Poetry Friday: Nearly Grown Up

As someone new to writing poetry, I have found myself steeped in this genre as of late. This is my 5th Poetry Friday post (third in a row for the past 3 Fridays), and just today I began a month long journey of attempting to write a poem a day with a Facebook group. Yikes! Nothing like jumping in with both feet.

I must say that the more I put myself out there, and make what feel like feeble attempts at writing in verse, the less intimidating, less daunting, and less nerve wracking it is. It goes without saying that warm & welcoming communities like Poetry Friday are the best place for someone like me to share what I am trying.

Today I am sharing a poem I wrote for our first day of the month long poetry writing challenge. During the month we are writing ekphrasis poems, which are poems written in response to and/or inspired by a piece of art. Today’s image was credited to Jay Shovan, a high school senior, and is an unfinished self portrait. Take a look:

As I studied the portrait and considered the artist, I began to wonder what he might have been like as a very young boy. In my kindergarten class I have a few very busy little guys who at times are a challenge for this mother of 4 daughters. It took me years in my early teaching career to get the “boy thing.” I continue to struggle at times with understanding the behaviors, rough play, and those boy noises so many of them seem to need to make!

When I look at the face in this portrait, I see a mature 18 year old young man. I wonder if he was a rambunctious kindergartner. Did he struggle to sit still? Did his teacher feel like she had to constantly remind him to stay focused and keep his listening ears on?

If he did, it doesn’t show now. Clearly the passage of time that added years to his young life saw those characteristics slowly fade away. The silliness and perhaps uncontrollable exuberance of his boyhood are distant memories. He now appears to stand in a place of looking ahead at his future, in a place of great decision making, perhaps even at a crossroads as he considers what he will do.

This encourages me as I spend my days corralling  my little guys with all of their rough and tumble play. I sometimes find myself imagining them walking into my classroom a decade or more in the future, and seeing tall young men, calm and confident, who I hope remember they days of their youth and recognize the transformation they made from childhood to adulthood.

Today’s #PoetryFriday is hosted by Donna @ Mainely Write


7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Nearly Grown Up

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Your explanation is so engaging, the wondering about the boy in the painting. This is exactly where ekphrasis takes us, on a journey of discovery. I’m so glad you are doing this challenge with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great! Glad you have joined. This is my first year doing this challenge, and am loving it. I taught first grade for many years, and I am always tickled to see my former students now towering over me. I almost always recognize them before they do me…the eyes are always the same.


  3. Alice Nine says:

    I love reading the back story to your poem, the lens you used to look at Jay’s self-portrait. Thanks for sharing it. I’m so glad you’ve jumped into these two challenges. This is my second year for both; my first was a part-time effort. Both are such supportive communities. I’m #39 over on Donna’s “Mainly Write” Linky.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindabaie says:

    I loved your wonderings when I first read it, as only a primary teacher can do. Even for me it’s great to unite with ‘grown’ former students. I love the hope you put into the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. laurashovan222 says:

    Thanks for sharing the portrait and your poem here, Dani. I’m glad you’re enjoying the project. Every year, I’m amazed at the strong sense of community we develop when we’re writing together.

    One of the things I like best about your poem was that it leaves the gender of the speaker undefined.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed reading the thought process behind your poem–and I enjoyed it on the Facebook page, too. This is a great community-so warm and welcoming and encouraging. I love that everyone creates a safe place to try out new things. I have learned so much from reading such good poetry every week (and sometimes every day) and jumping into practice writing my own poems.

    Liked by 1 person

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