A houseful of ideas

For several months now we’ve been challenging ourselves to write poems that spring from one word. I’ve been impressed again and again by the number and variety of poems you have posted. We’ve enjoyed the work of poets in numerous states in this country as well as in India, South Africa, Philippines, and U.K. There may be other areas represented that I haven’t identified so let me know if I’ve overlooked someone.

Yesterday Kathy Temean chose another of my published poems to feature as the Poem of the Week. As I’ve mentioned, I never know which poem Kathy will pick so I look forward to seeing her selections. Yesterday’s choice came from The Alligator in the Closet, a collection I wrote to demonstrate the power of observation for the writer. To start the book I walked around my house making notes of things I saw, heard, or remembered. At some point my imagination clicked in as if joining the fun and I found my list including things that didn’t exist, such as the mouse in the pantry.

All is fair in writing poetry so I didn’t throw out the idea of a mouse in the pantry simply on the grounds that we have no stair, no pantry there, and certainly no mouse. An observation is an observation whether fact or fiction. I rather enjoyed imagining a cudly little creature bedded down in a box of facial tissue and the artist enjoyed the idea of illustrating it. As far as I know, kids like the poem too. So it would have been a shame to discard the notion becasuse I didn’t actually see the mouse.

I’m telling you this because you may feel moved to try a similar exercise on your own. Move from room to room and record your observations, sensations, hopes, and memories. Before you know it you will have a list long enough to keep you writing for weeks if not months.

Have fun!

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