Poem Tryout: Can You Taste It?

18 Jun

8:32 a.m. — San Antonio

not listening to anything ’cause I don’t have a music set-up here — won’t be listening all summer: woe is me

toast and coffee

toast and coffee

Hullo, all. Yes, I did, amongst the laundering and packing, forget to post last Thursday for Friday. It may happen a couple of times, in which case go to the latest link I have for a site and explore from there.

We started our re-look at sensory imagery with smell, and trying to capture scents in words. Not easy, but here’s a harder one: taste.  A great deal of what we taste is a matter of smell. Try eating something when you have a cold or when you are holding your nose. You will find that what you eat seems almost tasteless, simply because you cannot smell it. Since we can only taste four different true tastes (sour, sweet, salty, bitter), it is smell that lets us experience the complex, mouth-watering flavours we associate with our favourite foods.

sweet and sour by Paul

sweet and sour by Paul

Wine and food experts cannot work if they have colds. Their sense of smell is more highly developed, thus they can taste. Have you ever listened to a wine person talking about the taste of chocolate, with a hint of tobacco and an aftertaste of blackberry, and all you taste is red wine? Their taste receptors can distinguish the different shades of taste.

Try the test yourself. Pick something to taste, like a pickle, and holding your nose tight, see what happens.

“What does a pear taste like?”
“Don’t you know?”
“I want to know what it tastes like to you.” Nicholas Cage City of Angels

What words do we associate with taste? salty, sweet, sour, bitter, nutty, fruity, spicy, bland… what else?

List your favourite foods. Try for 25.

List your most hated foods. Try for 25.

pretzel by Marcus

pretzel by Marcus

Next to each jot the taste. If you feel particularly creative and exploratory, try for what they taste like, as opposed to what the flavour is. If you find coffee bitter, fine. Now, what does coffee taste like to you? Sometimes the comparison leads to synesthesia, a mixing of the senses. Coffee tastes like the smell of road tar. If you have specific associations with any of the tastes, jot your recollections for a few minutes. They may lead to something.

Now, list as many tastes as you can think of… no, this time, not food. Haven’t open_envelope_4976you ever tasted non-food things? Stamps, envelopes, your skin, toothpaste, your pet’s fur, someone’s cheek, medicine, metal…How many non-food things can you come up with?

Again, if your memory associates events, people, stories, jot them down.

Pick three or four of the items you have listed above and describe how they taste WITHOUT mentioning the item.

whole and crushed chili

whole and crushed chili by Paul

Now list some of the things that surround you; speculate on and imagine the taste of some of them. Describe how they taste WITHOUT mentioning the item.

Choose one of the items in your lists and expand on it,


connect several together to form a poem you can taste.


go with something that popped up while you were jotting. You were jotting, right?

I salivated through this whole post. All the gorgeous photographs I had to look through. Enjoy tasting. As Ray Bradbury says, “Savour them in your mouth, try them on your typewriter.”

I might see you Friday for a Freeforall. Depends how long my yearly checkup takes. I will see you next Tuesday for a definition poem.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 18/06/2013 in exercises, poetry, writing


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8 responses to “Poem Tryout: Can You Taste It?

  1. Pamela

    18/06/2013 at 1:12 pm

    New digs I see, Margo. Very nice. Glad to see you have arrived safely to your destination. I love this prompt and am going to attempt it in the next few days.


    • margo roby

      16/07/2013 at 6:46 pm

      Pamela! I miss you, woman.

      I paid for an upgrade to keep ads off the blog. That allows me to play with whatever theme I have. I had great fun playing with the colour. I shall change for the Fall 🙂

      I hope you are resting, enjoying life… I know you and Marlene continue and I am fascinated by the influence she has on the poetry you have written since starting her saga.


  2. Misky

    19/06/2013 at 7:26 am

    Here’s mine. I can’t see how this work for the prompt because it doesn’t lend itself to what it actually is … but never mind …

  3. julespaige

    19/06/2013 at 3:10 pm

    This is where the prompt lead…
    I think the only directions I might have followed was to not use the actual words for describing ‘taste’.

    • margo roby

      16/07/2013 at 6:40 pm

      Jules, you are a light in my life 😀


    20/06/2013 at 6:08 am

    This was me, yesterday: I’m not very good at this synaesthesia stuff!


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