Making the Impossible a Possibility

Archive for April, 2011

Examining Poetry: Part 7

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. As National Poetry Month draws to a close, I would like to take time to reflect on what I have learned throughout my two-week celebration.

I noticed that over the past few years, my poetry has captured more of a direct focus on the subject of the poem. The ideas became more thought out and directly connected, rather than a muddle of themes intertwined into a sloping array of poetry. {Then again, one could differ with “City of Decadence and Decay, although I believe that connecting those elemental themes together led to a successful creation of a fictional city atmosphere.}

I would like to end this installment of National Poetry Month with a short lesson on how to write rhyming poems. I waited to cover the concept of rhyming poems, because some people have the misconception that *all* poems have to rhyme. As seen in the previous examples I posted, rhyming isn’t necessary with poetry. However, a lot of people do like to attempt to write rhyming poems, so I thought the perfect way to end this celebration of poetry would be to write a small lesson on how to write a rhyming poem.

A Short Lesson on Rhyming Poetry

1) The first step is to always pick a subject to write about. The easiest way to start a poem is to write about a topic that you know quite well, or even a memory that you’d like to share with an audience.

2) Choose the rhyme scheme that you would like to try to write. Two of the most common rhyme schemes are A/A/B/B, or A/B/A/B. As you progress with your poetry, you can even try more difficult rhyme schemes, like A/B/A/B; C/D/C/D.

An A/A/B/B rhyme scheme goes a bit like this:

When I was young, I used to wish

On stars that looked like silver finned fish

Or perhaps like little flowers

That gleamed with celestial power.

Now, that was an absolutely terrible written example, but I tried to emphasize my point. A/A/B/B rhyme schemes have the first coupling of lines rhyme, and then the second coupling of lines rhyme. I showed this by turning wish and fish red, and flowers and power blue. This rhyming scheme continues on through the rest of the stanzas of the poem.

An A/B/A/B rhyme scheme goes a bit like this:

One blistery summer morning

Rose an unnerving, sudden wail;

It happened without warning,

And thus started my adventurous tale.

As you can see from this example, in an A/B/A/B rhyme scheme, every other line rhymes with one another. This rhyming scheme continues on through the rest of the stanzas of the poem. I showed this by making morning and warning orange, and wail and tale purple.

3) The final suggestion to take heed of is watching the syllables of your lines. If the lines of your poem get too lengthy, it can hinder the gentle flow of your poem. Then again, you should match the format of your poem to the mood of your poem; an angry poem might be a bit more choppy than a smooth, gentle love poem. Make sure you read through the poem and see if the words flow correctly through your mind. Sometimes it helps to take the effort to read your work out loud.

Once you follow those three simple rules, you can head off on a wild adventure with all of the lovely words and ideas flowing through your mind!

I hope you enjoyed this series of poetry posts as much as I have had writing them. Thank you for taking the time to follow along with me! 😀

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Examining Poetry: Part 6

Pretty Words

By Elinor Wylie

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:

I love smooth words, like gold-enameled fish

Which circle slowly with a silken swish,

And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:

Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,

Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,

Or purring softly at a silver dish,

Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;

Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;

Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;

I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,

Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,

Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

This is one of my favorite poems. The first poem I ever read by Wylie was Sea Lullaby, in my eighth grade English class. I admire all of Elinor Wylie’s work, because I think she did such a beautiful job of capturing the true potential of connecting delicate words with flowing lines.

This poem really speaks to me in the terms of how vivid scenes and emotions can come to surface while writing poetry. I love the images that Wylie bring to mind while one reads this poem, as well as how connected the phrases are. Overall, I admire the gentle rhymes that weave throughout this piece.

You can explore more of Wylie’s poems by visiting right here. 🙂

Examining Poetry: Part 5

An Ode to the Boy Who Lived

In that train station,

At the platform with the awkward numbers;

As you stood there, apprehensive,

A little boy with a peculiar scar,

The mark of an encounter with evil,

I fell in love.

