Monday, 28 March 2011

Freeze a Moment

by Jan Dean

One of my favourite ways of writing a poem is to freeze a moment. Here’s how.

Close your eyes and listen.

Open them and look around.

Check out the moment with your other senses – are you drinking milk/chewing caramel? Is there a hole in your sock so that the skin of your toe keeps sticking to the inside of your shoe?
(Note to self – put socks on shopping list…)

Once you’ve collected a few impressions you can begin to write. E.g.

The washing is sloshing
and slapping socks clean
the PC is humming
words flick on the screen

*Thinks* - hey I could make this just a sound poem if I wanted – ‘The Song of The House’ – but for the time being I’ll carry on with the original plan.

            The books on the shelves
have slid and lie slanted

*Thinks* - hmm, I’ve bounced a few follow up lines around in my head, but none of them are very good, so I’m going to ditch these lines.

            There’s a hat on the floor
            and a cat in its bed
            and a large hairy mammoth
            behind next door’s shed…

*Thinks* Ooo, I wonder where that idea came from?  But I do like it.  So Now I’m going to try to tie it in with the original lines.

            A large hairy mammoth?
Yes, that’s what I said.
            So it’s goodbye to laundry
            and goodbye to writing
            Meeting a mammoth is much more exciting           

Well, now I’ve got a first draft.  It may come to something, or it may not.  And if it doesn’t I can always freeze another moment and start again.


  1. Hee hee hee, I love it!
    You're right, meeting a wooly mammoth sure beats doing the chores! Can you send him in my direction please.

  2. Like the poem Jan. Lovely image. And like the technique too. I'll give it a try.

  3. I'm tapping the keys
    Rattling some peas
    I'm liking all these
    More poems PLEASE!

  4. There's nothing like the merry month of March for meeting magnificent mammoths!

  5. I met a mammoth task does that count?

  6. A poem called Mammoth Tasks wrote me some time ago.