Poetry Friday: “Ode to Lint,” a Throwback Summer lost classic

poetryfridaybutton-fulllYes, this poem had been lost for a long time…and had I not stumbled upon it in my parents’ attic, we all would have probably been better off.

If you have somehow not heard, I am sharing bits and pieces of my high school journals this summer, having come across a huge stash of old schoolwork while cleaning out my folks’ house, in preparation for its sale.

Back in June, I wrote about the initial discovery, and just this past Tuesday I explained why it was inevitable that I ended up in careers involving writing and advertising. Today, I’m sharing another one of the chestnuts I wrote in my English journal during senior year…and although it’s far from stellar-quality, it is probably the best-written poem I’ve shared from my journals so far.

You be the judge…

“Ode to Lint, II”

What is this, that I do see
floating past, in front of me?
Small dust speck, or puff of hair?
What is that thing flying there?
I reach out, it comes to me,
hardly larger than a flea;
I look close, I analyze.
Staring hard, I scrutinize
and attempt (as best I can)
to discern this work of Man.
Oh, too hard to contemplate!
Leaves my hand to impend fate.
What is that, that I do see
floating past, in front of me?
Small dust speck, or puff of hair?
What is that thing flying there??

– © 1985, Matt Forrest Esenwine, 4-4-85

Now, you have not known this until now, but I’ve done you the great service of not sharing most of the horrible poetry I wrote back then. Yes, yes…hard to believe, considering the subterranean level of quality of most of it. But true.

I had a penchant for trying to elevate the most mundane, ridiculous objects into flowery, verbose poems – so consider yourself fortunate that I have not shared my “Ode to a Stool,” “Ode to a Desk,” “Ode to Crust,” “Ode to Dropping Socks,” “Ode to Slippery Shoes,” “Ode to a Deep Thought,” or – what just might be the worst of all – my “Ode to Lint, I.” That’s right, I wasn’t happy with just one poem about lint; I apparently felt the subject was worthy of two, at least.

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Books 4 Learning. And be prepared…there’s a whole lot more mediocrity coming your way next week, right here!


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26 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Ode to Lint,” a Throwback Summer lost classic

  1. Ah, but dust and lint do sparkle and shine as they fall in the shafts of sunlight. Even lint is worthy of an ode – it, too is a piece of something or someone! I, personally, loved it!


  2. Aww, what a precious glimpse into your teen self! It’s gratifying, isn’t it, to know that writing bug where there, even then, and here’s proof?! And I’m rather fond of this ode-ing to mundane objects. Could be a collection… thanks for sharing.


  3. I guess you were pondering that which we can know and that which is unknowable, Matt. Very deep. (Am impressed that you wrote two poems about lint! And two about socks 🙂 )


  4. “Ode to Dropping Socks”! Really? Many questions come to mind… Who dropped them? Why? When? Or perhaps it’s about those socks that don’t have strong enough elastic and keep dropping into one’s shoes?


  5. I’m beginning to wonder if we should try to set up a poetry dialogue between our high school writings. I graduated in 81, not 85, but I think our poems could still “talk” to each other. I was busy trying to take lofty thoughts down into a more vernacular register (without giving up the 50cent words)–could make an interesting contrast!


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