Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

This past Saturday I went to an amazing poetry workshop. At the end of it, I had a new poem to show for it. I don’t know if it does the workshop justice, it still needs tweaking…. But first, I still need help!

Here’s the thing: At the end of 2 hours playing with words to arrive at this poem, the accomplished and dynamic professor asked us one last thing: To start fresh by making the last line of the poem the first line, then the next to the last line, and so on until the first line of the poem becomes the last. It’s astonishing how reversing the lines makes such a difference, to the point where the reversed poem needs a new title.

So below are the first poem I arrived at and the second one with the lines reversed. Which one do you like better? I’m wide open to constructive criticism, I learn from it. Comments and feedback are more than welcome!

Sleeping in
(for JB)

Odd that dawn comes early,
and any leaving for hate,
any leaving for dark
he brings on himself.

As I fall back to sleep,
the flashlight dies,
the ground disintegrates,
true life seeps into my mattress.
I am a flower stem in water,
there to stay, thin skin covering soul.
Today, the air implodes, choking.

(for JB)

Today, the air implodes, choking.
There to stay, thin skin covering soul,
I am a flower stem in water.
True life seeps into my mattress,
the ground disintegrates,
the flashlight dies.

As I fall back to sleep,
he brings on himself
any leaving for dark
and any leaving for hate.

Odd that the dawn comes early.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011


Comments on: "Poetry by Consensus (Opinions Needed)" (35)

  1. I enjoyed both poems, but each one affected me in a different way.

  2. Funny how the second one works better. That was an interesting project. I’ll have to do the same to some of my poetry and see what I come up with.

    I think I like the second one, because the last line (now the first) seems to spark off the rest of the poem whereas in the first it seems you have a revelation first, and the cause is revealed later.

    Not that there is anything wrong with a poem written that way, but in this case it works better the second way around.

    Keep up the great work. Love the poem.


  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ed lawrence and Sweepy (A D Joyce), Lisa Brandel. Lisa Brandel said: Sweepy WRITES! Poetry by Consensus (Opinions Needed) – This past Saturday I went to an amazing poetry workshop. At t… http://ow.ly/1bdDw2 […]

  4. I agree with J.A. I liked both poems, but the second one had a little extra spice to it. It was mysterious. Nice project!

  5. Just popping in to let you all know I’m listening! Great comments so far, excellent points. I hope I get a few more. Keep the comments and/or votes coming!

  6. Interesting project. I would have never thought that could change up the feel of a poem so much. I like them both. However, on Insomnia I just like that first line grabbed me in a different way that (for me) was more thought provoking.

  7. jean they one of the same I like them both, one only stand as part of the whole. to gether they are one. keep writing the world will know you as a great poet

  8. Incredible how both poems are so different yet they have the same words! What an interesting project. Thank you for sharing your poetry and experinces. Of course now I want to go read some of my fav. poetry backwards and see if it’s so strikingly different!

    keep on being fabulous!


  9. Second stanza of Insomnia, I’d begin with “I” instead of “As.” Seems stronger that way. Move “as” to after “sleep.” Make sense? Lol. Enjoyed them! Liked number two better, the flow! Keep it up!

  10. looks like so far – i’m the only one for sleeping in ? great idea transposing the lines 😉

  11. I wonder if you changed the first poem to the last poem would you get similar responses as we all have a preconceived thought before assessing

    Just saying and in saying I like the second one obviously

    Cheers A

  12. Just trying to say it would have been best not to divulge your original poem…

  13. *which one was your original poem* LOL

    • I totally get it, Alejandro, and you are so right! Maybe I did introduce bias (I read scientific studies all the time for my job, I should know better!).

      But even so, I trust that everybody is giving their honest opinion!

      So, like, do you really prefer the 2nd one? :p ❤

  14. I am an insomnomaniac so I was naturally drawn to Insomnia…I just liked the way it flowed and led my mind…just a feeling I got when I read it…but I liked both poems… very well done…and any work of art created by an artist…is it ever truly “finished”?

  15. This is a fascinating exercise. I’m still finding my way around poetry and I’m beginning to get the idea of something being poetic without having the form. I’d like to say more but I’ve just found a phrase in my head that I want to use in my next assignment and, if it gets matched to here, I’ll have to prove it’s mine or be done for plagiarism! Of course, it’s ever so clever.. 🙂

    • If we’re lucky, learning is a lifelong endeavor. I thought I knew my way around a bit but this exercise taught me that there’s always more to know! Keep it up, Suzanne, you’ll be a true poetry lover yet! 😛

  16. Oooh, I really liked both poems. That is a cool idea to reverse the lines. I’ve never tried it. Anyhow, it was a tough choice, but I forced myself… and I like Insomnia slightly better. It seems a bit more powerful in that order. 🙂

  17. I find it amazing that you can take one piece of poetry and turn it around to get such a contrast. Have you tried it with any others?

    Both read really well but then you do have a exquisite way with words, so I’d expect which ever way you turn it, for it to be touching and easy to relate into someone’s own persona.

    • Thanks, SJ! No, I never tried this before and if it were not for the workshop, I probably would not have thought to about it. The entire exercise made me really think about words in relationship to each other in a totally new light.

  18. Thanks everybody for your comments! After I posted, I wanted to step back and let you take the floor with minimal interference from me.

  19. I liked this line a lot:

    True life seeps into my mattress

  20. I love poetry, I wrote a lot of it some years ago and really like Haiku poetry.
    I liked Insomnia, its strange because with similar words this one stood out for me. Interesting exercise, might try it myself.

  21. Thanks for the read, Melissa and Maureen. @Maureen, maybe you’ll take it up again? 🙂

  22. Wow! It’s amazing how switching the order totally changed the poem. I voted for “Insomnia”!

  23. Poetry is so subjective. Which one do you like best?

    This is a great exercise. I’ll have to play around with it. However, I haven’t written poetry in years.

    • @Sherri – Thanks!
      @Lynn – So true, there’s no right or wrong answer, though it’s even harder to be objective when it comes to my own words! Contrary to the consensus, I prefer Sleeping In.

  24. Hi, I found myself reading the first poem a couple of times to get the sense of it. Immediately reading the second one it resonated with me and as with all poetry I enjoy, I just felt it sink in

  25. Comparing this two poems is a bit hard….both had their own uniqueness…..involved in reading these but had read around five times to get myself crystal clear

  26. […] (A.D.) Joyce presents Poetry by Consensus (Opinions Needed) posted at Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World 4.7. This post is the result of a poetry workshop […]

  27. I tipped the scale even more for Insomnia. It was tone that tugged me. That and the line, “Odd that dawn comes early,”… An ok observation for “sleeping in” becomes a weathered ironic tell ending Insomnia.

    Neato exercise. Think I give it a shot.


  28. I love this. I have used this effect in the past, when exploring different styles… its intriguing to see, where our thoughts can take us, when we push past our initial comprehension of something…

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