Smart bloggers use their site stats to figure out how to attract more readers. I’m not smart that way (or I’m too lazy to figure out how to be smart that way), but I still love my site stats. It’s fun at the end of the day to see how many visitors I’ve had, how many hits on each post, how many hits from each country and clicks on links. What I enjoy the most is the list of search engine terms that bring readers to the blog.
Last year I did a round-up of search engine terms, and I think I’ll make it an end-of-year tradition. My report begins with the announcement that the most heavily-used searches haven’t changed. Year after year, hundreds of people look for Seamus Heaney’s poem “Mother of the Groom,” or without knowing the poet or the poem, search for a poem for that overlooked lady. I have several poems for the wedding couple, but not nearly as many people want poems for them. No one who finds his way to this blog wants a poem for the mother of the bride. Presumably verse-loving guests know she’s too busy to read a poem. And pity the poor fathers of the bride and groom—not a single person seems to care enough about their emotional states to search for a poem to give them.
The next search that’s stayed on top is “poem for kids leaving home,” or “poems for daughter/son going to college,” a search which drops them in my post on Linda Pastan’s wonderful “To a Daughter Leaving Home.” Pastan’s little poem is a hard and generous worker, helping parents the world over by providing comfort and laying out the emotional difficulties children growing up.
“Father’s death” and “anniversary of father’s death” is up there on the list of Poem Elf search terms. I don’t get searches for “mother’s death” but only because thank God in heaven I have not written a post about that.
Complaint department: one of the most heavily searched terms bugs the crap out of me. I hate that I am confused with the awful “Elf on the Shelf” toy. All through the year people are searching for “elf on the shelf poem.” Hear ye, hear ye: Poem Elf is not related to Elf on the Shelf. Poem Elf would gladly put Elf on the Shelf on a special shelf. . . in the morgue. That other elf is nothing but a marketing ploy disguised as a family tradition that unfortunately has replaced the much richer tradition of advent calendars and advent wreaths. Blech.
On to the fun stuff. Here’s a few of my favorite searches from the year. I’ve preserved the spelling.
Searches that would make great writing prompts:
poem for a lost mother
disrespectful to the dying
manipulative old mother
elf lover (wouldn’t that be a great song?)
why did aaron alexis have my elf on his gun
my greedy sister
poem to my foster dog
Searches that break my heart:
I no longer want to breathe poems (a depressing twist on James Laughlin’s ”I want to breathe”)
mothers verse for leukemia
im sorry im leaving poem
I am a loser and a piece of garbage please kill me
Signs from the universe that it’s time to outgrow my scatological humor:
peeing after readin a poem
glad you’re home someone shit in the hallway
Search that makes me nervous:
Airport trashcan (I’m envisioning a bomb-maker)
Search that makes me less nervous:
poems for baby feet (I want to read that poem)
Searches that prove there are still people in the world who know how to raise children and who probably don’t like Elf on the Shelf either:
poems about acorns for one-year olds
fall poems for young children
Searches that make me worry about the state of poetry:
don’t do inhalants poem
poem about corn hole
poems about clams
funny poems about sausages
Finally, the search that makes my site stats so entertaining:
Edna St. Vincent Millay sex toys
I’m trying to picture it. A candle that burns at both ends for the S&M crowd?