Friday, April 1, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 1


Happy Day 1 of National Poetry Month! April always brings poems, vases full of poems. And over at Jama's Alphabet Soup, Jama always generously shares the various projects happening around the Kidlitosphere during this time. Enjoy!

For National Poetry Month 2022, I will share a daily poem inspired by a popular proverb. defines a proverb as "a short, popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses some commonplace truth or useful thought." A proverb might also be called a saying, an expression, a maxim, or an adage, and Merriam Webster notes that proverbs are "nuggets of wisdom" which often have popular opposites. Some of you may know the word Proverbs from the book of the Bible, but proverbs are not all from the Bible - many come from daily life.

My suggestion is that we write from proverbs in many ways:
  • Write a true story poem inspired by the proverb
  • Make up a story poem connected to the proverb
  • Write a poem agreeing with the proverb
  • Write a poem disagreeing with the proverb
  • Connect a fact or historical moment to the proverb
  • Take any one word or bit from the proverb and write from that
  • Anything else!

Along with the daily proverb poem, I will also share the the proverb which will inspire the next day's poem. I invite to you write from proverbs of your own choosing or to write proverb poems along with me. You can read some examples and learn a little more about this projects and my 2010-2020 poetry projects HERE.

Here is the PICK A PROVERB LIST that I will write from throughout April 2022, and I will add to this as I discover more proverbs. As school districts block outside Google docs for student access, I welcome teachers to "Make a Copy" of this document and to share it with students from your school district accounts.

List of Proverb Poems from April 2022:

And now, today's poem!

Students - Today's proverb - People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones - is often interpreted to mean that a person should not criticize another person as everybody has faults that could be criticized. A glass house would be easy to break, and it would be easy to find faults with any person as nobody is perfect. We are all flawed, learning, and vulnerable.

Today's poem about the old man in the glass house came to me a bit at a time. I knew that I wanted to write an imaginary poem about a person who really lived in a glass house, and I just wrote line-by-line and listened, closing my eyes and thinking about where this man lived, what he did. I do not know why he never threw a stone, though I have a few possible ideas in mind. Sometimes, though, it is more fun to let the reader think about it. What do you think?

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

A thing begun is half done.

I invite you to join me in writing about the above proverb using the suggestions listed above today's poem or in choosing your own proverb from the list linked above and in the sidebar here throughout April 2022. If you have a proverb to add to the list, please write to me with a parent or guardian or teacher through that adult's account.

And if any classes of students are picking and writing proverbs along with me (or doing any connected work), I invite teachers to email me through my CONTACT ME button above. If you'd like, we can talk about publishing your students' work here at The Poem Farm. Please note that I do not respond to emails from students as I do not encourage writing to strangers online, but I do respond to students who correspond through parents, guardians, and teachers.

It is the one-month-birthday of my new book IF THIS BIRD HAD POCKETS: A POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY CELEBRATION, and you will find today's Poetry Friday roundup over  my juicy little universe. Heidi is offering up goodnesses of all shapes and sizes, from poems to projects to a birthday!

Maybe see you tomorrow for Pick a Proverb, Day 2!


ps - If you noticed that the logo for PICK A PROVERB changed since last Friday, you are very observant! It did. I decided I wanted to handmake the logo instead of designing it digitally. As I am traveling, I packed my paints for the week...but forgot the brushes. Sooo....I used my fingers as brushes. You may know the proverb - Necessity is the mother of invention!

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class.


  1. Great project, Amy! I'll be following along. Your poem has me thinking about the grandmother. She must have been a big influence on the man's life and his decision to be open and accepting (my interpretation).

  2. Love the idea you'll be writing from, Amy. It reminds me of people advising to write that letter or email, then do not send it! Also love your "necessity. . ." that became a wonderful logo for you! Happy April!

  3. I'm SO glad he decided not to throw those stones! What a lovely turn of events.

  4. What a wonderful project. I look forward to seeing what proverbs you pick and reading your poems.

  5. Such a mysterious poem, Amy--it really invites me to wonder. I enjoyed the steady inevitability of the rhythm against the mystery of his motives. What an ambitious NPM project!

  6. I love this project and it reminds me of my husband reciting proverbs and sayings with our sons sometimes at bedtime when they were little. The man in your poem somehow was in touch with his own vulnerabilities. I look forward to reading more!

  7. Ha! Such a great start to this month. I love your constraints that end with "anything else." You are the best!

  8. You have certainly begun a thing, Amy! Thank you for somehow always choosing something both monumental and meaningful as well as small and handmade. You draw us all into participating!

  9. This conjurs up lots of wonderful images, Amy. I adore your new logo! Even better than with a paintbrush. I so appreciate you sharing bits about your process. Taking it line by line reminds me of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. Such sage advice. Cheers! xx Christie

  10. Lots to think about in your open ended poem, and it helps us to keep our thoughts open. I like your finger-painted proverb logo too, 😌 Happy writing, thanks Amy!

  11. Yes, I am thinking about this old man and his black dog and I think as the old man wound up and prepared to throw a stone, his black dog placed a gentle paw upon his muddy shoe and whispered: "Let's not."