dog-eared poems.

This morning I lay in bed and thumbed through a stack of poetry collections, revisiting the dog-eared and worn down pages, and flipping to undiscovered territory. I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately in preparation for a poetry unit later in the year. Much to my delight, the students are interested in poetry, and I’ve no doubt their work will be wonderfully insightful, innovative, and intelligent.

Reading student work is a joy and one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. What a gift to be given a lens into someone else’s life, her inner thoughts and her experiences in the world! I could wax poetic about how much I love reading students’ writing, but instead I’m going to share a few poems I rediscovered this morning. They stopped me in my tracks. lv, molly

P.S. I wish you a very happy weekend! I’m getting a hoola hoop.

W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

In a Station of the Metro
Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Naomi Shihab Nye

A man leaves the world
and the streets he lived on
grow a little shorter.

One more window dark
in this city, the figs on his branches
will soften for birds.

If we stand quietly enough evenings
there grows a whole company of us
standing quietly together.
overhead loud grackles are claiming their trees
and the sky which sews and sews, tirelessly sewing,
drops her purple hem.
Each thing in its time, in its place,
it would be nice to think the same about people.

Some people do. They sleep completely,
waking refreshed. Others live in two worlds,
the lost and remembered.
They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone,
once for themselves. They dream thickly,
dream double, they wake from a dream
into another one, they walk the short streets
calling out names, and then they answer.

The Garden of Love
William Blake

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

The Guest House
Jelaluddin Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Monday in B-Flat
Amiri Baraka

I can pray
all day
& God
wont come.

But if I call
The Devil
Be here

in a minute!

Image via A Cup of Jo.


2 thoughts on “dog-eared poems.

  1. If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend checking out Kenneth Koch’s books about teaching children how to read and write poetry. They’re great touchstones and include anthologies of poems written by children in his classes, providing plenty of good models for kids who get stuck or stubborn. I teach middle school, but his ideas and approaches could be adapted for high school, too.

    • Thank you so much! I want to provide a variety of models in order to differentiate, so that will no doubt be a good resource!

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