Poetry Friday: “For You”

Like many of you, I was deeply saddened to learn of Paul B. Janeczko’s death earlier this week. Although I never met Mr. Janeczko, I feel like he was an old friend. His books have been a staple in my classroom since I began teaching and have guided and inspired my own writing. Last night, I spent the evening poring over favorite titles, trying to decide what would be a fitting tribute. In the end, I chose “For You,” by Karla Kuskin, which is included in Poetry From A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers (Simon & Schuster, 1994). This poem is especially poignant for me because my sweet orange cat Noodles passed away just a few weeks ago.

For You
by Karla Kuskin

Here is a building
I have built for you.
The bricks are butter yellow.
Every window shines.
And at each an orange cat is curled,
lulled by summer sun.
The door invites you in.
The mat is warm.
Inside there is a chair
so soft and blue
the pillows look like sky.
In all the world
no one but you
may sit in that cloud chair.
I’ll sit near by.

Noodles “lulled by the summer sun.”

There are just two more weeks until March 8th, International Women’s Day. I’ll be hosting the Roundup that day and would love it if people help to celebrate the day by sharing poems that honor women. You can read more here. In the meantime, please be sure to visit Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “For You”

  1. What a lovely, lovely poem and tribute. That just caught me right in the heart. My cat is purring next to me and the thought of you losing yours…well…so sad. Losing a poet friend is a different experience. The words do live on. I love the bitter sweet of that. I’ve been day dreaming poems for March. I’m a bit daunted at the moment. I always am before I actually sit down to write. But, I have so much admiration for so many women in my life. I will write.

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  2. I’ve been in vacation mode this week and didn’t know that Paul Janeczko had died until I just read your post. Oddly enough though, I was going through some books on my desk on Tuesday and pulled out “Stone Bench in an Empty Park”, a collection of haiku about city streets selected by him. I couldn’t even remember when or where I had picked up the book, but I’ve been looking at it all week. Thanks for a beautiful tribute and the Karla Kuskin poem. I’m so sorry about Noodles.

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  3. Sorry for your own loss, Catherine. In addition to Paul Janeczko, Karla Kuskin sits alongside him as a mentor poet. The poem is just right, sits us in the middle of our feelings, what we wish: “The bricks are butter yellow.” welcoming a memory. Thanks, and I remember your call for poems.

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  4. I’m sorry about Noodles, Catherine. I find the last lines of Kuskin’s poem to be a poignant image of the missing we experience in grief — “In all the world / no one but you / may sit in that cloud chair. / I’ll sit near by.” Thanks for sharing.

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  5. A lovely picture of sweet Noodles soaking up the sun. I love how you found the just right poem to honor both your cat and Paul Janeczko. I have used Poetry A to Z for years.

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  6. Condolences on your loss. Our current cat is a big fluffy orange guy who loves his patches of sun.

    So many of our literary giants are heading to those cloud chairs these days…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hugs to you on the loss of your furry friend. Thanks for sharing this poem, there’s much to love in it. I think my favorite line has to be “The bricks are butter yellow.” Paul was a mentor to so many of us. I’m glad there are still a couple of his books that we can anticipate.

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