Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Basic Poem Writing

A freshman college student who is so dear to me, a struggling campus journalist once asked me for a “non-technical” and “non-scholar” poem- writing tips. Though I am not truly a writer by profession or a poet in the true sense of the word, I just told her to write, write, write and write. Write as fast and as many as she can but she have to write as she talk and do not get tired (but make herself relax) and do not be ashamed and afraid of committing errors (grammatical or otherwise). Mind not what your readers may say or feel against you. Expect not all of them understand what you write. In short, do not let pass any opportunity for a writing exercise. I just reminded her of some practical things. This is what I have told her more or less :

Imagine yourself as a movable CCTV camera : capturing, recording, photographing, using words as your “output cable” and monitor. I told him to try this exercise : Inside a crowded area,- an airplane for example or bus terminal, sit tight and still (or slowly move around). Open your eyes (Do not forget, you are a movable CCTV camera). Look in front of you, to your left and to your right, and occasionally to your back. What do you see? Write down or remember exactly what you see. Toy with words by describing the scenes, color, shape, texture, tone and sound. Remember again you are a movable CCTV camera so you take a long shot, medium shot and close up. One thing is certain, sensory experiences can sharpen our God-given creativity. So all we have to do is - and I think I do not have to reiterate this – be sensitive to the people and things around you.

The Barangay and SK polls will be held Monday and the election fever is on and as I travel aboard a tricycle going to our place, while the tail of Typhoon Juan subdued the air, here’s what I have observed :

“Crowded vehicles come and go; some are fast, others are slow, the clouds are dark , the strong winds blow, etcetera…”

These observations of mine can be translated or developed into a poem. How good and well it is crafted I cannot tell but surely they became a poem nevertheless. Here it is :

Two Typhoons

Crowded vehicles come and go, they jive, they glow
Some are too fast, others are too slow
The clouds above are dark and the wind strongly blow
But as usual the atmosphere, almost like in a circus or a freak show.

You may call me the persistent pessimist in the front row
But this election is far to be a unifying bond, still a dividing saw
Not minding first how to serve, but to how to gain influence and amass dough
Or to please their patrons, the one who loves pink and the other one blue.

They say that the typhoon crawls above the Philippine archipelago
Politics, the way it is practiced here, is as devastating as catastrophes do
As long as we don’t participate in governance, we, the common tao
And amidst corruption and irregularities we keep our arms akimbo!

The farmers solar-drying their palay are in a hurry too
Collecting the golden grains from the concrete road and patio
And to save their precious produce is the foremost thing to do
For another typhoon is coming, not one (Juan) but two!

Notice how my previous observation became a significant theme rooted to my work while my view on our present political system eventually emerged. And for me, this is Poem Writing 101….

(Photo from Google images)

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