As the guys from Monty Python used to say, “and now for something completely different.”
I’ve been doing a lot of random writing these days – from poems to picture books and back and forth – and I recently wrote a poem I had no idea what to do with.
So to the blog, it goes!
It’s a bit fantastical in its premise, which is that of a giant mound swelling up in the middle of a road for no particular reason. I can’t say I recall how the idea came to me, but I began imagining what it might be like to witness such an event and this is what fell out of my head.
Why on Earth
would the earth
rise up in a hill
in the middle of the day
in the middle of the road,
sideways, backwards, into
others unfortunate enough
to be driving at this very moment
as young mothers grasp at prams
rolling off the sidewalk onto
expanding grass, and one poor fellow
who decided today
was the day
he would bicycle to school
tries in vain to remain
rolling into a crowd of upside-down
onlookers, caps off, glasses
crushed beneath grass-stained derrières,
anxious and perplexed
about today’s extraordinary event
in a hill
in the middle of the road
in the middle of the day.
– © 2023 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved
For today’s Poetry Friday roundup, head over to My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi Mordhorst is celebrating the “Odes of March” with some of her favorite spring-themed poems – as well as two originals you simply HAVE to read!
I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester!
I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaur breath or origami sea turtles!
Student presentations include:
- The Making of a Picture Book
- How a Child Saved a Book
- “Once Upon Another Time”
- The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
- “I Am Today”
- “A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human”
- The Making of a Picture Book
- The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
- Free Yourself with Free Verse
- Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book
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25 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Why on Earth””
Very Shel-like in its rhythms to me. And oh so imaginative. I’d love to see what an illustrator would do with it.
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Thank you, Margaret. I had illustrations in my mind the entire time I was writing it!
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From our PF hostess, Heidi Mordhorst:
I enjoyed this very gentle catastrophe for the way it reminded me of when the worst you’d see in a children’s book was the equivalent of an upset apple cart. I know it was never just grass-stained derrieres in real life, but all the *reality* these days is hard going. I like the up-over-and-down shape of this one.
(Thank you, Heidi!)
Your poem could be the premise for a fantasy novel in verse or early reader. 🙂
Hmmm… hadn’t really thought of that! I just thought it was a strange sort of one-off. Thanks, Irene!
I agree with Irene, this could be the start of something so fun, Matt! Asking questions in a book for young readers really gets them started with their imaginations!
Funny you should mention asking questions, Linda, I’m in the process of submitting a project with that exact thing in mind! Thank you!
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Matt, fun! I too like the gentle catastrophe that you have described here. The worst seems to be the “grass-stained derrières” and crushed glasses. It’s fun to imagine, and your words help me do that.
Thanks, Denise! Yes, I thought the fact that this highly bizarre event really wasn’t particularly threatening created a fun dichotomy.
Matt, I agree with everyone who says: expand upon your poem. See where your imagination takes you. Maybe an upper elementary book on “in the middle of the road/in the middle of the day” could be the starting point for a tale from a boy’s point of view.
I posted my book review of Everbody Counts! today.
Thank you, Carol – and thanks again for the review! It’s very much appreciated!
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I love the photo of you and the kids. Your poem is like a gentle earthquake, a wonder that is just inconvenient and funny because no one gets hurt.
Thanks, Janice – and yes, I wanted this bizarre occurrence to be completely nonthreatening, just inconvenient. Much more fun that way!
Love the journey that that giant mound took you on!
It was fun, I’ll tell you that. Thanks, Buffy!
Very imaginative, Matt! There are lots of possibilities with this one!
Thanks, Rose, I’ll have to revisit this, it looks like!
I recall during the time I lived and worked in schools in Mahopec in New York that these phenomenon were called ‘heaves.’ I used to see ‘Beware of Heaves’ printed on road signs and wondered what it meant. Your poem brought this memory back to me, Matt. I like the way this poem-fell out of your head. It’s like that sometimes. We find ourselves grateful and surprised. Like you, I enjoy the school visits and the chance to share the passion.
Ah, yes, frost heaves are all over the place up here in NH – but none quite of this magnitude, ha! Thanks so much, Alan.
Fantastical! I have a feeling it will find a home somewhere…
I’m sure it will, thank you!
It’s so fun to try something completely different from our normal styles of writing. An important stretch, I think! Thanks for sharing :>)
Thanks so much, Laura!
A poetic start to a…volcano? I’d be happy to read what happens next!
Thanks, Susan, I guess I’ll have to think more about this!