where the writers are
"I am a firefly"
Stationery by Alex

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.
    Lauren Etnyre

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.
    Jessy Gerson

Your Daughter

You are a label, all your expressionsStationeryshow 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.
    Alex Trux 

Nature says...

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.
    Riley Morris 

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
    Kage Groszewski 

6 Comment count
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These made my day. . .

Thank you for sharing and restoring my belief that there is still poetry in our world, in our future.

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These are amazingly sophisticated ...

... and moving and unselfconscious. Wow. A testament to your ability to teach and theirs to learn and apply.


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Very meaningful thoughts from such young ones. There are many adults who aren't as observant or facile with words. You're doing a fantastic job if this is what they are producing. Do you have enough of these poems from other students to put out a book, even if only a cover and stapled type of book? I am sure the kids and parents would cherish it.

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These are wonderful--what a

These are wonderful--what a treat to wake up to see these sparks of exquisite insight from these children.

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Invitation to listen

Thank you for you kind and enthusiastic comments. More than anything else in my life, the writing of children gives me hope for our fragmented, war-torn world. I have heard endless debates about whether creativity can be taught. I don't know if it can be taught in a linear way but I am sure it can be nurtured. As a poet and artist in the schools I feel like I am in the business of issuing invitations, inviting children to speak from their lives and their imaginations, and then listening with eagerness, appreciation, and curiosity!

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Beautiful work!

You have obviously created an environment that stimulates and nurtures your students. Beautiful work on your part.

Thanks to Lauren, Kate,Jessy, Alex, and Riley for their beautiful work. I am sure these poems are only the beginning for them.