Try-This Tuesday: Play With Your Feelings

Every morning in grade 6, we would file into the classroom, sit at our desks like the perfect angels we were, pull out our journal books and write to a prompt written in that beautiful cursive that only elementary school teachers seem to have mastered.  That and “silent reading” after lunch were my two favourite times of the day.

It was during this activity that I was introduced to the Feeling Poem.  My teacher would give us a feeling and the following template and we had to spend journal time constructing a poem.

Here’s the template:

__(feeling)________ is a __(colour)_________.

It smells like ___________________________.

It tastes like ___________________________.

And reminds me of ______________________.

It sounds like __________________________.

_(feeling)______ makes me want to _________.

Here are my examples from 1990:

Joy is a bright pink.

It smells like a fresh bouquet of flowers.

Photo Credit: Taslim Jaffer

It tastes like a delicious watermelon.

And reminds me of vacations.

It sounds like a sweet melody on the piano.

Joy makes me want to sing.


Anger is bright red.

It smells like the City Dump.

It tastes like hot, hot pepper.

And reminds me of a kettle boiling.

It sounds like a huge wave hitting the rocks.

Anger makes me want to scream real loud.


Today I might write about those feelings a little differently, having gained a few years of experience with joy and anger since then.  In fact, there are endless poems about each feeling waiting to be written.  So, your task this week is to sit with a feeling – maybe the one you are feeling in the moment – and consider it with each of your senses as this poem prompts you to do. 

The benefits of this simple task are numerous.  Here are some:

  • It will give you a chance to explore an emotion that you may otherwise overlook, bury or pay little attention to.
  • Spending time with your emotions is one part of a balanced, healthy life.
  • It will bring out your creative side as you dive into that part of you that is bursting to express itself.
  • It can give you some insight into the sights, sounds, smells etc that you attach to a particular feeling.
  • It is FUN!  Isn’t that enough of a reason?

If you have a school-aged child, why not try this activity with them?  You can each write your own poems and share them.

I’ll log this task with the other Tuesday Tasks.  Have fun with it and do it often – they can be a healthy, creative addiction!

14 thoughts on “Try-This Tuesday: Play With Your Feelings

  1. Good Exercise, I will have to do this with my teenage daughters, to get them more in touch with their feelings and emotions. Nothing is harder for a teenage girl, than expressing emotions in a safe environment. Thank you for sharing this GEM!!

    1. That’s a brilliant idea – I hope you all enjoy it together! And I agree – I wouldn’t go back to my teenage years for anything. They’re lucky you are providing them with the safe environment – you are right, it is needed!

  2. I totally remember the journal entries we wrote each morning in Ms. Espenant’s class (still one of my favourite teachers of all time).

    I don’t remember this particular prompt, though.

    Wow, this brings back a tonne of memories. 🙂

    Do you remember the monthly compliments we wrote to our classmates? And then we stuck them into our scrapbook?

    Next time I’m back in Vancouver, I’m totally digging out my old school stuff and going to look through it.

      1. She DID have a lot of things right. That was definitely a special year and magical class! … and I think this Maya Angelou quote truly reflects her:

        “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

        I don’t necessarily remember all the things we learned that year in Math, French or Social Studies but I will always remember how she made us feel and how she made us really love EVERYBODY in our whole class.

        Thanks for the trip down memory lane TJ 🙂

  3. Great – thanks for spreading the word! I have a writing prompts page too that may help with the journalling. I hope your son enjoys it – what a great way to explore the abstract by attaching concrete ideas! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hi Anisa! I think, like with most things, practice makes it easier. Possibly, the emotions that are more difficult to express are the ones we need to spend the most time with. Good luck and enjoy the process!

  4. Oh Ms Espenant!! I still talk about her and think of her to this day! Hyedie, that quote is so perfect to describe her and the class. Do you remember at the end of the year she wrote a compliment for each one of us? I had it laminated and it stayed on my wall in my bedroom from grade 6 until my mom redecorated the room after I left for university! I think I still have some of the other projects we did in that class too. I wonder what happened to her…? Thanks for the memories Taslim!

    1. That class was truly special. Sydelle, are you referring to when everyone had to vote on an award for each person in the class while that person stepped out of the room? I remember at the time being bummed about receiving the award for “human dictionary” – I would have preferred “nicest hair” or something 🙂 But, hey, it all worked out in the end 😉 Hope you’re doing well! Thanks for your comment!

  5. It fact Taslim, I was so inspired I couldnt wait till tonight, so here is my off-the-cuff Feelings Poem:)
    Happiness is a shimmering light
    It smells like mama’s home-made bread
    it tastes like butter and whipped cream on a cool summer’s night
    and reminds me of my childhood.
    it sounds like a chorus of nightingales awakening the day.
    happiness makes me want to sing!.

    Thank you Taslim, what a nice way to fuel the muse and while away time. Have a happy day!

    1. Ntathu!! This is fabulous!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem! You know what’s the next best thing to writing your own feelings poem? Reading someone else’s and weaving your way through all the senses brought up by someone else’s words. I needed a reminder of summer today and this is it! Enjoy your day and stop by again!

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