Poetry Friday: “Pencils”

This post was originally published 7 years ago, during the first week of September 2013. I was looking over my poems to find one that might be suitable for this unusual back-to-school season we’re dealing with, and this poem seemed to “poke” me to reprint it. So I am!


poetryfridaybutton-fulllAs I was looking over this year’s poems, wondering which I should share today, I happened upon this one.

I wondered if I should post it because it feels different from some of the other children’s poetry I’ve written, and I debated with myself if it was done, if it was good, if it was anything.  Being the type who can debate with himself at length, a draw was declared with no discernible winner.  So I did what any self-respecting writer would do.

I revised!

And truth be told, I still don’t know if it’s done, good, or anything. But I do know that I wrote it on 5-9-13 and revised it on 9-5-13…so I’ll take that as a little sign that I’m supposed to share this today. Plus, with the kids back in school now, it’s timely, at least.

Hope you like it! (And I hope it’s done!)

shutterstock_96665545 (colored pencils)“Pencils”

That’s what we are,
you and I
and the lady at the store
and that short kid
with the glasses
we met
during lunch.
Different colors,
each one capable
of our own kind of
and filled with stories
yet to be written.

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Heidi Mordhorst is also celebrating the return of the school season with her own “flashback” poem from 2001 at My Juicy Little Universe! And since she’s hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup, I’d suggest you head over and check out all the links and fun!

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!


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:


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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37 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Pencils”

    1. Thanks, Renee! I know of “a place,” too – but I have other poems I want to share, and I’m still trying to get caught up on the critiques I need to give, first. (Just a couple more, and I’ll be set – so be prepared!)


    1. You know what, I actually ended up revising it again after I posted it – and the new version is very similar to that! I replaced ‘capable of’ with ‘filled with’ and then removed the original’filled with.’ Great minds, as they say!


  1. Oh, yes. Reminds me of the feelings I have when I set out new school materials for my students. The scent of fresh crayons, the bright yellow pencils and the oh so beautiful markers juicy and ready to create.


  2. Pingback: Friday Nite Poetry: Dusting Them Off For 9/6/13 | Hand of Ananke

  3. I like it! I was totally following along with the metaphor but then you got to the line about how we have stories within us and that just made it all tie together. I love that. I’ve been talking to people who don’t get Twitter lately and so many will say, “Who cares what I ate for lunch or what I’m doing every second of the day?” but the more I think about it, people do care. I mean, someone cares. Someone is curious what you’re up to, the story you are telling. Thanks for sharing this!


  4. Matt, this back-to-school poem of yours is just right for a retake. I want more teachers to read it so I am sending it out on Twitter. Thanks for sharing this great poem on recognizing the uniqueness of each learner via the image of a crayon.


  5. lindabaie

    Although both the granddaughters are doing school online, so far, they still love the idea of new pencils. You’ve shown that “lure” of what’s inside, what is going to “be” from them, Matt. Lovely for this strange start of school. Everyone has a story to tell!


  6. Point well made Matt. Sharp observations and the analogous style of your poem is most astute. no more puns, I promise…
    I particularly like the way your poem ends, A strong ending that speaks to the idea of untapped potential. I will never look at my pencils in the same light. Thank you for sharing a renewed appreciation of both pencils and people.


  7. “the lady at the store
    and that short kid
    with the glasses
    we met
    during lunch.”
    Sometimes it doesn’t take much detail to sketch the great diversity of detail, does it?
    I’m definitely needing the whole week to make the rounds this week—poor planning on my part!


  8. Pingback: Poetry Friday: “Lessons” (or, Why the Heck is Matt Sharing a Rough Draft??) – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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