Good Sport Poem
Test of agility
Running and wits
Let's just hope
The helmet fits
When down to the wire
And a few seconds left
Let it fly and hope
It's caught by your guy.
When Lou Capozzoli told the 7th graders in his reading class they were going to write poetry, no one was very enthusiastic. First of all, they'd had to
write poetry in their language arts class. It seemed like hard work, to
write a boring poem. Now, they had twice the work to do. And although Mr. Capozzoli (fondly known as Mr. Cap by his students) had read them poems written by famous poets like Robert Frost, the middle school students didn't really see what good could come of more writing.
In spite of their dismay, to mark National Poetry Month in April, the 25
"advanced" reading students were assigned to write five poems, submitted in booklet form. Mr. Cap gave his students titles to write from, for three poems and allowed them free reign on the other two.
He asked that there be an underlying message in each poem and for the poems to reveal something 'extra'. They also had to include some form of alliteration, simile, metaphor, personification and onomatopoeia in their poems. After 38 years of teaching, the veteran teacher thought he had seen it all. What the kids turned in was amazing.
With many newspapers filled with a focus on youth gone bad, a class of kids writing poetry might seem mighty lame. But, the kids, half of them boys,
found that there was nothing unmanly or uncool, about writing, or learning about, poetry.
My seventh grade son, one of Mr. Cap's students, never shared with me that he had a poetry writing assignment until it was time to turn them in. Late the night before they were due, I discovered his book of written and edited
Says Jake, "When Mr. Cap told us we were going to write poems and then he gave us the title of the first poem, 'Well-Worn Eraser,' I thought it was kind of dumb, writing a poem about an eraser." The kids came up with poetry that impressed Mr. Cap.
Like a ferocious lion, devouring trembling prey
Then leaves tiny shreds, the animal's carcass
Leaving words' smallest pieces
Making things nothing.
Whipping and whirling till all is gone
An eraser must take everything along
Shows no mercy.
Take things that were and make them no longer.
By the time the class was writing poems on subjects they had picked themselves, like Joey's poem about football printed above, their literary skills were well-honed.
Jake and Joey agreed that they found it easier to express themselves in
writing than aloud. "You don't have to fear people laughing at what you say
because it's not right; it's just your opinion and you can say whatever you
want," says Jake.
"As I read the poems", says Mr. Cap,
"I was astonished. The kids wrote about everything from hurricanes and floods, to hunger for love, for acceptance and sometimes even the swollen bellies of malnourished babies.
They wrote about their dreams and aspirations, the hopes that life would be good and fear that it would not be. Some poems dealt with personal tragedy and loss so profound, it put tears in my eyes."
Following are more poems from Mr. Cap's class:
She looks at the world as a prison,
Holding her back from someplace greater.
As an extra push towards her extinction,
And as a thief seeking her sanity.
She sees those around her as
Fakers, masked with lies
As another nail in her coffin,
And as the blade grazing her skin.
Her days so filled with thoughts of leaving,
Hopes of someplace better,
Dreams of ending pain,
A desire to let it all go.
Both sides sleep
It is calm
The storm will break
At dawn in 'morrow.
The men all know
What was going on
Officers in their tents
Planning their deaths.
Some prayed, some wept
But all were scared.
Guns cleaned, boots polished.
All for what the 'morrow brings
Bam went the cannons
Bang went the guns
Men fell on both sides
Dawn had come.
Same tired thing we just can't get it right
Timing fleeing from us, taunting us as well
Understanding becomes impossible
Punishment for nothing
It's unfair, teach nothing, expect something?
Don't blame us, for it's not our fault
If something doesn't make sense, show us
Teach us, our minds are willing
You must let us learn- HELP!
Summer's breeze blowing away
Waves gently washing ashore
Soft sand between my toes
Light blue sky above my head
There is nothing that you should dread
Except..the winds of change
Winds start blowing very hard
Clouds' quick movements in the sky,
Darkness now above my head
Here comes summer's dread.
Waves are crashing far and wide,
No more singing birds up high.
Everyone should run for cover
This is a wild wonder.
Windows breaking near and far
Winds out of control
Rain is pounding down so hard
Happiness seems so far.
Sounds like monster outside the house,
Neighborhoods blowing away.
Darkness and horror everywhere,
Even during the day.
All at once silence comes,
As eerie as can bee.
Hard to believe.
Summer's worst has been along
A horrible, dreaded beast.
Danger, darkness, damned and deep
This monster had a feast.
Summer's breeze blowing away,
Everything calm again.
Waves are talking and they say:
"The beast will never sleep."
Dark clouds of trouble; stalking
Shakes you while you're walking
No heart, no mercy
Takes souls without even a curtsy.
Comes for old or young
Impossible to fight with a gun
Takes you to a special place
So you can meet the head face.
People cry at your wake
'Twas such a happy day at the lake
Then it was done, you're gone
Nothing left except your song
More will follow, too
One day I'll see you
For it has no heart, no mercy
Takes souls without even a curtsey.
Sue-Ellen Sanders writes about family issues every week in the Hometown News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.