Home and Bubbles

Today I bring you two poems with a family theme.

Home

The first of these two poems is one that I wrote a few weeks ago.  For this poem, I visited the non-rhyming poem (although there are some near-rhymes) as the poem just seemed to come out that way.  When writing non-rhyming poems, I always have a repeated line or structure.  In this case, the format of each verse is very similar, each starting with “Home is…” and then “We can….” on the next line, with “and…” on the following line.  “We can…” and “And..” are then repeated, and then a new verse starts so the pattern starts again.

The most difficult verse proved to be the final verse.  I had in my mind the line about letting the curtain down, like in a theatre, and the mask line went well with it, but then struggled to think of the final two lines.  I decided to start from scratch and that’s when I came up with the final two lines, “We can be who we are and not who we will never be.”  Then I had the idea of combining this with the curtain and mask lines, as you see it now.   It’s funny how it all comes together in the end.  I wanted to finish with a “home is ….” line.

The poem was inpired by the feeling I have when I’m home and safe indoors. The youngest plays up a bit when we are out and about and it is almost like I have to second guess his actions. Trips out can be a bit wearing at times, with him refusing to walk, sitting on the floor, etc…  At home, we can be ourselves.  I don’t have to worry about judging eyes and the boys play quite happily.   We can be calm and relaxed.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like taking them out and about, and we have some great outings, but it is at home that I believe I truly find my inner peace.

Bubbles

The next poem was inspired by some garden time I had with the boys last Sunday.   The boys both love bubbles and we had a lovely time in the garden, with the eldest blowing them and the youngest trying to pop them.  I then had the idea of writing a poem about the experience and I started to compose the poem throughout the afternoon.

 

I actually composed the verses slightly out of sequence.  After the third verse, I composed the sixth verse: “Some bubbles are big, others quite small….”   Then I wanted to write about each of the brothers’ experience, so I came up with the verses in between, then finally onto the seventh verse, about our eldest.  He complained a bit that his hands were slimy but was happy to carry on, but did ultimately pass the wand on to me.  The final verse is one I struggled with a little. What is it with me and final verses? I guess it is just a matter of wanting to close off properly and not sound too cliche.   I got there in the end though.

I hope you all enjoyed both offerings today.

In My Notebook

This week, my notebook was a mixed affair.

Finishing my “Bubbles” Poem

When you are struggling, there is nothing like a quick planning session in your notebook! I will remember this next time, as it was very useful.  Just to write down some lines to try them out was a massive help.  I liked the line “With bubbles…… you can’t go wrong,” and I did have “With bubbles and sunshine you can’t go wrong,” but in the end I changed it, as you don’t necessarily need sunshine.  I also knew I wanted something about everyone getting along but I was looking for the right line.  With a bit of thinking time with my notebook, I came up with a final verse that I was happy with.  I needed the final line to be long enough to keep to the rhythm of the line before.

Future Poem Topics

The reason why I didn’t write many parenting/family poems for a while was that I didn’t really take the time to think of the topics, thinking that I had covered many topics and “how could I come up with new ones?”   The answer may well lie in sitting down, as I did last week, and listing some possible topics for future poems.  This pushed the topics to the forefront of my mind and, this time, I made sure I recorded them for future reference.  When I remember to write down ideas for possible topics, these ideas often end up in random places within my phone’s notebook.  At least now, these ideas are in my actual notebook so they will be easy to find.  I only thought of a few ideas but it was a start. “Tantrums and strong wills” and “Julia Donaldson” were part of this list.  I fully intend to make use of the notebook in this way in the future.

Imagination Session

Following my interest in water features, which came to the surface in my last freewriting session (see last week’s blog post),  I decided to do a bit of imagination work and let the ideas flow.   I usually use a picture to spark my imagination but, this time, I am trying to manage without. (I say trying as I don’t think the process is complete yet.) This is something I should do a lot more often and I’m not sure if it will lead me to a story or a poem, but I am going to carry on.   I had already started, one night, imagining a body of water and, eventually, an island on that body of water and a castle on that island, but hadn’t got any further as my thoughts were interrupted.  I decided to continue, asking myself questions, imagining the scene bit-by-bit.  Now I have a castle with gems inside, guarded by a queen.  In the castle, there are pipes to climb up and down and, at this point, I realised I had been influenced by my boys’ newfound interest in Mario games! This continued when I imagined a pipe leading to an underworld.  I will continue at another time, but again, a very beneficial exercise.

