Poetry is the language of the soul. Poetry is raw emotion. Poetry helps us peel back the layers and connect to our bare, vulnerable selves. It helps us discover different parts of ourselves. Which we might’ve never realized even existed.
Through poetry we listen to ourselves, and we listen fully. Because poetry somehow feels urgent (and, of course, your needs and feelings and wishes are vital). Through poetry, we are free to play and express anything we like in any way.
April is National Poetry Month, so I’m sharing a list of poetry prompts for helping us explore and empower ourselves.
- Go to your closet, and look through your clothes. See if any particular piece sparks an emotion. A pair of jeans. A dress. Something that no longer fits. Write a poem about that item.
- Write a poem describing the details of one of your favorite meals.
- Reflect on what’s important to you. Then write a poem about how you’re going to focus your time, energy and attention on that (instead of on your weight).
- Find a tree in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s right outside your window. Maybe it’s next to a favorite bench at the park. Maybe it’s on a trail you occasionally walk. Write a poem connecting your strength to this tree’s strength. Reread your poem any time you forget.
- Write a poem about a truth.
- Study your hands for 15 minutes. Yes, actually set a timer. Then write a poem about your hands.
- Study your eyes, also for 15 minutes. Then write a poem about them.
- Write a poem that starts with the phrase, “I never want to forget ….”
- Write a poem about a small yet beautiful moment.
- Write about how you aren’t taking up space. Because you are a mountain.
- Put on some classical music (or sit in silence, depending on what your prefer). Close your eyes. Take several deep, long breaths. Place both hands on your heart like wings. Ask yourself, “Heart, what do you want me to know?” Sit here for several minutes. Then open your eyes, and write a poem about the message.
- Write a poem addressed to 13-year-old you.
- Write a poem about something you’re struggling with right now.
- Write a poem in response with words of compassion, support and encouragement. (If you can’t think of any words, steal someone else’s.)
Remember that when creating your poems, anything goes. There are no rules or shoulds. You can experiment with rhyming or not. You can write your poem as a shape (the shape of a heart, the shape of a circle). Your poem may be three lines—or 300.
The key is to be honest, and to let your emotions out. Don’t censor yourself. It’s OK if your poem is “too dramatic” or “too sensitive” or “too positive” or “too negative.” It’s OK if it doesn’t sound or look like a poem. It’s OK if it’s “bad” or “horrible” or “the worst thing I’ve ever, ever written.”
Whatever it becomes, let it be. You can always tear it up. And you never know, the experience of writing it might be exactly what you need.