“I will show you fear in a handful of dust” – late night poetry

I learned a wonderful way of writing poetry the other day, from the founder of First Story, a really wonderful organisation that runs creative writing workshops in UK schools. I’ll try to write about them at more length at another point, but I just wanted to have a place to put my first attempt at using the technique up here.

The basic premise is making random combinations of abstract and concrete nouns, and using their definitions to make a poem. I cheated a tiny bit by not always using the dictionary definitions – but that’s kind of the point. I used an online randomiser to generate the combinations and these are the two poems I came up with.

1. Pain is the organ that keeps you alive,

A daffodil is a strongly felt dislike,

Bravery is a device that keeps you dry in rainstorms,

A candle is the grief of losing someone you love,

Happiness is a clear glass container that holds the cure for dry throats,

A gun is the belief that that person over there is dangerous,

Anger is a piece of cut metal that opens a lock,

Betrayal is a  colour that exists between red and blue.

2. A window is the state of being alone,

Faith is a reflective surface,

A diamond is the quality of being considerate,

Loyalty is a material pulped from trees,

Ice cream is a feeling of exultant contentment,

Love is an ornament worn around the neck,

Coffee is placing your confidence in someone.

It is a LOT of fun to write and makes you realise more than ever the potential magic of words. I can’t wait to teach it to my kids this September!

Concrete nouns used (in no particular order): gun, window, heart, candle, bottle, necklace, coffee, mirror, daffodil, umbrella, paper, key, ice cream, purple, diamond

Abstract nouns used (in no particular order): love, pain, loneliness, happiness, trust, bravery, fear, hatred, faith, anger, joy, loss, loyalty, kindness, betrayal.

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