So that rounds it up for this week.  Thank you so much for reading.

Next week I hope to have a couple of new fantasy poems for you.  Will they be related to the aformentioned imagination session? You’ll have to wait and see.

Jen xx

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Titles – What’s in a Name?

Every now and again, I would like to write a blog post about the elements of writing and general ideas.

I always wonder if titles are easier for poems than prose, but I still often struggle. Maybe I’m overthinking things, but I’ve seen a few posts on social media about this so I know I’m not alone in this.

So I decided, a week or so ago, to try and solve this title block.

First, I read some poems online, looking at their titles and how the titles related to the poem.

Here are some of my findings:

  • Mother was the title of a poem about mothers.
  • Then Also her Choice was the title of a poem that ended with this line. The poem was the build up to this line.
  • Summer and Fall was the title of a poem about the transition between summer and autumn/fall.
  • When I Look At You was the title of a poem in which these lines were repeated at the end of each verse.

Some very strong links there, and I use similar links myself. So why do I feel sometimes that my titles are weak?

This was a useful exercise, though, and one to try if you want some title ideas.

The next thing I did was to look on Pinterest at some of my pictures that I have collected for inspiration for poetry.  For each picture, I wrote some notes and thought of possible titles for poems inspired by those pictures.

Here are a few examples:

  • For an animated picture of rabbits standing in a forest, talking, I came up with “A Little Conversation”
  • For a picture of a transparent room/chalet with a snowscene outside, I thought of “Sleeping in a Snowglobe” 
  • For the picture I used to inspire Pebbled Footsteps, from last week’s blog post, I came up with “Footsteps” and the first lines just came to me.  Later it changed to “Pebbled Footsteps”

I thought of quite a few and I found it a really useful idea generating exercise as well as one to find titles.

How do you come up with titles?

Do you start with a title (something I want to try one day), or do you think of one afterwards?  Do you find it hard? Do you think it is easier thinking up titles for poems than for stories? I’d love to know what you think.

In My Notebook

This week, as part of a series of emails I am receiving, entitled “C25K words” (Couch to 5K words – I’ve done the running version, I thought I’d try the writing version!), I did some “freewriting”.   For those not familiar with this term, this is when you just write.  You write whatever comes into your head.  You can start with a fixed line/phrase or you can just write whatever you can think of.  Just write! Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar, how it sounds, etc.. Just write!  When you have finished (You can set a timer – which I did and went over it! – or you can just stop when you wish.), read through it and see what ideas/thoughts jump out at you.  You may not get any ideas for a piece of writing as such but this doesn’t matter.  You have opened that gate into your mind and you can choose what you do with it.   This week, I reminded myself how much I like fountains and nostagia.  What will I do with that, I don’t know but it really excited me and got me thinking.  I really enjoyed freewriting and had almost forgotten what it can achieve.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the content.  Next time, I hope to have some parenthood/family poems for you.

Jen  x x

Fantasy Poetry -Lake and Pebbled Footsteps

Hi Everyone,

Today I have two fantasy poems for you.

The first one is the first I have written using my own photography, edited using the Englight app.   It is also a special one as my husband contributed a few lines.   There I was having that self-doubt moment – “This is rubbish!” and thoughts along these lines.   My husband reassured me and actually added a few lines of his own and I loved them.  Sometimes it takes another person’s ideas to gain fresh perspective.  He wrote the last two lines of the verse about the wizards and most of the goblin verse.  I was blocked and in a web of self-doubt and very grateful to him for his support and contributions.  I will definitely  be calling on his help in the future. His blog is also on WordPress at Dansolomusic  if you would like to have a read. He is a talented guitar player and singer and will be penning his own songs soon.