It is not often that one such as I,

Who has read numerous books,

That of which most have just

Slipped far back into my memory,

Losing the true message they conveyed, but

Keeping the nonessential tidbits,

Such as the fact that there was a character named

Grace, who loved to wear green hair ribbons,

Or that there was a house address of

44 Millsburrow Lane, with a quaint little

Duck pond and cookie cutter accents.

But you, you;

The one with two faithful, steadfast friends,

With a dependable mentor with

Knowledge and wisdom beyond that one can imagine,

The one who has the mark of love,

And the courage and luck to be able to persevere

With the uttermost diligence to preserving that

Which you have learned will be the best that you

Can have, that of which includes friendship and

Trust and, of course, love—

Dear little boy staring at the brick pillar before you,

Frightened, curious, and so unnerved—

I owe you much gratitude, for you

Are the essence of one story whose message

I will never forget.

This short little poem is something that I just wrote in March. Of course, it is dedicated to one of my favorite {characters} book series, Harry Potter. I wanted to emphasize what an impact J.K. Rowling’s series has made on my life. I must admit, I have grown up with Harry Potter, and I learned many life lessons just by reading the books. Rowling made me laugh, cry, get angry, and dream along with the characters within her books, which made a wonderful lasting impression for me.

Another variation of these types of poems are called “Found” poems. You can use any ideas, characters, or phrases from your favorite books to create a poem about them. Just be sure to cite the copyrighted books carefully!

You can read more on how to make a “Found” or “Fan Fiction” poem here.  🙂

Examining Poetry: Part 4

City of Decadence and Decay

            ‘The smoke hung over the city like an old, tattered blanket. The darkness had crept in long ago, seeping into the rivets in the cracked concrete sidewalks. A pigeon perched within an elm tree, its ruby red eyes gleaming with curiosity. He had seen many things over the past few years, and it was time for him to share his experiences.’

I. “The City Park”

            The rusty swing set stands alone, swaying in the breeze.

The rusty chain grips tightly, the security of the young who

squeal as they sway towards the sky, attempting to

kick at the clouds as their tiny legs flail.

The ducklings peek their downy heads out from among the reeds,

and swans delicately glide across the glistening pond.

She sits on the edge of the park bench,

her long chocolate brown hair hiding the almond shaped face.

I wonder if she notices me, a plump gray fellow perched within

the tree opposite her, providing her shade from the blazing sun.

The aroma of the vendors envelop us in a warm haze,

and the carousel music wavers through the air, an endless, incessant  tune,

as the world continues to journey through the amusement ride called Life.

II. “Down Main Street”

‘The city bustles with activity. It’s rush hour, and everyone seems to be pushing towards their own path, intertwining like vines on the side of the old apartment buildings. The coincidence of the matter is that the city goes through the same routine every day. I wonder if the people ever get bored with their lives, with their schedules? Do they ever wonder what would happen if time stopped, and they were able to look at the whole frozen picture, intact, and find their place in this part of the world every single day…’

            At four, Main Street bustles with activity;

the mothers pick up their children from the elementary school at the corner,

the business men parade down the boulevard,

an endless tide of black and white,

and the grocers prepare for market.

The freshest fruits and vegetables are set out,

and every outside eye feasts upon the vast array of hues,

the pigments that make the avenue come alive

and bask in the inner city heat.

Flower vendors set up their carts,

the shouts of newspaper boys and the roasted nut vendors

become more apparent over the rest of the bustle.

Sometimes, the public relishes the view of a ventriloquist

or the guitarist who plays lonesome songs on the curbside,

wailing out beautiful, sad tunes that hypnotize the people

into throwing in that extra dollar bill.

Most enjoyably, though, is when the bistros get ready for business,

and the waitresses sweep up the dust outside the doorways,

which gets swept up in the wind, a kaleidoscope of colors.

Bread crumbs, crushed flower petals, leaves, strings, and the

glitter from the players’ costumes of the theater down the stretch,

all making up the threads that hold this scene together.

 

 

III. “An Apartment Building”

            ‘I’ve noticed that many of the citizens crowd into tall buildings. They acquire small areas of living space to raise their families. They each have their own stories that I can indulge in, and I love to watch the people grow and change. My particular favorite apartment building is a brick structure, comprised of eighteen different levels. It has a large glass door with a burgundy awning, and it is referred to as “The Heights.”’

