Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stepping Out of the Shadows in My Writing Life

Dear Mr. Hughes
-After reading “Dreams”

It’s hard to dream
with an eviction notice
on my front door.

It’s hard to dream
when I'm sleeping on
a living room floor.

It’s hard to dream
when I’m still hungry
but there isn’t any more

It’s hard to dream—
but one thing I know
for sure:

When I grow up,
I don’t want to be
poor!


I rarely post my own poems, but I’m trying to push myself to step out of the shadows a bit and share more of my writing life.  So, today I’m posting a poem from a novel-in-verse I started a few years ago.  Although it’s from the main character’s point of view, much of the experience comes from my own childhood.  I abandoned the novel, but this poem stuck with me.  Growing up in poverty influenced my life in both positive and negative ways, and the fear of being poor again has never let go. I have always been a dreamer, but I’ve known children (and adults) who say they don’t have a dream.  To me, that is the worst kind of poverty. 

A big thank you to Karen for hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup.

19 comments:

  1. Wow Linda. This is a great. So glad you stepped out of the shadows. Of course now I want to get to know this character better and want her to find some dreams.

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  2. Oh, wow. Striking words. You should post more of your own writing! I also grew up in a home where money (or the lack thereof) was a constant, constant source of anxiety and tension, and it's taken me a long time to work through my own feelings about money.

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  3. Linda, this is a powerful poem that would resonate with many students that I have taught. Poverty is a state that many do not know how hard it impacts children's lives.

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  4. You've written in your poem all that is needed. It's poignant and just right, Linda. I like your words at the end, too, that "worst kind of poverty." It feels very sad to me that there are children in our country that are hungry and in need. That is one thing I'd like to see our new administration talk about. Thanks for your sharing, keep on!

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  5. Wow. I was going to comment about how much I love this poem... but I'm glad I didn't rush to do it before I read your whole post, because I really hope this story gets told, Linda. What a powerful poem in a verse novel. Your words are shining in the shadows!

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  6. Really like this, Linda! Your narrator has a great voice.

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  7. This is wonderful, Linda, with such authentic voice. It's powerful and poignant and achingly sad. Thanks so much for taking the brave step to share your own writing. I hope you'll do so again.

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  8. Nobody in today's government is talking about eradicating poverty, but how many women and kids are living in poverty? Way too many. Very powerful words.

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  9. Bravo! for your bravery, for your beautiful poem, for your novel in verse that probably needs to be written, and for you!

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  10. I love this poem--and your courage in sharing it. The lack of dreams is the worst kind of poverty. It broke my heart when I taught students whose dreams had already been snuffed out. Even though I'm no longer teaching, I keep looking for ways to help children keep their dreams alive and support them in the ways they need. There are too many hungry, homeless children in our communities.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope you get back to your novel in verse. This character wants you to. :)

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  12. Hi Linda! Thank you for sharing your poignant poem! Share more please!

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  13. I agree with those who have commented on the power in this poem. I, too, would love to read more from this character!

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  14. Thank you for all of your kind comments. I know there are a lot of children living in the same situation. I would like to somehow help them know they are not alone, and that they can have a bright future.

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  15. Great poem! You speak for so many children.

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  16. Hooray for pushing yourself! I'm giving you a hug and a high-five. The Poetry Friday community is a great place to step out with new poems. This one is tightly packed with emotion but punchy with the rhyme. I really think it's a good one for voice. If you have a chance to enter it in an anthology or contest, I think this would be a good one.
    Have a great week.

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  17. Linda I love your heartfelt poem and the backstory to it too! And not having a dream, how important this is!

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  18. Beautiful and powerful poem, Linda. I agree with others... you should post more from this character (and you).

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  19. This is a great response poem, Linda. I can hear this young person's voice.

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