Express Yourself

Standing in front of 20 other 6th graders in Room 8 without notes, I took a deep breath and began repeating aloud the words I memorized while trying to convey just the right mood, tone and meaning of Robert Frost’s classic poem.  After each stanza, I reminded myself to pause for a beat.  I thought about projecting my voice to reach the back of the room and then quieted my voice as I recited the last two lines. At the end, I remained where I stood with hands folded together in front of me, until Mrs. Goodrich thanked me for my effort and asked me to return to my seat.

From my journal: March 18, 2013 Thousand Oaks, California

“A lot to teach before spring break…. Poetry soon…fun!  Kids will write & recite a poem…”

For me, there was nothing more exciting than teaching my students something that I loved being taught as a kid. Poetry was high up on my list!  Haikus, free verse, sonnets, acrostics, cinquains and even odes all have a structure, a rhythm, a flow.  Some poems are lyrical, some narrative, some rhyme, some don’t.  Filled with meaning, imagery and feelings, poetry in all of its variations offers the writer unique ways to express oneself. Often times described as euphonic, poetry can effect someone the way music does. It’s amazing how powerful combining words and phrases can be!

I’ve written hundreds, if not thousands of poems in my life. Holidays, birthdays, and even special occasions such as my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary and my wedding have had me penning words of congratulations, thanks and gratitude in rhyming fashion. When asked to give a speech my last year teaching 5th grade, I opted to share my thoughts through a poem I wrote especially for the event.

Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

For questions stimulate your mind

The more questions you ask

The better answers you’ll find.

Be curious and interested in the world around you

Because the answers to your questions

Others want to know, too.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

For mistakes will lead to success

And even if you fail many times

You’re still making progress.

Be adventurous and let your imagination fly

Because the things you’ll regret most in life

Are the things you don’t try.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself

For you have your own style and flair

And the talents you’ve been given

Are meant for you to share.

Be daring and be bold – see yourself as a star

Because you’re wonderful and worthy

Just as you are.

Don’t be afraid.

So while there is so much to celebrate in April…Letter Writing, Passover, Easter, Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, Earth Day… it’s National Poetry Month, as well! Now is a great time to spend some time reading, writing, even reciting some poetry and honoring the poets you love and the poet in you!

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