Good poetry harnesses the sounds of words, as well as their meanings. Consider the sound of the word “twinkle.” The very sound of the word is a twinkling.

by Jacki Kellum

Twinkle twinkle in the night,
Glitter, glimmer kind of light,
Sparkle, shimmer, winking sight,
Twinkle, twinkle in the night.

Contrast the word “twinkle” with the word “glare.”

by Jacki Kellum

Glare, glare in the air,
Blaring beacon brilliant flare,
Casting shadows everywhere,
Glare, glare in the air.

The meanings of the words “twinkle” and “glare” are different, but their sounds are different, too, and the sounds of the words contribute greatly to our reactions.

The other day, I was looking for a free musical piece that twinkled. I wanted it for a digital movie that I was making. Jamendo is a site that has free musical pieces for this sort of thing, but it is difficult to find exactly what you want.  There is a search feature on the site, and in order to search, I entered several words or phrases that I felt captured the spirit of the music that I wanted. I don’t remember every term that I searched, but I do remember entering the word”twinkle” and the phrase “music box.” Something that twinkles has a kind of music-box feeling about it. The twinkle of an eye is not a glare or a stare. A twinkling of an eye is like a lyrical flutter–with a bit of pixie dust splashing about. It is a blinking, flickering glance. On the other hand, a glare is cold and hard and frozen in place, and the word itself is frozen and hard. The word itself does not flutter. The word “twinkle” does flutter.

It is hard to explain this, but listen to the following music that twinkles. The music itself twinkles, and the sounds of the twinkling evoke feeling–regardless of the language used:

In all 12 of the following va of Twinkle, Twinkle, Mozart recreates the essence of stars:

All of our writings are improved when we can capture sounds–especially when we can harness sounds that evoke feeling, but a scrutinous use of sound is essential in writing poetry.

©Jacki Kellum September 7, 2016