Poetry and Character Development

I love to write poetry. It’s short and sweet, exhibits rhythm and beauty, and can move someone as much as a novel in a much shorter space of time. I don’t really like to call myself a poet because it feels pretentious, but I love to write it.

With poetry, you learn brevity. You can create an implied character in a particular scene and  figure out how to tell a story in a compressed space. I firmly believe that mastering developing a character in a short format like a poem reaps rewards when building characters in a longer format like a short story or novel. Within the practice of refining imagery for a poem lies the beauty of writing.

The Dancer

Our stage is lit, the curtain stirs, a dancer takes the floor,

She flicks her hips, throws her tired toes across the boards,

A draping gown with sequins flashing light across the seams,

Each movement pulses passion from her deepest darkest dreams.

Terrified of time and cracks appearing on her face,

Furiously whirling, like a dervish through the place,

If spinning turned the clock back she would be a little girl,

A shock of raven hair on a complexion white as pearl.

One by one her garments fight to claim the solid ground,

A slight reveal, she cranes her neck and flashes eyes around,

There’s no applause, the nurses simply lead her to the bed,

“The poor old woman”, they conclude, “she’s dancing in her head”.


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