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11 Words From Other Languages To Inspire Your Next Great Poem

Do you feel like writing a poem but don't know where to begin? These 11 poetry ideas have been curated to challenge your writing skills whilst inspiring poems rich in culture and revolving around the feeling of being human. Use these poetry writing prompts to hone your craft and write a poem you're proud of.


11 Words From Other Languages To Inspire Your Next Great Poem. Text against an image of one portion of the globe
Image by Sigmund on Unplash. Created with Canva

Each of these words or phrases have wonderful meanings and are beautiful by themselves. You can either write a poem by expanding on the meaning, by using these words as a title, or by finding other creative ways to incorporate them into your writing.


1. Japanese - Koi No Yokan - 恋 の 予感

the premonition of love


This is the feeling when you meet someone and know you're going to fall in love with them some day. It isn't a case of 'love at first sight'. It's the premonition of love. Write a poem inspired by this beautiful emotion.


2. French - l'appel du vide

the call of the void


This is the impulse to jump off a tall building, into a void even though you are not suicidal. This article by Healthline gives a scientific reason behind it and when to get help. According to research, we experience this as an affirmation of the urge to live.


If you've experienced this before, write a poem on your encounters with this occurrence. You can also write a poem with either the French or English phrase as the title.


A pair of feet dangling off a tall building
Image by Nathan Ziemanski on Unsplash


3. Russian - pochemuchka - почемучка

a curious child who keeps questioning things, who keeps asking 'why?'


Children are constantly inquisitive, learning and navigating the world in their own unique ways. Write a poem inspired by a child you know. What are some of the questions you've heard this child ask?


Why does my birthday come around only once a year? The grasshopper is green, why is it green? Where does God live? Is all this real?


Focus on the curiosity of a child and the way children navigate this world with their innocent eyes in your poem. How does the world look through their lens?


4. Arabic - Al-sarab - السَّرَاب

A mirage


Write a poem about a mirage your speaker sees. What is the image their mind conjures? Is there a deeper meaning to the image your speaker is seeing? What causes the speaker to see this mirage? Find answers to these questions and craft a poem.



The supposed mirage of a girl
Image by Jossuha Théophile on Unsplash

5. Urdu - Raabta - رابطہ

an inexplainable connection felt between two people


Soulmates, being connected by the red string of fate, twin flame--however you want to term it, the connection these two people feel is what raabta is. Write a poem in which you attempt to capture this beautiful emotion on paper with your words. Have you had a similar experience of being connected with someone? It could be platonic or romantic. Write a poem inspired by it.


6. Persian - Khwaja - خواجه

Lord or Master


Khwaja is actually an honorific title used particularly towards Sufi teachers but is also used to refer to God.


I strongly encourage you to listen to this song, Khwaja Mere Khwaja, with your eyes closed and headphones on. Although this song is not entirely in Persian (it is also not a strict Sufi and only Sufi-like, hence called a Sufiyana) it conveys a sense of the divinity this single word holds--Khwaja.


After this, write a poem. It could have a religious theme or take a turn inspired by how you feel after you listen to this song.



7. Tamizh - zhagaram - ழகரம்

the unique zh sound


The beauty of the Tamizh language is its zh sound. Although written in English with a Z and H it is pronounced entirely different. To pronounce this sound, try saying 'rrrrr' or a word beginning with R. Note the position of your tongue. Now repeat the same but without touching the upper pallate with your tongue. If done correctly, you've figured out the pronounciation of the zh.


Expand on the idea of unique syllables in languages to inspire a metaphor to aid in your poem.


Another idea is to write an entire poem focusing on each syllable of a particular word. This word could be someone's name, a place, or something that holds significance in your life.


8. Mandarin - rěn - 忍

to endure


This article beautifully explains the hanzi of the word rěn. Quoting the article, 'When we take the components apart, the top portion 刃 is blade while the bottom portion is 心 or heart'.


I found this very beautiful because this paints the picture of a blade piercing through a heart and yet, we hold onto it, we endure the pain for a reason. This could be used as a metaphor in your poem.


A neon red outline of a human heart
Image by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

9. German - Heimat

Homeland


Everyone has a strong sense of patriotism and affection for their motherland. Where are you from? Which place comes to your mind when you think of 'home'? Write a poem describing this place. Alternatively, write a poem assessing the relationship you have with this land. Explore the various ways you could expand your idea of what 'heimat' is to you and compose a poem out of it.


10. Greek - philoxenia - φιλοξενία

Hospitality


Hospitality is a significant virtue in ancient Greek culture (and many others). Can you recall an incident when someone treated you with utmost hospitality? How did you feel? Write a poem about that experience.


BONUS: Find a group of old words in the English language which is not in use anymore and write a poem making sure you include them in your titles or lines.

11. Your native language

If you speak or know a language other than English, choose words you find poetic and craft poems inspired by them. You can incorporate words and phrases from other languages into your poems either as the title or as a part of the poem itself.


Created with Canva. Image credits to Abhishek on Unsplash and to Canva

I hope these creative writing prompts were able to give you the inspiration to write a poem. The Poetry Cove provides you with a plethora of opportunities to share your poems with kindred souls in the forum. You can even get feedback from other poets for free.


What is your favourite word or phrase? Add to this list in the comment section below!


Written by Suchita Senthil Kumar, writer creating chaos. Find her on instagram as @suchitasenthilkumar. On Twitter as @suchita_senthil. And her website is suchitasenthilkumar.wixsite.com/thearchive


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4 Kommentare


Shen Friebe
Shen Friebe
10. Sept. 2022

I second everyone else's feedback here. You have the mind of an excavationist, Suchita! It is a privilege to be provided with this kind of content. I'd like to reference a few of these in my upcoming poems, especially Khwaja.

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Adam Gary
Adam Gary
30. Aug. 2022

I feel like I say this so often in your posts @Suchita Senthil Kumar because youre constantly outdoing yourself but this is definitely the most inspiring of your prompts posts! I love it, and I love how global it is, which perfectly sums up The Poetry Cove!


well done!

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Ken LeMarchand
Ken LeMarchand
29. Aug. 2022

Thank you for curating these prompts for us, Suchita! 🤗

I've taken the liberty of using the Japanese one "Koi No Yokan" for a haibun, which can be read below:


Your serpent eyes pierce into my soul, lulling my heart into circadian rhythm. The sway, the sway, the sway. That seesaw emotion that sculpts haru from cocoons, and thrusts forth the rise of cherry blossom wings. A collision course of shapes and colours are all I see. The kaleidoscopic tunnel vision of absinthe-laced fields and strawberry-filled milky ways. An ensanguined fire that deepens as your optical illusions weld into me. And the sway, the sway, the sway takes me over. Oh, how you mesmerise! Spinning the Earth ‘round and ‘round…


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Marc  Brimble
Marc Brimble
29. Aug. 2022

Suchita

thanks so much, these are great, my favorite of your prompts so far. Very inspirational.

The french one of 'into the void¡ this is something I actually experience myself!

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