Poetry Friday: Throwback Summer continues!

When I shared my ground-breaking poem, “Ode to Toads” last Friday, I warned you there were more poems where that came from.

journals - high schoolWelcome to the future, my friend!

Having made huge nostalgic discoveries in my parents’ attic recently, I now have FOUR high school English writing journals from which to cull choice tidbits of my handiwork (and I use the phrase “choice” very loosely).

Earlier this week, I spent a little more time explaining how and why I’m sharing these early writings of mine – and the fact that my time spent writing poems, news articles, and cartoons for our high school newspaper helped shape my style and develop my vocabulary. If you didn’t get a chance to check out the post, I really hope you will.

Today, I have another poem from 1982 – my sophomore year. I’ve said before I never liked keeping writing journals. And as I look through them, I am struck by how much of my time is spent writing about the fact I have nothing to write about.

Ode to a Poem I’m Writing Only Because I Couldn’t Think of Anything Else to Write About

I sit and stare
At a blank piece of paper,
Wondering what to write.
I can’t think at all,
Like my mind’s a brick wall,
Though I’m trying with all of my might.

What should I write about?
What can I write about?
How should my next entry read?
When I sat down to do it,
I thought I’d breeze through it,
But I can’t – so help me, I plead!

– Nov. 5, 1982, Matt Forrest Esenwine

While not as darkly humorous or satisfying as my classic “Ode to Toads,” I do like the fact I was attempting a rhyme scheme that’s not particularly easy. Hey, I was a 15-year-old kid trying to be funny! And I never spent a lot of time putting my entries together, so if I had to guess, I doubt this took me more than half an hour to write.

As I read this, I’m thinking I had probably recently seen the BBC miniseries of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which explains the ridiculously long title. Not quite as bad as Grunthos the Flatulent’s poem, “Ode to a Small Lump of Green poetryfridaybutton-fulllPutty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning,” but it definitely gives all Azgoth poets a run for their money.

For more poetry (and much, MUCH better poetry, I might add), head on over to Carol’s Corner for the complete Poetry Friday roundup – you won’t be disappointed! And if there’s any sort of lesson to be learned from today’s post, it is the importance of spending time practicing, developing, and learning…in other words: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!


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12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Throwback Summer continues!

  1. Good morning Matt,
    I came over last night, before your Friday link was live, and read your previous post! What a lot of treasures your parents saved. I’d love to have my old typewriter, especially if it was that aqua blue like yours is, or some of the writing notebooks I kept as a teenager. Pretty sure I’d have some poetry similar to this, although I’m not sure I was clever enough to make any of it rhyme!


  2. I don’t think you need be apologetic, Matt. For your your self, and while you seemed to deny it, at least you wrote, and I guess began to love it secretly. This “topic” came up a few times from my students through the years, and guess we’ve all been there. Very fun to hear from your 15-year-old self!


    1. Thanks, Linda. I don’t mean to seem apologetic – I just want readers to be aware of how old I was when I wrote this, and that it’s not really representative of what I do now. Many published writers would be aghast at the thought of sharing something they wrote in school, for fear that readers would not realize it!


  3. Loved this humorous poem, the attempt at rhyme, and explanation of the long title. My students discover each year during Slice of Life Challenge that one can indeed write about not having anything to write about.


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