In my poets in the schools work with 5th graders this fall, we spent more time than usually exploring the effects of point of view and pronouns--I, you, he, she. We moved from personifying qualities-- Patience, Curiosity, Despair, Impatience, Wisdom--to becoming something outside ourselves--I am a coral reef, firefly, soccer ball, the earth, a shoe-- to writing to something or someone-- you are the ocean, the stars, my mom.
Here’s a few of the highlights.
Patience waits for his turn at bat.
Impatience sits next to him complaining.
Patience waits for the perfect pitch.
Impatience swings at every thing.
Patience waits for his teammate to hit the ball.
impatience tries to steal a base but gets out.
Patience runs the bases
when Impatience argues over the ball.
Patience celebrates the win.
impatience argues with the referee.
Patience sits in the bus listening to music.
Impatience just waits for the song to be over.
When they get home
Patience just goes to bed.
Impatience still is complaining.
Despair is a gray woman, knitting her
scarf of sadness, forever.
“My stories,” she says,
“are stories made with tears.”
Wisdom is an old, old man, teaching
young ones about his childhood.
“Life lessons,” he says
“are the lessons you learn yourself.”
Boredom stares at the clock,
willing it to move faster.
“Clocks,” he says,
“never move quickly enough.”
Curiosity never sleeps.
“Life,” she says,
“is too exciting to ignore.”
Kate Gilberd, 5th grade, Springhill School, November 2010
I am a firefly
sitting in a jar
the outside is waiting
but I can’t get out
I see the children’s eyes
looking at me
they move around
wait the jar is moving
I see the outdoors
they loosen the top
and let me out
I fly through the wind
free as the clouds
I am happy to get back to my family
But I miss the big eyes of the children
staring at me
although it scared me a little.
You are a label, all your expressionsshow on your face clear as day.
You are a dog, working 10 hours full time daily.
You are a paparazzi mob, willing to catch anything
on camera just to embarrass someone.
You are an angry stampede of bulls (until you
drink your first cup of coffee)
Your are a chef, planning meals
for the whole week.
You are a multi-tasker, talking on the phone
at the same time you are completing a power point
presentation for the next meeting.
You are my mom.
The sea, the sea it rolls and tolls
and calls out to me, the sea.
The trees, the trees they to and fro
and sing to me, the trees.
The mountains, the mountains, they shake
and shiver and cry out to me, the mountains.
The clouds, the clouds, they swing and sing
and laugh with me, the clouds.
The suns, the sun it runs and runs and smiles
at me, the sun.
The grass, the grass, it
sways and plays
and tickles me, the grass.
The dirt, the dirt it dances and bounces and
hangs out with me, the dirt.
The sky, the sky, it is too high
I don’t know what it says,
so I guess this is the end of
this nature poem.
I am, You are
I am a tree tall and strong,
You are the ocean singing its song.
I am the lightning in its fury,
You are the stars that brighten the sky
About J. Ruth
Causes J. Ruth Gendler Supports
Poets in the Schools
River of Words
Friends of the Earth
Doctors Withour Borders