Just to add to the constructive suggestions above, you may wish to try to rhyme because doing so lends the poem a more lyrical sound. If you cannot write couplets, perhaps you could alternate rhyming lines and end with a rhyming couplet.. (abab, cdcd, efef, gg)
Also, decide upon what "happy" means to you. Is it external or internal? Is it defined by material things or something spiritual, or something mental? Maybe it is not attainable? How does one attain happiness?
Then, too, you can ask questions in your poem. [Refer to Langston Hughes's "Dream Deferred" for an example of a poem that uses questions]
- Here is an example of a few lines to get you started.
What really makes people's lives content
Is often in proportion to the emotional switches
They have felt in their hearts that are rent
By those tragic moments' glitches.
For, when beauty to them life will finally send
They truly appreciate those moments that amend!
[rhyme scheme: ababcc]
(Don't forget that you can invert word order in sentences so that you ending words rhyme)
One way to start writing a poem is to pick out the structure you want it to have. Some examples are:
A couplet: where pairs of lines rhyme and have the same meter.
Haiku: a poem with three lines, each line have 5,7,5 syllables respectively.
Free verse: no structure! Other structures include limericks, sonnets, etc.
Start writing, and a poem style will come naturally. If your title is "What Makes Life Happy," maybe write about your own experiences with your journey (so far) in life, and happiness. Take apart the individual words "life" and "happy". What do you think about life? How would you define it to someone? What makes you happy? You could write about multiple moments and weave them together, or just focus on one in particular. For inspiration, listen or read to other poems. But most importantly, stay original and have fun! Hope this helps and happy writing!
Both of the above answers are sufficient, but one of the first things I tell my students is to BRAINSTORM! It may sound silly because you might be overwhelmed by this assignment, but just sit back and truly think about what it is you think makes life happy.
What Makes Life Happy?
-No School :)
What will be my purpose aside from the already given topic?
- Humor: you could make it a comical poem and discuss something the audience/readers wont expect. If you are one who might not enjoy school or the specific class-- you can poke fun at that? Seems counterintuitive, but its YOUR poem!
- Educate: Maybe you want to educate your audience on something they may know nothing about. Vacation would be a good one. Sometimes other students and adults don't get to go on vacations. Discuss things you've experienced
An easy thing to remember when producing a poem is that you do NOT need to conform to rules if you don't want to. Free Verse is a great option if you are concerned with how to fit the mold.
However, I find rhyme to be much easier. Once you nail out your first line, you can have an easier time coming up with the second.
What is happiness?
Is it measured by success or lack of emptiness?
Molds should not have to be filled.
You could be completely unskilled.
----- This is an AABB rhyme scheme.
Think about senses when coming up with this poem. What can you and the audience: see, feel, hear, taste, and smell?
*There are some great online resources available to help you come up with rhymes when you get stuck. Just write your first line, and when you end on a word, look up what rhymes with that word. It will help you a lot. (Rhyme Zone found from Google is helpful)
** The most important thing to remember is: what do YOU think makes a happy life?