“The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an ‘objective correlative’; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.”

TS Elliot (qtd. in J. A. Cuddon’s Dictionary of Literary Terms, page 647)

If writers or poets or playwrights want to create an emotional reaction in the audience, they must find a combination of images, objects, or description evoking the appropriate emotion. The source of the emotional reaction isn’t in one particular object, one particular image, or one particular word. Instead, the emotion originates in the combination of these phenomena when they appear together.

One of the hardest things for a writer to do is to convey a message to the reader without telling them what the message is. 

Envision an object that would carry meaning for a person. Write a poem that shows what the meaning is and conveys the emotion attached to the object. What is the object? Why is it important? Think about the scene taking place that helps illuminate the significance of the object to the subject of the poem.