The Lake

 

I started the next poem during an extremely fruitful notebook session.  I have started to try and write in my notebook every Sunday, (at least – more if possible). I will include my notebook activities in future blog posts so look out for this.  The first couplet, I composed during the notebook sessiona and, when I picked up this idea at a later date, I wrote the rest of the poem.  As is customary now, I invite the reader to use their imagination by posing questions.

Pebbled Footsteps 

In My Notebook

I am pleased to introduce this section of my blog, where I share any exercises I try in my notebook.  This week: Rhyming.

Rhymes play a huge part in my poetry and sometimes I find myself a little stuck.  I often use rhymezone or try out different alternatives in my head.  So I decided to make some rhyming strings.

  • Picking a rhyming pair in a random poem (sometimes one of mine and sometimes an online one) I wrote the two words down, e.g. Spell and shell.
  • I then thought of some rhyming words to continue the string – e.g.  sell, tell, well, dwell.  I repeated this with other rhyming pairs.
  • After I had a good few rhyming strings,  I revisited each one using rhymezone (any similar rhyming dictionary website would work) and added words to the list.  You could use a different colour for this or, like me, write these words in capital letters.
  • Hey presto – I now have my own little rhyming dictionary in my notebook and some brand new rhyming words to turn to when I have a block.
  • Whilst collecting words, ways of expanding and adapting this exercise came to me and I jotted these down e.g. to repeat the activity with different rhyming strings, write longer strings and to explore near rhymes.

Are you interested in giving this a go? Let me know how you get on.

Thanks for reading,

Jen xx

I Love a Rainy School Run and Seven

Hi everyone,

It is that time of the week where I share a couple of poems with you and the insights around them.  I am glad that I have committed to doing a blog post every weekend.  It is becoming a routine, which is exactly what I wanted.    The blog posts have been lacking a little bit and I wanted to set that time aside especially to write a blog post.  I will always aim for Saturday as Blog Post Day but there might be times when it is Sunday or, being optimistic, maybe Friday.

I am thinking of making other little writing habits.  Last Sunday, I spent a pleasant evening gathering ideas in my notebook.  I thought that maybe I could make Sunday evening my notebook time as I have been rubbish at setting time aside for that purpose and I think it would be good, at least once a week, to visit my notebook.  This could be to gather ideas, make research notes or simply to freewrite.  There is nothing to suggest I can’t do it more than once a week, but I think I will definitely set the time aside on a Sunday.  I  have so many lovely notebooks, I need to use them.  It is easy, these days,  to neglect paper in favour of technology.

So onto my poems now, and as I said last week, it is time for me to share some family life/parenting poems.

The first one of these is one that was inspired by something a friend said on Facebook.

I Love A Rainy School Run

“I love a rainy school run!”  said Nobody Ever
Stepping out the door in this miserable weather
With the younger sibling making such a fuss
Hoods and umbrellas are an absolute must!

The roads are awash with hurrying drivers
There are enough puddles for deep sea divers

All windscreen wipers are on full blast
Oh look it’s the school! We’re here at last!

Quick, lets grab our child and off we go!
See how many tantrums the toddler can throw!

The child is grumpy, he says he hates the rain.
“So do I sweetheart,” I say, “It’s such a pain”

My hair! The phrase “drowned rat” comes to mind!
If only Mother Nature had been a bit more kind.

But she gave me curly hair, which has gone all frizzy.
I’ve run so many rings that I’ve now gone dizzy!

At last we are home and we can dry off
And hope we won’t catch a nasty cold and cough

And so we can say altogether
“I love a rainy school run!” said nobody ever!

Jen Elvy

 

Writing this poem was lots of fun.  I wanted to start with those lines, which were inspired by my friend, but not copied word for word.   Luckily, through work, I did miss the worst of the rainy school runs that week.  However, it was raining on the Thursday when I set off to get my eldest.  This is when I started composing the poem in my head.  To be fair, the eldest has his moments as does my youngest, but that day, they were both good as gold.  In fact, it stopped raining when I got to school.  I just found it so much fun to write about a more chaotic rainy school run.  Often rain, understandably, makes children grumpy (and us too!) and many of us know what it is like to have the toddler play up or have a tantrum, so I hope many found it relateable.   I thought it was a good idea to end with the same lines I started with, just to drive the point home and to come full circle.

