Here is a poetry exercise. Give it a try. It will challenge you to use proper rhyme, as well as to use vivid, sensory word choices. All you have to do is answer each line’s question in the following poem. Here’s the catch: You will have to end each of your fourteen lines that answer the questions with words that are loyal to the sonnet form. So, your final poem will need to have the following rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. There are no right or wrong answers, of course. Use your imagination, the wilder the better. Concentrate on using concrete details, specific nouns, vivid verbs and figures of speech. And see if you can also create a unified effect, if possible, and not just a random stringing together of unrelated lines.
The Quiz of Life (a sonnet)
Where does the bird fly in haste?
And why are the flowers screaming?
How does a rainbow taste?
What is the butterfly dreaming?
Where do gnarled trees dance with the moon?
And why is love a lean blade of grass?
How can a cemetery cry in June?
What is learned from a looking glass?
Where do nightcrawlers parade?
Why does the blue house pine for the past?
How can you answer the song of a mermaid?
What spoke the river running long and fast?
And for whom hoots the owl?
And at whom do the dark clouds growl?
So, for instance, I might start my poem with:
A yellow finch swoops to gobble a fly
as buttercups hoot at the sight,
and in the sky a rainbow’s berry pie
distracts the butterfly from thinking it is a kite.
And so on….
If you do try this and write a poem, please send it to me. I will happily display it in a future column. Be
brave. Have fun. Give it a shot!
Address poem submissions and correspondence to: email@example.com or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).