Why I write, 2021

The Children’s Eyes (When They Are Writing)

The children’s eyes
are windows to the skies
moon and star-studded night,
reflected wonderlight.

The children’s eyes
are toy-wagon wheels
absorbing, bearing, hauling
so much more than playthings.

The children’s eyes
are gates in a small walled garden
which widen when they realize
the stunning flora growing within
—cultivate it, Children.

For in my own walled garden
of memory
lush greenery still grows
not concealing
but revealing
what I now know
to be healing.

All I’ve lived and seen
eventually spills forth
in story or verse
above and through and over
the old stone wall

for even in the moonless,
darkest night,
there is always
a ribbon 
of light. 

This, Children,
is why I write.

Speaking of things I’ve seen…artwork on a concrete wall in Asheville, NC.
The garden struck me as metaphor for writing, growing there in the brain.


with thanks to Andy Schoenborn for the “eyes” and life experience poetry prompt on Ethical ELA this morning, to Two Writing Teachers for sustaining a community where teachers of writing flourish, and to the National Council of Teachers of English for designating October 20th as National Day on Writing.

and in honor of all the children who inspire me, every time I’ve come to your classrooms to teach writing.

4 thoughts on “Why I write, 2021

  1. Fran, once again I read your poem and still come to that ribbon of light and think of how tirelessly your patience unfolds for these young writers – who carry more than playthings in their wagon wheels. The story spilling forth over the old stone wall is such a metaphor for the lifeblood of writing needing to flow despite the sometimes reluctant moments we have. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love this post, Fran! May I please have permission at some point to use it as mentor text for when my students learn about posting/commenting? I think they’d get a LOT out of this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “…there is always a ribbon of light.” So grateful you shared these thoughts for this National Day of Writing. “The children’s eyes . . . reflected wonderlight.” Such beautiful thoughts. Lucky students, lucky you!


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