Eve Merriam was a poet, playwright, director, and lecturer. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 19, 1916, she attended Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, Columbia University, and has has taught and lectured at many other institutions. Her first book, Family Circle (1946), was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets by Archibald MacLeish. In addition to her adult poetry, she also wrote picture books and a number of books of poetry for children, including There is No Rhyme for Silver (1964), It Doesn’t Always Have to Rhyme (1964), The Inner City Mother Goose (1969), Catch a Little Rhyme (1966), Finding a Poem (1970), Out Loud (1973), and Rainbow Writing (1976). The controversial Inner City Mother Goose, which Merriam once referred to as “just about the most banned book in the country," was the basis for a 1971 Broadway musical, Inner City, and a second musical production, Street Dreams (1982), which was performed in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. In 1981, she was named the winner of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Eve Merriam died on April 11, 1992.

This poem is read out-loud in the following youtube video (click below):

Dr. Gluck reads this poem...forward video to 46:10 time mark.

          Let's begin with poems about reading or writing poetry.

How Poetry Comes to Me  by Gary Snyder

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light

A Poem Is A Spider Web  by Charles Ghigna

A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

What's A Poem? 
by Charles Ghigna

A whisper,
a shout,
thoughts turned
inside out.

A laugh,
a sigh,
an echo
passing by.

A rhythm,
a rhyme,
a moment
caught in time.

A moon,
a star,
a glimpse
of who you are.

To Paint The Portrait Of A Bird

          by Jacques Prévert - translation by Eugene Levich

First paint a cage
With an open door
Then paint
Something pretty
Something simple
Something beautiful
Something useful
For the bird
Then place the canvas against a tree
In a garden
In a wood
Or in a forest
Hide yourself behind the tree
Without speaking
Without moving...
Sometimes the bird will arrive soon
But it could also easily take many years
For it to decide
Wait if necessary for years
The rapidity or slowness of the arrival of the bird
Has no connection with the success of the painting
When the bird arrives
If it arrives
Observe the most profound silence
Wait until the bird enters the cage
And when it has entered
Gently close the door with the brush
Erase one by one all of the bars
While being careful not to touch any of the feathers of the bird
Then make a portrait of the tree
Choosing the most beautiful of its branches
For the bird
Paint also the green foliage and the freshness of the wind
The dust of the sun
And the noise of the creatures of the grass in the heat of summer
And then wait for the bird to decide to sing
If the bird does not sing
It's a bad sign
A sign that the painting is no good
But if it does sing it's a good sign
A sign that you can sign.
Then you gently pull out
One of the feathers of the bird
And you sign your name in a corner of the painting.

How To Eat a Poem   by Eve Merriam

Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that

may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.

Who is a Poet  by Tadeusz Rosewicz
translated from the Polish by Magnus Krynski and Robert Maguire

a poet is one who writes verses
and one who does not write verses

a poet is one who throws off fetters
and one who puts fetters on himself

a poet is one who believes
and one who cannot bring himself to believe

a poet is one who has told lies
and one who has been told lies

one who has been inclined to fall
and one who raises himself

a poet is one who tries to leave
and one who cannot leave

Introduction to Poetry   by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with a rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

A Loaf of Poetry   by Naoshi Koriyama

you mix
the dough
of experience
the yeast
of inspiration
and knead it well
with love
and pound it
with all your might
and then
leave it
it puffs out big
with its own inner force
and then
knead it again
shape it
into a round form
and bake it
in the oven
of your heart

My Poems   by Robert Currie

My poems
are slim bombs
craving explosion
Their fuses lie
dark on the page
awaiting your arrival with a light.

INTRO TO POETRY   by Steven Bauer

You thought it was math that taught
the relation of time and speed
but it’s farther than you knew
from that sun-lit white-walled classroom
to this darkened lounge with its couch
and overstuffed chairs. How many miles,
would you say, since you talked
as if poetry were no distorting mirror,
one-way street? But listen, sometimes
it’s like this, a stranger’s Ford pulls up,
and you, with no plans for the afternoon,
get in. He doesn’t talk, stares at the road
and it’s miles before you understand
you didn’t want to travel. His lips say no
as you reach for the radio’s knob.

In this silence you fall deeper
into yourself, and even the car
disappears, the stranger’s face blurs
into faded upholstery, and all things
being equal, you’re alone as though
you’ve wandered into a forest with night
coming on, no stars, the memory of sun
and a voice’s asking Is this my life?


                    by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Constantly risking absurdity
                                             and death
            whenever he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his audience
   the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his way
                               to the other side of day
    performing entrechats
                               and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
                               and all without mistaking
                     any thing
                               for what it may not be

       For he's the super realist
                                     who must perforce perceive
                   taut truth
                                 before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
                                  toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
                                     with gravity
                                                to start her death-defying leap

      And he
             a little charleychaplin man
                                           who may or may not catch
               her fair eternal form
                                     spreadeagled in the empty air
                  of existence

A FORESHORTENED JOURNEY   by Louise Gluck (2014) 

I found the stairs somewhat more difficult than I had expected and so I sat down, so to speak, in the middle of the journey. Because there was a large window opposite the railing, I was able to entertain myself with the little dramas and comedies of the street outside, though no one I knew passed by, no one, certainly, who would have assisted me. Nor were the stairs themselves in use, as far as I could see. You must get up, my lad, I told myself. Since this seemed suddenly impossible, I did the next best thing: I prepared to sleep, my head and arms on the stair above, my body crouched below. Sometime after this, a little girl appeared at the top of the staircase, holding the hand of an elderly woman. Grandmother, cried the little girl, there is a dead man on the staircase! We must let him sleep, said the grandmother. We must walk quietly by. He is at the point in life at which neither returning to the beginning nor advancing to the end seems bearable; therefore, he has decided to stop, here, in the midst of things, though this makes him an obstacle to others, such as ourselves. But we must not give up hope; in my own life, she continued, there was such a time, though that was long ago. And here, she let her granddaughter walk in front of her so they could pass me without disturbing me.

I would have liked to hear the whole of her story, since she seemed, as she passed by, a vigorous woman, ready to take pleasure in life, and at the same time forthright, without illusions. But soon their voices faded into whispers, or they were far away. Will we see him when we return, the child murmured. He will be long gone by then, said her grandmother, he will have finished climbing up or down, as the case may be. Then I will say goodbye now, said the little girl. And she knelt below me, chanting a prayer I recognized as the Hebrew prayer for the dead. Sir, she whispered, my grandmother tells me you are not dead, but I thought perhaps this would soothe you in your terrors, and I will not be here to sing it at the right time.

When you hear this again, she said, perhaps the words will be less intimidating, if you remember how you first heard them, in a voice of a little girl.

Sound and Sense
by Alexander Pope

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar;
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!