I began a 10-day experiment on October 30th. For 10 days, I am:
- Setting a timer for 15 minutes
- Writing what I can during that time
- Stopping when the time is up
- Posting what is written without any final editing
For additional context, check out the first post in this series by clicking here.
There were two peoples once
Who tried to live amongst each other
Though differed in their trade
Yet were brother, sister, and mother
One folk used their hands
To join, construct, and build
Their knowledge of wood and tree
Guided the laws they willed
The other folk sailed the sea
To gather fish and oyster
With rules of tides and currents
They formed a close-knit cloister
They shared their hard-won fruits
And the wisdom with which they grew
I’d like to finish this one later on. It was going to be a fairly straight-forward commentary on the current political climate in America, with the central observation that nothing can separate a people more distinctly than when they must decide between each other who will govern them. But whatever words and comments I could think of were awkward and cumbersome. So I decided to try a poetic analogy. Sometimes a simple idea is best communicated with analogy that gives it a body and a personality that we can observe in action.
Analogy doesn’t have to be poetic though. The reason I chose a poetic form is because it provides a sort of template that helps guide the writing process. Each stanza above is four lines long, so I know that I can communicate the supporting details of the main idea into four-line bits. The second and fourth lines of the stanzas rhyme so once I have the second line written, my word choices are conveniently narrowed. In the second stanza, for example, the second lines ends with “build”. There are plenty of words that rhyme with “build” but as this is a political commentary, the word “willed” can be used in a sentence to describe what this people group desires. From that came the phrase “Their knowledge of wood and tree guided the laws they willed”. This template way of writing makes the process much easier by providing a sort of fill-in-the-blank form of writing. Having an infinitely blank canvas on which you can use an infinite number of words or forms of expression can be intimidating and creatively debilitating. Poetry can be a guiding form to help you narrow your focus to the words, ideas, and phrases that best suit the idea you want to communicate.