Ode to Poetry

The poetry in our life can be coy.  It hides and waits to be found.  It demands that we have world enough and time enough to look.  It can be found in the leafy green of the trees now that April’s here.  It can be found trembling leaves when the wind is passing through.  It can be seen in the face of the moon as it stares in the air in a nighttime game of hide and seek. Poetry gives us words for those moments that take us by surprise.

Poetry can be found in moments of celebration.  I saw it on Saturday at the Bat Mitzvah of a former student.  I heard poetry in her luminous reading of the Torah, and I heard it as she sang words that rang though the sanctuary.  I saw it in the awed faces of her classmates, many of whom were second graders with her in Room 204.  I saw poetry in the joy of her parents.  “Remember?”  her mother asked me.  I smiled. Yes, I remember.

Later on Saturday, I saw poetry in purple frosted cupcakes on a picnic bench in the park.  I heard poetry as we sang Happy Birthday to my one year old granddaughter.  I felt poetry as we joined hands in a circle. I heard poetry in my son’s prayer of Thanksgiving even as his first birthday replayed in my head.  I saw it in the two ducks who came to join us and I heard it in my daughter in law’s greeting: “Oh, look… Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are here…”  Some days are so special that poetry does not even bother to hide.

The third graders in Room 204 are experts at finding poetry.  And we love to find it in one of its favorite hiding places;  we hunt for poetry in prose.  We note metaphor, personification, simile, alliteration, and internal rhyme.  These terms are not important for third graders to know (and they are not on the SOL’s), but they have evolved naturally through conversation. We don’t learn them by definition– we just name these poetic elements as we uncover them in prose.

We now know to look.

Ode To Poetry in Prose
By Annie Campbell

Poetry I’ve seen you hide
In slow moving herds of words
Ever cleverly disguised.
Camouflaged in rows of prose
You roam on the loose-
Popping up where you choose–
Until I chance upon you.

Poetry I’ve seen you hide.
Stitched in the friction
Of old and new
Pictures and feelings,
You blaze into the song of talk.
You get me again and again
Yet now I know to look.

About Annie Campbell

Annie Campbell is a National Board Certified teacher and loves her work. After a forty year career in the classroom, she continues to support teachers. 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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3 Responses to Ode to Poetry

  1. Amanda Blaschick says:

    Love LOVE the poem at the end- It incorporates so many writing crafts yet it seems so effortless! Beautiful!

  2. Lloyd says:

    Great poem! Also, great way to teach students about metaphor, simile, personification, etc in everyday life. By learning this way, students will carry this lesson with them forever. I would love to use this technique when I have my own classroom.

  3. Gloria Maldonado says:

    We can find poetry everywhere. We just need to look for it carefully and pay close attention to our surroundings. The poem at the end it is very beautiful. It shows how you have mastered the art of looking for poetry.

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