You want to make sure that all of the senses are stimulated. Although it may not be appropriate to cram it all in one poem, you should be able to describe the sights, the
sounds in the room--the shifting creak of a chair as one moves uncomfortably, the feel of something--the cloth dress under your hands or the rough surface of his face, the smells--cinnamon lingering in the air
from the mornings breakfast when she entered her home or of the Italian restaurant. Make the sensory stimuli fit the moment. What does a certain stimulus mean to you?
Roasted almonds, scent wafting from a nearby building,
Brings it back to me: the farm, the winter, the gelding.
Smells intertwined there. The horses sweat after a ride,
The manure in the barn, and my aunt cooking inside.
As a special treat on mornings cold, after working,
The gelding, given his exercise pulling or plowing,
Wed come in from the barn to a feast fit for the gods,
Steaming in the middle of the table, roasted almonds.
This example is about memories brought forth by a certain smell. This short example doesnt try to stimulate all of the senses, but for a longer poem, you should ask yourself about sensory input. What is
seen in the poem? Is there enough color? What does the scene you are describing sound like? How does it smell? Taste? Feel? Sensory perception is something that connects us. Although we may not connect the
same thoughts to a given stimulus, well all understand the sensory data in our own way.
You can write a whole descriptive poem about a single sensory stimulus. Think about the stimulus, the smell or color or sound, taste or feel, and write about what comes to mind.
Bright sunny day
Fruit, thick-skinned and fragrant
Laughter and learning
Related to the senses is a concept called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). The basic idea behind NLP is that people process information in five different, sense-oriented ways, their language helps reveal
which way they process, and you can communicate better with a person by using the language and techniques of his processing method. The processing methods are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and
gustatory. In other words, some people learn best by seeing, others learn best through hearing and stories, still others learn best through feeling and doing, some by smelling, and some by tasting. If you
stimulate all the senses, you are more likely to connect with all five types of people. Come to think of it, that may remind you of an old Cheech and Chong routine, so its best that you not step in it.
Anyway, stimulating all senses can give you a broader audience. In Appendix F: References, we list some information on where to find out more about NLP.