Mrs. Worth, Joyce Kilmer, and Me
When I was yet in grade school, my teacher gave to me,
a task I thought most surely would be the death of me.
She ordered me to write a verse, in any style I chose,
I will tell you right up front that at her words I froze!
I thought long and hard on it, as any schoolgirl would,
still coming up with nothing did something no kid should.
There in my mother’s bedroom, stored on her bedside nook,
I found my dusty savior, ‘twas mama’s poem book!
I read until I found a poem anyone would think,
was ok, not quite perfect, one step above “what stinks.”
I began to jot it down, unaware what lay ahead,
she’d ne’er be the wiser as my pilfered poem was read.
As I wrote I altered words, for even I could see,
with just a couple changes, ‘twould sound the more like me.
The title seemed so boring, that I switched it as well,
now she’d think this poem was mine and say my work was swell!
Hot cheeked at her desk I stood, as her accusations flew,
suddenly, I don’t know why, my mouth began to move!
“This is really weird,” I lied, “as strange as it could be,
that this guy Mr. Kilmer would write so much like me!”
Sent home with a message, addressed to you know who,
it explained “our” little problem and what I’d have to do.
Red cheeked at the other end, I sat that very night,
when suddenly words emerged and I began to write!
Words floated onto paper, as I in anger vowed,
to write something much better than “trees whose heads are bowed.”
Mrs. Worth, though long gone now, I hope will somehow see,
how her dastardly assignment set my spirit free!
One thing to remember, should a harsh critique you read,
ignore what isn’t useful, accept that which you need,
never get discouraged if the kudos don’t come through,
‘cause even old Joyce Kilmer once had a bad review!
Copyright © Shelly Berkeley | Year Posted 2007
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