Poetry Friday: Rainbow Eucalyptus Part II, the poem you never saw

Sometimes, blog posts just sort of create themselves.

Case in point: last week, I shared my Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree poem that was included in J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2015). But then just a few days later, I discovered that I’d never shared the poem that didn’t make it!

You see, when Pat asked me to write a poem about these trees, I had to do a lot of research – having never heard of them before, I needed to learn about what they looked like, why they looked like they did, and where on Earth one would even find them. This took me a solid day, at least. I then set about trying to come up with a poem worthy of a National Geographic book, and eventually wrote two of them.

The poem I shared last week, the one that made it into the book, was actually the second poem I wrote; the first one never saw the light of day. I sent Pat both poems so he could decide which he preferred, but I was glad to see he chose the second poem, as that was my favorite of the two, as well.

But that first poem was nice, nonetheless, and I always regretted that no one would ever read it. So why not publish it here??

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Near a clearing in the forest,
jungle pixies paint with glee
the canvas of a eucalyptus;
Nature’s artist-tree.

– © 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine 


Rainbow Eucalyptus, Wikimedia Commons, by amelia

You can probably see why both Pat and I preferred the second poem; this is nice, but very simple and not exceptionally engaging. The second poem is much more vivid and contains fun, inventive wordplay.

Analyzing it now, this feels more like the “rough draft” of the second poem – although I didn’t realize it when I wrote it. Just goes to show you how important it is to keep working at your project, even when you think you’re done, ha!

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Tanita Davis’ blog fiction, instead of lies, where she shares a poetic exercise that was a lot more taxing than she ever imagined!


My next picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human  (Beaming Books, 2022) is only two months away from publication, and we could use your help!

My first-ever creative nonfiction book comes out October 18 and you’d like to help share the news with the world, I’d love for you to be part of our official Launch Team! Just send me an email at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and let me know. We’ll send you a link so you can read the digital ARC (Advance Review Copy) and will coordinate news and announcements with you to share.

It’s not a lot of work – sharing social media posts, leaving reviews, etc. – but it’s a significant way you can lend a hand in showing support for a book you like. And if you’re a blogger or influencer and would like to be part of our official blog tour/virtual launch, I can make sure you’ll receive a free copy of Beginner’s Guide to give away to one of your followers!

Image © 2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved; reprinted with permission

Again, just email me if you’d like to learn more and I’ll take it from there. I hope you’ll jump on board!

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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.


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17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Rainbow Eucalyptus Part II, the poem you never saw

  1. So fun to see both, Matt! I don’t see this one as a earlier draft or iteration of the other. To me, they’re just two totally different approaches for two totally different audiences. I agree the chosen one fits the vibe of the anthology better. But I think young kids would (rightly) be delighted by the one you shared today. Those trees are amazing! (Also, I tend to send at least a couple of choices when invited to submit for an anthology, too. Glad I’m not the only one!)


    1. Thanks, Laura. When Pat contacted me about it, he apologized for reaching out so late and asked if he could have the poem back by the end of the week – which only gave me a few days to research and write them! So they were such quick writes, I didn’t have the time I’d normally spend to let them marinate and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

      I didn’t think of this as a rough draft inititally, but now that I see the similar conceit of pixies/fairies painting a canvas, they feel like two sides of the same coin.


  2. I agree with Laura – it’s more two different audiences than a rough draft and a finished draft. I like them both – and I’m still absolutely stunned that the tree… exists. Colors borrowed from God’s own palette and flung about by pixies, indeed!

    I love the cover of your Guide to Being Human. Can’t wait to see that one!


  3. I like both poems too, and agree with Laura and Tanita, they are different and each unique–I do love those pixies and “Nature’s artist-tree.” I did a painting of a eucalyptus plant, they’ve actually become invasive and a bit of a problem in the US. My painting has multicolored leaves, here’s a link to it if you want to take a peek: https://www.etsy.com/listing/561743704/eucalyptus-friend-or-foe-bookmark-by?click_key=53164ebe7294d6a34c914db1532f6cd4c4381673%3A561743704&click_sum=530bd066&ref=shop_home_active_6


  4. Like others who commented already, I really enjoyed seeing and comparing both versions of the poem. And, wow! What a tree! “Nature’s artist-tree” indeed! Congratulations on your upcoming book, too.


  5. Matt, after rereading the published poem, I can see how it evolved from this poem that never made it. There is a but thought. Nature’s artist tree is a wonderful thought. I am glad that you embellished and captured the hues of the tree. in poem 2. I do love the quick thoughts of poem 1 and the words jungle pixies. I got your email and will send the response right now.


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