Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Apr22Poetry: Age 15

I'm trying something new, taking a risk this month - participating in
#VerseLove with Sarah Donovan,
hoping to write poetry every day this April.

Today's poetry challenge is to write a letter to yourself about what you wish you knew at age 15, including 4-5 reflections.

Dear 15 year old self,

What is it with you and
Olivia Newton John?
You should know,
there's a whole lot more music to listen to than
Let Me Be There.
Trust me,
I have been there.
When you are 60 and
you are listening to your oldies,
you will be so grateful for
your college friends.

You should know,
there is more to eat for dinner than
meat and potatoes.
Wait until you try
channa masala, oh my!
Heaven on earth.

Also, you are not fat.
If you were,
weight management is not resolved by
drinking Tab and eating
eight wheat thins for lunch.
Make peace with your physique.
Experience the joy of
breaking a sweat
through dancing, running, walking, and more.
You are strong and able.

dating with a little brother chaperone is a total pain, and
certainly indicative of your parents' lack of trust and
their limited perspective about women in general,
this too shall pass.
When you get a taste of freedom
in just a few more years,
this will be nothing but a great story you tell.
Plus, when you have children,
you have a chance to "do over,"
to raise children who are allowed a voice and
who receive your trust.

Keep your head low,
keep your journal hidden, and
keep the faith!

your wiser self


  1. Laura, from Sarah Donovan's 30 Days of Poetry website:
    Maureen, I love the way you’ve taken these snapshots to connect 15 year old you to present-day and how they become increasingly nuanced. I was tickled by the image of the Tab and “eight wheat thins” lunch and your “do over” with raising children is something I have observed (secretly) in my parents and think about for the day when I am raising my own (Mom, if you’re reading this, not saying that my childhood requires a “do over” :D).

  2. glenda funk, from Sarah Donovan's 30 Days of Poetry website:
    We saw Olivia Newton John in Las Vegas a few years ago. Her voice was not mellow. 😂 That opening cracked me up. Seriously, every kid should eat masala and lots of other foods, too. Have you tried grasshoppers? They’re a delicacy in Oaxaca. Love those last three lines, especially “keep your journal hidden.” I do wish we could share a meal and a glass of wine. That would be so much fun. Thank you.

  3. Sarah J. Donovan, PhD, from her 30 Days of Poetry website:
    Oh, Olivia Newton John! I so wanted to look like her and would still accept it now, and the Tab and counting wheat thins (same here). I notice how you use white space here and reserve certain lines for just one word. I notice the anaphora in the final stanza with the word “keep” — this really emphasizes who you were is exactly who you needed to be and still are. You can still listen to Olivia — no one will judge you for that.


  4. Monica Schwafaty, from Sarah Donovan's 30 Days of Poetry website:
    Maureen, the first two lines brought a big smile to my face. I still am a fan of Olivia Newton-John. I too wish I had hidden my journals in better places.

  5. gayle sands, from Sarah Donovan's 30 Days of Poetry website:
    Maureen—again, you strike gold for me! I especially like the bit about the little brother chaperone. I, too, have undertaken do-overs for my children. I think we all try to correct our parents’ “sins”. I wonder which ones my children will correct… Carry on, Maureen.

  6. Jamie, from Sarah Donovan's 30 Days of Poetry website:
    I like your specific references to Tab, the brother who joins you on a date which is ‘indicative of your parents’ lack of trust.’ Somehow we all arrive a similar place regardless of our journey.