Poems of Love and Relationships
Why Write Poetry?
For centuries poetry has been the outlet for the words of passion dwelling and deeply felt within the hearts and souls of countless humans. Inspired by feelings so powerful they called out to be penned and expressed through poetic art. Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Shakespeare and hundreds of other poets have inspired countless average humans like you and I to emulate their efforts and paint our own overwhelming emotions onto blank pages that seem to beg for words. As Robin Williams said in the amazing film "Dead Poets Society" when quoting John Keating:
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" 1
So, think about that for a moment, "What will your verse be?" What thoughts, feelings, insights, common experiences are living in your heart and mind that you could share with others? We are all poets of one kind or another. Whether in our speech or our writings, at some point each of us has found the perfect words to wow another; to sway feelings; to evoke emotion; simply by expressing ourselves. Now, all you have to do is write it down. There are so many options for writing down your poem that there is sure to be one you can connect with. A very helpful place to see different types of poetry can be found at http://www.poeticterminology.net/ where definitions and styles are explained in a clear and easy to understand way.
There is one thing you really should do, before trying to put your thoughts on paper in a poetic way - read poetry. Reading poetry is the only way to truly understand the power of using well placed, well chosen words to paint a picture of ones feelings or to convey the beauty or sadness of a moment in time, a location, an event. The poets I am most strongly drawn to when considering a first foray into the poetic are Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Edgar Alan Poe, or William Shakespeare. If humor appeals more to your inner self, then Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein are "must reads" for you. All of these poets have works available on line so please, before you dive into the poetry pool, take a look at the way other poets do the backstroke. Imitation really is the highest form of flattery.
Footnote 1: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097165/quotes?item=qt0437444)
A Few Types Of Poetry To Try
Starting out is the hardest part - try a few different styles and see which fits you best on a given day. If this is your first try at writing a poem, consider trying different styles, again visiting poeticterminology.net or wikipedia.com to further research poetic styles may help but I would suggest trying one of these styles:
- Prose - ordinary speech written down in lines.
- Free Verse - this may rhyme but doesn't have to do so. The verses are the same number of lines each and have a "rhythm" so to speak. This is similar to writing a song. Each verse should feel similar in its pacing to the one before. The free spirited type, who likes to use a thesaurus should feel comfortable in this style.
- Haiku - a set of words written in 3 lines of counted syllables arranged by placing words measuring 5 syllables on the first line, 7 syllables on the second, and 5 syllables on the third. They don't generally rhyme but instead use descriptive words which seem to juxtapose against one another. Unique and memorable Imagery is the key here. People who love art and simplicity tend to gravitate here.
- Cinquain - this is a fun one! Each line has a set number of syllables and specific wording. The first line is two syllables and has one word which should be the subject of the poem (probably a noun); the second line is four syllables but just two words that tell us about your first line (adjectives); the third line is six syllables and uses three words that convey something about the subject and should end in '"ing"; the fourth line is eight syllables and a phrase of four words that tells us something about the subject in the first line; the fifth and last line is a two syllable word that relates to and is somehow similar to the subject of the poem. If you like math and rules, this one will really appeal to you.
- Rhyming Verse - this style is similar to free verse however there will be a regular pattern to the rhyming of the words at the end of each sentence of each stanza (a stanza is the set of lines in a poem often thought of as a poetic paragraph). The rhyming words could be at the end of each line, or every two lines, every other line, or every three lines and so on. Each stanza or poetic paragraph may use different rhyming sounds so be creative. Your thesaurus is your best friend here. If you like to create pictures and song like feelings with your words and are the artsy type, this one may be for you.
- Limerick - a silly or sometimes nonsensical poem which is a tad bawdy or to be a little less appropriate, perhaps even naughty. Edward Lear is a well known limerick writer who helped popularize this style. Rudyard Kipling and James Joyce also liked to pen limericks. The best known limericks are nursery rhymes like "Hickory, Dickory, Dock". You and I were most likely raised on this poetic style. They can contain nonsense and they rhyme in an obvious way. They typically are short, suggested length is five lines, however there are longer limericks as well. If you have a silly side, a sense of whimsy and humor, this style should be in your wheel-house.
