Poetry Friday: “Tory Brook Cherita”

Yes, I realize we’re in the middle of summer. Temps here are between 80-90 everyday, and I’m loving it! So how about we cool off a little, with a poem I wrote way back in April and then promptly forgot about…

(click to enlarge)

Quite a different poem from my prose poem about flowers (that wasn’t really about flowers) that I shared last week! Cheritas aren’t typically titled, so if you’d like to learn more about the form which, simply put, tells a story in 1, 2, and 3 lines, feel free to view past posts like THIS or THIS.

A few more shots of Tory Brook, which runs behind our house:

And now, a quick note about process:  if you are not a writer or poet, you may not be aware of the extraordinary lengths through which we go to make sure the right words are in the right places. To that point, while the poem didn’t take me more than an hour and a half to write, nearly one-third of that time was spent struggling with whether to place the word “gravity” after “crafted by” – and conclude the poem with “time” – or to swap those words and have it end as it is here.

Why this mental debate? Because although I really liked the alliteration of “mossy/maps” and wanted to include some internal rhyme with the assonance of “crafted/gravity,” the fact is that “gravity” was arguably a much stronger word on which to end the poem. So I wrestled with this for quite some time…and ultimately decided that the stronger word needed to the concluding word – but is close enough to “crafted by” to still gain the benefit of a little internal rhyme.

You had no idea how important words are, did you? The struggle is real, folks.

Margaret Simon is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Reflections on the Teche, where she is asking the wide-open question, “What is poetry?” So head on over and check out all the links and fun!

Did you know that Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme is one of the TOP 20 children’s poetry blogs, according to FEEDSPOT? That’s right – I’m scratching my head, too! FEEDSPOT is an app that allows you to combine all your favorite news feeds, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc. into ONE newsletter. Be sure to check it out!


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! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month:

Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:

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!


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15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Tory Brook Cherita”

  1. Matt, I think you got the order perfectly, “crafted by time/and gravity” (after all that struggle – BELIEVE me, I know, and I am never fully sure of my own…). What a beautiful setting, Tory Brook. Beckoning, indeed. I also appreciate the return to a poem “promptly forgotten about” – it’s like finding a partly-buried treasure and getting to restore and polish it ’til it shines with new luster. As your cherita does.

    -Fran Haley, https://litbitsandpieces.com/


    1. Thank you, Fran! When I sat down to figure out what to share, I knew I wanted something completely different from last week’s prose poem – which I’m still not comfortable calling a “poem” – and when this popped up in my files, I had to spend some time searching my blog to make sure I hadn’t shared it yet! I think what happened was that I wrote it to share here, but then National Poetry Month took off and it sort of got lost in the shuffle. Glad I waited!



    The struggle IS real. I wonder why on earth I spend so much time fussing over word order and syllable counts. Seriously, poetry isn’t my day job. But, I do love making the poem just right…which you have. Stepping into a cool brook is exactly the image we all need right now. What a special place so close to you. Is the brook literally named after Rev. War tories? Kinda neat, if it is.


    1. Thanks so much, Linda! I’m not sure from where the word “tory” comes in reference to this brook (also known as Willow Brook), although it is one of several streams that feeds into a large wetland known as Tory Hill Meadow, which then continues on as Willow Brook. I’ll need to talk to the Historical Society sometime about that!


  3. margaretsmn

    The process is the thing. I can spend an inordinate amount of time on one word. And perhaps that’s why we are poets. The grappling of the word, its meaning, its sounds, and even its appearance on the page engages and challenges us. Your place is peaceful and inviting while your poem inspires.


  4. Thanks for the peek into your process and a refreshing visit to your brook. I think ending with gravity was perfect though I do understand your dilemma. So often I want to add footnotes to poems explaining word choice or placement. lol On another note, I have to say I don’t trust you quite as much now that I know you enjoy 80/90 degree temps. Ick!


  5. Yes, I love the thinking behind your poem and the fact that it reminds me of my 3-yr-old granddaughter’s hiking days. She loves following the trail and looking for animals. I captured this one for my Embraceable Summer Gallery collection, Matt. Thanks.


  6. Pingback: Inspired by Poetry Friday | Nix the comfort zone

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