The Heights towers above the lane,

each window pane painfully scrubbed to a perfect

sheet of gleaming glass.

The iron balconies provide a perfect perch for me to rest upon,

and I peer into each window, relishing in the view

of the lives I glance into.

On floor eight, Mr. Peterson lives alone,

a balding man of fifty-seven,

who prefers solitude, a glass of red sherry, and soft jazz music,

preferably all in the same setting.

He frequently plays his piano, his long, bony fingers flying over

the glistening ivory and polished ebony,

crashing out tunes of thunderstorms and wild horses,

and softly tapping out melodies of sunshine, seashores, and love.

The Klein family resides on the twelfth floor,

a bustling house filled with children’s laughter,

blaring television shows, and

many unkempt rooms.

There are times when Mr. Klein drinks a bit too much,

and sits blankly in his chair, holding a cigar,

and Mrs. Klein silently weeps.

Down on the third floor,

Cassandra Berlin frequently has visitors.

Her girlfriends come over during the day,

and they play card games, while their laughter echoes throughout

the open window, trailing wafts of musky perfume.

During the evening, Cassandra often lounges on the balcony,

her dress flowing in the breeze as she leans over,

watching the line of traffic that winds beneath her building.

There are some nights when she rushes around the living room,

dims the lights and sets up glowing white candles,

and a man comes in through the doorway, and her face lights up,

her glossy white teeth smiling.

I cannot say if it’s always the same man,

because it sometimes seems as though the man is tall and dark-haired,

and sometimes short and fair-haired,

and sometimes average with brown curls.

But the lights can play tricks as they flicker and dance about the room,

and, anyways,

she always draws the royal purple drapes closed,

as they continue their evening activities.

IV. “The Slums”

‘I become a bit more nostalgic as I travel further towards the East Side, and the buildings crumble and deteriorate right before my eyes.

            ‘The streets are dark, and rats commonly skitter across the sidewalks. It is hard to tell where you are and exactly where you are going, because everything looks the same. There are no street signs to point you in the right direction, because they were torn off by the boy down the street to sell as scrap metal for college money. Most likely, the boy wasn’t able to go to college, and he was caught destroying the street signs and ended up being stuck back here, anyways.’

The path is crooked, and broken into crumbling chunks

as the people try to swiftly walk through the grungy street.

This is the place in the city where no one wants to find themselves;

where hunger lurks and death creeps in silently,

and where thirst and loneliness are common visitors.

The apartment buildings are overcrowded, and hosts to insects and

vermin, both of which skitter about at the same consistency that

the water trickles down the rusty faucets.

Light bulbs flicker, and there is extreme heat in the summer

and terrifyingly cold drafts in the winter.

The smoke stacks are the dismal backdrop to this scene,

for we are situated right behind the hulking factories,

with their billowing clouds of dark black ash.

It is no wonder that the sewage water that

leaks throughout the entire setting

is black and putrid, with a slimy coat of oil

that slowly swirls its tendrils like fingers,

grasping each plant and choking it

to its death.

The people are unkempt,

with greasy hair and blackened faces,

for most do not have the facilities

to bathe their aching figures.

The children are made of bones and haunting smiles,

and their playground is the pile of old tires and sharp metal beams

left behind by those who do not want them.

This place is for the rejected and the neglected,

the people society deems ‘social misfits,’

the people with true emotions and compassion.

They are the ones who die daily,

and the ones who won’t be remembered,

no matter how providing they were.

V. “Crimes”

‘There are many aspects of the city I cannot stand. Plainly, I hate the unjustness that occurs daily, whether physically or emotionally. I see people deteriorate right before my eyes, sometimes even faster than the people in the slums. The city can be a terrifying place, for there are many places for one to meet their demise. It is sad to be a bystander to these horrific events, and to be forced to be silent by matters out of your own hands.’

The city falls silent

as the man pulls the trigger, and

the red blossoms on the other man’s chest.

The prejudice, the hatred, the gangs

are common to me, and it is not

a shock to see the killings occur.

To the public,

it’s just another victim,

just another tragedy,

just another heartbreaking story.

