How to Create a Custom Poem for Your Table Centerpiece

There’s an important dinner on the horizon of your social calendar. You want to make your table as special as possible. You’re looking for something unique, something expressive; something more than just a pretty flower arrangement, your finest cutlery, dinnerware and napkin holders. What is there left to do?

Write a poem to entertain and delight your guests! A unique message penned by you, hand written or printed on good quality paper or cardstock picked up from your local craft store, and placed so that it stands upright in the center of the table for all to read and chuckle over. The ultimate creative touch! Punch a hole in the top and add a satin ribbon. It’s a fun and easy way to put your signature on this special occasion. It could go something like this:

Tonight is finally here, it’s a very special night

Come, take a seat, we’re so happy to greet

The Smiths, and the Williams, the pleasure’s all ours

To have them over to dine, with some really great wine

Delicious fine food and plenty of laughter

We’ll have a whale of a time,

Cognac and coffee served after…

It took me twenty minutes to pen the poem above, even less because I had to gently push the cat away twice. There are some tricks I’m going to share with you which I learned while penning poems for my book.

The first trick is to write the poem like you’re telling a short story. Make it read like it’s going somewhere. The first line or two will be the introduction to the event, followed by the names of the guests attending the event. The middle of the poem will be about what takes place or the food you will serve and finally it will end with a conclusion, a line or two about how happy you are that your guests could join you.

Start by making a word bank. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and jot down a few relevant facts, like the names of the guests, either family names or first names. Followed by the food you will be serving. Perhaps the occasion for the dinner, be it first dinner together or a celebration of an event, like a Birthday, Christening or job promotion etc.

With the words from the word bank in mind, write out some statements about the event. At this stage, don’t try to make your statements rhyme unless it happens naturally. For example, your statements could be “we’ll be listening to eighties music all night”, “Karen has been working her magic in the kitchen for hours”; “the Sauvignon Blanc is cooling on ice.” It is important to put your feelings into the poem as well. Ask yourself how you feel about the event? How do you feel about the guests you have invited? If it’s people you’ve known for years, maybe you can include a few comic references to previous occasions with them. For example “we’ve taken care to scotchgard the tablecloth, just in case Pete should suddenly swipe at a moth, remember the time he knocked over his beer. Such a shame that was, it had the perfect froth….”

Once you have written some statements down on paper, start looking for matching words for the end of the statements or at least half of the statements. Each line does not have to rhyme. It sounds better if the end of every second line rhymes. Or the first part of the line and the last part of the line rhymes, every second line or so (see lines 2 and 4 in the poem above).

When thinking about matching your words with other rhyming words, remember to make sure the rhyming words you choose hold relevance to the people and the event. For example, occasion rhymes with persuasion. Would it be relevant to use the word persuasion in your poem? In this next scenario, it does. On the occasion of Bill’s 50th Birthday, you wanted to throw a party. He didn’t want a party, so you settled on a dinner. Everybody was aware that he was being difficult, so you start the poem with something like “We’re delighted that you could make this occasion, Bill was the only one who needed persuasion…” Entertain your guests!

For rhyming inspiration, consult other rhyming poems. Dig out the Dr. Seuss books or Children’s story books and get a feel for what it takes to make something rhyme. You’ll soon find that it is easy and enjoyable and you’ll get to keep the poem as a memory of a wonderful evening with friends and family. You could even make it a family affair and create the poem with your kids, a few nights before the big event. A child’s input can be just the candid touch you need!

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