Here, we’ll be discussing a series of poems written about nature as well as providing advice for those that wish to start writing poetry or want to become better writers.
You may have seen this before – a ball bouncing to the lyrics of a sing-along on some children show on TV… in iambic pentameter, the ball bounces every other word, placing emphasis on that word. This is what creates rhythm; a good way to detect the meter of your poetry is by reading your piece out loud, slowly at first; to give you a better idea of what words have more emphasis than others. The first two lines of this poem use iambic meter, and the best way to learn how to write this way is by reading and writing poetry that use this meter. I’ll show you some shortcuts to achieving this below. To start with, I’ll tell you what I’ve found to be most effective when I’m writing a line.
Note: These are methods of my own; I am a self-taught poet and have never looked into such phrases as “stressed/unstressed”, not to say that those concepts would not help you, but my method may come more naturally to the aspiring poet. You could say that I learned more “on the field” than I did studying the fundamentals…
I know this day – the kiss of leaves upon my lids
Allow me to witness the ways the sunrays hide
With their beams of marble white, a heaven so excited.
This day reminds of silken skin, the fabric of the summer side
Forests abloom with angel wings, bathing in the sun
The rain escorts the season’s mistress clad in fallen leaves
To present the summer’s dance into autumn’s release.
- USE A VARITY OF NOUNS, VERBS AND ADJECTIVES
This is how you’ll add variety and flavor to your poetry (especially when combined with a distinct meter). Use them scarcely, as verbosity may overthrow the overall feel of your writing. Usually it’s best to keep these words to a 2-syllable minimum to produce the desirable meter. The first and second lines both use the same meter; the words that hold particular value are “know, day, kiss, leaves, lids, allow, witness, ways, sunrays, hide”. They provide the framework for the setting created in the piece. Couple that framework with the image of a bouncing ball as you read the poem out loud. Remember that, in iambic meter, it’s always the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth words that have emphasis.
- COMPARE YOUR RHYTHMS TO THE MASTERS
It’s good to have an idea of what you’d like your poetry to be; to guide yourself with a goal as you write. A good way to start out with is by picking from one of your favorite poets, then do as they do in their poetry. More importantly, though, is that you must take your strengths to develop a style of your own. If you feel that you lack any apparent strengths for now, look into what you like about the masters and write to be more like them. A big part of writing is molding it into something that’s distinctly yours, and the best way to do that is by *stealing*! To clarify, this is not plagiarism; it’s learning the methods other writers use to enhance your own.
Once you’ve read enough, you should be able to look at a poem written by one of your favorites and recognize it, even if it’s one you haven’t read by them yet.
She is temptation; her reflection sits upon
The dew that slides upon the summer leaves
And still sits, even as the seasons change; the
Snow melts around her; and the waters thieve,
Again, the image that tempts me so; I look up
To see that it was the face of nature that within
My spirit sewed the seeds of inspiration.
- FIND A STYLE OF YOUR OWN
The above poem has a softer tone of voice. An example of what I call broken poetry, it uses run-on sentences and enjambment. There’s no rhyme, no real meter, as in free verse, but I call it broken poetry because it’s a style I developed; one I was always comfortable with. “Broken poetry” combines internal rhymes and inconsistent meter to create suspense.
There is that mirage; built by sun and pine
When the sand catches the rays to shine
Upon m’lady; that image impalpable, that
Invites all nature to touch upon her daisies;
She holds herself too still, suggesting she
Belong to a world not mine; where the
Senses fail to reach, to reason or define.
I leave you with this – the hardest part of writing a poem is not starting it, it’s finding that catapult that will guide you through the writing process. Nature inspires me often and I typically go to Google images to find something I’ve never seen before. Once you’ve found your image, find a way to connect that to your message.
The rest is up to your imagination.