One way, is "Can they write a list?" This may sound silly, but the greatest poets can write a poem that looks as if they were going shopping for groceries while making you see, taste, and feel a whole host of emotions. Here are two examples.
First up, Langston Hughes. How many ways can you say shades of brown while making the reader view them as real, vibrant women?
Have you dug the spill
Of Sugar Hill?
Cast your gims
On this sepia thrill:
Brown sugar lassie,
Sweet enough to eat.
Coffee and cream,
Out of a dream.
Or cocoa brown,
Pride of the town.
In Harlem’s no lack.
Glow of the quince
To blush of the rose.
To cinnamon toes.
Virginia Dare wine—
All those sweet colors
Flavor Harlem of mine!
Walnut or cocoa,
Let me repeat:
Caramel, brown sugar,
A chocolate treat.
Coffee and cream,
Licorice, clove, cinnamon
To a honey-brown dream.
All through the spectrum
Harlem girls vary—
So if you want to know
beauty’s Rainbow-sweet thrill,
Stroll down luscious,
Delicious, fine Sugar Hill
If you must mourn the loss of your dearest love, you might want to list all the
things that will no longer be needed and all the preparations that must be
made for the funeral.
W. H. Auden
1907 - 1973
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.