OBJECTIVE: to observe the environment from a creative perspective and create simple poems as a result.
TIME: 1 hour
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: pencils and paper for each person, a bag.
A poem 'begins in delight and ends in wisdom'.
"Imagine what you are writing about. See it and live it. Do not think it up laboriously, as if you were working out mental arithmetic. Just look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself into it. When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic."
Poetry is one of the most accessible and adaptable activities. It requires no equipment, no experience or expertise beyond the ability to speak and/or write. Poetic Moments is a selection of simple ideas for using poetry to open your eyes to the world around you, and give you something meaningful and memorable to take away and treasure.
Ideas for Poetry
Choose a plant and sit beside it for a while. What does it smell like? What colour is it? Is it bright or dark, warm or cool? Are the leaves smooth, furry or rough? Does it have petals? Are they thick and velvety, or thin, almost see-through? Is the plant tall or tiny? Is it stiff or waving in the wind? Is it alone or with others? Invent a name for your plant, draw it and then write a word portrait of it around your sketch.
Talking leaves - in the woodland
Cut out paper leaves and punch a hole in one end of each. Take a handful into the woodland, sit beside a tree and listen. What sounds is the tree making? Write one word on each leaf, then tie all the leaves on a branch. As the leaves flutter in the breeze, say the words aloud. Just listen to their sound. Record people as they speak and use this soundscape back in the classroom.
Choose a tree and draw an outline of a leaf or of the whole tree. Fill the shape you have drawn with words that describe the tree.
Try to describe a plant/ tree/ seashell to someone who may not have seen it before. Use natural language, and be as precise as you can. Use as many senses as you can - sight, touch, small, sounds (but probably safer not to use taste!). Take your description and play with the words, make them prettier or sharper. Use them as a jumping-off point for a story, an invention, an act of the imagination.
Place a familiar object in a bag and feel it and describe it without seeing it - can the others guess what it is?
Think about what natural objects mean to you and to us all. How do we use them? How do other creatures use them? What would happen if they weren't there? Why do we give them the names we do? Can you think of a better name? Why are some plants associated with specific feelings, emotions, ideals? Why is love like a red, red rose? And why does the thistle stand for Scotland? What's so funny about sneezewort? Does anyone sell seashells on the seashore?
Write the name of a sea or seashore creature in capital letters down the side of a page, then use each letter to start a line of a poem about it.
Crawling sideways, speed on legs
Growing a Poem
Draw a big circle on the page or in sand and write clockwise around the edge. Quickly write the first word that comes to mind when you think of:
a flower a tree a bird an insect
water the weather
a colour a texture a season
a feeling a taste
Then join pairs of words across the circle - it doesn't matter which two you join, because everything is related in some way! Next, write a sentence that links the two words showing what that relationship could be. If new words that you like better spring to mind, use them! Then take the six lines you have written, and play around with them until they are in an order that you like, changing them any way you want.