Visualize an event, a moment, an incident—either real or imagined. Now, close your eyes and listen to the sound of significant movements and/or actions happening in that moment. What sounds do you hear? Heart beats, water dripping, footsteps, maybe bells . . .
Write a poem using these sounds. Try establishing a rhythm by repeating the sound a few times in each line followed or preceded by what is making the sound. Some hugely successful songs use sounds in this way. For example, in “The Trolley Song” sung notably by Judy Garland in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis sounds are used to describe the first moment Ester meets John:
“Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heart strings
From the moment I saw him I fell
Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heart strings
When he smiled I could feel the car shake”
— The Trolley Song by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
And in one of the all-time greatest stick-in-your-head songs “That’s Amore!” sung notably by Dean Martin, jingly sounds are what make us want to sing and dance along:
“Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing “Vita bella”
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella”
— That’s Amore! written by Jack Brooks & Harry Warren
If you have your list of sounds, but you’re stuck for a way in, use one of these songs as a model for your poem (that’s what I did.)
Set the timer for 7 minutes.
Don’t think about it too much; just do it.
*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1000 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.