Poet Valerie Worth is a champion of the small. She writes small poems about small things. Literally.

Valerie Worth, is most famous for her “small poems,” poems for children about everyday objects. She said:

“As a child, I preferred reading and writing to everything else, and I still feel much the same way. I was also greatly attracted to ‘smallness,’ perhaps because throughout grade school I myself was the smallest in my class. My favorite fairy tale was ‘Catskin,’ about the princess given three ball gowns–one like the sun, one like the moon, and one like the stars–packed up in a walnut shell; and the idea of such magnificence hidden inside so plain and tiny a thing not only fascinates me still, but also has served as a model for many of my poems.” (from Writer’s Almanac)

Her books include Small Poems (1972), Small Poems Again (1986), and Curlicues: The Fortunes of Two Pug Dogs (1980). Here is a poem from More Small Poems. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright 1976, called “Safety Pin.” I’ve read her Small Poems book and it is delightful.


safety pinSafety 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.


Did you ever think you would enjoy a poem about a safety pin? I love stories like these, where a fairy tale leads to a magical way of seeing things and a life’s work. We need to follow what inspires us, even if it is a small thing. Thoughts? Questions?  I hope life is treating you well.



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