The reason my poems are called “Life-Built Poems” is because I use everything I encounter as a “foundation” to construct them – any idea, any feeling, any life event or change can end up as a poem.

The “materials” list for poetry construction includes tears, joy, rage and every emotion your heart and body can feel as well as every thought your mind can think, no matter how “politically incorrect” or whatever the latest bugaboo thing the Mind Police has promulgated.  You can throw in every laugh and every sob and every pensive moment.

You reach for freedom when you pick up that pen.    It’s one other way to access your Inner Smarty-Pants…one that doesn’t require turning your body into a pretzel or trying a bunch of confusing esoteric stuff that’s apparently designed to turn you into a space cadet first.

I’m a Baby Boomer.  When I wrote this poem, it seemed to me that there is a whole lot of denial going ’round.  I don’t know if it’s our so-called “youth-oriented” culture, or what it is.  I do know that Old is not a popular thing.

(Oh, it’s okay and well and good if the friend you’ve had since kindergarten is getting more ditzy every time you see her and is showing a bunch of wear and tear.  But, really, old is NOT you.  Right.)

This whole denial thing bothered me and maybe that’s why this poem happened.  When I read it at a Maui Live Poets gathering, every one of my contemporaries smiled or laughed out loud, probably in recognition (or at least in acknowledgment).

I suppose the young ones smirked.  (Of course, this whole age thing is never going to happen to them….)


 It’s a popular fiction now

To pretend that our grandparents’ “old”

Is the new “middle age,”

That, somehow, “young” is really third prize.

(The young ones snicker quietly

At our loudly-espoused contentions.

They roll their eyes

At the silly masks we hide behind.)


Me, I’ll go with a radical confession instead.

I’m going to say it out loud:



Your polite refutations and objections won’t change this verity.

This is not an invitation for you

To grab a big eraser and wipe away my real….

As if it’s some erasable purple ink

Writ large on a whiteboard.



And, yeah, I do know

Time is not on my side.

The indignities of age press in.


But, there are compensations, ya know.

The book of days I carry with me is heavy

With memories of people loved and deeds done and done,

Of dreams fulfilled and fantasies exposed,

Of critical lessons learned and learned again,

Just one more artifact in the museum of my life.


And, still, somewhere in all of that

There’s the silly little girl in the bright red pointy shoes.

She’s still dancin’,

And, still, she makes me laugh!

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Old People Sign by Richard Riley via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

So, hey, what are you thinking?  What are you feeling?  Why not go ask your Inner Smarty-Pants?



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.


24 thoughts on “BUILDING A POEM

  1. As a fellow baby boomer I can relate to your message in the poem. Your perspective certainly does change as you get older. It is so true what I once thought was old is now not old at all.

    Why? you ask. What has changed? Nothing other than the fact that I am now that age. I think you are right I should embrace myself or should I say my age.

    1. Hey Maureen:

      You go, girl! Thanks for the visit. Please come again….

  2. I’m a writer and I run a writers group. We share poetry all the time and even though most of us are fiction or memoir writers, I think almost every member of our group has written poems from time to time. And for just the reason(s) you’re talking about here.
    Poetry is a wonderful way to explore your feelings, and to get out bad feelings.

    I personally have found writing poetry extremely therapeutic, ever since I wrote my first “my boyfriend broke up with me – I can’t possibly live another day” poem as a teenager.

    Wonderful article. Keep writing!

    1. Thanks for the visit and the encouragement, Debra. Come again!

  3. Gideon Eshett says:

    Hi there,
    I really like how you expressed yourself in the poem. I am into poetry as well. The way you gave a clear picture about poetry is great.

    I wish you good luck in that and I also love your page layout. It helps people navigate well in your website.

    1. Thanks for the visit and your encouragement, Gideon. Please come again!

  4. I really like poems and never thought I would find creative sites on that. I really like the way you have put in so much effort in actually penning your thoughts here.

    I can get the gist of the poems and I like the way you have expressed your thoughts.

    Good work keep writing.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement and the visit, shrey. Please come again!

  5. I enjoy reading poems and how you built yours is interesting. It’s wonderful that you take inspiration from your own life and the world around you as it gives your poem, particularly the one above, a more personal and heartfelt feelings.

    I used to write some poetry before. After coming upon this post, I am inspired to pick up the pen again. (Really like your advice: “You reach for freedom when you pick up that pen.”)

    1. Hey Lily….you go! Thanks for visiting and your comment. Please come again….

  6. Writing most of the time can come really easy if you draw inspiration from happenings around you. Heck, you can even draw inspiration from within based on how you feel at that very moment. This has actually led to a lot of great writeups as the writer tries to tell their story in the form of a poem.

    Drawing inspiration from emotions can lead to the creation of some remarkable poem that would make people wonder how you actually came about such a masterpiece.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Jay.  I do agree, life and emotions do inspire a heck of a lot of poetry (good and bad).

      Please do come again…. 

  7. Kehinde Segun says:

    This post is very emotional and insightful. I can categorically says your perspective will keep changing everyday you grows up. Trust me, the way you expressed yourself in this poem is laudable and commendable. It is very cool taking inspiration from your own life and the world around you. Just keep up the good work

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Kehinde.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  8. I must say that poetry is a an avenue to express one’s feelings and thoughts. I am a writer and sometimes I look at a situation that happens around me and I pick up my pen and write a poem about it. When I am going through some challenges, I write a poem just express my feelings. You inspired me the more with your poem. Let’s keep writing.  Poetry is fun and loving. 

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Olalekan.  Poetry is wonderful for expressing your feelings.

      Please do come again….

  9. Poems are the best way to express feeling. I am a song writer and I wish to establish my creativity in writing of poetry to differentiate myself from others. 

    I enjoyed reading your poem and I will always stay on your website to see more of your poems. Thanks for the insightful and lovely poems. Best regards 

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your story, Adamu2.

      My favorite poets are songwriters.  The ability to combine words and music is truly wonderful to me.  

      Please do come again….

  10. When we write something need to be prepare to hear some good news or some bad news because everybody has a different opinion and different beliefs. We need to be creative. We need to believe what we write and we need to believe what we think.

    People will hurt you for the thing you write, but remember God will help you with the thing you write. See that God will magnify you for the thing you write, but people will judge you for the thing you write.

    God will justify you for the thing you write, but people will hate you for the thing you write.

    God will love you for the good thing you do, but people will hate you for the good thing you do.

    It does not matter what people think. Have faith and everything is going to be wonderful.

    1. Joseph, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts. I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  11. I am back to this website again!
    And with good reason.
    You seem to have all the fundamentals and perhaps
    advanced ways to write poems and the fact
    you are willing to inspire others to write better poems
    is something that I can attest to is very appreciative.

    What makes you different from some other poets
    is of course that you are combining materialism and 
    emotions, which is a strong combination in writing poems.

    Kudos to you! 
    Again, amazing content! Keep up the good work 😀

    1. Leon, I do thank you.  I’ve always felt that poetry relegated to some so-called “higher” plane than the one we’re living in can be all inspirational and that and is most admirable, but the ones that actually work are the ones that move your heart by jumping down into the mud with you and dancing around.

      It’s why two of my favorite poets are Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.  Them boys do know how to move a heart some good.  Sometimes they even help you fly.

      Please do come again.

  12. I like your idea of building poems inspired by our everyday life environment. It is exciting to see beauty in everything around us. 

    I was wondering the other day how I could start writing poems. And I now have your site for inspiration. 

    Our lives should be a poem. A beautiful poem that shows the sweetest harmony and tender emotions.

    1. You go, girl!

      And please do come again….

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