Georgia Heard writes in her book, Awakening the Heart, there are 5 "doors" that can be opened to find poetry.

The Heart Door

Georgia Heard quotes the former poet laureate Rita Dove as saying, “I would like to remind people that we have an interior life- even if we don’t talk about it because it’s not expedient, because it’s not cool, because it’s potentially embarrassing- and without that interior life, we are shells, we are nothing (Awakening the Heart, p. 52).”

by Langston Hughes

Better in the quiet night
To sit and cry alone
Than rest my head on another’s shoulder
After you have gone.

Better, in the brilliant day,
Filled with sun and noise,
To listen to no song at all
Than to hear another voice.

By Ralph Fletcher

My Grandma loves to cook Italian:
manicotti, veal cutlet parmesan,
crusty bread like you’ve never had.

Over the years she’s cut so much garlic
the smell is soaked forever
into her warped cutting board.

Now she’s losing her memory.
But she still remembers
the summer I was three.

“You loved to play with the garden hose
but you kept turning around to say:

She nods off while we’re talking,
the skin on her hands so white
it could almost be made from clouds.

I slide a pillow behind her head,
wrap the old blue blanket around her,
whisper: Don’t shut it off, Grandma.

The Observation Door

Poetry can be found in what we see around us. We can write about what amazes us or what we feel is beautiful. Poetry helps us to see the world in a new way so that we might come to understand it with greater clarity.

By Jane Yolen

I want to take a bite
out of that sunset sky,
letting the juices
run down my chin,
spitting out the pulp
onto the rocks below.

The Concerns about the World Door
Poetry can be inspired by what is going on in the world like what we see on the news. Poetry can be about war and natural disasters, not just what we think is beautiful.

By Ralph Fletcher
What geniuses left this trash?
I walk past abandoned tires,
beer bottles, one read sneaker,

not to mention the other stuff.
Tree never clean up their

And all these rocks! Blame
the glacier for scattering
this litter of stone.

Pollution (Awakening the Heart, p. 55)
One day the trees are going to disappear
and everyone would say I should have recycled.
Anyone would rather have a pile of gold,
than a rainforest,
later anyone would rather see a rainforest.

The Wonder Door
Poetry can be found in the questions we have about the world.

by Ralph Fletcher
Who knows the story behind the VW Bug
white and well-rusted,
Utterly abandoned
to a meadow of weeds
and wild blackberries?

Who knows how it got turned on its back
Tires pointed up

like an unlucky beetle
who never learned to
turn back over.

The Memory Door
We can find poetry in our minds, within our memories.
The Grandma poem by Ralph Fletcher could be considered a memory poem.

by Ralph Fletcher

Salmon hatch in a stream,
swim out to the ocean,

but they always return
to the stream of their birth.

Today I said: “Bye, Ma,”
and I got a funny feeling.

Then it hit me:
Ma was my first word.

As if the word swam back
to where it all began.

by Ralph Fletcher

Sometimes I remember
the good old days

sitting on the kitchen floor
at night with my brother

each on our own squares
of cold linoleum.

I’m fresh from the bath,
wearing baseball pajamas.

Outside the screen door
summer breezes stir.

Mom gives us each two cookies,
a cup of milk, a kiss good-night.
I still can’t imagine anything better than that.

The Infinite Poetry Door
Topics for poems sometimes do not fit in neat categories and new doors can be created.

Where does poetry hide for you?