There’s much to be said about what lies beyond the narrow strand of a horizon. What about the delineation that makes it so? The horizon line. In Billy Collins’ poem, he describes the potential and possibilities awakened by a simple narrow band:
You can use the brush of a Japanese monk
or a pencil stub from a race track.
As long as you draw the line a third
the way up from the bottom of the page,
the effect is the same: the world suddenly
divided into its elemental realms.
A moment ago there was only a piece of paper.
Now there is earth and sky, sky and sea.
You were sitting alone in a small room.
Now you are walking into the heat of a vast desert
or standing on the ledge of a winter beach
watching the light on the water, light in the air.
Try It: Horizon Line Poetry
Go find a sheet of paper. Any will do. Grab a pen, pencil, or a monk’s paintbrush and draw a line just as the Collins poem suggests. Look at the line you’ve drawn. Write a poem about this horizon. Where is it? Describe the landscape. What does this horizon represent?
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s form-themed poetry prompt. Here is a recent poem from Monica we enjoyed.
Global traveler, make the horizon
your aim, though mountains break the horizon.
Whether in eighty days or hours, see through it;
don’t make it opaque, the horizon.
Like Passepartout, keep your own time
whenever you overtake the horizon.
Like Aouda, remember the past,
the present, the future ache her eye’s on.
And I, like Phileas, walk with a posture
and attitude that can remake the horizon.
Photo by Patrick Jonas. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland