After writing a rather unfriendly poem about blue jays recently (here), I did some research and realized that I may have misjudged them. I thought it might be fun to write an apology poem, but I needed to explore a few examples first. So, I looked to the ultimate mentor apology poem:
This Is Just to Say.
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
–William Carlos Williams
And can we just sit with that sweet perfection for a moment? Ahhhhh…
Next, I read through some of the poems in the wonderful Joyce Sidman’s This Is Just to Say- Poems of Apology and Forgiveness. Due to some time constraints, I wanted to skim through, but I found myself pulled in headfirst, going back to the beginning and reading each wonderful poem, the apologies and then the responses, again and again. What a treat! The characters shine through their poems and it’s amazing how much comes through about their struggles, their emotional truths, and their connections. I can’t wait to share these poems with my students.
One of these poems, Fashion Sense , begins with the line “I am so sorry for my rude words,” and later continues
“all the next day, I wished I could take those words back.
I kept thinking of what you always say to us:
words can help or hurt, the choice is ours.”
Isn’t that last line wonderful? I know I’m going to add it to my repertoire of classroom mantras. While there are so many other poems that moved me (like Secret Message and I’m Telling You Now), Fashion Sense seemed like the best mentor poem for my type of apology. I lifted the first line from it to begin.
to the blue jays
I am so sorry for my rude words.
I spoke hastily,
judging you from what I’d heard-
your grating, raucous cries-
and also the rumors that said….
well, you know what they said.
I’m sorry for ignoring your beauty,
your glorious burst of color
in winter’s weary landscape,
for calling you names
and for telling you to go away,
like the bully I said you were.
I promise now I’ll watch you closer,
let your behavior speak for itself.
I won’t judge all of you
based on one or two bad eggs.
I’ll notice when your crests are up or down
and whether you sneak away
with foraged food to cache.
I’ll imagine your forgotten acorns
sprouting into forests of oak trees.
I’ll admire you,
with your multi-hued blue plumage,
settling like patches of sky
framed in circles of birch leaves.
I still wish you had better manners
and you could tone down the squawking.
But you’re welcome at my feeders.
Molly Hogan (c) 2016
This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Julieanne at To Read To Write To Be. Head on over to enjoy some more poetry!