The real thing: not sugar that looks like salt

“Your stories matter” said the poet. “They are how you make yourself known to others. They are a way of stretching out your hand to someone else.”

Damian says that the mistake most newbie poets make is that they feel they must use big, important words because the everyday ones don’t feel worthy of a poem. He says exactly  the opposite is true. Pare down your words and syllables to reveal the essence of your poem–touch other people by using words and expressing feelings they can understand.

The students at our Creative English camp listened–and then they wrote. Here are just a few of their original poems.

rimaGive Your Heart Voice

Trust them who really trust you

It’s not sugar that looks like salt

It’s secrets you need to tell

It’s feelings you need to feel

If your soul wants to scream

Then sing with your mouth

The melody of your song will give your heart voice.



miren1I’d like to teach the world to sing 

To sing in a really crazy way

To teach everyone to dream

I hope you know what I actually mean.

I saw the stars that crystalised in your eyes

They told me the first lullaby your mom sang for you.

I heard the voice of your feelings when they rose.

Don’t worry. Just dream.

Everything is for you.

Let’s travel to childhood with me

Let’s play with balloons and fly to the moon

Let’s imagine colors that have never been seen

And wander the world without leaving the room.



And then from Elen and Tatev, poems for a mother–and a motherland.


Damian is used to working with great writers–and writers of real promise. Most of the students he encourages are writing in their first language and he works with them intensively, sometimes for months and months. These young women are all writing in their third language, and spent maybe three hours with our Poet-In-Residence. When they posted their work on Facebook, it did my heart good to see their description:My First Poem.

Keep going Girls!

The final word of course must go to Damian himself. He shared one of his own poems with the students–like me, he truly believes their time is now.


And a time comes
When your time comes;
When Fear can’t stay immense
And takes a chair, like everybody else.

A time comes
When you conjure strength
Like water out of air,
A thing you didn’t even know
Was there.

A time comes
When you find a voice
You find to be your own;
You raise it, like a sail,
And head for home.

A time comes when you know
That it’s not normal to be numb;
A time comes when you know
A time will come …


About Liz Barron

Returned US Peace Corps Volunteer (Armenia 17-19). Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger, cook, painter, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveller.
This entry was posted in Armenia, Armenian writers, creative writing, Cross-cultural understanding, Damian Gorman, family, Hanna Huntley, know thyself, Learning, life lessons, love of words, National pride, Poet In Residence, Poetry, public speaking, story-telling, Summer camp, Teaching, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, Writing, Writing Workshop, young women, Youth. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The real thing: not sugar that looks like salt

  1. Paul Prentiss says:

    Simply marvelous!


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