Write your own poetry

On Tuesday mornings I go to a lovely parenting group in my local area. The aim is to give busy parents a bit of peace and that is exactly what I get from it: we stick the kids in the creche and enjoy a couple of hours of tea and adult conversation. When it first started, we had in depth discussions on parenting issues that troubled us, sometimes even with visiting speakers. Slowly, our program started to lean more towards just chilling out and doing fun things, and this year we have started taking turns sharing our skills with the group. There has been crochet, earring and bracelet making, calligraphy, cake decorating and many more strange and wonderful things.

This week it was my turn, so of course I did a poetry workshop. We wrote shopping lists and turned them into poems, described a friend and wrote rhymes to accompany Christmas presents.

I asked if anyone was willing to share what they wrote with the wider world, and three of the women kindly obliged:

Passion

by Sam

She bursts through the door with her serious face,
her hands moving all over the place.
A little irate she feels this morning
as so far the day has been quite boring.
It doesn’t take long for a smile to appear
She really is funny, it’s just not that clear.

Long Lost Friend

by POG

In the pub car park.
Reading my book.
Ah, now here’s the text,
“Sorry, running late”.
A car speeds in.
A flash of bright scarf.
Haven’t seen for years
But just the same.

My Small Companion

by ACB

Our special time
Protected space
Your cheeky grin

A pile of books
My welcome lap
Quietly sucking fingers

Just one more book
Persistent plea
My boundary pusher

Finish my sentence
Faces, funny voices
My entertainer

Bookworm
Smiler
Fidget
Cuddler
My small companion

My own poem describing a friend is about the lovely woman who runs and supports the Tuesday group. If you are reading this, we all love you and really appreciate everything you give to us.

Selfless Centre

Through the door
we walk, she stands
a cup of tea for you in her hands
Thoughtful, she asks:
“How was the night?
Did your daughter sleep alright?”
She remembers and she cares

We craft we chat
We moan we laugh
And she is there
Listening always
Tactful, fair,
She treasures everything we share.

We say goodbye at the door
and only in the car
– key in the ignition – do I recall
I did not ask about her
at all.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Write your own poetry: Try this at home!

If you want to have a go at writing a poem about a friend, even if you have never written anything before in your life, try this:

1. Think of someone you know. Write down about 8 key words to describe them. Those can be character traits, catch phrases they say all the time, a hobby you share, a place you associate with them.

2. Look at your keywords and try to cull them down to 5. Cross out any words that are too similar to another key word, or that you think don’t really fit with the rest.
My key words for our lovely group leader were:

Welcome
Serve
Support
Kind
Wise

3. Give your five word poem a title. Avoid using the name of the person you are describing. Instead, try and think of a word or phrase that sums them up – or at least the image of them that you are portraying in your poem. I chose “Selfless Centre”, to sum up the idea that came out of the words that our friend is always at the centre of the group, supporting us without asking for anything back.

4. Now use these five words as a draft, a basis for writing something new. Think of a situation you can see your friend in – real or imagined. Describe the situation in a poem, so that it expresses the same image of your friend. In my poem, as you can see, I express the concepts of welcoming, serving, supporting and so on by painting a picture of what she does on a Tuesday morning in a very concrete way. In her poem, Sam managed to literally work most of her original words (eg. irate, serious, funny) into her description of her friend and POG has very simply but effectively sketched herself waiting to meet an old friend.

Have a go! You could even post what you write in the comments below…

Read poetry from other bloggers over at Prose for Thought, hosted by Victoria Welton.

Night-waking continues

I have lost count of the number of poems I have written about sleep. Here’s another one about my daughter’s uncanny ability to wake up just when I am about to crawl into bed, whatever time that is.

Sneaking, Sleeping

Ten, eleven, midnight, three
Soft-stockinged tred
can’t fool me
ears prick up:
Mummy is going to bed.
No no not yet

Your cry cuts through night
and wall and tinny
receiver, flashing green
your need to be heard
and held and seen.

Bundled in bedding
zipped and buttoned
twisted up and bleary
teary eyed you
“ney ney ney” and
“dee dee” and “mama”
with outstretched arms.

I hold we sway
you suck your fingers
snug then arching
out of arms,
your cuddle collected
you want back to bed
and sleeping sound –

but if I dare to
crab-creep to the
chink of light
to freedom and my bed-
if I dare to make a sound
so small
you grumble then protest and wail
and stay!
I have to stay.

Once more we sway.
My eyelids drooping,
knees buckling under
weight of sleep.

On we circle round this track
on and on and back
in the deep night’s black
until your breathing
slows
sucking stops
limbs relax.

I tiptoe out and
creep to bed.
So softly do I tred
you cannot
cannot
have heard me
this time round
I made
no
sound.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Read more original poetry by other bloggers here.