Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच रत्नें | शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करुं ||
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवांचे जीवन | शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां ||
तुका म्हणे पाहा शब्द चि हा देव | शब्द चि गौरव पूजा करुं ||
- abhang of Tukaram Wolhoba Ambile of Dehu

There's No Freedom Like That of a Child's Imagination

கடலுக்கு உண்டு கற்பனைக்கு இல்லை கட்டுப்பாடு

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A poetry-writing exercise

This was the exercise:-

http://www.jacarandapress.org/writing/poetry/simile.shtml

The Original Simile

Here is a little game that you can play.

Its intention is to strengthen your facility with the original simile. The object here is to think up a simile that you haven't heard before. Smooth as silk will not do. Try to think of something smooth that you haven't heard used in that connection. Chocolate pudding perhaps?

We suggest that you work quickly. Five minutes for the whole list. If you work quickly enough, your internal censor will not get a chance to stifle your efforts.

On the other hand you may be the sort that likes to take a lot of time, that's OK, too.

Step 1

Start by filling in these similes. Let your creativity flow. Don't worry. We won't be looking at your work.

as blue as a
as rough as a
as lonely as a
as tall as a
as talkative as
as eager as a
crying like a
praying like
reliable as
as expensive as
as mad as
milling around like
common as
regular as
as pretty as
as reluctant as
as smooth as
as quick as
running like a
creeping like a
as loud as a
as nervous as a
as green as
as angular as
as mellow as
as sure as
shaking like a
as rich as
as perky as
growing like a

Step 2

Now we proceed to the twisted simile.

Select six or eight of the most satisfactory similes you just created, and and mix them up. That is, move words from the right side of the like or as and connect them with the words on the left side from another line.

You will find you now have some more interesting similes, if more peculiar.

For instance, if you had written
as common as dirt
and
as rich as Bill Gates
That wouldn't be all that interesting, since both of those are extremely cliché.

When you swap endings, you have
as common as Bill Gates
and
as rich as dirt
This might prove to be more thought provoking.

Step 3

The third step to this game is to take your twisted similes and play around with them.

See if you can turn them into a poem.

It helps if you believe that these mismatched scraps of words came from your subconscious, and therefore might very well unlock some little bit of knowledge you have been keeping a secret from yourself. You may be surprised at what you write.

And here is what I did:-

How do I described my beloved?

Shall I say when she catches me talking to other girls
she is as mad as a nauseating toad?

Shall I say when she is angry with me
she makes me pray like an insulted CEO?

Shall I say when my apologies don't work
she makes me as green as an Opera understudy?

Shall I say when she does not return my calls
she makes me as lonely as a queue-jumper?

Shall I say when I try to make up with her
she makes me as nervous as an embattled pope?

Shall I say when we finally meet
she makes me as eager as an unpaid piper?

*

The six 'similes' I chose:-

as green as nauseating toad
as mad as an insulted CEO
as nervous as an Opera understudy
praying like an embattled pope
as lonely as an unpaid piper
as eager as a queue-jumper

*

And the full list:-
as tall as an ostrich
as talkative as elocution competitor
as eager as a queue-jumper
crying like a drama queen
praying like a king under siege
reliable as death
as expensive as experience
as mad as an insulted CEO
milling around like
common as tweets
regular as power failures
as pretty as pink candy
as reluctant as a republican
as smooth as a conman
as quick as a photon
running like a ragamuffin
creeping like a commando
as loud as a rockstar
as nervous as an Opera understudy
as green as nauseating toad
as angular as an International building
as mellow as a tamed virago
as sure as tax
shaking like a Tokyo building
as rich as Rothschild
as perky as a sparrow
growing like a banyan

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