I have a little secret. Don’t tell anyone, but…sometimes I write poems. I never, ever share them with anyone because I have a horror of discovering that someone will point out how silly they are. But as I was reading Jack Prelutsky and Robert Frost and W.H. Auden and Shel Silverstein this week, searching for passages to use with my summer kids, I realized something. All poetry is a bit silly, and to hide mine for fearing of exposing my silliness is like Mokey’s bid to get into the secret society of Poobahs. In the spirit of getting over myself, I dug through my journal and started looking for poems for your, well, hopefully enjoyment. Or at least your amusement. They’ll be popping up from time to time, so stop by for a chuckle, if nothing else.


A poem is a private thing.

It is a bowl into which I crack my eggs,

so I might stare at the gooey mess and

pick out all the prickly bits of shell.

No egg cracks like another.

Would you use a spoon to pick out the pieces,

instead of your fingers?

Were you making meringue?

I meant it for an omelet.

A poem is a private thing.

A public poem is a brave thing,

if it is sincere.

You know the pretenders,

the pharisees on the street corners.

Oh yes, they pray with wit and ennui,

with post-modern philosophy and despair…

but you know them.

They lack conviction and love

nothing more than the sound of their own voice.

Their scrambled eggs are poured from a box,

and I’ll tell you how you can tell the difference:

The brave ones always have a bit of shell.

2 thoughts on “Shells

  1. I very much like your private poem made public, Melissa. I love that last line. You caught the lightning there. I am rushing to the Harry Potter midnight show, but I will comment more later.


  2. Hurray for you. Yes it is very scary making those private poems public. But isn’t it also a bit titillating?


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