We have many animals at our house: one dog, one fish, four cats, two rabbits, nine sheep, nineteen chickens, and a bunch of inchworms that Hope just found in the snow and added to her terrarium. Some of these animals feel like members of the family, especially our dog Cali. She really does look like she understands us, and Hope, Georgia, and Henry use their own dog voices to interpret what she is saying. We get some real laughs out of that.
Students -this poem came from something real in my life, something very everyday. The part that took the longest part for me to write was the ending. I tried many different endings before I settled on the one you see above. I tried: You may think he's just a dog/but my dog is my brother and Some dogs are only dogs/but my dog is my brother before I settled on these final two lines. I also tried separating the last two lines from the rest of the poem, leaving a space between the first seven lines and the last two, but in the end, I decided to keep it all together.
Try this with one of your own poems. Reread a poem aloud many times, concentrating especially on the ending. Write three or four different endings and read your poem aloud with each of them. Ask a friend to read your poem aloud with each of its new endings and listen to see which you like best. You could even read your new endings to your dog. Who knows? Your dog might understand!
The Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) finalists were announced yesterday. For some great lists of books-not-to-miss, check out the finalists here. A book in which I have two poems, SHARING THE SEASONS, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, is on the poetry finalist list!
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