A Poetry Lesson

No, it’s not really a poetry lesson. This is my last poetry post for April, so I thought I’d share a poem I wrote using the exercise Jeri Walker posted, 15-Sentence Portrait Poem. Wendy Bishop introduced this exercise to Jeri, and now I am copying the guidelines to share with you. Below are the guidelines regarding the 15-Sentence Portrait Poem.

For a title, choose words for an emotion or a color that represents an important person in your life. You will not mention this person’s name in the writing. I am going to use Adoration. The adoration isn’t necessarily about the person having it, but about how others had the adoration for her.

1. For the first-line starter, choose one of the following: You stand there… / No one is here… / In this (memory, photograph, dream, etc.), you are… / I think sometimes… / The face is… / We had been… / Now complete this sentence.

I think sometimes of how your life might have been if death did not come that day.

2. Write a sentence with a color in it.

Specks of yellow in your green eyes,

3. Write a sentence with a part of the body in it.

dark-haired and olive skinned,

4. Write a sentence with a simile (a comparison using like or as).

exotic like a Bird of Paradise.

5. Write a sentence of over 15 words.

We were two of a kind, opposites in every way,
but connected by genes—imagination.

6. Write a sentence under eight words.

You and I, pretenders of different lives.

7. Write a sentence with a piece of clothing in it.

With boas and scarves, we walked around like princesses.

8. Write a sentence with a wish in it.

I wish death had lost its way, or that you had beaten the odds.

9. Write a sentence with an animal in it.

Maybe we would have had our apartment full of dogs.

10. Write a sentence in which three or more words alliterate; that is they begin with the same initial consonant, as in “Suzie sells seashells by the seashore.”

Or days filled, singing sappy songs of love.

11. Write a sentence with two commas.

Everyone you met, no matter how briefly, said nothing but kind words about you.

12. Write a sentence with a smell and a color in it.

And I remember your favorite color—yellow—that went with your mellow nature.

13. Write another sentence with a simile.

But some memories have faded like the pages in a book.

14. Write a sentence with four words or less in it.

So long ago.

15. Write a sentence to end this portrait that uses the word or words you chose for a title.

Yet my adoration for you is everlasting.

One of the commenters on Jeri’s blog mentioned that this would be a great memorial celebration. My poem is a memorial celebration. Since I wrote it yesterday, it probably could use some tweaking.

Adoration

I think sometimes of how your life might have been if death did not come that day.
Specks of yellow in your green eyes,
dark-haired and olive skinned,
exotic like a Bird of Paradise.
We were two of a kind, opposites in every way,
but connected by genes—imagination.
You and I, pretenders of different lives.
With boas and scarves, we walked around like princesses.
I wish death had lost its way, or you had beaten the odds.
Maybe we would have had our apartment full of dogs.
Or days filled, singing sappy songs of love.
Everyone you met, no matter how briefly,
had nothing but kind words to say about you.
And I remember your favorite color—yellow—
that went well with your mellow nature.
But some memories have faded like the pages in a book.
So long ago.
Yet my adoration for you is everlasting.

1-years oldAnn

I hope you enjoyed my April poetry posts. As uncomfortable as poetry may feel to some people, it’s just as wonderful to be able to express feelings. It’s therapeutic, so go on and give it a try.

Have you ever written a 15-Sentence Portrait Poem?

April and Poetry,
Baer Necessities

5 thoughts on “A Poetry Lesson”

  1. I really like how you presented this exercise with your line with the numbered instruction and then by putting the entire poem at the end of the post. You’ve written a beautiful memorial poem to your mother 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jeri. I’m a visual person, so I thought it would be easy for others to see the guidelines and right under it, what I came up with.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my memorial, but I guess I didn’t do such a good job. This memorial is about my cousin, Ann Renee. She died a month after turning 19-years old, and I was three months shy of 19. The picture on the left is of me and my cousin. She’s pushing the stroller and I’m on the right. The picture on the right is of Ann a few years before she passed.

  2. The poem itself is amazing, but I love seeing the full exercise and how you developed everything. Very cool stuff, and way beyond my abilities. Especially the end result. I have to admit that poem tugs just a bit of a tear out of the corner of my eye. 🙂

    1. Thanks much, ABFTS. I do need that visual to see how it comes along. I noticed I messed up a few instructions, so I’ll have to fix it later. 😀

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