The compassion lasts for an hour, a day, a week,

and then normality comes back,

and the world continues.

The cars come too quickly,

and the mother watches in horror,

too stunned to make an action,

as her small child skips out onto the crosswalk playfully,

and the child is no longer living.

The men are drunk,

and the women are plentiful,

but, thankfully,

the police step in this time

before the bar brawl gets too out of control.

There are fights,

murders,

muggings,

stabbings,

shootings,

and robberies daily.

But, what seems the saddest of all

is the art student

who’s been picked on, who cannot pay the rent,

whose parents died young, whose future looks grim,

and who is now gone, because he hung himself

due to the dire circumstances.

To have life taken away so easily,

so simply,

with not a lot of people to care.

Or, perhaps, the most distressing

is the young girl who is walking home

from her studies at the library,

who is grabbed by the man,

and taken behind the corner,

and whose dignity is stolen,

who can only let the tears fall down,

let the burning knife of reality twist in further,

and pray that justice will be served.

VI. “Homeless”

‘Another intricate story is that of the homeless, the beggars that sit on the street and hope for a rescue. Money and sympathy do not seem to be enough. They need to acquire love and a place for them to continue to try to live and prosper. I see the young and the old being set out onto the street daily. There are unwanted babies, neglected children, the drunks that have run out of luck, and the elderly who have been forgotten. All of these people have value to their lives and need to find some way to continue to survive.’

The old woman sits on the corner of Emerson and Shimerville,

a lump of blankets, dishrags, and newspaper,

with grimy gray hair and watery hazel eyes,

watches the people pass her without a glance.

She was the daughter of a butcher,

and the sister of a lawyer.

She was a good student,

and a trustworthy friend.

She went to college,

became a teacher,

and had seven boyfriends

because of her young beauty.

She had sparkling hazel eyes,

curly blonde hair,

and plump, full, peachy lips.

She had three dogs,

a wonderful husband,

and two children,

both of which lived in the countryside.

Now, she sits by an old doorway,

shivering with cold, covered with sweat,

her limbs trembling with old age.

Her fingers are knotted,

and her ankles are swollen.

She has not eaten a meal for four days;

her last drink was a trickle of rain water

sliding down the gutter, into her waiting mouth,

with its secret still intact.

If a passerby gave her the time of day,

Betsy Lindbergh would once again show a piece of the world

her wonderfully cheerful smile.

VII.“The Skyline”

‘If a person took the time to just glance at the city skyline at night, one would be inspired in many ways. It is not just the dazzling lights, but the events that occur within the shining nighttime moments. It is the biggest thrill to soar throughout the nighttime sky, under a full moon, and view how the city crawls alive at night, all the way through the next morning. Any city person does not have to be an expert to know the city never sleeps. The city is a living, breathing creature, and I believe its beautiful, shimmering skyline to be its heartbeat.’

The bulbs flash and shimmer in a sparkling light show,

overpowering the natural beauty of the quiet luminous stars in the sky.

The sheet of black velvet is overlaid by all of the city’s nighttime activity;

lovers sit within boats and yachts in the harbor,

a mass of twinkle lights glowing upon the rippling waters,

sweethearts sit on park benches,

holding hands as they listen to the sounds of the night.

Music surrounds everything.

The clubs boom with their deejay mixes,

bands perform on outdoor stages,

singers sway within the jazz halls,

theatres perform evening musicals,

and street musicians croon their last performance.

Airplanes still fly overhead,

and cars still fly over the golden bridge,

illuminating everything in sight.

The city is connected by all of these strings of lights,

all of these different people,

all of these different talents,

all of these different events.

The city is the place we call home, and where we’ll always belong.

VIII. “The Last Train”

            ‘My train will leave this morning. There will be no more travels to the slums, no more encounters with the bustling Main Street, no more enjoyable moments near the harbor. I will not be awakened by the endless music and nighttime activities, nor will I visit my homeless friends to give them comfort. I will be gone, and I cannot return. I will no longer be a bystander to the city’s events. I will always belong to the city, but my light has vanished. The breakdown of my city has reached its final chapter. I am just another city story that has come to a close.’

