Sunday, April 10, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 10


Happy Day 10 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!

Each day of April, I will share a proverb, the meaning of the proverb, and a poem inspired by that proverb. 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.

And now, today's poem!

Students - Today's proverb - Don't miss the forest for the trees - illustrates the idea that we can miss the big picture when we focus too much on the parts of something. If you are so busy looking at every single tree, you might miss the majesty and gorgeousness of the forest where you hike.

This is bit of a depressing poem as it takes the proverb unfollowed and carries the story to it's sad but logical end. Proverbs are little snippets of advice, and if we don't pay attention to wisdom, we might feel some unnecessary sadnesses in life.

Sometimes I think that I, too, see the trees and not the forest. I can pay attention to small things that annoy me in my house or with a person and momentarily miss the greater importance at hand. Writing this proverb poem was a good exercise in helping me think about my own forest-missing.

Thank you to my friend Mary Lee who pointed out in an earlier comment the importance of line breaks. You may have wondered about why Then Grandma died. stands alone. This is to draw attention to the importance of that line. See, Grandma's death changed everything. That deserves space. Space around words gives those words strength.

One more thing. The second-to-last line of this poem originally read His stomach was hungry. But I don't have to write hungry if I show that the stomach rumbled. And with more room for more syllables, I could add the word sad. Consider this in your own revisions. Rather than telling (was hungry), try showing (rumbled) what is going on in your poem or story or essay. 

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

Good things come to those who wait.

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 has been a joy to read the proverb poems that folks have shared, and I thank you for letting me peek into your interesting brains, just as you peek into mine!

Maybe see you tomorrow for Pick a Proverb, Day 11!


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