Choosing words for poetry
Poets need to understand words, letters and sounds in ways more intimate than the reader or the writer of prose.
I want to take you on a journey and show you had you should think of words when writing your poetry.
I was given the words PEACH, PAISLEY, PACHABEL, PERIDOT for a challenge.
To me these words fitted into a romance a seduction scene with two players and some music.
So my thinking was Pachabels Cannon in D I don’t know if you have heard it, its a beautiful piece of music and its made up of repeating refrains so I wanted to replicate that in the poetry music.
I needed repetition within the poem and repeats and I also wanted repetition of p and s sounds.
I used alliteration but I also wanted to use euphony letters beginning with p are associated with masculine , power and pride ..s words are associated with secrets, sensuousness so accentuating these sounds will help set the mood of the piece.
I choose words with p and s with the connotations that I wanted and I choose words with p and s in the centre to keep the sounds progressing.
My peacock is a metaphor
Then my word choice
preens gives me the p and s sound …it means devoting time to making oneself look attractive fitting my lover who is a peacock
prances again gives the p and s sounds …it is also making exaggerated movements ..that will get noticed
Then those words are repeated but reversed like the steps of a dance.
He poses and exudes power …and the narrator is interested excited
In the second stanza romance is building so those s sounds come to the fore.
Combined with t which adds a trembling sound.entwined, trailing, atmosphere.
Plus the slithering s tones of slow, sound, speeding, shudder, unison, softly
We continue in stanza 3 with the repetitions but we add he sound of l which can be a sound of lightness and clarity.
So the mood of the poem is built, the emotion heightened.
I formulated a list of potential words, I checked meaning and connotation and picked the words with care.
I tried to continue using my sounds and refrains to echo the refrains in the music.
This poem is also is an extended metaphor.
Now you might not like this poem it may not appeal to you.
But read it aloud feel how the words flow together hear the sounds and try to emulate good word choice in your poems.
Cannon in D
The peridot peacock preens and prances
prances and preens
the feeling of power positively exuding
from the pose
his display raises my pulse
pulse beating in my neck above
of my shawl.
The slow sound of bass notes entwined
with the trailing notes of violins
start to create the atmosphere
for sharing secrets
slow sounds – speeding -twining
like rising pheromones
I shudder as my peach paisley slips
The peridot peacock
preens and prances
Pachabel adding life and lustre
subtle refrains building building
I smile and power transfers
as I stand and pose and preen
the suspense peaks
we move in unison softly touching
speeding – twining.
How do you choose words for your poetry!