Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 24


Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Day 24 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 count your chickens before they hatch - warns us against planning or depending on something being a particular way before it actually happens. You would not want to promise chicks to your ten friends if you only had ten eggs as they might not all hatch. If they didn't all hatch, you would be breaking a promise to one or more friends.

This is the first poem where I have stated the proverb directly in the poem lines - in the first line! I did not plan to do this, but as I went back and forth about what to write about, I found myself wanting to write about chickens again and again, possibly because we have some chickens here, and I see them pecking around when I walk our dogs Cali and Sage.

I wrote the first line, and then suddenly the farmer-in-my-mind took the pen and kept going. I just wrote what the farmer said. This is an advice poem, and it can be interesting to write a poem of advice in your own voice, or in someone else's. Just close your eyes and think to yourself, "Who might give this sort of advice?" or "What kind of advice might a ------- give?" The poem "Advice," by Dan Gerber, gives me a lot to think about and is, I think, a neat example of an advice poem.

When I first typed up today's poem, it ended with the words, " not guess!" The current last two lines did not exist. I was just about to record it, but then I had a feeling that the poem wasn't really finished: the warning did not feel strong enough. The farmer wanted to say more. So then the farmer wrote the final two lines...through me. The verb scrambled felt absoutely perfect.

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

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 25!


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