Wordsmith Wednesday–Sensory Description: Sight

Eyes of the predator

Image by piyushthacker via Flickr

Perhaps the most obvious and available sense for most of us is the sense of sight. You will find that visual descriptions in good poetry or prose abound. They are crisp and detailed. In prose, many of us use sight as a break in dialogue so that the reader will not become bored with back-and-forth bantering between characters. Visual stimuli often lend themselves to metaphors or similes, as well.

We spoke before about the usefulness of maintaining a writing journal, of taking the time to jot down particulars of things we notice throughout the day. A number of my poems have emerged in this way–especially those taken from nature. That’s a bonus of those almost-daily walks along the river with the dogs. Take note of what you see.

Another useful practice is to clip images from magazines or save photos in a computer file that will rouse the muse. I have an index box of these and when I have trouble jump-starting my writing, I can turn to my box and randomly pull out an index card with the attached image to get the words flowing.

For today’s prompt, I’d like you to take a moment, glance around you and focus on something you will describe in detail. Go outside if you prefer, or go anywhere…just latch on to a piece of your environment, or a person, and describe it in poetry or prose.

If you like, take it a step further and use your observations to create a metaphor or analogy as I have in this poem:


He sits, unmoving,
front and center:
elderly, rough-hewn, used.

Dark striae traverse his visage
like ripples of a lake
kissed by wind.

Crumbs of food settle within
the crevices of his face.
Glassy eyes reflect candle-glow.

A crumpled sports page rests
on his lap beside the TV remote.
Scratches mar his skin.

He bears the weight of years,
unnoticed most of the time,
rarely caressed by loving hands.

He’s watched our lives unfold.
Strong, like us,
Our coffee table endures.

Ooops. Forgot Mr. Linky. You know the routine.

11 thoughts on “Wordsmith Wednesday–Sensory Description: Sight

  1. dragonkatet says:

    That was a good article about using sight to jump start the muse. And I HAD to grin when I learned that your poem was about a coffee table! 😀 Thank you for showing me something special in an object I definitely take for granted! Photo-bucket and Webshots are two more good sites for pretty amazing images from everywhere. 🙂


  2. Wow I never thought I would feel such emotional over a coffee table 🙂
    There are so many beautiful lines here, I can’t pick just one!
    It’s funny but the objects that endure the years and memories with us start to absorb a little of us.


  3. Morning says:

    your description is always live and beautiful.

    did write the 2nd part of the story, fiction, hard to please all.

    read it if you are curious.


  4. zongrik says:

    Hector and the Hawk definitely fits this. I heard Hector barking excessively and without end, and came out to see what it was he was barking at. I saw a hawk perched on the fence, and took a picture. Hector’s expression is priceless. He just couldn’t understand why the Hawk was not afraid of him and would not leave his territory despite his scary bark.


  5. Ravenblack says:

    A good coffee table should endure. I’ve never seen character being in the metaphor of a coffee table, and this is very good. 🙂

    Nice article. Sometimes all you need to do is to describe something as is, in detail, and a poem emerges.

    Flickr is a great place to find visual inspiration. I truly urge people to join the site even if they don’t have pics to share. You can follow the work of those you like, and find groups that take a pictures every day.

    Most mobile phones have cameras, and actually getting into the habit of looking for subjects to snap with your phone is a way of looking for things to write about as well.


  6. hobgoblin2011 says:

    Exceptional piece, great detailing, great word choices. I’ll have to try and come up with something later on or tomorrow if I can. Thanks, great read:)


  7. […] Wordsmith Wednesday – Sensory Description: Sight (liv2write2day.wordpress.com) […]


  8. Mohana says:

    Beautiful write.
    I am not very sure about mine tonight…still linking it.
    Thanks, Victoria 🙂


  9. Mama Zen says:

    What gorgeous writing!


  10. Phil says:

    I really enjoy how you bring an inanimate object to life with your words and that sensory gift of sight put to focused use. The senses are such a great gift. It’s a pity we don’t use them to a greater extent, really taking in our world.

    To quote Yogi Berra, “You can observe a lot just by watching…”


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