Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poem #254 Brings a Snow Day for Sledding


Snow Day
by Amy LV


This poem is dedicated to Mrs. Overman's second grade class in Indiana.  Last week (during nonfiction week), these young writers requested that I write a poem about a snow day.  We actually had a couple of snow days around here last week, and there could be more on the way.  This means that there may be more snow day poems on the way too.  Thank you to my Indiana friends, for offering me this great idea for a poem!

Students - while you might not always want to take topic ideas from others (I usually don't), sometimes one will strike you as perfect for that time in your life.  With all of the snow we've been having, this idea made perfect sense.  It was funny writing this poem because snips of it appeared in my mind on Monday night.  Right before creeping under my cozy covers, I thought, "Inside, ride, wide...those words will go in an upcoming poem!"

Another something strange happened with this poem too.  Last evening I sat in our puffy purple chair to write.  Our daughter Georgia (10), sat on the couch across the room.  We were both writing poems, but neither of us spoke one word to each other.  Georgia's school assignment was to write a rhyming nature poem which did not tell the name of the object in the poem, and here is what she wrote:

                                                     It blooms
                                                     unfolds
                                                     opens wide
                                                     all the world
                                                     sees what's inside
                                                     stamens, pistil
                                                     filled with pride
                                                     and then at night
                                                     it hides.

                                                     by Georgia LV

Did you notice that both of our poems use the rhyme ide?  We even chose two of the same words: inside & wide.  Considering we did not talk one bit about our poems, this amazed us both.  What a coincidence! One thing I love about Georgia's poem is that she has a very regular pattern of rhythm until the very last line, it hides.  This line is shorter than the others and helps her poem to break its pattern and feel beautifully finished.

When writing a rhyming poem, it is important to make sense.  Sometimes we want so badly to rhyme that we pick any old thing, any old two words and just mash them together.  Then we end up with weird lines like this:

                                 I love to read books under the table.
                                 It will not fall for it is stable.

Now do you ever worry about tables falling?  Probably not.  Therefore, this rhyme is a bit forced, and if I wrote it, I'd rewrite to say something more meaningful.  Maybe this:

                                 I'm under the table reading a book.
                                 No one will find me.  No one will look.

Rhyming poems are only one kind of poem.  Many of the most wonderful poems do not rhyme at all.  However, when I write a rhyming poem, I want it to be meaningful: funny, serious, playful, happy, sad... I don't want it to just sound like I slapped any old rhymes together.  That's what matters most to me - that my words make sense and connect with another human being.  Please let me know if you try writing a rhyming poem and what you learn as you write. 

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)

2 comments:

krinow said...

Dear Amy, This is Lauren from Mrs. Evancho's 2nd grade class. I liked the ending of your poem "Snow Day" beacause that's exactly what I want to do.

Amy LV said...

Dear Lauren,

Thank you very much for your note. I am tickled that you like the ending of this poem and that it matched how you feel.

When I was a little girl, we lived next to a school with a very big and very steep hill. Now we have a hill like this in my yard. I still feel a tiny bit scared when I get on the hill at the top...but it's so exciting!

I hope that you have lots of fun days sledding over your holiday break and that you enjoy one or two snow days this season too. There's something about that surprise that is just plain fun!

Thank you again for writing to me. I can't wait to read some of the poems from your class. Please say "Hello!" to them for me. And Mrs. Evancho too!

Your Friend,
Amy