Winter Solstice brings to mind the contrast between light and dark. Today is the shortest day of the year, not in terms of the number of hours, but rather, the disparity between the length of day and night.

Contrast is an gadget in the artist’s toolbox: contrast in terms of value, which is how much white or black is mixed into a color.

The painter also chooses colors that play off of one another or shapes that are organic or geometric—soft, rounded edges vs. linear, straight edges.


Differences in textures, smooth or rough, also create dissimilarity.


Contrast creates visual excitement and adds interest to the art. Without it, a painting would appear monotonous.

How can we employ this device used by artists to enliven our writing, whether prose or poetry? Consider novels you may have read (and, perhaps, abandoned) in which the characters are all similar in temperament (boring!). How about dialogue that lacks distinguishing characteristics, so much so that you are not able to tell who is speaking?

To apply the concept of contrast to poetry, we can create a list of opposites. Here are just a few:


It’s apparent that the substance of our lives is woven of contrasting emotions and experiences. Without the one, we would not recognize the other. Without sorrow, would we know joy?

For today’s prompt, I invite you to select a pair of opposites from the above list, or chose your own and paint your own chef d’oeuvre in words.

To participate:
• Write your poem and post it on your blog or website.
• Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
• Include your name and the direct URL to your submission.
• Visit other word-artists and comment on their work.
• Return visits to those who have commented on your poem.

For an example of a well-known work that features contrast, I’ve chosen this from the Public Domain:

Fire and Ice
Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

For dVerse Poets, I’m Victoria C. Slotto, wishing you and your loved one a joyous holiday season.