I’m taking a short course with Georgia Heard on poetic forms. Last night we talked about forms of poetry that are created by borrowing words from other writers. Some in the class said they felt like they were cheating by borrowing, but I found it really fun and stimulating. T.S. Eliot said, “Good writers borrow; great writers steal.” I didn’t know that he borrowed heavily from other writers when he wrote “The Wasteland.”

For my practice, I turned to one of my new favorite books, WORLD OF WONDERS, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Her writing about natural phenomena is gorgeous. I was sure I would find words to borrow there.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Here is my FOUND POEM after “Firefly” in WORLD OF WONDERS:


The first glimmer-pop of firefly light,
electric dress,
a small flame sputtering
erratic flashes of light
through the navy blue pause
just moments after twilight.

Such a degree of tenderness
the quiet reassurance
their light rhythm
sending out their love-light signals
a lime glow to the summer night air.

A community of teacher-writers.

9 thoughts on “Borrowing Words

  1. I love found poems. Your poem is beautiful. I love fireflies, and this poem brings me back to my childhood. I am going to take a look at the book you shared, as well.

  2. Found poems are such a great way to write. I love this one! Glimmer-pop, love-light signals, lime glow… those are my favorites. Thank you for sharing.

  3. The level of sincerity and wonder you bring to this poem is fantastic. Your second stanza in particular is crafted with such care. Now I need to go out and find this book!

  4. This is lovely! I wish I knew which were the borrowed words.
    These are the ones that pop for me:
    Navy blue pause
    Lime glow
    Which are yours and which are borrowed?! At any rate, you crafted a beauty.

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