My first attempts at writing poems were strained, like trying to squeeze the remains from a tube of toothpaste. I borrowed various books on the topic from the local library and purchased a couple of basic ‘how to’ books as well. One suggestion I took on board was to write down anything that came into my head without editing. This worked well and I discovered that I was able to attempt different styles of poems by employing these techniques. I felt I was starting to move in the right direction. I learned that an ode is a lyric poem, rhymed or unrhymed, in which the poet speaks to some person or thing and that it is characterised by lofty emotion.
In endeavouring to come up with something worthwhile I turned to people who had affected my life deeply. Approximately fifteen years ago, I had known a young woman who was suffering with anorexia nervosa. During a session with a hypnotherapist, it was revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by a boarder who had moved into her house and this had triggered the anorexia. She died about 10 years ago: a mere shell of her former herself. Out of one particular creative spurt, I penned The Boarder: an Ode for Danica using four-line stanzas, where the second and fourth lines rhymed. It was a compromise to full rhyme but I was thrilled with the result, even though the first drafts were awkward and seemed laboured; I then learned Danica’s grandmother had had just passed away on the same weekend I began working on the poem.