Poetry Friday: Celebrating my father’s 84th birthday, poetically

Dad, circa 1995

In honor of my father’s birthday, I was going to share a poem I’d written about him a few years ago that has never been published. But when I went to find a photo of him, a group of pictures featuring his carved signs appeared – and I just felt like I needed to do something with that.

You see, dad was quite the handyman; there was nothing he couldn’t fix, and if he couldn’t fix it – well, he’d make a new one. He even had a carved sign business for much of his life, and when we were in the process of clearing out the house to put it up for sale last year, I found several photos he had taken of his signs and decided to hold onto them. (to see their detail better, just click either photo to enlarge)

When I saw these last night, I knew I had to write something about them; the other poem was just going to have to wait. So I thought about it for awhile and decided a tanka form might work well – which I present to you here. Hope you like it…


smooth oak plank, held fast
between clamps, suffers the bit –
router touches down
wresting rising last words, life
renewed for a sawdust soul

– © 2020 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

For more poetry, please visit Pleasures from the Page, where Ramona is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup – and what a special, significant week it’s been for her!

And if you haven’t had a chance to catch the sneak-peek at Lee Bennett Hopkins’ next anthology, Night Wishes (Eerdmans), be sure to visit last week’s post, which features a review from Kirkus and two smaple poems from the book: mine, and the very first one, written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

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.


Coming Sept. 15, 2020!


Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:.


What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!


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!

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13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Celebrating my father’s 84th birthday, poetically

  1. Matt, isn’t it so much fun to find treasures from the past. Since we are moving to VA I am uncovering some of my mother’s 1940s & 1950s items that are fun to look through. I see in your thumbprint photos the resemblance of father and son. I, like the others, love the term “sawdust soul:-such a beautiful descriptor.


  2. Pingback: Poetry Friday: “Baking Day” – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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