Sensate Exercise

Poetry Saves Lives — SUNFIRE — Six Senses Sensate Exercise

Journaling Workshop, April 22, 2017                 (c) 2017 James Ciletti

“Art is a spiritual ambassador.” Barbara Jatta, director, Vatican Art Museum

My name is:_______________________________________and I am a Sunfire Writer.

Welcome to the Sunfire Journaling Roundup. How do you think about poetry? As a group of words on a page, sometimes in your head?  What makes a snow poem a poem? Rather than a weather report?  Or perhaps both in one?  Or what happens when we create words that share the cloudy or sunny climate of our human experience? To the point, poetry is a full body experience and when we create that conversation to share with ourselves and others, we connect our intimate self with the human family and tell us what we mean to ourselves, to one another, and how we experience the fabric of our life-world.

The Judeo-Christian concept: man is created by a god in the image and likeness of god. The Greek concept: man created the gods to mirror back to us so we can know and understand who we are. Both definitions define the god or gods as a pathway to understanding who we are. In one, we are godlike, creators, in the other, the powerful mysterious gods are like us. Knowing them reveals to us who are.

The mission of the Vatican Art Museum: “To present, preserve and share that extraordinary legacy of culture, history and beauty that the Roman Pontiffs have collected and preserved for centuries.” What does this have to do with us?  Poets? Writers? I believe our mission as poets and writers is to create, present, preserve and share our extraordinary legacy of our emotional-knowledge experiences, and god-like, to reflect back to us a better knowledge, understanding and viable experience of who we are.

“Poetry is how our feelings talk and we share those words with family, friends and other.”

Thus, poetry is at once a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual, manifestation of who we are, how it feels to be a human being on this planet within the family of mankind: a physical sensate embrace of life.

Perhaps Poetry, Stories, Memoirs, Songs, Essays, are our gods.

Today’s Sunfire Sensate Exercises, engaging the six senses, are designed to manifest our feeling–emotional– knowledge of our human experience. Poetry is a full body experience. Be spontaneous!

Put your thumb on your wrist and feel your pulse, what is one of the most sensuous touch experiences you have had?________________________________________________________________________

Breathe deeply thorough your nose. What is the most sensuous aroma, smell, experience you can remember?___________________________________________________________________________

Close your eyes, see the picture of a sensuous place experience? Briefly tells us of that place________


Tell us one of your most sensuous visual experiences of another living being_____________________


Pinch your earlobe — tell us of a very sensuous sound experience you have had____________________


Press your tongue up against the roof of your mouth, now curl your tongue along the sharp bottom edge of your upper teeth, lick your tongue around your lips, now, think of your taste experiences in your life, tell us of one that was very exceptional, sensuous, with an object or person________________________


Now let’s talk.   What did you feel when you were expected to write about your sensate feelings?  Immediate engagement? Or resistance?   For your self growth, understand that.

Page 2                                  April 22, 2017         Sunfire Sensate Exercise

Practice with this copycat sensate exercise.

Slowly read, and sensate within yourself the senses experiences of this poem.

Fall Harvest, Julesberg Colorado
by James Ciletti

Harvest machines drone, groan, churn,
Stuff their greedy mouths; corn stalks
Sticking out of their steel jaws.
Maneuvering like ants from the
Fields, fat trucks follow food trails of
Yellow corn to sky-high grain silos.

Under yellowing elms the shaded streets
Catnap with their legs crossed.
The sky above Julesberg High
Dozes in a turquoise hammock.
But the machines prowl across the fields
Their dust rising like smoke signals.

Drifting out of a nearby window the
Aroma of home made bread, pies. To
The fields women and girls carry supper
To their sweaty men and boys who
Stuff their mouths with fried chicken legs.
Gulping down cold milk, they eye
Dark clouds in the northern sky.

Slow hungry whales chomping
Sea grass, the machines eat up the fields.
The western sky turns on its side —
Flashing colors like a rainbow trout.
Soon the sun sleeps. Crickets chirp.
Yellow moon stares with wide eyes.

But these men, pointing their flashlights,
Prowling machines shining headlights,
Reap on, harvesting in the darkness.

(C) 2013 James Ciletti


PART TWO: Pick up a pen and now go to the top of the poem and work your way down and underline the sensate words.


Name your “Sensuous Place:

By: (your name) ___________________________________

FIRST: Close your eyes and sensate that place, smell, sound, taste, touch, see, feelingly.

SECOND: In a Stream of Consciousness, in no particular order, write out sensate words/images that you feel of your place. Be spontaneous; write the first words that come out of your pen.

THIRD: Jim, let me tell you about my place:

Now write your sensate poem, in random order. Later, work on it as a “Poem”


About Ciletti

Jim Ciletti, an award winning poet, filmmaker, and author, is the 2010-2012, Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak region, and for 41 years, poet-in-residence for the Orme School Fine Arts Festival. Jim gives many workshops on the writing and performance of poetry, and makes poetry house calls to create personal poetry events. Ciletti loves everything Italian, including cooking for family and friends, and loves to plant garlic, make homemade wine, and eating peaches and plums. "Everyday is Christmas, but you don't always get everything you ask for. Sometimes more. Poetry celebrates life."
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