A poem of wishes

A Poem of Wishes (text version)

I love imagining that certain poems could bring things into being, make things happen. As one year ends and another begins, here is a way to play with wishes towards a poem.

Write a list of things you wish for. Make some of them small and some big. Include at least one thing that seems petty.

I wish to make a sandcastle this summer
I wish to be safe on my cycle to work
I wish my cat would never get fleas

Choose one of your wishes. The one you most feel like playing with right now.

What words would you use to make this wish? To make it work? Freewrite for 3-5 mins. It may help to use a repeated ‘wish’ word like ‘May’ or ‘Let’.

By ‘Freewrite’, I mean write without worrying about spelling, grammar or punctuation; without worrying about whether you are doing it
‘right’ or if the writing is ‘good’.

Underline/highlight lines or words that stand out to you. Start to arrange them in an order, towards a poem. At this stage, you might want to read or listen to some of the poems below.

Suggested reading/listening

Wishes for Sons by Lucille Clifton
A playful poem with bite.
Read or Watch/Listen

The Dream of a Lacquer Box by Kimiko Hahn
A poem filled with small objects, wishes and the people they conjure.
Read or Listen

Oh I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth by Pam Ayres
A regretful wish with cracking rhymes.
Listen or read

The Wishing Tree by Kathleen Jamie
A stunning poem of place, written from the tree’s perspective.
Listen or read