Poetry Friday: Poems about poetry, inspired by poets

A little something to set the mood. Poets are supposed to be dark and brooding, aren’t we?

No, that’s not as redundant as it sounds.

Today I’m sharing three short poems that were written in response to blog posts by other children’s poets.  All three are about poetry, and were inspired by different means.

My point in sharing these, aside from simply offering them up for your reading pleasure, is to show
how inspirational networking can be!  Before I read the blog posts that inspired these poems, I had no intention of writing anything…but then, BAM!  The poems came to me, and I couldn’t help but work them out and get them on paper.

The first one, “A Poem,” was written after reading a Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults blog post by Father Goose himself, Charles Ghigna.  He had asked readers to comment on the topic, “What is poetry?”  Now, this was back in Nov. or Dec. 2011 – so I forget if the responses had to be in verse, but of course that was the form I chose:

“A Poem”

A poem has a heartbeat,
A poem has a touch;
One minute it may let you go
Or hold you in its clutch.

A poem’s breath is subtle,
Each tooth a tapered knife.
It laughs and cries with open eyes;
In short, a poem’s…life!

– © 2011 Matt Forrest Esenwine

The second poem, “Poet’s Plight,” was also written as a response to something Charles wrote; this time, it was a poem he had posted on his own blog, titled “Write Walking.”  He wasn’t asking anyone to reply, but as soon as I read his poem, I felt like I had to ‘answer’ it.  I initially wrote it in only about 5 or 10 minutes, so I’ve tweaked it since then…but I kind of like it.

Charles’ original poem:

“Write Walking”

If you should pass me on the way
And wonder what I said,
Please forgive the mutters made—
I’m writing in my head.

–  © Charles Ghigna, reproduced with permission of the author

And my ‘response:’

“Poet’s Plight (Just the Right Word)”
Response to Charles Ghigna’s “Write Walking”)

And likewise, should you pass me by
And distant be my gaze,
Do not think me aloof or shy –
I haven’t slept in days!

– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine

The third poem, “The Poet,” would never have been written had it not been for poets David L. Harrison and J. Patrick Lewis, who challenged readers of David’s blog to write their own Careerhymes, Pat’s original form of light verse in which a type of occupation appears in the first line.  Talk about rolling a pebble down a hill and watching it turn into an enormous, hurtling snowball!  There were so many responses, it was hard to keep track of everyone.  This is one of several I volunteered:

“The Poet”

A poet has but one desire;
Imagination feeds it.
He sets his sullen soul afire
And almost no one reads it.

– © 2013 Matt Forrest Esenwine

See that?  Three poems that demanded I call them into existence.  If I hadn’t read the blogs, these would have never seen the light of day.

So the next time you wonder if you should bother reading a blog, or commenting on a Facebook post, or posting a Tweet, don’t think of social networking as a tedious business necessity or a luxury you just don’t have time for – think of it as potential digital inspiration!

Ready for more poetry?  Then visit Renee LaTulippe at No Water River for today’s roundup, and have a great weekend!

43 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Poems about poetry, inspired by poets

  1. Janet F.

    Love these, Matt. Great poems to share with students!!! Especially when they are starting to write their own. I have several poems about what poetry is written by my students, one ends with something similar to yours, Nolan said, “A poem is everything.”! I have found a way to get many kids to love poetry. My curiosity is to wonder, now, that the oldest are in gr. 11 IF this is something sticks and if it transcends time. Research awaits.

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    1. Janet F.

      Have you read about Allen Wolf and his notebooks on Amy LV’s site about writer’s journals? The older I get the more valuable little notebooks become. Too many thoughts, so much to remember. I think you should get someone to video you a couple of times and make a little collage for us to see and admire. Emily would be proud to know you, I am sure!

      1. I used to never bother with notebooks…if I had an idea that was good enough, I’d usually remember it – or it would come back to me – and eventually I’d get it written. Now that I’m older, however, a notebook is extremely useful! Don’t know if it’s my memory, or just all the other stresses and craziness of life, but I can’t remember half of what I think up. Some days I think I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed onto my neck.

  3. What fun! I agree students would enjoy these. I like the way you’ve presented your “response” poems here here in a tidy grouping, though the inspirations came from varied sources. Creativity begets creativity… :0)
    (And those Careerhymes over at David’s prove how easily we all get carried away…!)

  4. Catherine Johnson

    They are all super poems and I agree with you about social media. There is inspiration galore on the internet. When you hear people saying do the writing then social media they are so wrong for poets. We need feeding :)

  5. I loved reading the poetic dialogue between you and Charles, especially (hooray for the Peter Pan twins). I’m constantly inspired by things I read on other blogs, including yours. So glad to have met you through Poetry Friday. Looking forward to lots more wonderful poems from you this year!

    1. Thanks, Jama – that PB poem was another one I’d have never written, were it not for reading your blog. I’m very thankful for being able to meet you and everyone else…it’s been such an enlighening experience! (Speaking of blogs, I also find myself forced to write a few lines every time I visit Laura Salas’ 15-Words-or-Less posts. What can I say, I’m a sucker for punishment!)

  6. Steve Peterson

    Wow! What fun. I loved hearing about how these poems came into being.

    I have to tell you that I chuckled when I read these lines from the Carrerhyme, The Poet:
    He sets his sullen soul afire
    And almost no one reads it.

    Something about the meter and the image just set me off. :)


    1. Janet F.

      I like your poetic response, Mary. Thank goodness for the ability to share on the internet. Some poems are just so good you want them in a book (or e-book) so you can read and refer to them when you need them.
      I think the poets who write for kids are not necessarily a sullen bunch, though. But who’s to know? I am grateful to be a part of the sharing.

      As a sometime poet, poetry teacher, and poetry cheerleader, I have to say kids WANT to learn poems by heart. There is something to this. I have been at it for 9 years now. It is this spark of childhood passion and interest I am trying to fan and grow. I think poetry and its appeal to kids at first is visceral. Then if nourished properly can become so much more.

      1. Children’s poets are probably not as ‘sullen’ as the stereotypical ‘poet’ – but I’ll be honest, after writing a couple dozen children’s poems, I enjoy a dip in the pool of misery just to keep myself balanced. I’ve come up with some good adult poems because, I think, I’m aware of those two ends of the poetic spectrum!

      2. That’s absolutely true.
        Whe I visited my 10 yr. old grandson, and he saw that I had a WordPress blog, he immediately wanted to write a story with me. He said that he liked the stuff I wrote because of a lot of it has rhythm and rhyme.
        Anyway, after we put the “Revolt of the Green World” together, he wanted to add his very own “bonus poem” onto the end, before I posted it.
        He called it –Never Lick a Stick.
        When I asked him why he mentioned healthcare at the end of the poem (the only line that doesn’t rhyme)—he said, “that’s the surprise….the funny part.”
        Not sullen at all!

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