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5 Tips for Writing Idylls

An idyll is a short poem that creates a story and paints a picture of everyday life, while making things that at first seem simple much more important. In a world that always seems to be moving so fast, this type of poem is great because it helps the poet and the reader to appreciate the small things in life. Sometimes, you just need to stop and smell the roses! Here are some of our poets' idylls, and hereare some tips to get you started writing an idyll of your own:

  1. It’s a Little Picture: The word “Idyll” comes from the Greek word “Eidyllion” which means “little picture.” Since this type of poem is small but creates a distinct scene, the title simply defines its format. Most often, these poems describe the countryside, but the main goal of an idyll is to make the reader feel at peace. So, feel free to write about any part of nature that makes you feel relaxed. Maybe this special place is a meadow, a garden, the ocean, or even just a secret place out of your imagination!
  2. Nice. Peaceful. Nature: Pick a nature scene, either real or imagined. Maybe this special place is a meadow, a garden, the ocean, or somewhere in your mind. Describe it in detail. Details help the idyll’s theme of taking time to enjoy everyday life. How does this scene look when you first picture it? What makes this environment so peaceful to you? Find the colors, smells and textures that stand out. Use those five senses!
  3. Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Discover who is a part of your scene. Add characters to create a new story based off of the picture of the environment you have already described. Write about yourself, friends, family, someone dead, alive, or even imagined! How do the characters interact and relate to the scene? Describe the characters’ actions instead of using dialogue. Keep it short.
  4. The cow goes moo. Depending on what scene you’ve chosen, think about the animals that would be there and why. How do these animals interact with each other, with the characters? Describe even the tiniest details, like how the animals move and what colors they are.
  5. Make it Picture Perfect. A great poem loves a great picture (especially on PowerPoetry.org). Draw a picture, take a photo on your phone, or find one online that could go with your poem.
  6. Share it. Seriously, if a tree (in an idyll) falls and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Of course not! So please add your poem to share it with your Power Poetry community.


The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds's swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the Rocks,
Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow Rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing Madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of Roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of Myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty Lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and Ivy buds,
With Coral clasps and Amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The Shepherds’ Swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

 

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