A Poem a Day

Have you ever heard the saying, “A poem a day keeps the doctor away?” I heard it during my first year of studying English literature at St. Edward’s University. At first, I thought it was a clever ploy created by professors to keep English students motivated. Yet I soon came to realize that this little saying is actually true. The days when I had to study tremendous amounts of poetry were some of the best days of my undergraduate career. For me, reading poetry soothed my anxiety and allowed me to appreciate the little things. This morning, I was reminded of why this saying is so particularly true in my life. I came into the Badgerdog office drunk with sleep and rather unmotivated. One of the first things I did was read some of the poetry from the newly published Rise and Emerge books. Lo and behold, I felt instantly better. The poetry published in these two books is utterly amazing; it transported me to fond memories of reading work from Wordsworth, Frost, and Keats (my personal favorite). Yet the best part of reading this poetry was not that it was able to transport me to a distant memory, but rather that it was able to make me laugh, to make me cry, and to inspire me.

Here are two poems that truly caught my attention this morning. The first one comes from Ashley, a student at Martin Middle School, whose poem “A Picture” is published in Emerge: Youth Voices in Ink, Spring 2012. One of the main reasons why I love this poem is because the images are so uniquely powerful. Each sentence made my brain search uncomfortably and desperately for the meaning. I think any poem that requires you to think and leaves you speechless (as this one did for me), is a true masterpiece.

A Picture

Her picture was a smile,
this whispered like a thing
I was. That night was
reality, imagination was the
girl, and glowing through
a closed room. The only complete
mental hand, what’s your fact?
Not anyone else. He rips me
before I can stop him. I’m
a tear in his hands, a picture.
This is us.

Ashley, Martin Middle School

The second poem I loved this morning comes from Ebony, a fourth grader at Bluebonnet Trail Elementary, whose poem “Love Poem for Juan (Who Died)” is published in Rise: Youth Voices in Ink, Spring 2012. Her poem is powerful and has a pleasant rhythm to it that makes it memorable. Ebony reminds us to cherish the happy moments we share with people, even if they have already passed.

Love Poem for Juan (Who Died)

To the dead, who I never touched,
I have really loved you ever since you died.
For Hector, I have been brave
and not cried over your grave.
I remember all the things you did for people
even though I was just a baby,
even though I was just a baby,
I remember what you did for me—
how you took me to the park,
how you bough me cute baby clothes,
and best of all, how you played with me!

Ebony, fourth grade, Bluebonnet Trail Elementary School

—Nicole, intern, Badgerdog Literary Publishing

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