I had the subject of my next poem in mind for a while before I actually wrote it.    I have written a lot about the joys of living with a baby or a toddler and I thought it was time I told you how much fun it is to live with a seven-year-old.   Seven seems to be an age where children really come into their own.  They mature so much and become independent in so many ways.  They also seem to have an answer to everything!  This poem explains it:

Seven

Let me tell you a story well told
The story of having a Seven-year-old

Always right, they can never be wrong
An answer for everything, all the day long

Getting so grown-up now in every way
Such imagination in their work and play!

Learning so much, taking everything in
Worries and fears are building within

Take the time to listen, lend them an ear
Tell them that you will always be here

Listen to every little thing that they say
More wisdom they will show you, every day

Jen Elvy

This poem starts by describing the loveable traits of a seven year old in a light hearted way and it goes on to describe the independence of mind and how they are thinking about a lot of things, which makes them worry a lot. I am hoping that, towards the end, the poem doesn’t come across as too “preachy”.   That was not my intention.  It was just a way of closing off the poem, and keeping the flow and rhyme growing.  I wonder sometimes, whether I could have kept it all more light hearted and funny.  Maybe it is one to work on one day.   Feel free to let me know what you think.

A more lighthearted poem I wrote recently was one I wrote last month for the April Poetry Contest on the Family Friends Poems website.  I have contributed to ths page before, with great results and feedback.  It is a site that puts you through a reviewing process before publishing your poem online.  It specifically says not to submit poems that are posted elsewhere.

I had an email in early April, telling me about the competition and that it was an Acrostic Poetry Contest.  One of the options was to write a poem about a relationship eg mother, fatther, sister etc and what it means.   I wrote a poem about Motherhood, which got through to the Semi Finals of the competition.  I was so pleased.  Even though I didn’t get to the final or win the competition, it was a massive confidence boost and I will definitely submit others for the website.

I am ussure whether or not I am able to post the poem, so I will send you a link to it.

https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/motherhood-8

 

I have written acrostic poems before and I was quite pleased with this one. It just came out in a light hearted way from when I wrote “Organised? No? It will come!”  It just seeemed to set a light hearted tone from then on.  I aimed for relateable, lighthearted and amusing but heartfelt at the same time.   The biggest challenge was to write three different lines starting with the letter ‘O’!

I hope you enjoyed my offerings today.  Next week,  I will share some more fantasy poems with you.

Thanks for reading,

Jen xx

Through the Keyhole and Dreaming

Hello Everyone,

The two poems I am sharing tonight are from my children’s fantasy collection, which is building up quite nicely at the moment.    In both of these poems, I pose a question that could naturally lead on to further writing.

Through the Keyhole 

Processed with MOLDIV

This poem was inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest.  The picture showed a keyhole view of a little white rabbit.  This led me to include a verse about a white rabbit.  I thought I would use a different picture to display my poem and I found the above picture on a royalty free site. When I was positioning the text over the picture, I tried a few different ways but it was complicated because of the white light coming through the keyhole. I solved this when, by chance, I positioned the text over the white light.  It worked really well, as it now looks as if the text is inviting you to look through the keyhole.   The final verse asks the reader what they can see if they look through the imaginary keyhole.

Fun fact: I actually wrote the first part of this whilst waiting for my sight test at the opticians!  I then left it for a while and came back to it a couple of weeks later and completed the poem.   I guess it is quite apt as the poem was about “looking”!

Dreaming (working title)

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The image for this poem was so inspiring! One of those that really kick started the imagination.  I love that sign post! This poem saw me experiment a little bit.  Firstly I used two verses with just three lines, which is unusual for me.  I usually play it safe and stick to four line verses.  Secondly, the lines we a lot shorter and sharper than usual.  I was a little unsure at first but it just seemed to fit with the picture and the nature of the poem.   The reader is being enticed across the bridge in a very direct and concise way.  At the end it asks “what could be in that tree?” and invites the reader to make a wish.

