Poetry…on demand

Where are the lines

             the phrases 


that succinctly capture the entirety of an emotion 
in a way that prose cannot quite do?  

Where is the figurative language I demand of my students?
         the metaphors that smash ideas together in choreographed dances?
         the worlds built out of personified, hyperbolic static objects?

I have spent my day searching for the poetry
Naomi Shihab Nye promised was hiding

I checked my shoes and even the eyes of the crows outside my window
(the skunks were sleeping, apparently)

and--I swear--
I am living in such a way that will let them find me
      or am I supposed to find them?

I listened to the wisdom of Joseph Campbell
reimagined through disciples who encourage me 
"follow my bliss"
but never tell me how

I allow the lyrics of Joni and Graham and Jerry and Bruce
to float around my soul because my head is still full of Joe

and then
I stop my searching
and realize I've been teaching it all wrong...
                          the poem doesn't capture the emotion;
                          the poem sets it free.




5 thoughts on “Poetry…on demand

  1. “The poem doesn’t capture the emotion, it sets it free” BEAUTIFUL! I will be starting a unit on poetry with my 8th graders soon, and I will definitely be using that. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is so much to love about this poem. Like you, I often picture words or emotions floating, hiding, sometimes teasing. Like you, I do need to search my shoes, my pockets, for stories or poems I may have mislaid. And the image of setting the emotion free, rather than capturing it, well…that’s going to stay with me. It makes me wonder if that’s how photographers see it, too…?

    Liked by 1 person

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