We haven’t published nearly enough poems written for young people, and here’s one I like a great deal, by Joyce Sutphen, the current Minnesota poet laureate, written for her granddaughter, Ellie. Of course, like much good poetry, it’s for both young and old.


It starts

with a blank sheet,

an undanced floor,

air where no sound

erases the silence.

As soon as

you play the first note,

write down a word,

step onto the empty stage,

you’ve moved closer

to the creature inside.

Remember —

a square

can end up as frog, cardinal,

mantis, or fish.

You can make

what you want,

do what you wish.

Poem copyright ©2018 by Joyce Sutphen, “Origami.” Poem reprinted by permission of Joyce Sutphen. Introduction copyright ©2019 by The Poetry Foundation.

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