On Poetry

Posted on March 6, 2010. Filed under: My Writing, Poetry | Tags: , , , |

If you’ll remember, I wrote about starting my writing career by writing poetry in middle school. I’m thinking I’ll post one or two of my poems here today for fun and to see what people think of my writing.

With that said, I won’t be mean and post some of my earliest attempts at writing poetry. I can read it, of course, but it’s not good quality writing in the least. It’s the building blocks for getting to the point I’m at today. And, really, you’d rather see a more polished poem, right?

So let’s consider the first poem. I titled it “The Difference” and wrote it as a contest piece for AllPoetry’s website. The contest was to write a poem inspired by the quote: “The only difference between a man with a tattoo and one without is a man with a tattoo doesn’t care if the man without has a tattoo.” (Okay, so that quote might be off a bit, but I think you get the gist.) I won a silver medal for that particular piece, so I thought I’d post it here for your viewing pleasure.

The Difference

Where labels reign

from lips waxed with cynicism

and names raise

status to its precarious summit,

we, the labeled, stand.

Tattooed on their hearts,

the very difference they despise

festers, gnaws, eats away at

their pristine homes, designer labeled jeans;

it faces them, that difference.

The difference: nothing.

They, like us, hold beliefs,

ideas, hopes, thoughts

contrary to societal norms.

The difference?

We wear ours; they hide theirs.

That was a particularly fun piece to write because of what I was thinking about as I wrote it. I came at it from a Christian perspective, I suppose; although, I don’t think that was very evident in the poem. And the person who created the contest made a point that they were angry because of deliberate religious prejudices against them due to some tattoo or another the person had. So I was really pleased and surprised to win the silver medal.

Any thoughts or critiques of the writing? Feel free to let me know. I’m open to hearing your thoughts and opinions.

Since a lot of my poems are rather long and tend to be quite personal (and since I don’t want to take up too much space!), I’ll put a second one out for your viewing pleasure. It’s one I wrote during a particularly dreary winter that seemed to be holding spring back. I think it was sometime in late March or early April, and due to the recent weather, it fits perfectly!

Spring, Captive

Cascading cold

shutters Spring’s light,

fills barren earth,

holds petals captive.

Cold earth

warms no hearts;

spring pushes, resistant

to Winter’s last grasp.

Spring showers

falter in chilling fear,

apparition of Winter

shades in gray.

April’s sway

moves untimely Winter

slowly to the brink,

forces her away.

Winter asks

for one last dance,

hands out, holding

Spring, captive.

I like writing about the seasons even if it is a bit cliched in poetry. I’ve only got two poems that deal with the seasons, though. The other one is about fall. There’s something poignant about painting pictures of spring and winter in words; there are so many messages you can convey through the words and imagery.

What do you think of that one? It’s not really one of my favorites like “The Difference,” but it is more light-hearted and doesn’t pack a punch like most of my poems.

I looked through several of my poems before picking these. And I have to admit: a lot of my poetry is either religious or emotive and sometimes both. I have one particular poem I wrote recently titled “second best” that might be pretty simple to figure out from the title. Another that’s similar to it and also recently written is “Strong Enough,” a very depressing poem written in particular to a friend.

I’m not really sure what it is about poetry that draws writers to pack it with every negative emotion they feel, but it seems to be the easiest medium for doing just that. And unfortunately, people rarely feel the need to express their joy through writing. (Though there are a plethora of love poems out there, so apparently romance is another good theme in poetry – but I wouldn’t want someone to write an ode to me!)

I’ll go through my poems and see if there are any of the more expressive ones that would potentially be good for putting in another blog post eventually. I actually really enjoy sharing my poetry with people because it’s something I adore. I just tend to be carful about what I show to whom. I guess that makes sense.

Now that I’ve made this more into a journal-style entry, I believe I’ll close by saying that I’d really enjoy any thoughts or comments on my poems. I don’t mind criticism either; though it helps if it’s constructive. 😀

I hope you enjoyed the poems!


(“The Difference” and “Spring,Captive” are both copyright 2010 to Rae Reneau – if you want to repost, please notify me before doing so. Thanks!)


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4 Responses to “On Poetry”

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Good Morning Rae,

I don’t if I’m the proper critique for this sort of thing, but I enjoyed reading your poetry. Especially the one about intolerance (The Difference). The second poem sort of reminded me of Emily Dickinson, specifically her poem #812 “A Light Exists in Spring.” I only know that because in middle school I had a thing for Emily’s poetry.

Anyway, I’m sorry if this isn’t in-depth enough. I’ve never been great at offering critique.

My favorite poetry is by Poe, Aneglou, Dickinson, Hughes, Octavio Paz, ee cummings, and plenty of others.

Your work is beautiful.


Ed, thanks for the compliment! I’m glad you enjoyed the poems. I was a little concerned with boring people since I know most people don’t tend to like poetry, but I thought I’d post it anyway.

And don’t worry about being in-depth or not. I’m not expecting something like my AP English teacher in high school would have said in critique. (Actually, I shudder a little at the thought of getting her opinion on any of my creative writing!)

I like Poe. Maya Angelou is an interesting writer. And the only thing I really remember about Emily Dickinson is something my English teacher junior year of high school taught me: practically every poem Dickinson wrote can be sung to a number of tunes, including ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas,’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ In fact, he had us sing some of her poems in class; it was hilarious! I did a paper on Hughes and have a volume of his poetry. 🙂

I’m glad that you decided to share some of your poetry. I’ve been wanting to read some since you mentioned it earlier.

I think they’re both quite good, though I like “Differences” better personally. Its not so much the style but the subject matter that appeals to me more. Nicely done.

Thanks for the compliments! I’m glad you enjoyed my poems. And I agree: I like “The Difference” better, too. The subject matter and wording appeal to me more, but then again, “Spring, Captive” was a much lighter poem in general. Perhaps I should try my hand at writing several poems on the same subject matter and seeing which are more appealing to people. That might be a fun project.

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