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Safety Pin Poem

Poets not only write poetry, they also read poetry. In order to be able to write poetry, one must read it. Lots of poetry in fact. 

I want to share a short little poem by Valerie Worth. I bought Valerie's book, All The Small Poems And Fourteen More, when I was living and working in New York some time back. It remains a personal favourite. 

I love the way the poet shines a special light on everyday objects, transforming them into something unique and worthy of attention. Her close observations elevate her poems into the special category. 

Each poem in the collection celebrates earthly wonders. From eggs to garbage, from potatoes to pockets, each object is given special attention in the form of short poems employing keen observations. Valerie Worth demonstrates through her poems she totally understands the saying-'ideas exist in things.' 

The poem I have chosen to share with you (one of my personal favourites) is titled, 'Safety Pin'.

Safety Pin

Closed, it sleeps
On its side
The silver
Of some
Small fish;

Opened, it snaps
Its tail out
Like a thin
Shrimp, and looks
At the sharp
Point with a
Surprised eye

Valerie Worth


  1. Oh I have this book too, and adore it. I too love the way she focusses on 'small' things and sowmhow manages to make them big.

    1. So true Sally. She brings these small objects into sharp focus.

  2. I have the book as well, Alan, and love so many of her poems. My own favorite is BELL, which to me is an absolute perfect poem (concise, musical, visual, full of heart) but this safety pin poem is wonderful, too. She is so spot on with her metaphorical thinking - in this case, both the object(safety pin) and the metaphor (fish) are "small things." Thanks for sharing Valerie Worth with all of us.

  3. Julie, your remarks most accurately capture the essence of Valerie Worth's poetry focus in this anthology.

  4. I love this! And, paired with this article I just read....well...I will be wearing a safety pin for some years now. Thank you Alan!

    1. ooops! I neglected to add the link to the article:The Powerful Reason Americans Are Wearing Safety Pins

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. It seems my focus on safety pins had some measure of synchronicity, Linda. I am well pleased with this conjunction of symbols.

  5. I love Valerie Worth, and as Linda pointed out, safety pins have new meaning now. Your timing is perfect! :)

    1. Thank you Jama. i am pleased with this timing of events and symbols.

  6. Great book, and wonderful example of giving the little things life.

    1. Agreed Brenda. A poetry book with much to recommend it.

  7. I also was going to say that your sharing of Valerie Worth's poem is so timely. The books by her are treasures that I used often in my teaching. Glad you reminded us of this poem today, Alan.

    1. Thank you Linda. It appears many of us have come to love and appreciate Valerie Worth's poetic endeavours.

  8. There is wonder and beauty in the little things, in every day lives! Thank you for reminding us of that today.

    1. Jane, I think we all benefit when we can see the beauty in small things and simple pleasures.

  9. I've always loved this book, and this verse in particular. Now, the humble safety pin ha taken on a greater symbolic significance in response to hate crimes unleashed by the US election.

    1. Tara, the election has been disturbing on so many levels. Even from this distance I remain aware of its ramifications on a global scale as well as the national scale for each of you. I gain some measure of strength from Michelle Obama's powerful comment,' When they go low, go high.'

  10. I love this book. Thank you for highlighting it. I pick a poem a week for my students. It's time to celebrate the simple things!

  11. All power to you Julieanne as you explore and celebrate the wonders of small things.

  12. Another book to put on my library reserve list. Thank you, Alan!

  13. We are seeing the world with new eyes, aren't we? And there is power in the small and a #safetypin.

    1. Perceptive observations Mary. There is indeed power in the small and ordinary.


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