Poetry Friday: “If I Could Climb Up to the Top of a Tree”

This post was originally published exactly 6 years ago in 2014. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was heavily influenced by children’s poet Dorthy Aldis – in my writing style in general and in this poem in particular.

I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come in this fledgling career of mine (I only decided to become a published children’s author a mere 10 years ago and my first published children’s poem was in early 2015)…and I’m truly amazed that I have ten books to my name, either published or under contract, and 20 more anthologies to which I’ve contributed. That’s a lot of writing in a short amount of time, and I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey!

In just the past two weeks, I’ve completed a poetry collection with the esteemed David L. Harrison and signed a contract for a major new project that might very well take my career to another level. I’m sending out manuscripts left and right, and making new contacts nearly every day. Through it all, I’m hoping I’m doing all of this correctly, because most of the time it feels like I’m flying by the seat of my pants! So thank you for being there, for encouraging me, for buying my books, for simply keeping in touch. I really do appreciate it.


I’ve been quite busy lately writing poems for a number of collections I’m hoping to be part of (I recently found out that two of my poems were selected to be included in the Summer Issue of Halcyon magazine)…so for today, I thought I’d pull out something from the archives.

This is one of the first children’s poems I wrote with the express intent of writing a children’s poem. You see, 15 years ago I was simply writing whatever came to my mind, whether it was geared for children, adults, or whomever. It was only around 2000 that I started making a conscious effort to focus my writing and force myself to pay attention to how and what I was writing – and to improve it. This is one of the first poems I wrote that I knew was going to be for children. I hope you like it!

If I Could Climb Up To The Top Of A Tree


If I could climb up to the top of a tree,

then I could see you and you could see me.

I’d sit there up high on my leaf-covered dome

and pretend I was king – the Tree King – on his throne!

I would call to my subjects (a robin and jay),

“Come! Come! The Tree King says it’s now time to play!”

Then we’d sing and we’d chirp and we’d dance a quick dance,

and if we got hungry, we’d peck at some ants.

When at last the night came and we lay down to rest,

I’d give up my bed for a bluebird’s nest!


© 2000, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved


Jama Rattigan is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with chocolate chip cookies! Why? (Why not???) Because it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! And what goes best with chocolate chip cookies, besides milk? Poetry! Especially poetry from fellow New Hampshirite, Jeff Friedman…so be sure to stop by Jama’s place and read about Jeff “Working in Flour.”Dorothy


Coming Aug. 18, 2020! Pre-orders are available!


I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.


What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!


I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them: books from folks like Diana Murray, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Lori Degman, Michelle Schaub, nancy Castaldo, and many others. I’m very proud to be part of this group of dedicated, talented writers.


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


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, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

36 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “If I Could Climb Up to the Top of a Tree”

      1. Pat Sweeney

        Hi Matt. I loved this because as child living on a farm, I actually climbed to the top of a very tall tree where my brother’s built a resting place. Your poem brought back my memories of many happy climbs there after. Thanks Matt. Pat Sweeney


  1. Pingback: Welcome! | Elizabeth Steinglass

  2. Hey Matt,
    This is an oldie, but a goodie. Love the dialogue in this poem. Heck, I love trees, not many of them in my town.
    Thank you for sharing this gem with us.


    1. Thank you all, very much! I’ve been busy with the kids today so haven’t had a chance to check in on the blog, so it was a nice surprise to see all these kind comments! I’ve often been accused of writing in an old-fashioned sort of style, so I try to walk a line between what I enjoy and what contemporary editors prefer!


  3. “I’d sit there up high on my leaf-covered dome
    and pretend I was king – the Tree King – on his throne!”
    That was the essence of it for me as an inveterate tree climber; beautifully done, Matt.


  4. I love this ending, in particular. That bluebird’s nest–great detail. There’s such a big difference between just writing with no particular audience in mind (which is fun, too) and writing to reach a specific group. Thanks for sharing this!


  5. Congratulations, Matt. I am always excited to follow your writing journey, especially now since I met you face-to-face at NCTE. Your early poem is a delight and I think my granddaughter would love to hear it read to her. She has discriminatory taste in read alouds for an almost 3-year-old. Thank you for your offerings for #NatureNurtures2020. I hope to share those soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fun to read this one again, and to reflect on the last 10 years. What an amazing journey it’s been for you. Glad you decided to focus on children’s poetry for the most part. BTW, today is National Chocolate Chip Day; not to be confused with National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, which is August 4. That means we have two days to celebrate. But really, why limit it to just two days? 🙂


  7. lindabaie

    You’ve made quite a wonderful journey, Matt, & I hope you remember this poem for its utter connection to how kids think and play. I had my own special tree growing up, spent hours climbing, reading up there, just watching. Now the granddaughters love climbing, too & I love watching them. Thanks for the special poem reminder of the goodness of trees!


  8. kareneastlund4898

    Nice one, Matt! Your poem has the feel of a vintage poem, but it also describes a universal feeling of kids wanting to be king or queen of the hill/tree/etc. Well, you’ve come a long way, and kudos to you! Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.