Commissioned Poems

Poem Inside the entrance at the American Job Center

For information on commissioning a poem, contact me:



Matt has been hired to write poems for Humanities Nebraska, Omaha Public Library, the Nebraska Memorial Forest, the American Job Center of Lancaster and Saunders Counties, Legal Aid of Nebraska and many more.

It’s work I enjoy, and I’d love to hear from you if there’s something you’d like to commission me to write. Here are a couple of the poems I’ve worked on recently:

            Villanelle for the Nebraska Memorial Forest
               -Written for the Nebraska Memorial Forest

How do you count the trees that make a forest,
how do you count the weight of loss,
how do you find one voice inside a chorus—

it seems impossible, distilling down to what is purest,
each tree a representation, a memory, luminous.
How do you count the trees that make a forest,

each leaf, each blossom—bur oak, red bud, honey locust—
each clipping shared, each honor, each branch to bless,
to find that one voice hidden in the chorus.

Each tree here represents remembrance,
each maple, jackpine, walnut, paw paw,
each counted, each tree which makes this forest,

each one a name, each one cherished,
every one we come across
is a voice that sings inside the chorus

across this state, for these held dearest
whose sacrifice has magnified their loss,
so we count the trees that make this forest,
find every voice inside the chorus.

          We Go To Work
            -Written for the American Job Center

it’s what we do,
what we’re taught,
what we want:
            we want to build
            cities, neighborhoods,
            communities, countries;
it’s not always easy
(and I don’t just mean five A.M., six degrees,
ice on O Street),
            we have layoffs,
            knees locked wrong,
            red tape, flat tire, missed bus days
where just getting to work,
just having work,
is work; but
            we go to work, it’s what we do,
            what we’re taught,
            what we want, we
make this city
a little taller,
a little smarter, a little warmer,
            a star
            because of us, we
for one another,
with one another, we
            a city, a neighborhood,
            a community,
            a state;
we are artists, this
is the masterpiece
we make.

Matt Mason, Nebraska State Poet