Friday, April 15, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 15

Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Day 15 (halfway) 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.

And now, today's poem!

Students - Today's proverb - You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar - illustrates the idea that we are more likely to get what we want in a situation if we are polite and kind than if we are rude and nasty. I really remember my mother saying this proverb to me, and as is the case with childhood talk-memories, it now comes up in my thinking and speaking life.

Since this proverb focuses on eating, a restuarant seemed a logical setting...well, two restaurants. Honestly, I am not sure how long The Sour Spot will even stay in business, but it served its purpose for my verse today.

This month I have been thinking lots about titles, and today's title can be taken two ways:

1. How we act is always a choice.

2. Which restaurant or person or life event we give our attention to is always a choice.

We choose how to be. We choose where to go. Our actions also influence the actions of others.

Below you can see the handwritten portion of my drafting work for this poem. As I've written before, once things get too messy, I move over to the keyboard where I can sling lines around more gracefully.

My favorite part of today's poem?

Those last two lines. (They took me a while.)

Beginning Draft for Always a Choice
Photo by Amy LV

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

The grass is always greener on the other side.

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!

You can find today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Matt's Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme with an interview of wonderful poet Leslie Bulion. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship. 

Maybe see you tomorrow for Pick a Proverb, Day 16!


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. Love thinking about a fly restaurant, Amy! And those last two lines are perfect. I'm enjoying your proverb posts and seeing where each saying takes you.

  2. Your title is brilliant. I love that it is two sides to the same coin: our internal and external selves and choices. The Sour Spot will definitely go out of business, and that's the power of the consumer. What if we all got together and said NO MORE to plastic?

  3. Love the poem, as well as the entire inspirational concept for this month, Amy! And yes, those last two lines nailed it.

  4. We always have a choice, don't we? Nice to read the story of sweet & sour!

  5. Oh my, we recite this proverb quite a lot in our house! But I think, with the pandemic, we've all become more aware of our word-kindness. I love that you are inspiring students to think about this via poetry! Thank you!

  6. Amy, nice sweet and sour restaurant poem. I love those last two lines, too. I'm picturing the wee plates filled with golden words and mugs of honey. Yummy!

  7. I can't wait to share this one with my sixth graders! We talk about this a lot!

  8. What a wonderful interpretation of this proverb. I love the truth at the heart of your poem - to remember we have choices, and make mindful ones.

  9. Can I tell you how much I love that you still write out the alphabet to help you generate a list of rhymes? I made this for myself so long ago and I keep it in a few different places--but I still sometimes just need to practice that thing that I'm teaching 4-year-olds! We can always choose our cookbook, our dish and our restaurant, true...but honey all the time could make you wish for brine! (my new proverb) I am also pleased by your last two lines, Amy--the pleasure of the hard-won.

    Rhyme Scheme
    b bl br
    c ch cl cr
    d dr dw
    f fl fr
    g gh gl gr
    k kl kr
    p ph pl pr
    s sc scr sh sl sm sn
    sp spr squ st str
    t th thr
    w wr

  10. Haven't you heard? The pandemic did the Sour Spot in. Love this, Amy! :-)