National Poetry Month

Published April 14, 2010 by LS Murphy

I’m not a poet. I don’t pretend to be. Since it is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share some bad poetry from my bad poet days. Yep, that would be high school. Every writer fancies themselves a poet at one point in time. I’m no exception.  


So here is the bad poem. After that, the story behind it.  




Tractor, tractor 

A deciding factor, 

I want to be run over 

By a tractor. 


Told you it was bad.  


Now for the story.  


I had the best creative writing teacher in high school. He would take us on little excursions around town for inspiration. The town wasn’t that big so we could pretty much walk it in the hour allotted for class.  

One beautiful sunny day, the class walked back from the town square two blocks away the school. Mr. Wirsig stopped and pointed out the scene in front of us.  


“If that doesn’t shout inspiration, I don’t know what does. Now write.” He could be very dramatic.  


We wrote. Some of us sat on the sidewalk, a few on the curb. I leaned against a building and came up with the poem above. Even though my poem sucked, the image stayed with me through the years.  

In the parking lot beside the school, a lineup of John Deeres, Allis Chalmers, Internationals, and even a Duetz-Allis waited for the bell to send their drivers back. They sat idle, all facing the same direction, all around the same size. I don’t know why they were there, probably some Ag thing. It was a majestic sight to behold.  


Inspiration comes in many forms. Looking around, writers see things that no one else sees. Poetry tells us a story in as few as words as possible with enough emotional impact to knock us to the floor. Try to read some poems by Billy Collins, Anne Sexton, and Ellen Hopkins, just to name a few.  

Celebrate the good poets, and the bad, in your life every day. Don’t wait until April.


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