What a Difference a Line Makes

Are you a poetry reader? I am. And, when I read it, I often find a feeling of peace and calm.  Poetry takes us places –into our feelings, our thoughts, our memories. Into our joys, our sorrows. Into other cultures and ways of life. A piece of poetry talks to each of us differently.

Poetry gives me a physical and mental reaction. A feeling may surge through my body in a rush or  creep in slowly. I may smile or feel sad or cry or be quiet. My mind brings it to my life, to my heart, and extends it into the human experience, the universal.

Some people don’t care for poetry, find it enigmatic. I like what T.S. Eliot said about this: A poem is something that can be appreciated and enjoyed before it is understood.

What do you experience from a piece of poetry? Poets through the years have weighed in on this:

Poet Emily Dickinson said: If I read a piece of poetry, and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.

Poet Dylan Thomas said: If you want a definition of poetry, say, ‘Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing,’ and let it go at that.”

The poet can take the reader to an inner physical and mental place within a few lines with carefully chosen words, placed in the right sequence. I enjoyed writing this piece during a poetry workshop a few years ago.

images-4

 

 

 

 

 

White Paper

blue dollops and green
spread slick on pristine white

fingers slide across the sleekness
swish backward, wiggle forward
ovals, circles, a swirling whirlpool

ocean waves meld to rugged peaks
distort to a monster’s face
evolve to a giant rayed sun

a smile brightens into giggles
finger paint
on a little boy’s hands, cheek

Think about how the poem makes you feel. What it makes you remember or experience. What images it creates. Now let’s take that same poem to a different place by adding just a line or two.

images-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Paper

blue dollops and green
spread slick on pristine white

fingers slide across the sleekness
swish backward, wiggle forward
ovals, circles, a swirling whirlpool

ocean waves become rugged peaks
distort to a monster’s face
evolve to a giant rayed sun

a smile brightens into giggles
finger paint
on a little boy’s hands, cheek

Oh, you’re making a mess
the mother says

Did your feeling change? What about the image in your mind? Oh, what lines can do.

Anthologist Ruth Gordon says: Poetry is the onion of readers. It can cause tears, be peeled layer by layer, or be replanted to grow into new ideas. And it adds taste, zest, and a sharp but sweet quality that enriches our lives.

Which poem do you like better? If at all. In a collection, should I use the first version or the second version?

Advertisements

About cmwriter

I'm a writer ... of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I blog about writing, short stories, poetry, books, plays, and thoughts on life. Love reading and travel and being with friends!
This entry was posted in Creativity, Finding Ideas: The Creative Process, Inspiration, Looking for Inspiration, poetry, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What a Difference a Line Makes

  1. orangepondconnects says:

    Beautiful poems 🙂 I love the little twist that the second one took.

  2. SusanB says:

    I don’t read enough poetry because I tend to avoid it. I like your picture Carol.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s