opening day / of summer vacation looms
hours and hours of unstructure / waiting to be filled
no lesson plans to write / no other people’s children to teach
no papers to read and grade / just notebooks to fill with poems
titled or not / capitalized or not / punctuated or not
let ungrammar reign / and feelings and meaning rain / down on the page

don’t title / don’t limit or restrict
don’t set up preconceptions / let them discover
let that be the joy / not the cleverness of your title
forms or free verse / whatever the poem wants to be
just let it / give it permission to be / itself
just to be / to come into being
it doesn’t have to do anything / let it be
listen to the Beatles / write a song / let the lyrics flow

give yourself permission / daydream / write
compose in your head / read some untitled poems
journey into their territory / with an incomplete map
you fill it in / they aren’t blanks
it’s not that kind of not / there is no negativity
just potential / energy inside you / just wanting to be kinetic
but it’s not work / it’s play / kinetic and kinesthetic

give it voice / fill the air with your words
we need them / I need them / keep them coming
like air / there’s more there than you think

go out / and photosynthesize
take in some vitamin D / turn that into a poem
it doesn’t need to be a thesis / a funky synthesis will do
a little antithesis / if you want
that goes with untitled / right?

/ / /

This poem was written to the prompt at Poets United to write a poem titled “untitled”.

I really needed this. Tomorrow is the last day of my school year. I will be promoting 32 fifth-grade students to middle school. I have been working my tail off to be ready for tomorrow, and I am so ready for a break. Poetry is my sanity.

9 thoughts on “untitled

  1. YAY for you , Mr. Walker, the teacher, and Richard, the poet!!! 🙂 I will celebrate with you as you complete your last day! WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!! 🙂
    And….i love this poem. Especially these lines:

    it doesn’t need to be a thesis / a funky synthesis will do
    a little antithesis / if you want

    I’ve missed your steady flow of words. SO….as I celebrate with you, your last day of the school year, I celebrate for myself and all of us out here who look for your poems…titled or not!

    Happy Summer!!!


    • Paula, thank you so much! Your comment made me laugh. You’ve got both my identities down, Mr. Walker, the teacher, and Richard, the poet – thanks for that. That totally got my morning off on the right foot. Glad you liked the poem too.



  2. Ah yes, Richard the poet. I love what you did here, all of it. It sums up my sense of poetry, untitled or not. Just be with it, let it lead you where it will, the journey is what matters, not the destination. Allow yourself the freedom to express whatever has been depressed, opressed, digested, suppressed, put in a locker, blocked, or chock full of other meanings. Isn’t it great? Thanks for this one,



    • Elizabeth, thank you. Yes, we press things down or aside – and poetry helps me lift things up and pull them close. As always, thank you for your kind and thoughtful words.



  3. awesome,

    5th grade teacher.
    you poetic talent is stunning.
    keep inspiring.

    Check out our short story slam today,

    We love creativity, your input is valued.

    Happy Friday!
    Hope to see you in!


  4. Richard, it took me forty years to attain the poetry-writing attitude described in you poem, and then another ten years to gain the courage to allow others to see it. You explain it so concisely, and it really is easy–once you open yourself up and let it run free.


    • Mike, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. I’ve been writing poems for twenty-five years or so, but it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve felt that my poems were decent enough – and it took me a while to feel comfortable sharing them on top of that, so I think we’ve come to where we are in similar ways.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s