Monday, July 12, 2010



An Anthropomorphized Landscape?


For the past four years in one of my writing groups, we have randomly selected five or six words from the dictionary. The next meeting we try to bring something we have written which includes these words. I like the exercise, because it often triggers a person to think out of their usual groove, and often has started a poem I might otherwise not have written.


This month, we chose words that conveyed emotions, each person contributing a word. For a while now, because using metaphor does not come easily, and I tend to be way too literal, I have tried to use the words as metaphors. It is easy to speak of a person or even an animal, using an emotional word, but how do you make it metaphoric?


The way that seemed best was to assign an emotion to a landscape surrounding my character, or me, which would metaphorically reflect what the person was feeling. That is an exercise mentioned before on this blog, but the other did not suggest using emotional words, but to use the landscape to convey a mood reflecting the speaker’s emotions.


First I wrote phrases suggesting landscape elements that expressed the emotions.Then I joined them. The setting was pure fantasy, an Artisan set in a Medieval Period. It took three stanzas before I could use the words.The poem is still unfinished, so I will spare you all but the last two. I will probably call the finished piece, The Artisan.


The underlined words below were those chosen for the exercise.


At the left and to the east, a stream could

be seen cutting through the tired forest,

excitedly tearing away the roots of

wearied trees under shadowed branches

dissapointedly sinking toward the earth.

It probably ran into the same river that

passed through his village, the life-giving

source and life draining current, wearing

away its residents in endless toil and hardship.

Here, the secretive river was hidden

from view by somber mists,… an omen?

He would not go that way.


To the west the sky darkened, over

bright leafed poplars that trembled

fearfully as if anticipating doom.

The storm would overtake him, whichever

direction he chose. Hurrying, he put his things

in his oilskin pack, with tools and woolen

blanket, and headed south, toward majestic

mountains rising joyfully with promise,

where blue sky shone beyond the storm.


Writing and Images are the sole © Copyright of Ruth Zachary 2010.

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