Moving On

2015 was a year of writing.

In the second semester of my tenth grade English class, I discovered that my teacher – Ms. Magnuson, of course – was a really wonderful poetry reader and editor, not to mention encouraging (and pretty awesome). The very first poem I took to her is this:


take a moment
yeah You.
See the way
he shuffles his feet
See the way
she braids her hair
how can we deny
“you are beautiful”
how can we not acknowledge
your Soul shines
through the calloused layers of unloved skin
Making You a Beacon
of Much-Needed Light
to those around you.

I also discovered that I could seriously enjoy poetry assignments. I could genuinely appreciate writing in response to something, in a certain tone, or in imitation of another writer. I wrote this poem mimicking a poem by Mary Oliver:


It doesn’t have to be
heavy thoughtful words, it could be
spare time on a Tuesday night, or a
hand on your back; just
notice them, then learn

to be comfortable in the silence of appreciation
don’t try to make it perfect
for you are not vying for first place

You are learning to pour out the
grace you have been given.

This year, I also discovered that poetry – my own and other’s –  has the power to heal. This poem has the weight and hurt of momentary pain and coming to the end of it healed a wound of sorts.

{loving and leaving}

a knot in my throat
that’s what its called

but all I feel
are breaths
shuddering and crumbling
under the weight
of my thumping heart

it is an organ
the heart is
made of arteries and veins
and yet

continues to tremble
because the fear
of being left alone
alone in a world
where people
talk to break
not to build
without the quiet kinship
of a friend
is a scary thing

so I lay curled
knees to my chest
trying to shield
my body
from everything
that plagues

molten shards
of my sun-shattered-soul
pour down my cheeks
flow and rush
over the bridge of my nose
leaving scars
only I can feel

if I could hear anything over
the loud banging-clanging of my heart
I would hear
the gentle pitter-patter
of tears released

but my heart
continues to beat
its own jarring reminder
“you are alive and working”

my voice breaks
as I choke out
a whisper
into the soft darkness
“thank you”

I also learned, or rather continued to learn, that writing helps me to pay attention to what is going on around me, and how I can be better attuned to it. I can learn to see the world – the “night” – as it is, not as I’ve convinced myself it is.

{dark nights}

we moan
we groan
we tell
of how
our Night is
how violent
our Storm is

but even then
when we chance
a look at the sky

its not as dark
as we once thought
lighter blues swirl
with indigos
more than how we insist
on painting it
the moon shimmers
on our rocking waters
the stars beam
with loving smiles
the clouds
move leisurely through
the oxygen that is home
heavy with water they may be
ready to rain on our slow funeral walk
but still

and all of us
here we are
mostly insignificant
and groaning
while Creation beckons
us to notice
the beauty in the Night

The poem below was written with magnetic words on someone’s fridge. I spent a good 15 minutes searching the entire fridge for words that could make up an intelligible poem. This poem taught me the search for words and the fact that I can make a poem out of practically anything or anything  – whether they be on a fridge, in my mind, or elsewhere. Also, this poem showed me how good constraints could be: I never would have used “hath” if I had had my own unlimited choice of words, instead of a fridge set.

{I Am More}

when slander’s ghost
hath poisoned
my every thought

know this

I have
let no curse
measure me

The last poem I wrote in 2015 is a poem on grief. I’m not sure what that means for 2015 or the coming year, but I do know that poetry is a way of moving on. Through all the poems above and all the poems that I wrote that are not here, I learned something, and they have let me move on – to a new phase or deeper into something.

2015 was a year of writing that taught me to move on. So I continue to move on – to 2016 and to new things.

{missing lives}

we were
in a king size bed

when the world
lost an
eight year old
“with a glow about her”

we were
on Nakuru

when our planet
lost another
eight year old
“not of this world”

I look out
from the car window
my bitten nails
in my lap

I see farms
streaking past
people busy
with lives
with sadness
all of their

the clouds
paint shadows
on the green
rain-fed hills
and all I can do


the years
of believing
in a loving

slip trip and

my cheeks

I catch just
with my lips
to keep the prayer
in me

and we keep

if you’re lucky
pain doesn’t
only pause

we see more
more cattle
more sheep

more clumsy
tumble into
the heavy air

and we keep

So here’s to moving on. Cheers.


2 thoughts on “Moving On

  1. caelikean

    Reid, I’m not exactly sure what to say here. Your poetry is simply amazing. You capture so much you in each of these. I see your thoughts pouring out like little beams from the holes of the e’s and o’s. You introduce each poem and what it has taught you in a concise way that doesn’t leave me confused or questioning. One thing that I might suggest is analyzing your poems a bit (as dreadful as that sounds). What makes me say that is the fact that I have read a lot of these poems before and that you’ve talked to me about them, giving me a lot of context that allows me to understand what was happening around the time that you wrote these. It makes me wonder if this will make as much sense to people who don’t know you at all. You make some references such as our Mary Oliver assignment, night, and grief, that may come across as vague or unclear. But, because I’m not coming to this post without former understanding, you might get some more accurate feedback from someone who isn’t in our AP Lang class or, better yet, doesn’t know you very well. So, this may not have been helpful at all but if it does encourage you to do anything, let it be that you consider some of your references that you are confident of them being clear to any random readers of your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reid, this post makes me so, so happy.

    Is the extra spacing between lines intentional? ‘Cause that would probably be my main note — the very drawn out format makes the post a bit hard to read.

    But I love that this has been a year of writing for you. Being able to witness someone’s journey into writing is probably my favorite thing about teaching. There is so much beauty in your words. Thank you for sharing them.


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