So I have a four-inch binder filled with poetry. It’s mostly from sixth grade through high school. Most of it is pretty terrible BUT, once in a while I find a small gem that isn’t too bad. Today I came across this one. It’s a found poem from a book called “My Brother Same is Dead”. I read it in Ninth grade I believe. For background, the book takes place during the revolutionary war and it’s essentially about two brothers that choose sides to fight for in the war and the struggle of having to choose between his brother and his father in the process.
A found poem is a poem using lines, quotes, phrases, even whole paragraphs, from a source and reframing them essentially to create something new, or even change the meaning. It’s like when you cut out pictures of magazines and make a collage, or create beads out of paper, or paint a picture over a page of a book but in the literary sense.
So here is my found poem, I hope you like it. For being 14 I don’t think it’s half bad.
“My Brother Sam is Dead”
(A found poem)
My brother Sam was dead
my mother never really got over it
the war went on for almost three more years
I tried to pray but the words wouldn’t come out
I heard myself scream
“Don’t shoot him! Don’t shoot him!”
I wanted to be hidden
I began to cry
Sunday church service seemed especially important
I walked out
nobody tried to stop me
I guess they knew how I felt
“I’m going to save my brother!”
“No you’re not!” my mother said
“You’re going to get yourself killed…”
I didn’t feel tired or cold
Finally, I came to the edge of the encampment
I slipped the rest of the way down the hill
If Sam could kill people…
So could I.
My Brother Sam is Dead on Amazon
By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier