wrong??

        So now I know: vague=good poetry. LOL!

        As for depressing things . . . I’m not sure I know how to write happy poetry. 😀

        Thanks for your comments!!

  10. Though I just finished this about five minutes ago from the mind under a cold, I’m trusting you to give me an opinion on how I can improve this. I really should never stop in the middle of poems. 🙂

    Without further ado than I’ve taken, here it is.

    Sinking Deeper

    I look into your deep brown eyes
    And feel their burning heat
    I see the joy held deeply there,
    Darkness meeting its defeat

    The winter wind blows outside
    As the sparks glow bright in your eyes
    I dare not tear my eyes from yours
    Lest the warming light soon dies

    As the silence echoes faintly round
    And night shows its gentle face,
    I listen to your rumbling voice
    And feel its soft embrace

    Time goes on, no longer real,
    As you sit close by my side
    The hands that keep my feet so warm
    Are those to which I’m tied

    With the night beyond your shining eyes,
    You draw me further into them
    My heart pounds with growing aches
    As a wild rose bursts from its stem

    But I fear that I have lost my chance
    While this ache was locked away
    I should have listened to its pulse
    And pulled the rose out from the gray

    For beyond this room of quiet,
    Another lies, heart unaware
    For though my heart sinks deeper in,
    She holds on to yours, so fair

    So I sit alone, without you here,
    Think back to your deep eyes
    And wonder if you’ll ever know
    Before this feeling dies

    Before this rose wilts inside

    • Vicki!! Aww, you are a real trooper to write and post poetry through sickness! Thanks so much for sharing!

      Wow, this poem has grown quite a bit since the version I read! Now I can really sink into it. The last line is my favorite (in a heart-wrenching way!). At that point it really hits me: he may never know, and her rose may die. Just the thought of that is so sad . . .

      I honestly don’t know how to improve it—critiquing poetry is really hard for me! I like the connections of warmth/heat/sparks/bright/etc. And I like how you use the rose as a metonymy of love (or maybe I just made that up, LOL).

      So romantic . . . yet so sad . . . sigh. You’ve done it again, Vic! 😀 Love you and your poems! xoxoxo

    • I hate to break your trust, but I can’t think of a way to improve this poem. It’s great the way that it is. Very well done.
      Your lines flow smoothly (something I tend to have problems with at times, though at times I do it on purpose to emphasize a point or two); your imagery is powerful – I couldn’t help but imagine gazing into my love’s eyes. Your last line broke my heart.
      What is it with you two and your sad poems?
      (‘chuckle’ – I just realized that 3 of the 4 poems I put on here could be considered ‘sad’)

      • You two are the sweetest in the world – thanks for all the compliments. You two also keep me warm – I’m blushing in the slight chill. 😀

        Sorry to break your heart, Uncle Pat. If I try to write a happy poem, it usually ends up with a tint of sadness, but I think being under the weight of sadness is alright. I don’t mind being sad – and based on your poetry (both of you), I think we all get that, as writers, sadness is an emotion that can produce beauty of its own.

      • Vicki, you hit the nail on the head, re: sadness can produce its own type of beauty. There are much worse crosses to bear than that of sadness. Maybe it’s one of the “curses” of being a writer? The ability to be both happy and sad at the same time, LOL.

        YOU are the sweetest, Vic. Happy to keep you warm at any time. 😀

  11. Pingback: Characteristics of a Writer « E. M. Rowan’s Field Notes

  12. The Only Girl by Tj hoyi

    I have never felt this lonely
    Need someone to hold me
    I am the only girl with no one to love me
    I am the only girl standing Alone in the park by a tree
    If mysery loves company
    Then he must hate me

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