Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Steven Withrow - The Secretive Subtractor

The Secretive Subtractor
Steven Withrow

Count your blessings.
Count them good.
Do they add up
as they should?

Count three dogs,
two cats, one snake—
did you notice
your mistake?

they totaled seven.
Now their number’s
not the same.

Dozen eggs
down to eleven.
You will never
guess my name.

I’m the master of minus,
the negative knave,
the dollar spent
you scrimped to save.

I’m shrinking violet,
missing link,
and I’m much closer
than you think.

Count your blessings.
Count each one.
Best recount them
when I’m done.

Yelp for help.
Dial “H” for Hero.
You can call me
Mister Zero.

© Steven Withrow. All rights reserved.

I've loved the craftsmanship in Steven Withrow's poetry since I first started seeing them a while back. He has a precision with language that sticks in my mind and makes me review my own poems a few extra times.

What's also interesting to me, though, is that I think there must be two or three of Steven. Because not only does he teach and write, he also founded and runs PACYA - Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults and is in charge of its blog, Poetry At Play, as well (a great resource, by the way). Then, as if that's not enough, he was the co-producer of the documentary, Library of the Early Mind - a documentary all about children's literature (which is now available on DVD). Still, much as I love those hats Steven wears, I love the poet hat most of all. I'm always glad to see a new poem on his blog, and I'm incredibly happy to have him here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday we had The Northern Lights by Kalli Dakos. Tomorrow... Sara Holbrook with Crystal Apples! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


laurasalas said...

Steven should hook up with the creators of the great book Zero the Hero for some amazing math event! VERY fun poem.

Leslie Bulion said...

A math poem! How great, Steven!
Full STEAM ahead!!!

Charles Waters said...

The man is filled with precision isn't he? Good man that Steven Withrow!

Amy LV said...

I, too, am an admirer of Steven's use of language. He tends each line so carefully. I love "negative knave" and the playfulness throughout this one. a.

tanita✿davis said...

I had to read this twice - it made me smile both times.

Steven Withrow said...

Thanks, all! I appreciate your comments. This poem is part of an in-progress collection of mine for children about dastardly villains.


Charles Waters said...

This man is not only a talented children's poet but a true champion on getting it out there to the masses. Withrow Power!!!!!

David LaRochelle said...

Boy I loved this poem...but I also thought it was a little creepy. The dark edge to it was surprising...and welcome. Bravo, Steven!

Steven Withrow said...

I've recorded the audio for this poem and shared the file at: