Friday, April 22, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 22


Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Day 22 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 - Little things mean a lot - expresses the idea that it isn't always the big gesture or present that is the best one. Small gestures and acts and gifts can  This proverb reminds me a little bit of another proverb: Good things come in small packages. However, the idea of little things having meaning feels broader to me than things in packages. Today's proverb also reminds me of April 20th's proverb The best things in life are free. A call to a friend, a found feather, a hand on someone's arm when that person is sad. 

Today's poem was inspired by rhyming words. Walking the dogs again, I was thinking about how gruff my dad was in some ways but how soft he was with animals. My thoughts jumped - gruff - rough, enough, tough, stuff - puff - it seemed that a poem could sprout from these words. When I sat at my desk with pen and paper, it did.

The ending, you notice, does not rhyme. At first I wanted it to and almost abandoned the whole thing. But then I realized that breaking the rhyme while writing a longer last phrase and unrhymed last word gave the verse more of a finished feeling. So I kept it!

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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!

Today is Earth Day, and later today you will find me reading one of my older poems, Shell Teeth, over at Michelle Schaub's blog, Poetry Boost. She has hosted a different poet reading a poem for every day of April, and it is fun to see their faces and to listen to their voices and words.

Margaret is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Reflections on the Teche with the next beautiful line of this year's Progressive Poem. 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 23!


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 may be hidden, but it's there! A loving story, Amy!

  2. There's nothing sweeter than a big, gruff person who's so gentle with animals or babies or anything vulnerable!

  3. Always a pleasure, Amy. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Oh I love this - not least because many moons ago I wrote a whole rhyming picture book inspired by the same rhyme of gruff/fluff. I wrote the opening lines and then knew there was a story: Pemberthy bear was covered in fluff/but Pemberthy Bear was mean and gruff...

  5. Awwwwww. I think I know him! And, I love him despite all rough, tough, gruff, stuff!

  6. Aww, before I read your explanation, I imagined your poem might've been about a dog who pretended to dislike the cat! And I agree re: leaving your last line unrhymed. It extended the experience (of imagining) for me! Thank you!

  7. Oh my goodness, how precious is that! LOVE.

  8. Such loving sensitivity in your poem, thanks Amy!

  9. Your last line is a plus with your poem. Amy.