Thursday, April 28, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 28

 Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day, so you still have time to choose your poem! If you'd like more information about this special day, The Academy of American Poets has a list of 30 Ways to Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day in the classroom HERE.


Happy Day 28 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 - A watched pot never boils - illustrates the idea that if you're waiting and paying too much attention to something you wish for, it will feel like it takes forever to happen. Time moves slowly when we're too focused on what we want to happen. 

It is early spring here in Western New York, and I am looking forward to both hummingbirds and lilacs. We have a lot of both here at The Poem Farm, and my husband kindly hangs lots of hummingbirds around our front door and around Betsy the Writing Camper too.

This poem is a pantoum (pronounced "pan-TOOM"). A pantoum has stanzas of four lines, and in each stanza, the second and fourth lines repeat as the first and third lines of the following stanza. The form may have as many stanzas as the poet chooses and a pantoum may rhyme or not, You can see how I checked that I matched the proper lines by looking at my draft below. Note how I used different symbols to indicate which line would match which other line.

Sometimes, a pantoum adds more repetition, with the second and fourth lines matching the third and first lines of the first stanza. While I love this use of all lines twice, such a variation would not allow me to have my hummingbird fly I kept with the simpler version, repeating only two lines in the last stanza as in all other stanzas.

I have written only one other pantoum that I remember, and it was about mask wearing back in 2020. You can find that poem HERE. This is an old form of poetry, from the fifteenth century. 

When I draft a poem, I usually need two things to get started: an inspiration image or idea which can come from outside or inside of me, and a form to play with. Sometimes the form emerges, and sometimes the image emerges through writing...but often I jump in with these two parts and I see what I write. Often it changes, and I always leave that window open. A cool breeze blowing into a poem is a beautiful thing, don't you think?

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

The world is your oyster.

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 29, Poem in Your Pocket Day!


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