A poem is a plaything:
a novel arrangement
of fidgety bits, shaped edges,
and vivid colours.

You want to feel
its movement,
teetering top
to bottom,
leaning left
and right.

It lights up in your hands
and rattles like pebbles
in aluminum cans
when you hold it above your head
and shake it
to see if anything falls out.

You turn it over
between curious fingers
and a twirling tongue,
let your teeth get a taste of it,
carve off bitter slivers
and spit them out.

You set it spinning
on the kitchen tile of your mind
and sit there for hours,
happy to watch it go.


I’m trying this new thing where I stop prefacing pieces and let the work speak for itself, providing context or background only at the end (if at all).

I really like this depiction of a poem as something physical yet unconstrained, something that you can tinker with, tear apart, and piece back together. I want to experiment with physical manifestations of poems, sort of like I started to do for the picture at the top of this post. Obviously, that picture is primarily there to create a visual cue for the poem, but could you actually use a paper fortune teller to write a poem? What would that poem be? How would you share it? How would it be read?

I want to play around with these questions (and others like them) in my work, and I think that sort of play is precisely what excites me most about poetry. Both author and reader get to play like kindergartners in a sandbox, working with the same materials to construct completely different things, limited only by their imaginations.

Author: Mitchell

I'm 22 and currently pursuing my MA in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.

2 thoughts

  1. I love this! You’re right – a poem is something free and unconstrained. I guess that’s one of the primary reasons it’s such a good way to express yourself. Nicely penned!


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