Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stuffed Raccoon - Poem #17 for April 2014 Poetry Project

Learn about this, my April 2014 Poetry Project, HERE!

Stuffed Raccoon
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I have been saving this raccoon photograph for several days because I think it is so adorable.  It is actually part of a picture with more stuffed animals, but I just chose one for today's poem.

Three Cute Stuffed Animals
Photo by Amy LV

I was not sure where to begin for today's verse because I did not want to write a too-sad poem.  Even though sometimes I feel a little sad in thrift stores, wondering where all of the people went, I did not want sadness to take me or this collection over.

I dove into my notebook and came up with a poemdraft I liked.

Stuffed Raccoon - Draft Page Spread #1 
Photo by Amy LV

Or so I thought.

First Typed Poemdraft - Done?  No.

Today's post was all done - I thought.  Poem typed.  Poem recorded.  Draft photographed.  It was just to comment.  In doing so, I saw that the poem had a little typo, so I went in to fix it.  Something was bothering me in the poem. Actually three things, but I didn't know that yet.  

The first niggly trouble was that the poem felt just too sad after all.  I do feel sad when I see stuffed animals in thrift stores, but again, I didn't want my occasional melancholy feeling to pervade this collection.  I was going to keep it anyway though, for now, because it was after midnight and I was sleepy.

The second thing that bothered me was that whole part about girls and boys and women and men.  It felt too...too...sophisticated and adult.  I was going to keep it anyway though, for now, because it was after midnight and I was sleepy.

The third thing?  Well, I reread the poem to myself one more time, and something sounded familiar.  Do you know what it was?  

The word 'again.'

I ended April 9th's poem - "Bicycle" - with 'again.'  This would not do.  It was back to the drawing board for another ending.  Then another typing.  Another recording.  Even though it was way after midnight and I was sleepy.

Reading my final version for today, above, I noticed something interesting.  The sound of this poem reminds me of the sound of a poem I wrote last year, "Moon Mama."  It has that same rolling sound and the question in the middle and the sense of looking back too.  I read this poem many times aloud on Monday and Tuesday during school visits at St. John's School in Houston, Texas, and the rhythms, reinforced by my voice and through my body, came back in this poem for today.

This is why we read poems aloud over and over and over; they come back to us in surprising ways. 

(Oh!  If you're wondering if I noticed that yesterday's poem includes the word 'small' in its first line, just as today's does, I did notice, and I will likely change that poem's first line to read, "A big box of picture frames...")

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. When I visit here, I feel like I am having a private conversation with you about your writing. Oh, how I wish we could do that for real!

  2. I continue to love the process, and always feel sad when I see the animals at the thrift stores who need more loving! Well said, and considered, Amy. Tears are not to be taken lightly.

  3. This is such a terrific learning series for m.e. I love this poem: "has kept many secrets soaked up many tears been thrown in the air." It's wonderful. I hope I can learn to think like this. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Okay. I meant "me." not "m.e." Sorry.

  5. I'm glad I have my childhood Pooh-bear here with me, even though he and Piglet get a little dusty between the times I chat with them. They are rich with my childhood tears.

  6. How sweet! I would expect nothing different from the stuffed animals that love us through the early days of our lives. I'm sure they do wonder about us --- and us about them.