Lillian here, delighted to host Tuesday Poetics again.
The other day, while walking along the Charles River here in Boston, I got to looking at all the green trees and grass, feeling the sun’s rays and soft breeze. And then I thought about the same walk I took last winter….tree skeletons with a bit of snow still attached from snow squalls earlier that day. And it made me realize…..perhaps one reason why we have the sense of enjoyment is because we experience opposites.
Opposites. As simple as cold/hot; happy/sad; inside/outside. Or as complex as looking at one event or object from two different perspectives. Remember the old tale about the blind men and the elephant? Each man touches and feels a different part of the elephant: one the tusk, another a foot. Their descriptions of the same animal differ to the extreme. We can talk about opposing view points or opposite personalities. Some even say that opposites attract.
The literary device of “antithesis” places two opposite ideas together in a sentence for example, to achieve a contrasting effect. One of the greatest examples of antithesis, in my opinion, comes in the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. Alexander Pope effectively used antithesis in An Essay on Criticism: To err is human, to forgive divine.
So today, I give you wide latitude in how you use the literary device of antithesis / opposites. Write one poem that includes words that have opposite meanings. OR write two short poems about one event: each written from a different perspective or voice. OR take a well known nursery rhyme or parable and rewrite it in the opposite. Be humorous OR serious (two opposites there!). Instead of There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, make it a man! Some posts will be obvious in how “opposites” are included as in two opposite words in one sentence. In some cases, you might need a short note of explanation at the end of your post, telling us how you’ve used antithesis or opposites. Perhaps you’ve written about one scene in two ways to achieve two different moods. Use your imagination here – it’s all up to you!
We should have many different takes on this prompt. It’s wide open — as long as you somehow employ antithesis or something/s that is/are opposite. I’m definitely looking forward, not backwards, to your posts!
As always, please do observe the “rules of conduct” for dVerse – and for those of you new to dVerse, here’s what we hope everyone does:
- Write a poem that somehow includes opposites as the prompt suggests, and post to your blog.
- Click on Mr. Linky below to add your name and enter the direct URL to your poem
- On your blog, please provide a link back to dVerse. This enables others to enjoy our prompts, multiples our readers and thus the responses to everyone’s poems.
- If you promote your poem on social media, use the tag #dverse poets
- And most importantly, please do read some of the other responses to the prompt and add a short comment or reaction. Everyone likes to be appreciated! The prompt is “live” for several days – as you’ll notice by the comments you’ll receive – so do stop by another day and read a few of the latecomers too!