105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: The Third Level

I have permission from my seventh grader to use her poem today. She continues to amaze me.

I’ve been struggling this week as a mom, feeling like a failure because my house is beyond messy and my voice is too quick to rise. And then my fourth grader shows me an excellent acting job in her Drama Class performance and gives me extra snuggle time in the morning just because I need it. And then my seventh grader tells me how glad she is that we can really talk about things and writes a poem that makes me shake my head in wonder. I guess I’m doing something right.
The Third Level

But nobody can tell you when,
But nobody can tell you where:
Will change your life.

The choice is a door,
Open one path, close the other.
The opportunity is a bird,
You have to catch it before it flies away.

Life goes on,
As it did,
A life of two levels.
But someday,
And nobody can tell you when,
And nobody can tell you where:
That third level opens
And we have to choose,
Which life
to let go.
Today’s Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Wild Rose Reader.

Also, a reminder that Monday is the last day to submit your favorite/best post of the year related to children’s literacy or literature to the December Carnival of Children’s Literature. It will be hosted by the amazing Jen Robinson, and posts can be submitted through the Carnival website form, where you should select “carnival of children’s literature.” (Though I have to admit, I’m tempted to investigate “carnival of the vanities.”)


jama said...

Oh wow, this poem is AMAZING! Are you sure she's only in the 7th grade? Thanks so much for sharing it today :)!

Peaceful Reader said...

You are definitely doing something right. The poem is open and wise.
I love it when we have these open moments with our children. Mine take me by surprise frequently!!

Myth said...

She certainly has talent - and I wish I'd had that level of understanding about the choices we make when I was her age. You must have taught her well!

Unknown said...

Wow. Just wow. Amazing poem. Beautifully articulated.

Give yourself a pat on the back (and a hug from the sounds of it). You are absolutely doing something right.

Sara said...

As moms, we have to choose what to let go, just as your Wise One said. So if you and the girls have time for drama and poem-making and snuggling, you've let the right things go.

Kudos to your seventh grader for being brave enough to share her words. That choice will change her life.

tanita✿davis said...

How is it that she understands this at 12, and I only dimly comprehend it at... eh, not 12?

If I could go back in time and be your kid, my life... would obviously be much different. (And you'd have more gray.)

Not being a mom myself, I can't speak to the "am I doing this right" thing, but honestly -- you're doing it right as a person, to produce two such as yours -- which is all anybody can ask.

Terry Doherty said...

It's not original ... Wow! I've been sitting here for at least 5 minutes reading and rereading your daughter's poem.

You've given her wonderful wings! We are lucky she (and you) are sharing them.

Brianna Caplan Sayres said...

Wow! What a profound poem! Thanks so much for sharing! (And I'm sure your doing a lot right!)

Kelly Polark said...

Excellent poem, it must have brought tears to your eyes!
I enjoyed your article about blogging in the Children's Book Insider I received today!!

Vivian Mahoney said...

Wow. Your daughter has a way with words, with maturity, with wisdom.

As far as I can see, you are doing everything right.

Carol said...

Wow! She really is wise! After almost five decades, I'm still trying to figure out how to let things go when new doors open!

I'm the mom of 13 and 15 year old boys. This mom work is by far the hardest job I've ever had! And if it's any consolation, my house is beyond (way beyond!) messy too!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

That is fabulous! You have an amazing poet there. Thanks for the carnival reminder too!

Mary Lee said...

Here's my echo chiming in: WOW! (For her poem and your momdom.)

Michele Thornton said...

I read the poem before I read your commentary...and Loved it. It really spoke to me. I assumed it was published somewhere, arrogantly assumed it was written by an adult... She's very gifted.

Anonymous said...

Thats beautiful. My daughter also writes poetry...I cant wait to share this poem with her. Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer Schultz said...

Hey, that's terrific! You must be very proud.

Saints and Spinners said...

I think the teen and preteen years can be some of the best years for writing poetry. Those years document the process of innocence unfolding into experience and the wisdom that emerges. Thank you for posting your daughter's poem.

MotherReader said...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments. They mean a lot to both me and my daughter. Reading all these compliments is making her feel great - and deservedly so. And I am feeling better about my choices in where to focus my energy and proud of the kids I've raised.

Extra Note: I would have commented here sooner, but I didn't want to take the chance of cutting off one more comment from someone who thought that the discussion was now Closed. So, let me say that we'll continue to accept your accolades should you feel inclined to bestow them. ;^)

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm a mom of a 2 1/2 year old boy and a nine month old girl. We have challenges like sleeping and "No no no!"

Thank you so much for your poem. When I read your poem, my baby daughter was playing at my feet. When I think of her becoming a 7th grader someday, it almost breaks my heart. I hope she, too, can turn to writing (and reading) to help her through those times.

Beautiful work, Mother Reader and Daughter.

PS I love your blog. I'm a regular reader.

laurasalas said...

Is there any mom who doesn't think she's a failure at times? Maybe there is, but she's not me, that's for sure. Drama, writing, and snuggling all beat a clean house--so clearly you ARE doing things right.

And what a wonderful poem. My favorite lines:

The opportunity is a bird,
You have to catch it before it flies away.

Gorgeous, and so true.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Sorry I didn't get around to reading your daughter's poem until today. I was so busy rounding up Poetry Friday posts that I didn't get around to reading most of them...until now.

Give your daughter a pat on the back and a WELL DONE from me--a person who lives and breathes poetry!

Unknown said...

Coming in late to the discussion, but I wanted to add my voice to the acclaim and say what an amazing and profound poem this is. Congrats to your daughter on a beautiful poem.