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.