Perhaps it's the work we have done in class, the responses students have had to her poetry this year, or maybe it's the poet herself. Whatever it is, I find myself drawn to Emily Dickinson and her's is the first poem I will share.
This one caught my eye just before vacation and I've spent the last few weeks absorbing it.
There came a Wind like a Bugle -
It quivered through the Grass
And a Green Chill upon the Heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the Windows and the Doors
As from an Emerald Ghost -
The Doom's electric Moccasin
That very instant passed -
On a strange Mob of panting Trees
And Fences fled away
And Rivers where the Houses ran
Those looked that lived - that Day -
The Bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings told -
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the World!
Here's what I've done so far, and what I've learned:
1. I paid attention to my gut. I read through a few poems and stopped on the one I liked. There's no sense in spending time with a poem that doesn't move you.
2. I copied the poem in my writer's notebook 3x's.
3. I pulled out the words and phrases I most liked - the ones that really spoke to me and copied those down again, this time including my thoughts.
Ex. like a Bugle (simile) - there's an announcement here, like a call to battle
quivered - love that verb! (like it as a noun, too!) movement, anticipation
ominous -adj. - deep, dark, impending doom - a strong word not to be used lightly
barred - verb - so visual! feels like a futile attempt though - fear
electric - adj. - atmosphere is charged (literally in this case!)
Mob of panting trees - how do they move? Breathing in rapid succession - exhausted by the wind? What a concept!
Bell within the steeple wild - TOTALLY LOVE THIS LINE!!!!! Feel the energy here?
What I'm learning:
As I go through my day, images and phrases seep into my thoughts. I am thinking about the words.
I am also finding that one of the things I love about Dickinson's poems is her personification of nature. To her, Nature is a force - alive and active. She stood in awe of it; so do I.
Reading her poems makes me notice and note the world around me in a different way.
Now, for your notebook:
Use this poem, or another of your choosing. Experiment with it. Notice what you like about the poem and focus on it. Spend time with the poem and let it grow both on you and in you. (Copy it several times - repetition works.)
Then, see how it changes both you and your writing.