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!
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:
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
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
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!