In his book, 'How To Write Poetry,' Paul Janeczko presents the idea of opposite poems. Paul suggests they could also be referred to as antonym poems. This is wordplay and it's fun to try.
Here are some examples Paul provides to help us see very clearly how these short little poems work.
I think the opposite of chair
Is sitting down with nothing there
What is the opposite of kind?
A goat that butts you from behind
You will notice the poems are written in rhyming couplets. They can be extended so long as you remember to write in couplets. Paul shows us how this is done.
What is the opposite of new?
Stale gum that's hard to chew
A hot-dog roll as hard as rock
Or a soiled and smelly forgotten sock
You might notice that some of Paul's opposite Poems begin with a question. The remainder of the poem answer the question posed.
Opposite poems are a challenge, but it is a challenge worth trying. Not every thing has an opposite and not every word has an easy to find rhyming partner.
It might be a good idea to begin by brainstorming a list of feelings, thoughts and objects that clearly possess opposites. Make a quick list in your writer's notebook. Adjectives are a good place to begin when looking for opposites.
Paul advises young poets not to be satisfied writing all two line Opposite Poems. Try and challenge yourself to compose a four line poem.
So, with Paul Janeczko's sound advice in my head, I had some fun creating my own opposite poems
I think the opposite of skinny
Is the bottom on my Auntie Minnie
What is the opposite of dark?
A flashlight beam- bold and stark
What is the opposite of fit
Someone who prefers to sit
The opposite of sweet, I think
Are my brother's shoes-they really stink
The opposite of underwear
Are the clothes on top, we wear out there
And if purple has an opposite
I'm certain I can't think of it
The very opposite of happy
Is someone cranky, nasty, snappy
It's screaming, yelling, don't come near
It's go away, don't want you here
The very opposite of morning
Is late at night when I start yawning
It's darkness falling around
When nightfall covers all the ground
Finally, I give you this poem by Richard Wilbur.
What is the opposite of riot?
It’s lots of people keeping quiet.
The opposite of doughnut? Wait
A minute while I meditate.
This isn’t easy. Ah, I’ve found it!
A cookie with a hole around it.
What is the opposite of two?
A lonely me, a lonely you.
The opposite of a cloud could be
A white reflection in the sea,
Or a huge blueness in the air,
Caused by a cloud’s not being there.
The opposite of opposite?
That’s much too difficult. I quit.
Opposite Poems, give them a try...