Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- 3 things March 25, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:07 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On her blog @SarahDoughty prompted:

Tell me a story covering three things:

  1. a promise
  2. why you write
  3. a passion

This was my response.  Not exactly a story, but you know, brevity is an art! 🙂  What’s your response?  Go check out her blog and leave a thought.


I do; I do
release the stories,
my dreams of you.



I feel like I need to take this moment to point out what is going on in this poem, because while there are only 3 lines and eleven words, they are woven tightly using a variety of poetic technique.  First, while each line responds in order to Sarah’s 3 prompts, they also read as one sentence, so there are overlapping meanings.  Secondly, there is a pattern of 4-3-4 words.  Thirdly, repetition in the first line is quite emphatic, but provides a rhyme that tightens the ending with you.  

Fourthly, I get seriously carried away with the sound devices assonance and consonance, binding each component of the words to their fellows.  There are three vowels sounds repeated, the only out-lier is the ‘o’ in stories. e.g. I, I, my; do, do, you; release, stories, dreams; the, of.  (Reminder: assonance is repetition of a vowel sound, NOT a letter).  The consonant sounds also repeat with do, do, dreams; release, stories, dreams; release, stories, dreams; my dreams.  The the and of  are both *fricatives, and so while not exactly the same sound, the brain hears them as ‘close enough.’

Finally, that leaves  only the ‘l’ is without a partner, except visually–because I,I,l look the same, don’t they?  And of course, the lonely o from stories, visually matches the o’s in do.  In other words, every component of each word is tied somehow to the rest of the poem.  Absolutely everything fits like a tight puzzle.

Did I do any of this intentionally?  No, actually.  I just responded to the prompt, tidied it up until I liked it, and then when I copied it here, I noticed how tight it was.

*Fricatives in English are f,v, s (both s/z sounds), th (both θ and ð).


21 Responses to “poem- 3 things”

  1. cheryl622014 Says:

    Do you know, I love poetry and the dissection of it…just love it. And of course that was owing to a teacher in my 6th form before University, John Donne and T.S Elliot!

    • I’m happy to oblige! You may be interested in the Poetic Diversity Project I just completed as part of my Masters degree. While I don’t get into the figurative language, I look do some poetic analysis. The final essay is at the bottom of the page, before the comments.

      • cheryl622014 Says:

        I will, thank you.

      • cheryl622014 Says:

        Yes fascinating! I did something similar with my students when on Teaching Practice and so much comes from them. I remember marking public exams and thinking how much talent was shown and where was it going? One school said to me, “oh you won’t get anywhere with this lot,” when I decided to do poetry….I never looked back, totally humbled by what was shared. My years abroad were Jamaica and Guyana – living and teaching – profound effect which has repercussions for ever, even though my writing place can be curled up in an armchair at home or in a corner of a favourite coffee shop. Thank you.

      • Have you looked at Chicago’s Louder than a Bomb teen poetry festival? Or the slam poetry movement in general? There are so many talented voices out there.

  2. Rob McShane Says:

    Shows how strong our subconscious can be? Nice one and very clever! You’re not an English teacher by any chance? (said with tongue in cheek and A HUGE dollop of respect and humour! 🙂

  3. narble Says:

    I love the analysis.

  4. Hi, thank you for sharing, I learnt a lot by reading your post and poem! Vonita.

  5. T.R. Sanders Says:

    I love it! Especially the way you dissected the literary devices for us, only to turn on your heels at the very end to admit how none of it happened consciously! Outstanding. 🙂

    • Most writers, I think, do things subconsciously. For example, initially the second line was ‘explode the words’ but I didn’t like the image, ‘release the stories’ was gentler and more evocative. It was more satisfying. If you compare how ‘explode the words’ compares, it doesn’t fit on many levels. “Seems right” is instinctive, but when you look more closely, you can see WHY it seemed right.

      • T.R. Sanders Says:

        Most “good” writers, perhaps…I am definitely impressed with the manner in which you are able to objectively analyze and learn from your own work. I am not sure all of us are so in-tune both emotionally and academically with what we produce. It makes learning from what you do and how you do it very interesting. 🙂

      • I suppose. I am an academic, though. If I couldn’t explain WHY something works to my students, then I wouldn’t be a very good teacher. 😉

        Usually with every poem I post, I list the figurative devises found in the poem in the tags. Lots of the poems I post aren’t overly crafted so analysis would be silly, but there are a couple each week that are consciously (or subconsciously) crafted. I don’t usually provide ‘poetry lessons’ with any of them, but I could with all of them, if there was interest. I actually was considering that as part of the Poetic Diversity Project I just did, but I ended up going a different way.

  6. I love this…is so neat, simple, powerful and full of meaning!

  7. Release implies a gentle freeing of the words. Exploding denotes an involuntary demise.

  8. As always, truly wonderful work, Shawn. You put a lot of thought into everything you write and that makes everything write a step above many others.

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