Field notes on writing a poem in a day

I almost didn’t write this blog post. I had decided to include a poem but felt more and more daunted by the task at hand. This is field notes on how I went about writing a poem in a day despite doubts and fear.

A listening heart

When my life gets shattered by loss, the kind of writing I turn to is poetry. It gives my brain the task of form and rhythm and leaves my heart free to feel.

That is why I wanted to include a poem in this blog post about writing my memoir Golden Broken Ladder. Because the first thing I was able to write after losing my son in the early stages of the third trimester was a poem.

A constant challenge about writing a memoir is for the heart not to harden. I need to stay soft to write the story, but it is a demanding task when the entry and exit points are time-sensitive. I can give it my attention for an hour or two, but then I have to return to everyday life, which I also love but which requires another kind of energy.

Poetry is a generous preventive remedy for the heart not to harden. And a quick entryway in and out of the time slots for writing.

It is so because it dials into the art of listening. I had a busy mind yesterday. Too much noise, not enough listening. The poem was so far away that I thought I might as well experiment today.

The experiment – field notes on how to write a poem in a day

When confused or lacking inspiration I always turn to books. So the first thing I did was to go to my bookshelves and pick two books. A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver and Seven Thousand Ways to listen by Mark Nepo

I get inspired when I learn something new and who better to learn from than the poet Mary Oliver. I read a couple of chapters and then my plan was to meditate but instead I turned to the other book. When I started to read I got so excited that I skipped the otherwise planned meditation and wrote a page of first thoughts.

If you want to ease into your writing go to this writing session.

Then my daughter needed me, and I cuddled with her for about an hour. I went back to the notebook and wrote the first part of the poem.

Often my writing benefits from a walk in nature but this time the walk showed up in the poem and writing it became a kind of meditation.

Now for the poem

First of all, I don’t know how to write poetry. When writing down poems in my notebook, I hear a rhythm when I recite them to myself, but I am painfully aware that I don’t know the craft of building a proper poem.

The things I have going for me is a sensitive soul and some sense of rhythm when it comes to language.

so here it goes

Numbed out with

the no in noise

I go to the woods

to find a poet

with the so in sound


by the bark of trees

My hand falls on a


yielding yes

Tina Ming

Listen below

field notes on writing a poem in a day

I hope my field notes on writing a poem in a day inspires you to write your own.

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