Writing Prompt #2
One of the many joys of being in a poetry group is sharing and exploring different ways of writing poems. Last October, James Kershner, leader of a Buddhist Sangha on Cape Cod and co-founder of the Steeple Street Poets, led us on a haiku walk. Our group meets at the Mashpee Public Library near Christ the King Church with its lofty steeple, thus our name and the street the library is on (Steeple St.)
Before we went outside, James asked us to walk in silence. Our group of about ten poets spent a quiet ten or fifteen minutes walking in the park area opposite the library. On our return, we composed our haiku in silence. I wrote: “Hearse pulled up to curb/white church steeple overhead/our silence a prayer.” The traditional haiku is three lines with five/seven/five syllables. In more contemporary poetry, haiku is often written in anywhere from eight to thirteen syllables, usually with a nature theme.
Next, James had us try an experiment. We would do some free writing, then meditate for a few minutes, and write some more. One short piece I wrote prior to meditating: “Vintage buttons in a jar/fireflies of the past winking.” As we quieted our minds and our breathing, James asked us to imagine the air we breathe in connecting us. After I opened my eyes, I tried writing again. I think this later writing was more expressive: “Time flows backwards/nothing here but my heart.wanting waiting” and “Sign language/gestures of the heart/grown too big/explosion.”
The next part of this session involved each of us writing an alphabet poem. Some of the resulting poems were creative and intellectual. I chose to write about animals: “Adder’s sting/bee’s breath/cats slinking…” and ending with “venus fly trap/wasp worries/x-tra kibbles/young hatchlings/zookeeper’s dream.” It was fun to use my imagination in this poem.
Finally, James had us try a list poem. I chose to write about things I’ve discovered: “Even in an ordered life/the unexpected can happen” (philosophical) or “Dust bunnies = broken vacuum” (humorous). All in all, it was a wonderful session and I came away with new ideas for creating poems. In future posts, I will offer more writing prompts and would also love to hear from readers of this blog. If you have a writing prompt that works to unleash your creative voice, please send it firstname.lastname@example.org.