The Dot that became a Sphere

I used to be a green dot, small, different, and unfitting,
like a gazelle trying to swim.
I was a quick dot, fast to act, but slow to think,
a tortoise and a hare wrapped into one.
I was a shrill shriek among a chorus of flutes.
To me thought was a hole, a small hole I couldn’t fit in.
Then I came to want that hole,
I overcame my immaturity like a newly hatched butterfly,
Not the little green entity I was before.


I was red and brilliant I became a circle – well rounded and strong
Later I grew inside myself like Jack’s Beanstalk
growing ever higher above the sky.
I was now a sphere with dimension,
a red glowing sphere of talent, joy, determination and hope–


Hope for things to come.
Hope for my own bright future.
I was an insignificant caterpillar but now a butterfly with radiant wings.
gleaming unto the world.
All because I believed in Me.
I because I dug open that small peephole of thought.
Thought saved me.
I didn’t think until I thought and when I did,
I evolved from my old form and color.
I became a red sphere,
but I was too red.
I glowed too brilliantly, so brilliantly I would strike out through tunnel-visioned temper,
I lacked calmness serenity peace.
And I noticed, I thought, and I knew I was a red inferno of temper.
And so I gained in that, I improved, I perfected–


I added blue to my vibrant, overwhelming hue of red.
I put a weight on the other end of the scale.
Blue is of silence, and comfort.
Blue is neutral, not bounding out at others,
but of taking bounds inward to, not aggression, but


I was a purple sphere with vibrant over-radiating red and calm, contenting blue.
But not green, not the slug of an existence I was before.
This is my life and the transition I made from age 9 to age 10.
Like a sunrise coming up over the horizon,
I was awoken one day and saw a newfound light shed over my internal darkness.
I became a Purple sphere.


This is one of the first significant poems I have record of writing. It was written for school in 5th grade. It makes sense that this was one of my first truly thoughtful introspective poems since the poem is itself about swakening to my own capacity for introspection! While I child just acts, barely aware of their own existence enough to ask questions of themselves, at some point between ages 8 and 18, I think most children reach a turning point where they start to look inward. We start to see ourselves as others see us. We question our value. The extent of our perspective grows exponentially into both the future and past, and we start to have real dreams and real regrets – dreams that can be crushed and regrets that can be redeemed. I appear to have woken up to myself in 5th grade, and I think I remember why. Unsuprisingly, there was a girl.

The girl I liked in 5th grade liked goldfish crackers. So, naturally, smooth operator that I was, I set plans in motion and by next week, I too was bringing goldfish crackers with my lunch. Those who know me and my obsession with Goldfish crackers can rest easy knowing that it all traces back to a blonde-haired 10-year-old in 1996. We presumeably found other things in common because we became boyfriend and girlfriend for a time. Details are fuzzy, but I clearly remember one of the events that helped end the relationship. I got into an argument with my girlfriend’s best friend and ended up losing my temper and throwing a glue bottle at her, bruising her left arm. Most of the details are fuzzy, except for three. First, it was that weird purple gel-based glue. Second, the look on my now former girlfriend’s face. Third, the immediate shock I felt at having hurt another person for one of the first times in my entire life. That was a transformative event that made me realize there was a part of me I didn’t like.

Unfortunately the case of the purple glue wasn’t isolated. I clearly remember two other occasions where I lashed out at someone in a very uncharacteristic, very violent way. In one, I – the 2nd smallest kid in my 5th grade class – grabbed and threw a heavy steel chair at a kid who was making fun of me. Being mostly a wimp and a weakling, I had no clue that anger could give me such a scary capability. The other was on the playground playing something like basketball. Something unfair happened and instead of walking it off I punched the kid in the back. That was the first punch I remember, and one of the only times I can remember punching someone. I’ve never been in anything close to a classic fist fight. This is all to say that in 5th grade I found my temper and my capacity for violem=nce for the first time.

In the poem I liken the transformation from a non-introspective child to an introspective young adult as going from a dot to a sphere – adding a dimension to my existence. I also use color to discuss emotions. My tempermental nature that seems to have also awakened is described as a change from an innocent green to angry red. Being the spherical thinker I have become I have the capacity for change and growth and I, through force of will, add blue to my red, and become purple. I retained the passion of my red self, I tempered it with thoughtfulness.

In the 25 years since this poem I’ve certainly found my anger again in the stresses of work, marriage, and parenthood. This is a great reminder, from the mind of my childhood self, that we cn temper our red-hot anger with the serenity of cool-blue thought.