Friday, October 13, 2023

Listen to Your Secret Self

Mushrooms in Strykersville Cemetery, Strykersville, NY.
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I wrote today's poem from a photograph taken earlier in the week, on a walk through a cemetery near my home. And where did this poem come from? I don't know. I have read poems about mushrooms being quiet, and truthfully, this poem just arrived. I wrote a line, read it out loud to myself, and listened to my secret self to know and write the next line. I recommend this. Listen to your secret self as you write. We each have a secret self, and it can be a good friend to us as we create poetry or other art, but secret selves can get lost in the hullabaloo of life if we don't make time for them.  (I protect my secret self by giving it quiet time and by not watching violence or spending too much time consuming media.)

One thing to notice about this poem is its long lines. I considered breaking it up into shorter lines as I often do, considered adding more punctuation. But I decided not to do either of these things, because, as I read the poem aloud, I enjoyed its breathless, quick feeling, as if the speaker is telling the listener an important secret that must be told right away. I rather like how the lines all run together even though I may decide to change this one day in the future. This poem gives a bit of advice, something you might enjoy offering in a poem sometime.

Know this: your poems are yours. You can write them one way today and change them tomorrow if you wish. Your mind is a wide meadow filled with endless surprises, and you may write these poems in whichever way brings you the most joy.

I am happy to share that my friend Gart has once again made music to go with last week's poem. You can hear his joyful voice of Fox HERE, as I have added it to the post. Thank you, Gart!

Thank you to the students, teachers, and administration of Alden Intermediate School in Alden, NY for welcoming me to your school so warmly this week. I loved speaking to and writing with the third and fourth grade students and look forward to more time wiht fourth grade and also fifth grade next week. I am still thinking about the student poems I read over the past two days, reminded once again how young people write so deeply, clearly, and honestly.

Catherine is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup today at Reading to the Core with a celebration of Irene Latham's newest book, THE MUSEUM ON THE MOON and an original poem to go with it. Each Friday, all are invited to share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship in this open and welcoming poetry community.



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1 comment:

  1. I love this poem, Amy! Thank you for the reminder to listen to our secret selves! Alden teachers and students were lucky to experience time with you!