Sunday, April 7, 2019

Poem #7 - Goodbye Betsy Brown Eyes

Welcome to my 2019 National Poetry Month Project

Each day of April, I will write and share a new (first person, free verse, fewer than 15 lines not including spacing) poem. Taken together, these will tell a story about John and Betsy, two characters I posted about on March 22.  This will be new for me, and I invite anyone who wishes to join me in writing a collection of 30 poems that tell a story.

Here is a list of this month's poems so far:

And's poem.

by Amy LV

Students - This month's poems will tell a story about John and Betsy, and all of the poems will have three things in common: each will be written in John's voice, each will be 15 lines or shorter (not including spacing), and each will be written in free verse. I find it helpful to set writing boundaries for myself, so I chose three to work with over the next 30 days.

I thought about not writing this poem, about leaving the moment of John and Betsy's goodbye out of this series, the way violent scenes were often left out of Greek tragedies.  But in the end, I felt it was important to write a goodbye in a series of swift lines, lines that simply tell, bit-by-bit, what happened at the shelter when John loses Betsy at last.

Note that I do not use any feeling words in this poem.  This is a poem of actions.  But I hope that readers feel some feelings through the actions.  If you find yourself using feeling words, you might try to substitute a feeling sentence in your writing for an action sentence that shows that feeling.  Then the reader will feel the feeling without you even having to name it.

My friend Heidi asked me three questions about this series:

She asked how I chose the names John and Betsy.  Well, I don't know.  I just chose them.  Betsy is based on a real dog, and I wanted to change the name.  And for some reason I wanted a boy character and a girl dog.  So there they were.  Maybe they named themselves?

She asked how I will show what is happening with Betsy once she and John are separated.  You'll see.

She asked if I know what will happen to John and Betsy throughout the month.  I do a little, and I don't a lot.  Today I may map some of that out as a week is already behind us!

This month at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, you will find a joyful piece by Dr. Shari Daniels. Her post is filled with notebooking ideas, great photographs, and everything that makes me want to dive right into my own notebook.  Do not miss the book giveaway for someone who comments by tonight at 11:59pm.

Each Friday of National Poetry Month, Heinemann has generously offered to gift a copy of my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS to someone who has commented during the week.  This book includes over 150 poems by contemporary poets and students alike as well as over 50 poem explorations written by me. I will keep track of comments and will draw one name each Thursday evening, to be announced each Friday of the month. To be entered into these drawings, please do leave a way to contact you along with your comment.  And...Heinemann is offering 40% of all poetry professional books throughout April...thank you Heinemann!

If you would like to learn more about other National Poetry Month projects happening throughout the Kidlitosphere, Jama has rounded up many NPM happenings over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Happy National Poetry Month 2019!

See you tomorrow!


Please share a comment below if you 


  1. Oh, that sketch with the poem. You're breaking our hearts!

  2. I can't help but wonder what the secret was.

  3. I read these poems and cry, every single day! I cannot even imagine.... And like Cathy, I wonder what the secret is. I want some kind soul to come and offer to buy their dog food! The characters seem so real that I would be willing to buy the dog food!

  4. We are so curious about the secret John whispers to Betsy. We hope you come back to it in a later poem.

    -Mrs. Haney's Class

  5. I want to know the secret, too! I know what my secret would be. xo

  6. My heart breaks. I don’t do well with this kind of stories.