Monday, April 18, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 18


Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Day 18 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 - Laughter is the best medicine - illustrates the idea that joy and happiness can often make us feel better than anything else. It is true that happiness is good for our bodies and souls, and so today I chose to imagine laughter as an actual prescription from a doctor.

Today I chose to try a form of poetry I have never tried before, and I experiment with other new-to-me forms as April rounds out. This poem is a nonet which is a 9 line poem with a descending number of syllables. Line 1 has 9 syllables, line 8 has 8 syllables, and all the way down to 1. You can count along with the poem below. And yes, I did actually include the numbers of the syllables on each line as I drafted the poem. This helped me keep my place!

Nonets do not need to rhyme, they generally make sense, and they can also be written in an ascending way, with the line 1 having 1 syllable and line 9 having 9 syllables. I first learned about this form from Irene Latham's cool and clever book NINE: A BOOK OF NONET POEMS which is a whole nonet book...all somehow about the number nine!

You might wish to experiment with a nonet of your own. When we write in new forms, we grow new ideas which fit those forms, and in this way, we can surprise ourselves.

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

Tomorrow never comes.

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 19!


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  1. Love that 'mouth filled with ha!', Amy. Have some chuckles from me today, too!

  2. If you haven't visited Today's Little Ditty for 4/17/22, do so right now. There is a laughter video there that will heal all ills!