Poetry Friday: An antique Thackeray collection yields lost beauty

I’m praying no asteroids hit the earth.

If this seems a rather odd statement, then I encourage you to check out this past Tuesday’s post, where I explain why my next picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) has once again been delayed – for the last time!

Now then, as you may know, I’ve been in the process of moving my upstairs office/studio to a new space downstairs, and in doing so have been discovering all sorts of treasures I’d been holding onto for years:

I’ve found old CDs copied from cassette mixtapes I’d made while in college, stuffed animals like Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar, and even a Tim Finn promo album cover from when I was program director for my college radio station, WIUV, that I grabbed before I graduated. Thirty-seven years later, it finally has a frame – and a home on my office/studio wall!

I also found a commemorative baseball I’d received when I threw out the first pitch at a NH Fishercats baseball game way back when I was still working in radio.

Oh, and a giant door-sized poster of The Smiths!

And a college pennant!

And a — well, you get the picture. Lots of stuff to go through, and my wife is thrilled to know I’m not keeping it all.

But The Smiths poster is definitely staying.

Among the many books I re-discovered was a late-1800’s collection of works by 19th-century author William Makepiece Thackeray, most well-known for his novel, Vanity Fair. You might be familiar with another of his novels, The Luck of Barry Lyndon, which was turned into a movie by Stanley Kubrick in the ’70s.

Thackeray’s early life was equal parts tragedy and aimlessness. He went to school in Cambridge, England, but wasn’t a fan of academics; he studied law but didn’t stick with it; he inherited quite a sum of money upon his father’s death but sqaundered much of it gambling; he tried to start two newspapers and failed; and lost a great deal of money when two Indian banks failed (Thackeray was born in Calcutta, so had strong ties to India throughout his life).

And all of this happened before he even got married! Sadly, his wife began suffering post-partum depression following the birth of their third child, and because the medical community did not know how to diagnose or treat these issues, she fell further and further down the dark hole of mental incapacity until she was eventually confined to an asylum. (Interestingly, she outlived him by about 30 years)

The one thing he was good at was writing – and that’s what saved him.

So I thought I’d share this brief poem of his today. It’s neither one of his most well-known, nor one of his best, but I love the sentiment and cadence. Plus, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought a little love poem like this would be perfect for Poetry Friday. (I also like the fact that it’s written from the POV of the flower):

(Click to enlarge)

Some may feel it’s overwrought or too sentimental, but I love its classic romantic, heart-tugging tone. For all of today’s poetry links and fun, head on over to Teacher Dance, where Linda is hosting the complete Poetry Friday roundup!

In other news…

“An evocative story of a young girl standing up for what she believes in.”
Many thanks to Good Reads with Ronna for her wonderful review of I AM TODAY!
(click here to read the complete review)

I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign it and have them in the mail within 12-24 hours!

Yes, it’s true. After five delays and six different publishing dates, my newest picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is scheduled to be published Feb. 22, 2022 – for real!!

Learn more about the book, my process, and the importance of a good illustrator at the “I Am Today” Blog Tour:

Read Across America!


If you’ve not heard, Read Across America Day is coming up on March 2, 2022 and I am once again offering free, 20-minute visits with schools and libraries all across the country!

If you’d be interested in having me join your class to read one of my books and share a few details about “the story behind the story,” please send me an email and let me know!

I’ll be scheduling visits on the hour and half-hour all day long, and slots usually get filled up fairly quickly, so don’t wait! You can see my complete list of books below, if you’re wondering what you might like me to read – or I can pick one. It’s up to you!

Very excited to be part of my new 2022 picture book marketing team!



I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!


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.


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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Arriving Feb. 8, 2022! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: An antique Thackeray collection yields lost beauty

  1. Such treasures you are finding, Matt! Thanks for sharing the sweet sentimentality of Thackeray’s poem. I couldn’t stop thinking about his poor wife and how she might have been helped out of her deep depression had she been born at another time.There is much to be thankful for, and I hope you get to be thankful that your book is finally out.


    1. Thanks, Rose. indeed, one has to wonder if she could have had a more enjoyable life had she not lived during that time; alas, we can say that about many of the folks who lived back then. What will our descendants say about us, 150 years from now?


  2. Interesting backstory about Thackeray. I like the violet’s POV in the poem — violets were my dad’s favorite flower. 🙂 I do hope I Am Today releases on the 22nd -finally!!


  3. lindabaie

    Yes, we are on the same page for the sentimental older books, Matt, and this one by Thackery is lovely from the violet’s POV. Interesting to read of his life, too! Crossing fingers for your I Am Today!


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