Lesson 2 – Assignment and Exercises

Lesson 2 Assignment:  I want you to look at a newspaper and choose an account of some incident that recently occurred.  Write a poem in the first person as if you witnessed the entire account.  Structure your poem in six stanzas with five lines in each stanza.  (I’m trying to work on my syllable recognition.  I did the following meter pattern:  5 lines progressing, 2 syl’s, 4 syl’s, 6 syl’s, 8 syl’s then back to 2 syl’s.


The Love Path
Love path

Free of tumult.

Majestically Green, it

Slowly darkens my tender soul.

Youth flees.




From dangers is severed,

Cleaved from noble humanity

Forged foul.



Huddled beneath

Bird bullets, are cajoled

From safety to insanity.

Shot down.


I am

Alone in fear.

Sisters and brothers bound

Upon separate, terror beach.

We weep.


This chance

For brief freedom

Swims past.  I clutch the raft,

Ignoring the guiltless wreckage.

I drift.



Utoeye lambs

Left on grisly scarred shores.

Their memory not massacred

With me.



Exercise 1:  You are going to add on to the poem “That Night They Were Just Jim and Eileen.” Add at least five more couplets to the poem, and continue writing in the first person. See how much of yourself you can bring to the poem by lying your way to the truth. It doesn’t matter that these aren’t your parents. You are breathing your own unique life into the world of this poem. All of those details you wrote down will help you make the poem your own unique creation.  (My additions to poem are in italic.)

That Night They Were Just Jim and Eileen

I peeked around my bedroom door
That night the folks got back from Millie’s.

Bit my lip when I saw Dad
Dancing with a face painted on his belly.

Mama laughed so hard she sank to her knees
‘cause Dad got his big ol’ belly jigglin’.

Dad bent over, scooped her up,
Whispered something just for them

Mama never could seem to remember
That moment I could never forget.

When I am Mother and Mama is gone,
Will I still savor her blanketed embrace?

This moment is a whisper between us.
I long to spread it, sharing bites always.

Our alternating time lines converge,
But separate into scattered memories.

I squeeze my eyes into tight lines,
squishing the love and warmth into forever

Our giggles are real and laughter is now.
Perhaps that is the was and perpetually will be.



Exercise 2:  (Fill in the blank with the first words that come to mind.  I added what is underlined.)

·  Her pale cheeks were stained with tears as we kissed hello.

·  Hank was gone, and I still couldn’t breathe.

·  The day Susan got married I realized I was free.

·  The longer my mother cried, the tighter my heart quelled.

·  Love wasn’t supposed to hurt like a paper cut.



Exercise 3:  Find a photograph.  Write your poem in ten lines using diction and dialect, include these points:  The first line of the poem should be a question asked by your character.  The next four lines introduce a conflict.  The next four lines offer a resolution to the conflict.  For the final line, rephrase the initial question that your character asked in the first line.  (My inspired picture is from 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.  I chose picture number 4.  See link for reference:  http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/04/winners-of-the-2013-sony-world-photography-awards/100504/)

Men’s Final
Is there winnin’ outside of losin’?
Heat, seasoned sweat,
Shift lines, one gone, two ahead.
Intense, distance dash,
Bell lap, two dropped, only me.
Hell yeah, winnin’ inside the finish!