Poetry Club

This week we’re going to introduce two alternative poetry subjects with a very similar, in fact almost identical, structure. The two subjects are ‘feelings’ poems and ‘colour’ poems, so you can choose between the two or have a go at both if you prefer!

Let’s start with the ‘feelings’ poems. We will all naturally experience a wide range of feelings; excitement, joy, happiness, sadness, fear, anger, anxiety, pride etc… This is to be a CHEERFUL poem, so I recommend that you choose a positive feeling or attribute, such as happiness, joy, pride, contentment, love, kindness, peace or excitement. Don’t send your grandparents a poem about anger…that’s not likely to cheer them up! There are TWO parts to this poem. The second part is a bit more challenging. You don’t have to do the second part if you don’t want to, but the second part is based on THE SENSES and this will make your poem really powerful, so I would advise giving it a go!

The first part of the poem is quite simply a list. Let’s take ‘happiness’ as an example. Write a few lines about things that make you really happy. Start each sentence with ‘Happiness is…’ Now this sounds a bit repetitive (and is!) but it really helps to have this simple structure and we’ll look at how you can address the repetitive bit at the end.

Example:

Happiness is unwrapping a special present on my birthday,

Happiness is scoring the winning goal in the final minute of play,

Happiness is climbing a mountain on a cloudless day,

Happiness is listening to the school choir at The Royal Albert Hall,

Happiness is splashing in puddles without a care in the world.

Okay, now for the second part:

Think about the senses; sight, smell, sound, taste, touch (or feel)

Which smells make you feel really happy? Which sounds? Sights? Tastes?

Touch is a bit harder. Imagine closing your eyes and putting your fingers into a ‘magic box of happiness’. What would it feel like?

You don’t have to include ALL of the senses in your second part! You might just choose two or three, or you might be really ambitious and go for all five! (And you can do them in any order that you choose)

Let’s have a go:

The sound of children playing in the school playground,

The smell of sizzling bacon first thing in the morning,

The sight of a red kite hovering in the sky,

The taste of lemon meringue pie,

A warm feeling that surges through my veins.

Now you can put the two parts together…

Happiness

Happiness is unwrapping a special present on my birthday,

Happiness is scoring the winning goal in the final minute of play,

Happiness is climbing a mountain on a cloudless day,

Happiness is listening to the school choir at The Royal Albert Hall,

Happiness is splashing in puddles without a care in the world.

The sound of children laughing in the school playground,

The smell of sizzling bacon first thing in the morning,

The sight of a red kite hovering in the sky,

The taste of lemon meringue pie,

A warm feeling that surges through my veins.

I’ve now managed to collect several thoughts about happiness in my poem, so to finish off I’m now going to get rid of the repetitive start for each line. I’ll take out the ‘Happiness is’ from the first five lines, and I’m going to get rid of ‘the sound of’, ‘the smell of’ etc… (Although I quite like the final line so I’ll keep that as it is).

So my final poem will be:

Happiness

Unwrapping a special present on my birthday,

Scoring the winning goal in the final minute of play,

Climbing a mountain on a cloudless day,

Listening to the school choir at The Royal Albert Hall,

Splashing in puddles without a care in the world.

Children laughing in the school playground,

Sizzling bacon, first thing in the morning,

A red kite hovering in the sky,

Lemon meringue pie,

A warm feeling that surges through my veins.

Now for the second option – ‘colour’ poems. Whoever you write this for, see if you can discretely find out their favourite colour if you don’t already know. Or, if you can’t find out discretely, ask directly… Grand-dad, What’s your favourite colour? (but keep your poem a surprise). Why do you ask?  Just interested!

My mum’s favourite colour was yellow, so I’ll base my example on yellow. The structure is exactly the same as the feelings poem, start by simply creating a list of things that are typically yellow. (Avoid lines like ‘yellow is my pencil’ …’Yellow is my book’… ‘Yellow is my coat…’ because items like pencils, books and coats could be any colour). Here’s my first part;

Yellow is the sun on a bright summer’s day

Yellow is a glorious cornfield that reminds me of Van Gogh,

Yellow is a sour lemon, livening up a fishy dish,

Yellow is a ripe banana with its soft, rubbery skin,

Yellow is a mighty sunflower,

Yellow is the glow of a Diwali candle flickering in the dark

So then I’ll think about the senses. This is quite an abstract challenge. What is the smell or the touch or the taste of yellow? I imagine myself in a bright yellow room and I close my eyes to imagine what I might hear, smell or taste when surrounded by ‘yellowness!’ You’ll probably think about the obvious things that you associate with the colour yellow, but this will help you with the abstract ‘senses’ part of the poem. I’ve focused on four of the senses, it doesn’t matter whether you focus on two or three, or all five.

Yellow is the taste of sweet pineapple,

Yellow is the sound of a spring breeze,

Yellow is the scent of honey,

Yellow is the soft feel of feathers

I can now put my two parts of the poem together:

Yellow

Yellow is the sun on a bright summer’s day

Yellow is a glorious cornfield that reminds me of Van Gogh,

Yellow is a sour lemon, livening up a fishy dish,

Yellow is a ripe banana with its soft, rubbery skin,

Yellow is a mighty sunflower

Yellow is the glow of a Diwali candle flickering in the dark,

Yellow is the taste of sweet pineapple,

Yellow is the sound of a spring breeze,

Yellow is the scent of honey,

Yellow is the soft feel of feathers

I’m now going to take out the ‘Yellow is’ repetition at the start of each line, although, having read it through, I’ve decided to keep this as the start of the first line only, and I’ve added an ‘And’ onto my final line, as I think this helps to round the poem off:

Yellow

Yellow is the sun on a bright summer’s day

A glorious cornfield that reminds me of Van Gogh,

 A sour lemon, livening up a fishy dish,

A ripe banana with its soft, rubbery skin,

A mighty sunflower,

The glow of a Diwali candle flickering in the dark,

The taste of sweet pineapple,

The sound of a spring breeze,

The scent of honey,

And the soft feel of feathers

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