I'll reach to the stars
I'll reach to the moon
I'll reach through the galaxy far
To find you, my dearest,
My darling, my love,
And be in the place where you are.
Story Behind A Poem
When the first breeze of spring
dances through open car windows
and brushes the hair off my neck
or tickles my arm...
that is poetry.
What makes a poem, a poem? I'm sure there are many poets, professors, and professionals who could base entire books and lectures on that question. However, I'm not quite that ambitious. So, when the youngest daughter of a family of visitors asked me to teach her to write poetry... I took a slightly less traditional route.
I told her that emotion sparks poetry, and that's what makes it good. I mentioned meter and touched on tools like alliteration and metaphor, but I skimmed over meter, stanzas, and sonnets to get down to what I believe is the heart of a poem: feeling.
You can write a poem about an event. You can write a poem about a person. You can write a poem about an item. You can write any sort of poem about anything at all. But what makes a poem poetry? What draws in the reader and pulls out a sigh? What divides the memorable from the mediocre?
Those poets and professors and professionals may not agree with me, a little new nobody-poet with one little personal opinion. But if you ask me, a poem stands on a foundation of feelings.
What do you feel about that event? Who is it that pushes you to love or anger? What emotional memories does an object carry for you? A poem about a girl the speaker once loved and her memory carried in a chipped teacup will hold much more significance than a piece scribbled down about the colors of the owls on my Tervis mug.
This is what I tried to express to the girl, my little protege. But, for all my practice in communicating, I didn't express it quite right. I needed to give her an example. In the middle of the backseat of a minivan, sandwiched between my student and her sister, windows down to allay the heat beginning to rise in our Georgia spring, I reached down to pull my own little notebook from the chaos that was my purse. And, tapping into my own emotions and feelings and whatever I happened to notice in that moment, I scribbled down the first lines of what later became "how to write a poem."
Her voice was clunky and her meter stilted and her rhyme often forced, but my student's very first works held more potential than even I expected. For all the classes and courses and studies in the world, I believe the only thing that will ever make a poem truly last is a fully-rooted basis in emotion. Feelings are as fleeting as moments in time. Our poems are our photographs, capturing that fleeting feeling before it's gone.
About The Author
Born in Panama, Emily Rachelle has traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. Currently, she attends Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, pursuing a degree in English Literature. When she's not curled up with a book or her computer, Emily loves to ride around campus on her hideously hot pink bike. Of course, if it's raining (as it often is in Indiana), Netflix-binging and amateur art are always options. Rain In December is her first published collection of poetry, and you can buy her Christian novella Sixteen on Amazon.
Follow Emily online:
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I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,