There is really no “rhyme or reason” on how to write a good poem. Most people think of poetry as short creative pieces with rhythm, stanzas or some musical flow. However, many strong poems are written that do not rhyme at all. The Haiku poem is a great example of this.
My love of poetry started at an early age. My father would recite poems to us often and would use them as a way to bring about humor in serious situations, much to the chagrin, of my conservative mother. For example a favorite dinner blessing of his for his family of 10 on a limited budget was:
“Lord have mercy on us, keep our neighbors from us, and if they should happen to stumble upon us, please ensure they don’t eat all the food from us.” This was his standard grace and it drove my mother nuts. At the same time, it intensified my love for poetry.
Through elementary and high school, we competed in church speaking events. We’d memorize poems, compete locally in our church and the winner would compete for top prize at a convention in front of a big crowd of people. This was quite an exercise, researching for that perfect poem to take the top honor. Soon, poetry soon became a significant and fun part of me. To write a really good poem, it’s always a safe bet to write about something that you observe about life, something that inspires you or perplexes you in some meaningful way. The more honest and transparent you are, the higher the probability that we will be able to connect with the poem.
Today, I’ve chosen an example of a poem to highlight that poetry can really be about anything. Any topic that brings about an emotion or make you stop to think differently. This poem was inspired by seeing the sagging limbs of a weeping willow out of my neighbor’s kitchen in South Carolina. Yes, a poem about a tree. Enjoy it.
Weeping Willow, why are you down?
Hold your head up.
You have no reason to frown.
Look at Your Arms.
So long and lean,
Provides an abundance of shade,
And you’re always green.
You keep us cool.
On a hot summer day,
We hide under your bosom.
And I’m glad you’re that way.
Weeping Willow, Weeping Willow
Stand up tall.
We all have a purpose.
Despite our shortfalls.