When is a photo not a photo? When it’s a poem.
I write across a range of genre and markets in writing for children. My shortest book has only 26 words. I’ve written fiction and non fiction for preschoolers, emerging readers, confident readers all the way to upper primary. And I write poetry.
When the rest of my life is swirling madly and it seems there is no time to write, that’s when poetry is my salvation. When I have no time to work a plot, refine a setting and get to know my characters, I do have time to catch an image, to write a poem.
I think of writing longer fiction as being a bit like filming a movie and a poem as capturing a single image. A poetic image can sneak up and snare me and often does.
Of course capturing the idea is just the beginning and there’s work to be done refining it, just like post editing a photo. Framing, light, shading. The more I catch in the original image the better, but I know as long as I have the essence, the rest will come.
On Glenelg Pier
I lean against the wind
as waves clap pylons
and explode upwards
in daygrey fireworks
sea thumps shore
pull in their lines
only sealboys smile
ride water to sand
then footprint the pier
to leap again
into deepest wavecrest
I was in Adelaide last year and went for a walk on a windy pier. Black wetsuit-ed teenagers were running along the pier, carrying surfboards. Then they’d watch the wild choppy waves and leap into the crest. They’d catch the next wave to shore then do it all again. Joy and exhilaration was written loud across their faces, in complete contrast with all the other beachgoers, all struggling with the wind and cold. It was a lovely juxtaposition and I can still see the scene in my mind.
round and ripe
the moon is a mango
with one slice gone
I was driving home late one night, quite tired and feeling not a little jaded (too much to do, not enough time to do it etc) . I turned a corner and there was the moon, hanging orange and large, just above the horizon. It was almost full, but not quite round. It was stunning. I slowed down and just kept stealing glances at it. It slowed down my racing brain too and reminded me of the beauty that is all around. Cheered me up no end.
A friend of mine suggests looking at the world through poetic eyes, looking for surprising details in the ordinary, the everyday. It took practice at first, but then it became almost second nature and images sneak up and grab me as I’m walking, or driving, or just about anywhere.