Here we go with those weird forms again.
When I talk about control this is what I’m referring to. Remember that we don’t know anything outside the poem. That’s it. So, for example, when a poem only has 80 ish words, each of them becomes wildly important.
Shape poems are the most fun by far. It’s become a bit of a school gimmick with egg poems for Easter and house poems and all that. In this case the shape is less literal. But nevertheless, the image of a stair step down is intentional, as I meant to depict a stepping off of a kind of pedestal. Also backwards, to imply lost momentum, even a retracing of steps.
Now this only will work if the poem buys into this completely and creates a pattern. Again that sense of form, whatever the form is, maintaining consistence until the line is broken with intention.
You might not see the steps, or understand their express meaning initially, or ever. This is part of an emotional choice. The poem would feel different if it were centered, or if the top line was longest, etc. In this case, we are setting tone. This isn’t an egg poem or a house poem or a tree poem, but a shape poem with a mood agenda intended to set tone at first glance and inform with content later.
Mood agenda via shape is a powerful tactic. We have a 2 dimensional experience with poetry: first a visual experience of words in shape and line and second a literal or metaphorical understanding of words. That’s why poets get to choose line breaks and indentations and spacing in general. It’s one of the few things that separates poetry (sometimes) from prose. Keep that in mind when you shape to emote.