- Acrostic Poem - this is fun but not as easy as it sounds. A word, name, feeling, etc., is written vertically down a page with one letter being the first letter of each line. The poem is penned using the letters as you've written them down the page as the first letter of each first word. I am putting a poem of each style below and the best way to understand this style is to see one. Are you a crossword puzzle fan? Do you like Acrostics in the newspaper? Then this is your place to shine.
There are dozens of poetic styles that are not covered here and I encourage you to listen to, read, and research other styles while you get your feet wet with one of the styles above. Examples of these poetic styles are found below in this article.
To read a variety of works by Karen Quinn visit the blog youtalktoofast on wordpress.
Horseshoe Bay - Bermuda
"Love is a Shifting Tide"
All at once filled with a gentle caress
The foamy softness washing over me.
Laced with the salt stinging, burning
Followed by the cool soothing breeze.
Love is a shifting tide,
Pulling us as grains of sand
First tumbling then resisting, still.
Constant motion, shifting, changing.
Love is a shifting tide,
Gentle and rough, soft yet unyielding.
As night falls the moon takes over
Hammering the shore, crushing, relentless.
Love is a shifting tide,
So different now as day break dawns.
Coming so quietly now with brooding calm
Leaving me to wait, watching in hopeful wonder
Until the certainty of the tide shifts again…
(c) Karen Quinn 1999
Some Things to Notice
When looking at a poem look at the word choices and the way they can be used to help evoke feeling or paint a picture with words. In this piece look for:
- The senses - we can easily identify with the way our 5 senses make us feel, and using them in poetry is a good way to evoke feelings.
- The emotions - everyone has feelings and they can be strong, so try using words which have enough strength to convey the depth of the feeling in the poem.
- The setting - help your reader actually put themselves in the place you were standing by painting that picture for them with your words. Describe, describe, describe. By infusing color and scenery into your poem, one can help a reader lose themselves in the piece.
Such Is Love
Burst of perfume and brightness sudden as summer lightning.
Shower of warmth on swirl of wind caressing yet almost frightening.
All at once intense and caring assaulting the senses; such is love.
Soaring hawk upon current of heated air gloriously upward rising.
Gently falling snow on silent landscape at sunset beautifully surprising.
Thrilling yet confusing filling the mind with questions; such is love.
Crashing wave of ocean at high tide bubbling and ever swelling.
Hoof fall of wild horse in stride upon desert sand so compelling.
As the beating of hearts so deeply entwined together; such is love.
Blazing hot flame scorches all but the one it brings gentle warming.
Prayer offered silently whispered upwards of faith newly forming.
Lifting joyfully and blindly toward forever two souls; such is love.
Karen Quinn 2013
Wrapped in silk and warmth
Embracing deeply my spirit
Your love fills my heart.
(c) Karen Quinn 2014
What Do You Think
Which Style of Poem Did You Prefer?
It is to feel the weight of your soul
crushing down upon your heart
each time he looks your way.
It is to feel the edges of heaven
warmed in its glowing peaceful light
each time his smile shines upon you.
It is to reach the peak of your being
holding fast to life’s very limit
each time he speaks your name.
It is to know the depth of trust
leading you through the dark
each time his hand holds yours.
And it is to see your wild dreams
coming to pass all at once
each time he says, “I Love You”.
This… my dear one… you make me feel.
Karen Quinn 2013
F inding another spirit whose hand when placed in your own fits perfectly
O nly happens in the lives of the lucky hopeful seekers hoping to find
R oaming the world seeking that rumored missing piece of their own heart
E arnest in their belief that once found they will be entwined in completeness
V irtually every emotion, sense, feeling made somehow better in their union
E ach part of love's perfectly crafted pair healing and strengthening the other
R eveling in the knowledge that this thing called true love is meant to be forever.
(c) Karen Quinn 2014
Giving, Trusting, Sharing
Self Sacrificed for Another
(c) Karen Quinn 2014
About the Author
Karen A Quinn is a published poet and photographer. Please consider her book Gleaming Beneath the Rust and Weeds - available on Amazon in both paperback or Kindle.
© 2014 Karen Quinn