Poetry Works

In last week’s blog, I mentioned how writing poetry can be helpful when you need to work through strong emotions. And that’s true. There are plenty of uses for poetry, and the cool thing is that anyone can write it!

Common Misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions about poetry, but no, you don’t have to be like Dr. Suess and write poems that always rhyme. Free verse poems (poems that follow no rules or restrictions) are fun to write as well. 

Your poems don’t always have to be deep, profound, or angsty either.

Trust me, it’s okay to write a poem because you’re happy. 

And you don’t always have to use big and fancy words to make your poems look and sound “proper”. 

Write the way you want to write, and don’t be afraid to try new things out. No one needs to know what you’re writing and trying unless you want them to.

It’s All Your Choice

I’ve included a few examples of poems I’ve written in the past in this blog so you can see what I’ve done, but it’ll be up to you to find your own style and voice.

When I write poetry, it’s usually for one of three reasons.

Reason #1 Working through emotions. 

If you read the book of Psalms in the bible, you’ll find that David was an expert at writing poems and hymns to help him work through the problems in his life—like being charged with treason despite being innocent, or being hunted down by his best friend’s father, who also happened to be the king and his father-in-law.

Maybe your experiences aren’t quite like David’s, but writing your thoughts and feelings about what’s happening in your life can help you put your own experiences in a new perspective.

Here’s a rhymed poem I wrote a few years ago when I was lonely and homesick while overseas:

Uphill Battles

Take a deep breath but don’t let it out

if I open my mouth I may scream and shout

The pressure I’m under

the lightning and thunder

I just want to get through the storm

I remember what you said

Take a walk

Clear your head

Go out in the forest

There you can find more rest

It’s all well and good till you’re lost in the wood 

when you want to be home safe and warm

I’m tired of acting like it’s no big deal

I’m all by myself and the struggle is real

Would someone please tell me there’s a way

And this will all turn out okay?

I’m lost on a road faced with forgotten dreams

If my life were a movie, I’d skip to the next scene

These questions keep me up at night

Do I give in

Or do I fight

It’s not easy to face your challenges

Walking the tightrope

Find where your balance is

I just want some peace

Is that too much to ask for?

I’ve lost all my hope

Is there a place I can get more?

I wished for adventure

I wanted to roam

But now all I want

Is to be safe at home

So how does this sad story end?

Will my heart remain broken

Or despite all odds mend?

This is my story and I’m taking each day as it comes

Forcing myself to stay and stand firm even when I’m tempted to run

I’d like my story to have a happy ending

And someday, maybe it will

For now, I’ll just keep marching onward

Fighting my battles uphill

Hope

I find it difficult to write poems that are purely negative, and while writing this poem, I realized I didn’t want it to end on a sour note. So, I put a bit of hope at the end—which also gave me hope for my own situation. 

Reason #2 To take a mental picture of a moment

When you take a picture with a camera, you can see what’s there. But when you write a description, you can feel it.

Writing poems about places I’ve been, helps me to remember—not just the sights, but the feelings, sounds, and smells that I experienced while there.

Here’s an example of a free verse poem I wrote:

A Moment in Garden

Splashes of color scattered in green

Sweet scents sweep through the air

They invade my nose

A moment of rest and peace

Fountains of water 

Surrounded by blooming bushes

Butterflies flutter by

flashing bright hues

Roses stem from sharp thorns

Softening the dangerous edge

Beneath the willow I lay

Shaded from the sun

A soft breeze brushes by

like words spoken in secret

The slender limbs of the willow sway

Dancing to a silent song

The sky above is clear and bright

blue, with not a wisp of cloud

I’ll make the most of the time I have

Waiting till winter arrives

Reason #3 Writing stories

I’ve found that overthinking is more dangerous to a writer than a lack of ideas.

If you only ever think about your ideas but never write, then nothing will ever get finished.

But sometimes you just aren’t ready to write an entire story about a character you just created, or you’re having trouble identifying themes in your story.

This is another reason why I adore poetry. Similar to writing a random scene to get to know a character better, poetry can help you capture the thoughts, appearance, backstory, and feel of a character without worrying about getting everything right the first time.

Here’s a rhymed poem I made for a friend of mine, based on one of her characters:

The Fae’s game

A Fae on a mission

A boy who was lost

A fugitive who knew 

He couldn’t afford to be caught

The darkening emblem

A reminder of what’s to come

Secrets and enemies are many

Trust and loyalty are none

Taught a hard lesson from the time he was small

Nothing is free

There’s a price for it all

A clear facade of the confidence he lacked

The one thing on his mind:

avoid getting tracked

Longing for freedom

Wanting to be done

Ready to do whatever it takes

Change the outcome

Bury his mistakes

As an expert thief

He played his part

He wanted her trust

But instead stole her heart

He made a vow

But deception was present

At first he didn’t care

But in the end

He’d resent it

Be careful what you wish for

It may not end how you would expect

You can play the Fae’s game

But you can’t win his respect

Whatever outcome you desire

Take heed

Take care

You will always get what you wished for

But a Fae will never play fair

Name your price

The game has begun

A wish has been made

But in the end

Who has won?

A mission to kill

A wish to escape

Is there hope for this fairy

Or will death be his fate?

Themes Of Poems & Stories

In this poem, I tried to make it clear that the Fae had a lot of internal struggles. These struggles are what would show up as the themes in his story. 

Like the fact that he struggles with lying to save his own skin vs sacrificing his own needs for someone else. 

Or the “be careful what you wish for” theme that often accompanies stories when wishes are made and granted.

These types of themes can be explored in poetry before they ever make it into your novel.

Everyday Uses For Poetry

So, this is how I use poetry in my everyday life!

When I first started I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing—and I still don’t. But that’s okay!

You don’t need to know what you’re doing to like what you’re doing.

Before You Go…

Do you write poetry? If so, what sort of poetry do you write? Or what would you like to try writing?

Let me know in the comments below!