“If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Many (dare I say most?) poems call attention to details, or as Irene Latham says, “Explode the moment.”  Many poets pay close attention to the visual details around them to gain inspiration for their poetry.  They observe and stash away snippets.  Then they are deviled by the details of sorting through the scraps of words that they have collected and stitching them together into a beautiful poem.

I have a “detail noticing” challenge for you, but first some background: when I was little, my mother would occasionally buy Games Magazine for me.  My favorite puzzle was a series of extremely close-up photographs.  The challenge was to identify the depicted object with just that visual snippet of information.  Through the magic of cropping, I present to you a series of such photos.  Feel free to guess the subject of each picture.  Observing the tiny details helps!

If you'd like a clue or two:

  1. Sipper
  2. Ache preventer
  3. Protector
  4. I’ve always felt this way
  5. That’s just how I roll
  6. Not kidney, not jelly, not garbanzo

How many did you figure out?  In case any of these eyeball benders have you stumped, you can find the answers at the end of last week’s blog post.


Here is a wonderful example of observing details – the poem “Winter Trees” by William Carlos Williams, which starts:

        All the complicated details

        of the attiring and

        the disattiring are completed!

        A liquid moon

        moves gently among

        the long branches.

to read the rest of Winter Trees, please click here.


To see the details observed by others this Poetry Friday, please visit our poetic host Rose at Imagine the Possibilities for this week's roundup.



  • "the wise trees / stand sleeping in the cold" is such a powerful image. What a fun post, and a great way to remind us to observe the details. Thank you! I am glad you posted the answers to the image guessing. I only got #6 before the clues and then some I had to read the answers even. 
  • Well, I got three of them, but the next to last really was a surprise. My family used to love Games magazine & I still have one old copy. What a lot of fun it was! The poem is lovely, Tracey, I love his use of "attiring and/the disattiring" - wow! Thanks for a great post!
  • I love this challenge, even though I only got two right :)  The coffee beans was the easiest for me - because I LOVE coffee.
    And I also live WCM - and have talked about his plum poem in my own post today. Serendipity.
    • Serendipity indeed!  I have to agree with your version - I would definitely go for the cake!

      Edited on Friday, 15 September 2023 12:28 by Tracey.
  • Thank you for the eyeball benders, Tracey! How can you bring your game-child self to poetry?? Something to think about! Meanwhile I will send you an eyeball bender pic my brother took some years ago. xo
  • Tracey,
     How fun! I used to get Games magazine too. My mom was a teacher so we had lots of interesting reading material in the house.
    I only got two of your tiny detail photos but you are so right - paying attention to details is extremely important for poets. 
    Thanks for the challenge and your WCW poem. I've grown to really appreciate his work! 
  • Tracey, I did not fare so well on the puzzle but loved the challenge. Observation is a key to unlocking nature's bounty. Your Poetry Friday image is such a beautiful image!
  • Tracey, you begin with a couple of quite powerful quotes, then provide zoomed imagery that piques curiosity, then you top it all off with a William carlos williams poem celebrating close observation. You are right when you state that many poets are deviled by the detail. How apt...
  • What a fun post, Tracey - I was stumped by several of the photos, too. But love the challenge! I'm with the others swooning over WCW's liquid moon... thanks for sharing this, and all! 

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