Color My World

crayolaWhere have you found poetry?

Then. I found poetry spilling out of my first box of 64 Crayons.  Suddenly buildings weren’t red, they were brick red; dirt wasn’t brown, it was burnt sienna; a sunset sky wasn’t orange, it was a sky streaked with coral, peach, periwinkle, and lilac.  The woods behind my house weren’t green, they were forest green,  and I learned to do cartwheels over spring green grass. My favorite crayon?  Gold.

I found poetry in naming the colors of my world.

Now. I hear the clatter of spilling verse in the chatter of children around me.  I try to catch and juggle syllables. Words.  Phrases. But they melt like snowflakes in midair if I don’t write them down.

My mother-in-law taught poetry.  One Sunday afternoon, we sat in her living room in that comfortable After-Sunday-Dinner silence measured by the ticking of an old family clock. She was one hundred years old.  Into that silence she recited a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay; then some Tennyson; and then some Longfellow. She was losing her hearing and her sight and her memory, but not her poetry. Memorizing poetry, she said, “has lined my heart with gold.” She knew just where to find poetry.

On Friday children stood and recited poems from memory.    The poems were beautiful or funny or heartfelt.  We laughed. We nodded.  We snapped our fingers (coffee house style) in appreciation.  As copies were passed out, poetry folders got thicker and thicker.  We took turns reading each other’s poetry.  Yes, they said, let’s do this next week, too.

And we will. We will look for poetry and find it.  We will memorize it and recite it.  We will write it.  In a room of lilac and forest green, we are lining our hearts with gold.

About Annie Campbell

Annie Campbell is a National Board Certified third grade teacher and loves her work. She especially enjoys teaching children how to be enthusiastic readers, writers, and problem solvers. Every year, she hopes to inspire her students to be committed citizens who know they can make a difference in the world around them. When she is not teaching, Annie enjoys cooking for family and friends; she likes to lose herself in a good book; she loves discovering new ideas, restaurants, perfect picnic places, and movies with her husband, Ben.
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9 Responses to Color My World

  1. Mr. Parker says:

    Love the image of the “After-Sunday-dinner silence”. I can hear the old clock ticking slowly in my head.

  2. Faithe Mickens says:

    You know you hit this one out the park for me!Poetry was an intergal part of my upbringing too. There was no better laugh then to hear my father recite Dumbar; or my mother to get her point across through Longfellow. “IF” you want to send a message, poetry is the way to go!

  3. blkdrama says:

    What a wonderful post. I remember my boxes of Crayolas. Too bad I never connected them with poetry. Now I do with digital storytelling. But wow are you lucky to have such great doorways into poetry.
    BTW the comments can be added on my blog on the left side.
    Bonnie

  4. Lisa says:

    My class is working on finding poetry in every day things this week. This is a good example of how that happens. I remember the joy of a giant box of crayons too. Kids dont’ like crayons as much anymore. They want the markers. Crayons have more appeal I think.

  5. Amanda Blaschick says:

    I love the idea of using Crayola color names to describe things in my writing- I may sneak these words into some of my writing in the future… What a wonderful way to create beautiful imagery!

  6. Kristin says:

    I love the imagery of this!! I just paints a picture in your mind and adds a whole nother look to writing. This reminds me of what we learned in class about word choice and show don’t tell. Instead of using just the basic color, you spice up the paper by saying fire house red instead of red.

  7. charlene scroggins says:

    I love the imagery in this poem!!!!! I could picture myself looking into all the places. I thought using crayons was very clever!!! 🙂

  8. Gloria Maldonado says:

    I love the first paragraph and the title of the post. I love how a simple color can become more as you noted green now became forest green, spring green. We should add colors to our writings to show imagery. This post is really heartfelt because students learn to express themselves by adding vivid words.

  9. marvene2 says:

    Wow, great imagery. I love the colors used to create imagery. I remember those crayon boxes from the supply list. The crayons were a great way to connect young students to express themselves with poetry. What child doesn’t like crayons? Great story!

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