by Meg Yardley
Use this reading/ prompt to write a poem when you find yourself at a crossroads with a question or dilemma.
Light two candles.
Shuffle the cards, focusing your attention on
the dilemma you want to explore in your poem. Draw four cards and lay them face
down in a diamond layout (one on the top, two in the middle, and one on the
Turn over the bottom card. Ignore the main figure(s)
in this card and look instead at the setting, including the background. Begin
writing your poem by describing this setting, using as many senses as you can
(sight, sound, smell…). What emotion does the setting evoke in you? How does
the setting relate to your question or dilemma?
Turn over the left middle card. Look at the
primary figure in the image. Move your body into the posture or shape taken by
this figure. (You could also choose the posture of a background figure,
including an animal, plant, or a person.) What sensations come up in your body?
What does your body feel the urge to do when you are in this position? Hold
this posture for about a minute, then let go (you might shake your limbs a
little to release the posture). Write the next part of your poem describing the
experience of your body.
Turn over the right middle card. This card
represents an ally, a resource, or a refuge. It indicates something or someone
which has something to offer you. Hold the card against your heart for a minute.
Can you imagine receiving this resource, connecting with this ally, or finding
yourself held in this refuge? Write the next part of your poem describing what
that might be like.
Turn over the top card. This card represents
one possible resolution to the question or dilemma. Make a list of all the
verbs this card suggests to you. (Don’t self-censor – allow them to emerge
quickly, without thinking too much.) Write the last part of your poem using
some of these verbs. Edit your poem as you wish. Rearrange the order of the
parts if that feels right, or integrate the parts together. Remember that the
cards are just giving information that might help; they don’t have to perfectly
resolve the question or dilemma, and neither does your poem.