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On “Firefly” – A Lost Poem

My love for poetry was rekindled recently and I have my two high school American Literature classes to thank for it. When I was their age I was memorizing “The Lady of Shallot” for fun, and occasionally trying my luck at penning a few poems of my own. Though, I was often discouraged and would rip out the pages, deciding to leave poetry to the real Tennyson’s and Dickinson’s of my time.

But, in the midst of discussions on metaphors and slant rhymes, I recounted to them my one claim to fame in the realm of poetry (which isn’t really a claim to fame at all).

In sixth grade I drafted a poem titled “Firefly” for a contest my  librarian had the entire class participate in. I still remember where I was when inspiration struck and how the black ink flowed effortlessly onto my yellow note pad. I was insanely proud of my little poem. I typed it out in a Word document and handed it in to my teacher.

From what I can remember, the winners would be featured in a chapbook that would be distributed throughout the county. The librarian held up the previous year’s booklet when informing us of the contest and it became a personal goal to have my work published in there.

Fast forward a couple months and I’m in a new state and a new house, when lo and behold a letter arrives in the mail from the poetry contest. Little “Firefly” had been selected! ( I cannot remember whether it was actually chosen to be in the chapbook or if it just made it past the first round, but that is besides the point). I was reading the letter over my mother’s shoulder when she chuckled and said.

“Jessie, no, it’s silly”. And, she folded the papers up to throw out.

I attempted to object, “But, but…”

Nope. The end.”Firefly” would not be spread to the masses.

“You could have been a New York Times best selling writer by now Miss. Ferraro!”, one student exclaimed when I finished the story.

“Now, now don’t get too a head of yourself.” (… You get an A+)

“Do you remember it?”, another said.

In fact I do. So, here is my poem for your amusement as well, dear reader. ( Try not to weep too hard, it tends to have that effect on people.)

Firefly I caught tonight,

lead me through the quiet night.

With a glow so big,

a glow so bright,

that makes me want to hold you tight.

In the palm of my hand you are so helpless and small

and that is why I must let you go.

So firefly, fly away home.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Moms keep you humble.

Do you enjoy poetry? Share your favorites ( or your own ) in the comments!


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