Both poems could be used to inspire further writing:

What can you see through the keyhole? 

What wish will you make by the tree? 

What will happen when you make your wish? 

You will notice that the two poems I posted last week on my blog, do not pose any questions as such, but that does not mean that they cannot be used as writing prompts.    For example,  you could write about what you or your character would wish for by the magical wishing tree and you could write about the fairies that dwell at the bottom of the castle grounds.

I hope you enjoyed my offerings this week.

In the next blog post, I will share some parenting poems.

Thanks for reading,

Jen xx

Fantasy Poetry – A Wishing Tree and A Castle

Hi everyone,

Today I want to share two poems with you. One I wrote a while ago now and the other was written more recently. I will share them as images.

Here is the first:

The Wishing Tree

I have written a similar poem before – See Unicorns and Boasting – where two children have a conversation. For “The Wishing Tree” I imagined two children standing by this magical tree, thinking about the wish they are going to make. The poem came quite easily. I think the hardest part was thinking of the wish that this friend would make in the end. It had to be good after so much build-up! A wishing tree of her own and a throne seemed to be the obvious choices. The friend spoke of being queen earlier in the poem. Therefore, the throne made sense. More importantly, though, her wish for a wishing tree would solve her dilemma of what to wish for. She would have as many wishes as she wanted if she had one! The two choices went together well and they rhymed and that is one of my aims when writing this type of poem.

I wonder if it is clear to the reader that the wish for a white horse came from the narrator of this poem. It should be relatively clear with the use of the speech punctuation. After the narrator says “I’m not too keen,” The closing speech marks do not appear until the end of the following verse, indicating that the narrator is still speaking in the third verse. It could be missed, though, as the narrator’s friend doesn’t respond directly to what has been said and focuses on her own wish. This is very typical of a conversation between two children (and, indeed, two adults at times!). They tend to stick to their own agenda and are so determined to get their message across that they, albeit unintentionally, often don’t acknowledge that the other person has spoken.

The narrator enters the conversation again in the fourth verse, saying “but think of the fun that winter can bring!” This time the friend appears to have acknowledged her friend’s comment with a smile and a suggestion that she could, instead, just wish to go somewhere warm and sunny.

The poem was fun to write so I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Here is my second poem:

The Royal Castle

This poem takes you on a tour of the castle and the grounds, starting inside the castle, then going outside to the castle grounds and finally to the bottom of the garden, where the trees make an archway and the rocks and the toadstool give the picture an enchanted feel.

I hope you enjoyed reading both poems. Feedback is always welcome and gratefully received. I would particularly be interested to know whether you prefer seeing the poems as images or seeing the text and images separately.

Look out of my next blog where I will share two more fantasy poems with you.

Thanks for reading

Jen x

All The Riches I Need

For as long as I can remember, I have been complaining about money just disappearing. It seems to do this all too quickly when you are a family of 4 and work part time. Especially in my circumstance where I only get paid when I work.  I am sure that others will join me in wishing our bank accounts refilled as quickly as our laundry baskets!

However, there is one thing that keeps me going and stops me from feeling disillusioned – My beautiful family.  I have a lovely husband, who works tirelessly to keep a roof over our head. He is an amazing person and we have a very happy marriage.  Together, we have two loving, beautiful boys, who give us many special moments.  We may not have all the riches but we have fun together. We make memories.   We smile and laugh through the storm.

Inspired by these positive, life affirming emotions, I wrote this poem:

I may want more money for my boys
To buy them both more books and toys

I may want more exciting trips too
Like trampolining or going to the zoo

But when I see my babies smile
When I sit and watch them for a while

When I look at them, so sweet and small
That’s when I know that I’m rich after all

When it comes to money, I don’t have a lot
But a loving family is what I have got

Through thick and thin, they are always there
With hugs and special moments for all to share

Jen Elvy

 

I hope you like the poem and I’m sure that many of you can relate. I am enjoying writing poems about parenthood and family life again and I know many of you are enjoying these poems too, so rest assured, there will be more in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Jen x

 

I leave you with our family pic:

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