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.

Origami

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.

______

We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2018 by Joyce Sutphen, “Origami.” Poem reprinted by permission of Joyce Sutphen. Introduction copyright © 2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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