Thursday, January 21, 2016

DMC: "Summer Vacation!?" by Brenda Davis Harsham


I won’t write what you tell me!
I have my own plans,
my own thoughts and dreams,
why should I write what you tell me?
Who cares about summer?
Tyler island-hopped in Hawai’i,
Aaron played violin in Jerusalem,
and Nick picked mangoes in India.
Big deal!
Where did I go?
I’m not telling,
I’ll take my secret to the grave!
I’ve seen people fall down,
my stepbrother’s red face up in mine,
dishes break, haters gunna hate,
that’s my summer,
you can’t make me say anything!
Okay, I went nowhere!
I can’t tell you about Vermont or
Antarctica or Australia or Katmandu.
I can tell you about nowhere and nothing!
That’s what I did. I went nowhere,
and I did nothing.
I hid. I ran. I got through every day.
But I won’t write what you say!
Nothing doing!

© 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham. All rights reserved.

Douglas Florian has challenged us to write poems about nothing this month. Read his entire spotlight interview HERE.

Send your poem to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, January 29th, and one lucky participant will win a signed copy of his adorable new picture book:


  1. My heart goes out to this narrator, Brenda. You write a compelling story... maybe this poem could have its place in a verse novel one day?

  2. Such a strong voice! Middle school? It makes a good case against the what-I-did-last-summer essay, doesn't it? Strong piece.

  3. You've shown the feelings well of those "have-nots" versus the "haves". A long time ago I had a child so excited because he got to go to K-Mart on the weekend. Perspective is everything.

  4. I wish every teacher could read this.

  5. From Brenda:

    To Michelle: A verse novel, now that's an appealing idea. I have a have-not in my heart whose voice struggles to be heard now and then. I'm glad to see others resonate with the “real" feeling of this poem.

    To Margaret Simon: Thanks, that voice just emerged, fierce and determined. All children should be loved and cherished, but when they aren’t, they should be heard rather than silenced. I’m so glad kids' literature has reached a point where a variety of voices can be heard.

    To Linda B: I think kids who feel at a disadvantage in these assignments or in life are more common than we think. I think they often compare themselves to others and only hear the best parts that others share. My own kids struggled with similar writing assignments because we didn’t travel somewhere fancy during vacations, and I wouldn’t describe us as have-nots.

    To: BarbaraB: You make my heart sing. My have-not heart feels teary.

    Honesty is an odyssey and you never quite reach shore. These comments are precious to me. Thanks again, Michelle.