How to Write Poems About Feelings
by Bruce Lansky

Some of the best poems ever written are about feelings. You may want to write poems about your feelings, but perhaps you don’t know how to begin.

Here’s a good way to get started:

  1. On a piece of paper, write "sad," "mad," and "happy." Now add as many feelings as you can to the list. If you’re stumped for feelings, have a friend or two brainstorm with you. Sometimes two (or three) heads are better than one!
  2. Choose one feeling from the list.
  3. Write down your answers to one of the following questions:
  • When do I feel [insert feeling]?
  • Why do I feel [insert feeling]?
  • How does it feel to be [insert feeling]?

Your answer will become the poem, although you may want to revise and polish the poem as needed. What will make the poem work best is if it tells a story or if people can learn something about you from the poem. Often it’s easier to write about feelings in free verse—which means you don’t have to worry about rhythm and rhyme patterns. Just write whatever comes to mind.

Here’s an example:

I feel miserable when…

  • I have a big math test coming up so I have to study instead of watching my favorite TV show
  • My mother doesn’t believe I have a fever, so I can’t stay home and miss a big math test I didn’t study for
  • My teacher doesn’t believe I have a fever and refuses to send me to the school nurse until after the math test
  • I get a "D" on the math test

Bruce Lansky © 2002


Here’s another example that answers two questions: "When do I feel happy?" and "What is it like to feel happy?"

When Santa brings me the toy I wanted most for Christmas I’m so happy I feel like:

  • Singing at the top of my lungs
  • jumping in a mud puddle (too bad it’s December and the puddle is covered with ice)
  • raiding the cookie jar and eating all the cookies
  • playing with my new toy all day and not letting my bratty little brother touch it for a single second (which, as I recall, is why my parents took away my favorite Christmas toy last year and hid it from me for one whole week)

Bruce Lansky © 2002


Finally, here’s an example of a finished poem about what happens when you feel a little dazed and confused after a kiss:


I climbed up the door and
I opened the stairs.
I said my pajamas
and buttoned my prayers.

I turned off the covers
and pulled up the light.
I’m all scrambled up since
she kissed me last night.

© 1996 by Bruce Lansky, reprinted from My Dog Ate My Homework published by Meadowbrook Press.

Note: If writing poems about feelings brings up some confusing feelings or issues, talk to your parents or teacher. It may help to have a comforting, supportive person who can help you sort out what’s on your mind.


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