Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 19


Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Day 19 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. Dictionary.com 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.

List of Proverb Poems from April 2022:

And now, today's poem!

Students - Today's proverb - Tomorrow never comes - illustrates the idea that if we keep saying "I'll do it tomorrow," we might never do it at all. This proverb is a warning against procrastination. I certainly have tasks about which I say, "I'll do that tomorrow," and then never accomplish those tasks. I am really thinking about this proverb's truth. It is one that I have not heard very often but which I think will be  useful in my life.

The form of this poem is a rispetto, an old Italian form which can be written in a few different ways. One of the most common ways is the one above: two quatrains (four line stanzas) with 8 syllables per line (unstressed/stressed) and a very certain rhyme scheme which you can see below. Each letter stands for a rhyming sound. Can you match the pattern to the poem above?

Rispetto Rhyme Scheme:



As for the dogs, I played with a few ideas for today's poem: boats sailing away, flags flying, and images I cannot remember. I came up with the dog comparison as I walked our own two dogs Cali and Sage around the pasture. This reminds me how important it is to DO THINGS. DO THINGS now. Not only because it makes our lives richer (it does!) but because action makes our writing richer. The idea of a dog named Tomorrow never coming gave me the idea to compare it with a dog named Today who does come and play and act. I cannot know for sure but believe that walking Cali and Sage brought on this concept.

This is a comparison poem, with two types-of-dog-stanzas juxtaposed with each other. Can you think of two things, people, places, ideas, objects, or pets to compare? If so, you may choose to write a two stanza poem in which each of two stanzas highlights one of each of two people, places, ideas, objects, or pets.

Yes, I do know that tale would be the proper spelling of the second word in today's title. Since the subject is dogs, however, I could not resist the pun.

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

The best things in life are free.

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 20!


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