Hello, Frank Hubeny here.
The topic today is descriptive detail. This is the part that tells the reader what the poem is about. It is how the reader will remember the poem and describe it to others.
Presenting this detail doesn’t mean there isn’t more going on in the poem. It is just the entry door to a room full of metaphor for what the poem really means which the poet doesn’t want to say explicitly and perhaps can’t say explicitly.
How the poet handles this description may motivate the reader to remember the poem and read it again.
Oddly this description doesn’t have to make a lot of sense. Here is a reading of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. .What is Jabberwocky about? It is about a son who slays the Jabberwock and brings its head home to his proud father. We know what it is about even though Carroll uses nonsense words, however, we can all imagine what the poem might be really about : rights of passage to manhood, violence and maybe even sympathy for the poor beast – or, if we knew the beast better, maybe not.
T. S. Elliot provides a famous description of April in The Waste Land: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
That five word description in the first line of April shows how powerful detail can be even when it is very simple and very brief.
I imagine that description has drawn many people to this poem who would not be reading it otherwise. Some even believe what it says. But if one is alive winter is cruel, not spring, not April. However, Elliot was not writing about those who are alive. The detail that comes in the next seven lines suggest he is imagining April from the perspective of the dead. That description using details of “forgetful snow”, “dull roots” and “dead land” draws the reader further into the poem.
But enough description of descriptive detail. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
To participate in this prompt write a poem paying attention to the descriptive detail that will tell readers what the poem is about and what you hope will hold their interest and make them want to read it again.
Post the poem on your blog. Copy the link to the post and paste it in the Mister LInky below. Read and comment on what others have linked. See how they met the challenge.
The prompt will be open for 48 hours.