Friday, January 27, 2023

It Is True. (What Is True?)

by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Students - This week I read a new-to-me poem written by a poet who died many years ago. Right away I felt like we were friends, as if its words had lived in my heart forever, that we had known each other for our whole lives. I felt so grateful. And while a person and a poem can not exaaaaactly hold hands and dance, it felt just like we did.

Today's poem once again takes an actual memory and brings it into the world of of make-believe. You may have noticed before that I do this often - begin with a moment that really happened and then allow it to bring me to a new and imaginary place. This is one of my favorite truths of writing: we do not always need to direct our writing, rather, we can sometimes take its hand and follow.

As I wrote this poem, I kept scribbling and scribbling, crossing out lines and reading the words aloud until they sounded just right. I could not find the ending for quite a while, but I kept writing and kept listening....and at last the lesson found me. Today's poem is a bit of a lesson poem, sharing in its final lines something I have learned: it is true/that you can find/and recognize/the thing/you never knew/you missed.

Know this: you need not know the ending of your poem before you write it. Follow the trail of wordcrumbs, and follow where they lead you. Keep your mind open for possible lessons and learnings. And remember too that your poem need not rhyme. To know if it will sound good to you, just keep reading it aloud as you go. Each time you write a line, read your poem again - up to that line - and listen for what comes next. Often, the line will be right there...waiting for you.

You may be wondering about the title of this new-to-me-best-friend-poem. I will share it soon, but for now, we are still getting to know each other. Have you ever had a little secret or treasure that you were not quite ready to share quite yet?

Jan is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Bookseed Studio with a celebration of the inspiring author illustrator Sharon Lovejoy, writer of one of my favorites, ROOTS, SHOOTS, BUCKETS, AND BOOTS: GARDENING TOGETHER WITH CHILDREN. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

May you find a surprising truth (or poem or treasure or teeny secret) this week. What is true for you?



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  1. Oh, yes... "we can sometimes take its hand and follow" -- this is my very best and favorite way...

  2. Meeting a new poem & realizing the friendship, terrific way to put it, Amy. Those are the poems I copy & paste into a special document, or print. Love this!

  3. I love this writing advice so much: "you need not know the ending of your poem before you write it. Follow the trail of wordcrumbs, and follow where they lead you. Keep your mind open for possible lessons and learnings."

  4. Amy, I find your poetry-making doodle delightful & equal to your paired poem for inspiring poem-makers of all ages to get those words [& perhaps doodles] out there.
    And it's charming & so like you, that Sharon Lovejoy is a trusted & remembered garden guru.
    I'm glad you found time for a new-to-you-poem that befriended you. Much goodness will follow, I'm sure.

  5. Amy ~ my heart melted as I read your poem. You may not know it, but you wrote it for our whole tribe. Thank you. <3

  6. How special to find this treasure-filled-poem friend! Thanks for sharing your delightful poem Amy, and suggestions for how to get there–I look forward to your reveal…

  7. Yes! Perfect personification--this is what poems are, dear old friends. Wonderful poem.

  8. I love that experience of finding a poem that says what I couldn't quite express. It does feel like we take hands and dance.

  9. I love the jubilation of the repeated, "I found you! I found you!" Your ending is so absolutely perfect.

  10. Really love this. This is quotable for me: "Follow the trail of wordcrumbs." Yes!

  11. Trail of wordcrumbs -- me, too! And I'm so grateful for the patience you suggest - even waiting for a title to come. Thank you!

  12. Amy, thanks for this poem, and also thank you for the whole paragraph starting with know this. I think that's something I have to remind myself of frequently!