Write Your Heart - by Lynn Morgan Rosser
Poetry Exercise No. 1: Sensory Words I
You will need: your journal, several objects to observe and describe
- Find a stone, a leaf or flower, a piece of wood, or a spoon - anything will do as long as it can be held in your hand
- Each object will have it's own page in your journal - write what the objects are at the top of each page.
- Using only your sense of touch, describe the objects one by one on the appropriate page.
- Continue to the kinesthetic sense of your hand/arm feels while holding the object (i.e. my hand curves around the smooth surface and the weight of it bends my hand at the wrist, which I feel in my forearm. I bounce the rock in my hand - my wrist and arm flex, my hand opens and curves, I catch it easily, fingers grabbing it tightly the last time).
- Describe the objects visually.
- Pick out words you have written, such as smooth or rough, and make a game out of writing as many words as you can that mean the same thing (synonymous) or that are similar enough to work in describing your object. (i.e. smooth stone = [or is similar to] softened, refined, worn down, curved, graceful, rounded, scoured etc.; rough stone = [or is similar to] grainy, angled, jagged, pitted, crude, etc.)
- Circle the words you like the most, that you connect to.
- Underline words that have another meaning than the intended definition (i.e. refined = elegant, upper-crust, mannered, of high quality, purified,' crude = rude, unrefined, low class, low brow, brutish, trashy, etc.)
Now time to make your objects come to life in a short poem!
- Choose one of your objects that you had the most depth and connection to in your descriptions, that you were able to define easily.
- Now for the tricky part. Put yourself into the equation - answer the questions, WHY did you connect to that object? What experiences do you have that relate to that object? Did you skip smooth stones as a child? Does a smooth stone remind you of your character becoming 'polished' slowly over time? Does the feel of it in your hand remind you of something?
- When you have your answers, take short, brief statements, using your descriptive words, using your experience and connection to the object and your life, and write them down.
Here is what came out for me by doing this exercise. I chose the smooth stone.
Weighted in my hand
Curved like my hips
Arched like my spine
Broken eons ago
(Before hips and spines
Rough, raw, crude
In roiling currents
Sanded and scoured
It traveled slowly to my feet
I picked it up
Gave it the peace
Of my jacket pocket
Carried it home
My soul worn and thinned
From the abrasions of life
From the slow polish
I felt sympathy
For its journey
In the process
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