Skip to main content

The Objects of Poetry


We can all write poems about objects, particularly those we value. You may be in possession of an object you cherish quite deeply, or simply find appealing. You may have an object given to you by a loved one. You may have an object which arouses curiosity or mystery. Something we call a curio. On occasions I have found myself writing odes to seemingly everyday objects.

Let's Consider Objects

Find an object of interest and place it in front of you. Now look at it closely. Bring all your senses into play and begin to focus on all its details. Check out your selected object from different distances and angles- close up with a magnifying glass, or from a distance.


Try speaking to your object. Ask it questions. I suggest you do this when you are on your own, otherwise people may begin to think you are a bit loopy. But do it. Think about what your object might say if it had a voice. What would it tell you?


Now, start gathering possible words:

Where did you find or receive the object?

Where did it come from?
Describe in a few words the object's origin (place, setting)
Describe the objects size, shape, colour. weight, texture, smell
How is the object like you or someone you know well?
What do you and the object have in common?
What does the object mean to you?
What does it symbolize?
Why did you choose this particular object
Name the object

Read back over your notes. This is the word gathering that will launch your poem. You are ready to write.


To help you write I have included some poetic examples from poets writing about objects as part of the Red Room Poetry Object Competition. *See Below.


Red Room Poetry Object is a poetry writing competition inviting young writers and their teachers to submit poems about special and curious objects. It is open to students in Years 3-10 and teachers from Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, Poetry Object linked over 172 school communities and published over 3000 student and teacher poems. You might like to become a participating poet.


http://redroomcompany.org/projects/poetry-object/



My Old Bat
By Chloe, Year 5, Abbotsleigh Junior School, 

Bash, Boom, Bang

Ball bursts in to flight
Saw a glimpse
A glimpse of my grandpa

Pure wooden base

Tall skinny grip
Black string hangs
Scratches and dents

It has seen it self-evolve

Into something great
The memories it shares with me 
Like it did when it was with me 

My vibrant majestic bat 

As strong as a herd of horses galloping down the mountain
After our win, my bat says 'good job'
Saw a glimpse 
A glimpse of my grandpa 


My Violin
By Henry,Year 3, Oatley West Public School.

My owner -

I'm a violin 
I like to play music
I like to play other things
I have a bow 
It helps me play
He likes to play music too
I love him
My violin is sharp 
It makes music 
It makes me happy
It makes me feel good 
It is made from horse's tail
The bow is made from wood it has edge
It makes me want to play and I play this..
DBCDGABCDCBABCDEGDCB
That just is a part 
It makes me happy 
I like my violin


I also like this poem by Miranda Lello, a Canberra based poet.

My one constant travel companion

You sit in the cupboard now, but I have carried you so far –

new models have more features, but none of the memories.

On our first trip your green was as rich as the New Zealand hills,
your purple bright as flowers. I carried you on mountain paths,
and fell backwards into a river onto you, waving my limbs like a tortoise. 

From our second trip still remains the fading sticker from Vietnamese customs,
that never peeled off, but instead became a part of your fabric, 
an incomprehensible tattoo, remembering hot days and drinking coconuts.

Our third trip was long – I carried you, and you were my pillow, my bed, 
in a train station in Austria, an airport in England, a boat carrying me
from Ireland on a windy day, you catching my tears as we moved away.

By our fourth trip you were faded, and bore with good will long rides
on the tops of old Canadian school buses in Guatemala, absorbing the jungle mud,
the dust of the deserts of Mexico, Texas – you were constant and uncomplaining.

On our fifth trip your strap broke in Corsica, and I fixed you with a white bandage – 
it held for five years, more brown than white, until I repaired you for our sixth trip,
and carried you north of the Arctic circle, to defend me from polar bears and ice.

You sit in the cupboard now, but your green and purple fabric holds the dust 
of all our journeys, the sweat off my back from twenty years wandering – 

I have carried you so far my sturdy canvas backpack, but I’ve never washed you.

