In the poem below, by William Butler Yeats, imagery of the cosmos, the intricate embroidery and its varying hues in the first half of the poem, casts a dream-like quality in just a few short words.
Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
In the next part, he reveals there is someone he considers even more resplendent than the heavens. Only a cloth woven of magnificent star stuff is worthy for his love to step on.
Exposed in his vulnerability and humility, he speaks only of wishes, longing, and sacrifice to the one he hopes to give it all to. The final line ends with a simple request, for his love to tread softly as both he and his dreams are woven into the same fabric.
This poem is one stanza consisting of eight lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD. Notice how the words which correspond (AA, BB, CC, DD) are identical.
Try It: Poetry Like Aedh’s Wishes
What are the dreams of your heart? You know, the ones you keep close to the vest. Write a poem likening your wishes and dreams to something in nature. Keep the details of your dream a secret to keep up the intrigue. Just offer a hint. What do you think are the risks of being vulnerable in sharing your deepest wishes. Is it worth it? As an additional challenge, try writing your poem with the same ABAB CDCD rhyme scheme.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Prasanta we enjoyed:
Sky Blue and Silver
close your eyes
let darkness fall upon blue seas
hold out empty hands
receive gift I would send
wrapped in transparent sky blue
tied with a sparkly, silver bow
gently pull, unravel the silver
lift the lid, open the box
tilt darkness to the sun
let light touch the shadows
a thousand pages open
rich, beautiful words flutter
your eyes glimmer silver-blue
your laughter scatters like glitter
see all that you love
drench your heart and hands
Photo by Vladimer ShioShvili. 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