Now you try it.
Here are some challenges that should help you begin writing.
Write a description of something that interests you, something
you know very well your cat, dog, or bird. If you don't
have a pet, how about a stuffed animal? Or your running shoes,
or the picture in your room that has been there so long you
don't look at it anymore.
Now take a long look at the subject you have chosen. Think
about it. What makes it special? Does your dog have long ears
that look like old socks? Write that. Do your running shoes
light up when you run at night? Write that. What color are the
lights? Where are they on your shoes? Pay attention to little
things, the details that make your shoes or the dog or that
picture on the wall different from something else. Don't write
that your dog is "nice" or that a picture is "pretty." Instead,
write about those things that make something nice or pretty.
When you write this way, you are making a picture out of words.
This is a word picture of my cat's nose:
There is no nose I know
no nose I think
no point as pale and pink.
A rose among fur snows.
If I could choose
to be a snoot as suitable
as it that sits on Toots
I would have chose
to be that very nose.
There is a lot of rhyming in those lines. And there are lots
of words that almost rhyme and sound funny together, like nose
and know, and snoot and suitable. Rhyming
is fun to read, but a poem does not have to rhyme. Many wonderful
poems do not rhyme at all.
- Now, you have written a description of something you know well.
Try describing something new to you. Take a walk outside and find
something you have never looked at closely ? the street light,
the sky at 4:30 in the afternoon. As you write this description,
listen carefully to the sounds of the words you use, and to their
rhymes but try not to rhyme. Just concentrate on
making a picture of what you see.
"There is no
Nose" from To Ride a Butterfly, © 1991.
finished your description, put your work down for a little while.
Walk the dog or make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Now go back and read your words again. Do you still like them? Is
there something you think could be better? Try changing it. Here
are a few things to look for:
One way to see how your words sound is to read them aloud to
yourself or someone else. Do they make you see the light fading
in the sky? How do you like the way your words sound together?
Do the words you have written express a feeling? If a friend
reads your words, will he or she feel what you have felt?
Don't be afraid to change your words. Reread what you've written
several times. The better you know it, the better you will know
if it needs to be changed, or if it says what you want to say
as it is.
- If you like to draw, try illustrating one of the descriptions
you have written. Writing and drawing make a good combination,
and each one helps you to see things more sharply.
When your poem
is complete publish it online to share with other kids.