During the November full moon – called Frost Moon, or Beaver Moon, and in some places (probably farther north) Snow Moon by some Native American tribes – a poet-friend and I decided to try to collaborate on a poem together. He lives near the beach in Florida and I live in the mountains of New England; he is a mixed-media story-telling artist; I am, at heart, a writer of romantic novels. Oh, one more thing: we’ve never met.
Our plan was this: at 9:15 in the evening, at the exact moment when the moon was ‘full’ (which only happens for a minute or so) we would go outside and look at the moon. We were going to create a mutual poem.
The word ‘poetry’ comes from the Greek word poesis, which means a “making.” In a poem, language and meaning combine to create a work of art.
What do we mean when we speak of ‘language’? We think of language as consisting of words, but language is also gesture, expression, code, symbol. One thing I learned from this experience of collaboration is that a poem lies in its relationship to the person who experiences it as much as to the one who creates it.
As Mike stood in his balmy ocean breeze, listening to the rustling waves breaking on the smooth, quiet beach, I dug my way through waist-high leaves that swirled in a chilly north wind, listening to the coyotes barking on the hill. But the moon at which we both gazed together was the same moon.
I wrote a poem based on the experience, but when I was done I realized that the shared experience itself was the poem.
Writing Practice – Creating a Poem
Let go of everything you’ve learned about rhyme, rhythm, rhetoric, verses, alliteration, onomatopoeia, traditional aesthetics…
For this exercise, poetry is a creative act using language.
And language is simply a way to express a feeling, thought, insight, or experience.
Now, ‘write’ your poem. If you’re willing, share with me the outcome. Which poet was it who said, “A poem is not a poem until it has been shared…” ?
- talking earnestly with a friend
- unusual colors in fabrics
- The Queen of Sheba
- the music of the spheres
- breaking into laughter at the same time