As you probably know, the publication of my new picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), has been taking up all my time and attention the past few weeks – and now that it is officially available everywhere and my next book doesn’t come out for two more months (YES!! See below!), I thought I’d catch my breath and share a poem I originally posted way back when it was first written, in Oct. 2013.
True, I’ve written many poems while attending the Highlights Foundation workshops; you can read a poem about a stone wall HERE, some light verse HERE, or even a love poem HERE.
In this particular case, I was enjoying my very first Highlights Foundation workshop hosted by David L. Harrison and was relishing the opportunity to live, eat, breathe, and sleep poetry!
I was inspired to write many things during that week; one of them was this poem, written about an old tree I saw, situated alone in a field on the Highlights’ grounds in Boyds Mills, PA.
“The Apple Tree”
One autumn day while walking
alone in an unfamilar area I spied –
crouched like an old man
with a strong crutch
and weak heart –
an apple tree
standing in solitude amidst the sawgrass,
and a few errant wildflowers,
so full of precious fruit
I surmised it must be
in wont of a visitor
with whom to share
Desirous of the beauty
I beheld, I journeyed
through green-amber weeds
high to my waist, urgent
soft steps growing
and more deliberate. How could ancient limbs
such as these carry the reward
that awaited me?
The tree beckoned, each coy leaf lifted
sweet bounty beneath.
Soon, I saw boughs heavy
as the Milky Way, bearing
stars upon stars
and outshone the very leaves
that held them
in the sky.
Faster and faster I trod, consumed
by a fervent lust
such succulence I’d never seen!
Closer, closer, I came,
heart and eyes wide and longing
Under shade of canopy,
only now could I see clearly
blessed fruit blushed
Mold-speckled faces frowned
through borers’ brown holes
while wind-wrinkled skin hung
criss-crossed with blemishes
of age and neglect.
I stared for only a moment
then sat close to its trunk,
where low-hanging corpses
mocked my desire.
I would not leave this spot,
for I knew my hunger
was insatiable, and my thirst
unquenched. Here my craving
had begun, here it remained;
here I would remain
yearning, never satisfied,
with what could have been.
– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine
My friend Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday this week at My Juicy Little Universe, where she is celebrating Folktale Week with a video of the prologue to the musical Into the Woods – which is poetic and musical and just plain fun!
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(And OH, YES, dear readers, I have another picture book coming out the first week of January – and will be hosting the official COVER REVEAL here next week! I can’t wait for you to see it and learn more about it! If you love animals, numbers, and multicultural food, BE HERE NEXT FRIDAY!)
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I’m also booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!
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!
I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. 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 dinosaurs, tree ferns, 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”
Adult presentations include:
- The Making of a Picture Book
- Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
- The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
- Free Yourself with Free Verse
- Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book
Learn more at my website!
If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN
(Beaming Books, 2022)
Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!
I’m very happy to be 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 here to view all my books and to order!
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!
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:
- “Rollicking rhyme!” – Booklist
- “A wild romp!” – Parenting NH Magazine
- “Cute…intriguing…4 out of 5 stars” – Tulsa Book Review
- “Rhythmic…funny and informative” – Unleashing Readers
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