I prepared to teach a nature poetry workshop at a local yoga studio, but it was cancelled. As a result, I have a bunch of poetry exercises floating around in my head. These can be adapted to any kind of writing as well. I think I inflicted one of them on my students a few years ago.
First Exercise: Go outside. Close your eyes. How do you know it’s spring?
This one is easy for me now that I’ve moved to Vermont and have a backyard that borders a field, a forest, and a stream. I’ve got birds trying to nest on a tin roof. Blue jays are fighting each other for resources. At night, I can hear peepers. The air does not hurt my face. It smelled like manure last weekend when the guy across the stream plowed his field.
Second Exercise: What did your house growing up/your friend’s house/your first apartment (insert dwelling of the past) smell like? What are the nonvisual reminders that you have arrived to a particular place?
My college town smelled like the cereal factory and my hometown smells like greenery. The train wailed at each of the many crossings going through my college town, and I know I’ve pulled into my own driveway in Vermont when I hear the blackbirds kicking up a fuss. The house I grew up in smelled like cool ash on summer mornings, and one house I lived in sometimes smelled like low tide. The ducks and gulls were deafening.
Close your eyes. How do you know you are where you are?
2 thoughts on “Eyes Closed”
I’m sorry your poetry workshop got cancelled but thank you for sharing this prompts that get me thinking about placed I have lived and their smells and sounds.
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How do you know it’s spring?
I live in north Eastern Ontario, Canada. When I stand ten feet from my door, I am on damp grass and soft soil. I can hear the motion of our boat-dock, creaking with the swell of the lake. In the summer, everything is dry and warm, or hot, sultry and heavy with storm. In the fall, everything is cooling, enjoying a respite from the heat before the onset of the snow and ice of winter. In the spring, the ice has melted, the cool air is warming up, and that melted snow is freezing my feet… where the Hell are my shoes?