Miranda Lello



The final poem 'Leathercase' is about my boyhood obsession with a cricket ball and the dream all young bowlers hold to  strongly. the dream of delivering an unplayable ball to the batter. It comes from my latest poetry book, 'I Bet There's No Broccoli On The Moon.'



Leathercase

It revolves in the small boy’s fingers

The ball spins in the air
Before he catches it yet again
A cricket ball
A four piece leathercase
Not a corky
Not a compound ball
Certainly not plastic
This ball is the real deal

Time and again 

He watches it spin through the air
Cherry red leather
White raised seam

He sits on the end of his bed

With dreams of bowling the perfect delivery
Unplayable
It spins from his fingers
Floating above the batsmen’s eyes
Dipping suddenly
Before hitting the pitch with hiss and grip
Eluding the probing bat
Clipping the bails
Breaking the wicket
The perfect delivery
Is the boy’s eternal summer dream

It revolves in the small boy’s fingers

The ball spins in the air
Before he catches it yet again
A cricket ball

A four piece leathercase




Comments

  1. If it was a real cricket ball in use, I was always out of the game! Tennis balls only, when I played backyard cricket. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sister probably still has the bruises that I inflicted when we played backyard cricket with the hard ball all those years ago, so I understand your reticence Kat.

      Delete
  2. What lovely poems to capture those objects and memories. One of my favorite writng activities when I taught was to have my studetns choose an object (from a varied assortment I collected through the years.) I was always surprised by what they came up with when they really looked at something to write about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kay. Exposing young poets to curios is important for as they say, ideas exist in things.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

List Poems Are Easy To Like

A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn't require a set rhythm or rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write anything down helter- skelter.

Consider the inclusion of the following elements to make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

• The writer is telling you something--pointing something out--saying, "Look at this," or, "Think about this."
• There's a beginning and end to it, like in a story.
• In other words, the poem needs to make sense and have some kind of flow to it.

List poems provide an easy and successful structure to get children feeling more comfortable with poetry. They are to be found in the poetry of many cultures and have been employed successfully by many contemporary poets.

Poetry is full of surprises. List also need to be full of surprises. Without the occasional surprise your list poems will have all the appeal of a supermarket shopping list on a day when you don't want to go shopping!

Here …

The Challenge Of Rhyming Verse For The Inexperienced Poet

Poetry is an extremely flexible writing form. It is easily weaved into our writing programs across the year as opposed to just being pigeon holed into a specific unit of work. Poetry offers a unique response to literature -fiction or non fiction. Such is the flexible nature of poetry. 

From an early age children have much exposure to a significant amount of rhyming verse. That our classrooms are filled with poetry that is enjoyable to listen to, or fun to read is important, but it may not necessarily provide the best starting point for inexperienced poetry writers.

When used skilfully rhyme can add to the lyrical nature of poetry. When it is used out a sense of expectation, it frequently serves to detract from the poem's intention. It weakens the words overall. If you listen closely you can hear the words clunking into place. They just sound like they don't belong.

Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-rhyme. In fact, I have to guard against over using it. It is a natural inclina…

Image Poem

Image Poem

This poem owes its existence to Georgia Heard's idea of the six room image poem where six elements are addressed in the writing that follows:

Image
Light
Sound
Questions
Feelings
Repetition

The challenge is to expand our vision of selected images by attending to each element when writing. The idea is to spend time considering each of the six elements by thinking about them as rooms we must enter in order to think more deeply about our word choice.


The Grandfather Clock

The Grandfather clock
Stood tall like a palace guard
Marking time in Nana's lounge-room
Against the wall
Avoiding the sunlight streaming through lace curtained windows
Tick-tocking as the pendulum swung in its unerring arc
Brass and chains and moving arms 
Encased behind a long glass face
The clock announced the passing of each hour
With blare and boom
The rowdy ringing out
Chased the silence from the room
Why so loud? the small ones asked
Why so tall? the small ones wondered
They kept their distance
Time moved on relentlessl…