Poetry Friday: A poetry reading and “Apple-Stealing”

It’s been a busy couple of months for me, with manuscripts getting written and revised, conversations with editors, manuscripts being again…I’ve even started two new projects I hadn’t planned. (I love it when that happens!) Something else that’s been keeping me busy is preparing for a poetry reading in Warner, NH two weeks from this Sat. night!

As part of National Poetry Month, the Pillsbury Free Library is hosting two events. One is The Road Not Taken art exhibit featuring works by three Derry, NH artists (where Frost lived a number of years) inspired by the poetry of New Hampshire’s own Robert Frost. (And yes, other states claim him as their own, but we’re not going there!)

Doors will open at 6:30pm, to allow attendees to view the pieces before the second event begins at 7pm:  a poetry reading with two poets from the Granite State, Deborah Brown and L.R. Berger, and Yours Truly.

I’m truly honored to be a part of an event with such highly-esteemed writers as Deborah and L.R. We’ll each spend about 20 minutes or so reading and discussing our poetry, and time will be available for questions afterward. So today, I thought I’d dust off my very first published children’s poem – which is more of a YA poem – which I’ll be reading.

This poem was first published on the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) in 2012, and it will always be special to me because the editors liked it so much, they nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. As I was looking through my past poems, deciding which ones to share on the 27th, I realized I had never shared this particular poem here! So I thought today would be the perfect day to do so:

Apple Stealing

Moonglow; steadfast, unwitting
lights autumn evening
orchard shadows,
while three devious figures skulk
quietly between
and Cortlands.

Grey watercolor brushstrokes soften
the edges;
forms flow
one into the next;
our eyes unreliable,
give way to guesswork
and guile.

Crickets, night birds
talk amongst themselves, voyeurs
in anticipation
watching us
from their posts;
our fears, we dismiss
ready our bags,
…..plan our attack,
and move in, deftly
selecting our prizes.

Suddenly, a rustling –
massive darkness looms
before us, behind, in front, beside
the trees;
bags dropped, we stop
cold, eyes straining, hearts
racing faster, faster
than stone-heavy legs.
Our criminality
laid bare, devil creature
raises its head in frightful judgment…
and bites


.…..…..into fruit.

Horses steal apples, too.

– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

If you’re in the New Hampshire area April 27, I hope you’ll stop by! You can click HERE for the Facebook Event page for more info…and for more poetry, please visit Live Your Poem, where my friend Irene Latham is hosting Poetry Friday with an assortment of poems she’s been writing as part of her Artspeak project!

NEXT WEEK:  I’ll be celebrating the ONE-YEAR anniversary of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (POW! Kids Books, 2018) on Wed., April 17 – with a chance for you to win a copy of the book!


Speaking of Irene…her annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem is rocking and rolling along! Each day during April, a different writer/ blogger adds a new line to the poem until it concludes April 30. You can follow along at the sites listed below…

2019 Progressive Poem schedule:


1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
2 Kat @Kathryn Apel
3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites
4 Jone @DeoWriter
5 Linda @TeacherDance
6 Tara @Going to Walden
7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown
8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading
9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog
10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem
11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters
12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine @Dori Reads
14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering
15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink
17 Amy @The Poem Farm
18 Linda @A Word Edgewise
19 Heidi @my juicy little universe
20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog
21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan
22 Catherine @Reading to the Core
23 Penny @a penny and her jots
24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference
25 Jan @Bookseestudio
26 Linda @Write Time
27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro
28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass
29 Irene @Live Your Poem
30 Donna @Mainely Write


Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!

  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, 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 to everyone for your support!


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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17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A poetry reading and “Apple-Stealing”

  1. lindabaie

    Oh my, the tension in those “criminals” until. . . It is a wonderful poem, Matt. I imagine the audience will love it, especially when you break the news at the end. I’d love to be at the reading. What fun for all!


  2. Ha! Like the others, I didn’t see it coming. Great tension in this piece. The topic of your poem made me think of “The Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard” (When to bed the world are bobbing,/Then’s the time for orchard-robbing;/Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling,/Were it not for stealing, stealing.)


    1. Ha, that’s so true! In fact, this poem was based on a real incident involving me and a couple of college friends, who went out to the orchard next to the school late one night. For the record, I don’t condone stealing and was not going to take part – until I learned that the college actually PAID the orchard several hundred dollars each year because students would so often steal them! So I didn’t feel like I was stealing, so much as I felt I was just getting my money’s worth. 😉


  3. Kay Mcgriff

    I love this poem. The ending had me on the edge of my seat dissolving in laughter. Enjoy the reading. I’m sure you audience will enjoy this one.


  4. Matt, it is wonderful that you are involved in so many exciting projects, including your upcoming poetry reading with esteemed friends. Your poem leads reader through an apple stealing event that is creatively crafted with little clues. With the introduction of 4 simple lines:
    Our criminality
    laid bare, devil creature
    raises its head in frightful judgment…
    and bites
    a twist unfolded. The ending was such a surprise. Well done! I can imagine your upcoming crowd being lured by your voice, intonation, and stance until the very end.


  5. Pingback: Poetry Friday: A childhood memory wins a prize as a poem – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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