Write a poem about something you gave away as a child – 31p31d

Something given...
Something given…

Entry 1 in 31 poems in 31 days…

Where Poetry Came From

As long as there has been language, there has been poetry. Most of the earliest surviving texts were written in verse, but the poetic tradition stretches back to before the days of the written word, when stories and history were passed down orally using storytellers who used such devices as meter, rhyme and alliteration to ease the task or remembering and reciting tales that in many cases took days to tell.

The Evolution of Poetry

Over the years, history has become an academic pursuit rooted far more in prose than in verse. The age of the epic poem has passed. A book length poem is an anomaly these days. Poems tend to be shorter and less structured than in earlier times. Poetry forms are rarely used and such poetic devices as rhyme and alliteration have fallen out of favor, especially in the English Language, which lacks some of the lyrical qualities of languages such as Italian, Spanish and French.

For Love, Not Money

Poetry, in today’s world is at best a minor niche in the writing industry. Best selling books of poetry are few and far between. The major markets are dominated by fiction, self help, political and business books. Most new books of poetry sell fewer than a thousand copies and those that reach the tens of thousands are considered highly successful. This is a standard that falls far short of the fiction market, for which you need to sell a half a million books to be considered successful. Most book publishers don’t even publish poetry anymore. Those that do so continue to do it mainly out of a love for poetry rather than an expectation of profits.

A Small World

Poetry is not, however, without its fans. There is a small but thriving poetry community. If you live in a city of reasonable size, chances are that you can find at least one poetry reading happening in a given week. There are also poetry festivals and poetry slams (competitive poetry events) that take place in some communities. The Internet is also a thriving place for poets, with the blogging format making it easy for the average person to publish their poetry quickly and easily.

Just Like Chess Fans

Poetry is not a business. Your chances of making a living as a professional poet are about the same as your chances of making a living as a professional chess player. Both are activities that many people enjoy doing, but very few people pay to see. The only difference is that it is relatively easy to prove whether or not you are a good chess player, but whether or not you are a good poet is a much more subjective question.

Why You Should Write

The point I am getting at, in a very roundabout way, is that the best reason to write poetry is because it is something you enjoy doing or at least it is something you get some sort of emotional or spiritual benefit from doing. There is no other good reason to write poetry. If you want to be rich or famous, you’ve come to the wrong field. If you want to express yourself and join a small but thriving community of people who like to do the same, poetry is one way to go. If you love to write poetry, do it. Always try to improve, but don’t worry about whether you are “good enough” or if you “have what it takes” because poetry is about the journey far more than the result.

Today’s Poetry Assignment

Write a poem about something you gave away when you were a child or when you no longer felt like you were a child. Try to think of an object that had some emotional significance to you. Avoid a description of how you felt about the event then or how you feel about it now. Try to make the significance of the event come through in your descriptions of the item and the cause of giving it way.

Feel free to post your poem in the comments or on your own site with a link back to here. This will give other people the opportunity to read your poem.

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  • Bipin Ch Rabha

    i like it.

  • Thank you for hosting the party John. http://delainamiller.com/a-kiss/

  • My poem for the day…

    Because She Asked

    I gave away Sick
    By Shel Silverstein
    It was in the middle of Where the Sidewalk Ends

    A girl I knew
    Karen with the too wide eyes
    Wanted to perform it
    For her drama class
    So I carefully removed the pages from the book
    And gave them to her

    I never saw the performance
    Or the pages
    She would pass me in the halls in high school
    And I would glance at her
    Wondering how it went
    And what she did with Sick
    She never said anything to me
    About Sick or anything else

    Looking at the book I would wonder
    What to do about the pages
    Because it wasn’t my book
    Or my pages to give
    But I did it because she asked

    Like most things I just let it linger
    As another little crime in the back of my mind
    Never to be resolved

  • (something given away in childhood)

    What Sister Did

    They called him
    to her classroom
    big sister blaming
    kid brother, salving
    her embarrassment
    salvaging favor with
    her favorite teacher
    who wore chopsticks
    black and red enamel
    chopsticks in her hair
    So “bohemian” cool –
    Who knew? Not she
    that they would call him
    to her classroom and
    he, bright eyed dimpled
    second grader, hair
    parted neatly as a knife
    cut, or a sister’s lie, would
    stand and accept her
    shame as his, smiling
    in front of all those fifth –
    graders and that frowning
    teacher with Chinese forks
    forgotten in her hair hissing
    something about a dirty comb
    he left in Sister’s book bag
    They called him to her
    classroom by mistake –
    his comb was in his pocket,
    but his sister stared in silent
    imploration – tears standing
    on her lashes – ready to fall –
    he did not tell – repeated as
    directed, that he was a “dirty
    little boy” though he wasn’t –
    and before he left smiled at
    his sister – sure she would
    explain it all later – cause that’s
    what Sister did

  • John Mark Wiggers

    Ok- I am in!

    Round and smooth
    with a green tint and
    swirls inside, this marble
    was my precious jewel.
    This constant token
    rolled back and forth
    on the scratched desk,
    and grasped tightly
    during quizzes.
    Fingered in my pocket
    waiting for the bus.
    Atop the playground tower
    I spied the world in its light.
    And in the shadow,
    she stepped from root to root,
    flat brown hair hanging
    over a gray face.
    I offer my treasure to her
    and she shows me her eyes.
    Everyone needs some thing that shines.

  • Leigh Spencer

    Imaginary Friends

    Voices
    on the other side of the crib

    “Who are you talking to, silly girl?”

    Them
    it was always them

    When I got older,
    grandma’s statue
    Leilani, in concrete form

    We had our own language
    no one could guess
    secrets between child
    and stone confidant

    Hours upon hours
    of time alone

    But not

    “I don’t know who she’s talking to,
    but she never shuts up!”

    I tried, then
    to give it up

    Pick up a ball
    A teapot
    A doll

    Play with a real friend

    Turns out
    I couldn’t stand
    the loneliness
    the boredom
    the confusion
    of conversations I couldn’t control

    So I tried a new path
    Silence

    Conversations became
    cross country steam trains
    back and forth
    tracks only in my head

    As you shake yours
    wondering from time to time

    “What the hell is she laughing at?”

    I set them aside one day
    distracted
    by warm-handed invitations

    Curious, these “real” people
    with their talking
    destinations
    all over the place
    little reasons for rhymes
    when I can’t predict what’s next

    I want to be alone
    again and never again

    Back to sharing aloud,
    my created companions
    characters, maybe
    for all the books I’ll never write
    about my life
    that never happened

    He, at least, accepts my explanation

    “Oh that? I’m just talking to myself.”

  • Day 2 from 31 in 31 over at Poewar.com

    Heart Change

    Zack was my best friend in a childhood parsimonious with friendship
    Bought by my father to hunt birds, a pedigree and blue ribbon progeny
    Who herded me away from the ditches and crosswalks
    while parents were busy with important adult things
    I was just 12 when I woke to be told he was gone.
    No good-byes.
    I cried inconsolably and at a bottle of baby aspirin I stole from the neighbor.
    I threw up and no one knew
    And I swore I would never love again.

    When Buster first appeared,
    We were still we
    And all love lasted forever.
    Sick with the desire to please,
    I agreed
    And I said the dog could stay
    If you kept him off the bed.

    Now his golden head drapes across my ankle
    Warm brown eyes smiling approval as I drift towards sleep.
    I think of him then,
    The vector for this, my most infectious love.
    And how you again gave me forever.