This poem was written for my Creative Writing class my sophomore year. These types of poems are based off of the band Rush’s song, 2112. They include a dialogue introduction and then a poem, continuing on as long as the story continues. The end of the poem can either be an actual poem or a closing dialogue.

I really liked the way this piece flowed together… if you didn’t notice, it was told from the viewpoint of a pigeon. I tried to highlight all of the aspects of society that I worry about. I think it’s very important to sometimes focus more on the negatives within subjects, because exposing that which could be improved helps lead to progress and awareness, no matter how small the effect.

I suppose you might see this as the finale of my poetry series, but don’t fret! We have not reached the end of celebrating National Poetry Month yet. 😀

Happy Earth Day!

I’d just like to take the time to insert this little post in, among all of the poetry posts I have written. As we’ve reached the mid-point of the poetry celebration, I’m wondering what you are thinking while reading these posts. What impression am I leaving on you? If you’d be ever so kind, I’d love to get some simple feedback from you!

And, on another subject, happy ecological awareness day! Earth Day is such a marvelous day to bring attention to the importance of our planet. Take the time to show your appreciation for the lovely opportunities we have been granted. 🙂

Examining Poetry: Part 3

Someone Else’s Shoes

Someone else’s shoes

Are worn at the sole

Scratched by heartache, pain, joy

A thousand stories woven into

Battered leather,

Giving into

Someone else’s shoes

Are sparkling,

Dazzling up to full potential

Hiding the fear that remains inside,

Fluttering, masking

True emotions,

Which cannot be exposed to

Someone else’s shoes

Are sturdy, strong

Fit to weather it out

Unbending, tolerable

A sense of support for

Someone else’s shoes

Are tiny, fragile enough to

Fit a doll into and

Place all of her being into,

Cram her tiny imaginative ideas

And let a thousand dreams and wishes

Lie hopeful to be picked up by

Someone else’s shoes

Are brand new, hip

Full of personality,

Quivering with pride and

Carefully taking each confident

Step into

Someone else’s shoes

Are lined with memories,

A warm quilt of history and nostalgia

Family, friends, and the like

Slipping into

My own shoes

Are standing still, waiting

For new adventures, possibility

Full of hope and future,

Tentative, impatient, shy,

For someone else to step into,

While I finally try to walk into

Someone else’s shoes.

This poem was written towards the end of my freshman year. I wanted to write a take on how I felt of the cliche “Before you criticize, walk a mile in their shoes.” I tried to capture the transition between the personalities and ages of the different people. I attempted more of a stream of consciousness writing style.

To find out more about the stream of consciousness writing style, you can read about it on another WordPress user’s blog, here. It is very efficient for anyone who struggles with writer’s block or is frequently stressed by the day’s activities. 🙂

Examining Poetry: Part 2

I Am Unique

I am original, an imaginative girl.

I wonder if anyone knows the true me.

I hear a bubbling brook, surrounded by rustling weeping willows.

I see moonlight beaming onto iridescent spider silk.

I want to have a successful career in children’s literature.

I am original, an imaginative girl.

I pretend I am at work on a novel.

I feel that my dream is becoming reality.

I touch the smooth, shiny keys, creating a new adventure.

I worry I won’t fulfill my long-term goals.

I cry when natural disasters destroy lives.

I am original, an imaginative girl.

I understand fate decides your future.

I say that even the smallest person can make a difference.

I dream that everyone will find true happiness.

I try to be a successful student.

I hope someday the nation will recognize me as an important person to my generation.

I am original, an imaginative girl.

This “I Am” poem was written  September 13th of my eighth grade year. Surprisingly, the statements I write within this poem still reflect most of my thoughts, wishes, and goals that I have now.

I believe “I Am” poems are a wonderful way to start writing poetry. They are so easy for any beginning poet{ess} to start with, because you just contemplate your own thoughts, wishes, dreams, goals, and memories to write about the elements that you are truly composed of.

To make your own “I Am” poem, you can use this nifty little widget. “I Am” poems are also referred to as “Portrait Poems,” so you can use these examples to get your own creative juices flowing. 😀