Poetry Friday: “More Than We Are”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllThis post was originally published 5 years ago, on June 14, 2013. Considering all the graduations taking place this past week, I thought it might be a good idea to re-post it. (You also may also be inclined to check out my message to graduates, which was posted that same week)

=========================================================Where does the time go? One minute your kids are starting kindergarten and the next thing you know, they’re heading off to prom and graduation and the rest of their life.

Whew, that was quick.

My youngest daughter, Katherine, is graduating high school this weekend, so there was no question for me as to what poem I should share today.  Katherine is a very talented young woman, whose photography has graced more than a few blog posts here. She was selected as a New Hampshire Scholar for her above-average course load while in high school, and I’m very proud of her.

I wrote this a little over a year ago – and although it’s not really ‘about’ her, the message was created with her, her two older sisters, and all young people in mind.

(Good grief, I just used the phrase “young people.” That makes me think I might not be one of them anymore.)

“More Than We Are (for Katherine)”

An astronaut’s an astronaut,
but might be someone’s dad
who takes his daughter fishing
when she feels a little sad.
A banker is a banker
but could be a mom, as well,
who shows her son the alphabet
and helps him learn to spell.

A teacher is a teacher
but might be a singer, too.
The janitor at school may wish
he ran the local zoo.
Half of KatieHis son might be a doctor
who is saving someone’s life;
the lady at the store today
might be the doctor’s wife.

Each homeless person on the street,
each writer of a song,
each boy or girl you chance to meet
has somewhere they belong.
There’s always more than what we see,
and as we learn and grow,
we’re all more than we seem to be –

and you’re more than you know.

– © 2012, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, please visit illustrator & wordsmith Michelle Kogan’s blog – where you’ll also find her review of Margaret Simon’s brand-new poetry collection, Bayou Song (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2018)!


are available everywhere!

It’s another signing – this time, in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region! I won’t be able to be there, unfortunately, but Dinosaur‘s co-author, Deb Bruss will be – so I hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area.


Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

You can now purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur, and ANY of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH will let me know, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 


Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

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47 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “More Than We Are”

  1. Congratulations to your daughter, Matt, and to you too! This poem reminds me of my very joyful days of dancing around our living room to the sounds of FREE TO BE YOU AND ME. So many truths tucked in these lines. Happy celebrating to you all this weekend…


      1. Deep deep appreciations for Free to Be–a stalwart of my personal culture. Just last night my spouse and I agreed (and she didn’t even grow up with FTBYAM) that inviting my parents early to a picnic was an error, because “Some kinds of help are the kind of help…we all can do without!”


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  3. Matt,
    My oldest daughter just graduated and will be heading off to college in the fall, so your poem really hit home. As I wipe the tears off of my keyboard, I just wanted to thank you for sharing, my friend. Congrats to you and Katherine!


  4. margaretsmn

    I am now 5 years from my youngest daughter graduating from high school and still wondering where that time went, but I am so proud of the young woman she has become. I love this tribute to us all. We are more than we are!
    PS: I have a Katherine, too!


    1. You know what’s funny – our neighbors have a little girl named Katherine who was born on the same day as mine! Whenever we’re talking about ‘Katherine,’ we always have to make sure we know which one we’re talking about!


  5. Lovely poem with an important message:
    Everyone… “Has somewhere they belong.
    There’s always more than what we see…”
    I often make up back stories for people in restaurants – I love to think about people as much more than my first reaction/judgement. Thanks for sharing your poem. Congrats to your daughter. And Happy Father’s Day!


  6. Ah, this is too sweet! And how bizarre that Amy mentioned FREE TO BE YOU AND ME. As I listened to you read, my first thought was “This guy is straight off of FTBYAM!” I could just hear you reciting “Don’t Dress Your Cat in an Apron,” which is also about labels. Was lovely to hear your voice.

    Congrats to your daughter for all her accomplishments, and to you for helping her get there. 🙂


  7. lindabaie

    Timely in so many ways, Matt. I’m glad you re-posted. Congratulations to your daughter and best wishes to you as you show us good ways to say goodbye.


  8. A good poem for those setting out to see who they become, but also a good reminder that what we think we see ON others is never very close to what we might see IN others if we ask the right *uestions and then listen carefully to the answers. Thanks for this, Matt!


  9. margaretsmn

    Poems like yours carry magic in them. The words may look ordinary, but the message is deep and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing.


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