Poetry and Embarrassment: The Unlikely Partners in Growth and Self-Exploration 

Over the past year, I’ve been contemplating the importance of poetry quite a bit, and what better time to share my thoughts than National Poetry Month! Let me start by saying I am in no way an expert on this topic, nor am I a talented poet. Although I read plenty of poetry in my day-to-day life, I didn’t try my hand at writing it until I was forced to for a college course last summer.

I was incredibly nervous when it came time to share my first poem.

I worried that people would judge me and my writing. I was hyper-focused on how my peers would perceive and evaluate my poetry. Ultimately, I was sick to my stomach when I clicked submit. 

Now, this may or may not come as a surprise to you, but nobody made fun of me. On the contrary, my classmates were kind and genuinely excited about reading and discussing each other’s poems. It’s almost as if people aren’t always looking for, or concentrating on, my faults! 

My apprehension slowly evolved into excitement with each new assignment. I stopped spending my writing process worrying about what people would think and, as a result, was able to dive deeper into unleashing my unconscious mind without fear of judgment. 

Sharing poetry inspired an interconnectedness between my classmates and me. A sense of community was born as we were taken out of our isolated little worlds and shown a larger picture of the human experience. Through this course, I gained confidence in myself and an understanding of the hundreds of other worlds being experienced by others. 

I continued writing poetry even after the class ended.

The act of sitting down and writing turned into a practice in mindfulness and self-exploration. It was my time to loosen up and let everything out in a healthy, creative way. We are forever changing, and it can be a challenge to keep up; poetry allows us to reflect, dream, reminisce, actively observe, and fantasize through all of these little evolutions. 

When creating any sort of art, you invite the potential of negative evaluation, the foundation of embarrassment. Poetry is no different, and sharing that poetry with the world can be terrifying. But, lucky for us, embarrassment makes us better humans. It opens up the opportunity for us to push past our comfort zone, tackle ambitious goals, and put ourselves in the position to fail (sometimes publicly.) The threat of embarrassment lives at the edge of our comfort and experience, and that is also where we grow best. If I never convince you of anything else, please let me convince you to choose growth over a desire for safety. 

Want to give it a try? I’ll make it easy for you by giving you two of my favorite writing prompts. If you’re feeling brave or, even better, if you’re feeling scared and embarrassed, I’d be excited to see you share what you write with us. Email us at general@beniciamagazine.com or tag us on Instagram if you post it for your friends to see. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else to grow too.


  1. Go to a bookstore or library. Visit seven different sections and choose a single book from each (science fiction, classics, history, etc.) Grab the first book and flip to a random page. Write down the first word that you see. Repeat this for each book. Using these seven words, write a poem. 
  2. Listen to one of your favorite songs and write a poem directly after, based on the feelings and emotions it brought about in you. Let music inspire poetry! 

Last month we asked our readers to submit some of their own poetry for us to share. These are just a few of the amamazing submisssions we received! Head over to our Instagram for a look at the rest.


Ready. Set. Slow

A severance of self 

Division of duty 

Purveyor of passion 

Searching to be sought 

Sowing estranged fields within 

Scrubbing away subservient ways 

No convoluted catharsis 

Nor timetable on tomorrows 

Coronary coordinates, course is set 

Tarry no longer, lest we forget 


High on Gratitude 

in the muck of news’ day platitudes 

I’ve lost my cheery attitude 

midst hate and anger screamed and spewed 

what happened to beatitudes 

but past these ugly, mindless feuds 

beyond behavior simply rude 

there is another world that can be viewed 

in Nature’s holy latitudes 

in this world outside our doors 

flowers dance, birds sing, and oceans roar 

a world that heeds not human news

where souls soar high on gratitude 

-Tio Stib

Above the Strait 

Flowing full and strong

A mighty strait gliding by

These golden pathways

Leading, gently, to insights

Found when gazing from the heights


Listen to your heart 

Listen to the wind 

To the leaves swaying back and forth 

To the birds tweeting 

It may seem like a song 

Close your eyes 

Listen to the breeze 

Bees buzzing 

Listen very carefully 

Imagine it is playing just for you 

If you really listen you will find what really matters inside of you 

-Jazmin Avila Brewster (Age 8) 

The Adventure

Warm, delicate days rise in the East and set in the West

Waking up this morning, it’s time to find your quest

Grab shoes and a map

Scribble down an x and put on a cap

Walk down the roads, to a place filled with toads

Ribbit, ribbit, boing boing!

Ask your friend Sally to come and join

Hop on the back of a truck, and feed the ducks

Pieces of bread that you stole from Sally’s shed

Jump down on the ground, wave at the driver and walk around

Pick flowers for mom and stones for dad

Throw them in your backpack and hope he won’t get mad

Run down the hill, and plop on mud

The two of you wink and call each other bud

Dirty clothes, and wet socks

Stinky ovens, and ticking clocks

Home is safe, and safe is home

Twist in the air and sleep in your dome

Let the time take time

And dream of your day

Cause once you see it you think

Let’s do it again, but in a different way!

-Zolia (age 12)

Each Place Where Faeries Dance

The morning sky is not yet pink

When Sally’s Nana wakens her

Arise dear child and come with me

Let’s hurry down to join the birds

She passes coat and dungarees

With fingered lips and no more words

In silent steps each one descends the stairs

Then Nana speaks when they reach chilly air 

Let’s stroll my garden walk

As waking flowers talk

We’ll visit every plant

And ask them to share secrets from

Each place where faeries dance

Sally gets an earnest look

And states her facts quite stubbornly

Oh, faeries are in story books

They’re not the same as you and me

But fearing feelings might be hurt

Can we still walk your garden please?

Then hugging Sally with both arms and eyes

Her Nana answers with a knowing smile 

Let’s stroll my garden walk

As waking flowers talk

We’ll visit every plant

And ask them to share secrets from

Each place where faeries dance

We humans say that morning dew is water vapor chilled

But faeries know, they dip their toes, then paint with every twirl

I’ve strolled my garden walk

As waking flowers talked

I’ve queried every plant

And all have shared the secrets from

Each place where faeries dance

© 2021 Rick McElhany