A poem should not mean, but be

For our nineteenth virtual lesson, Haugan 8th graders experimented with Ars Poetica, a poem that explains the art of poetry. This lesson is appropriate considering how we are close to the end of our residency. Students were asked, “What are some interesting things you have discovered about poetry?” Some students discussed how poetry can be difficult, yet therapeutic making you face uncomfortable topics. While other students thought that poetry doesn’t have to be perfect, it allows you the freedom to write about anything, without judgement.

Together we read the poem “Ars Poetica,” by Archibald McLeish. In his poem McLeish uses similes and repetition to describe poetry. A poem should be palpable and mute as a globed fruit/ A poem should be wordless as the flight of birds/A poem should be motionless in time as the moon climbs. McLeish compares poetry to things that are silent, without speech, yet still profound.  He ends his poem with the line: A poem should not mean but be. A poem is a piece of art. The poet is supposed to show, not explain what’s occurring in a poem, but allow the reader to experience the feelings and emotions of the poem for themselves.

Inspired by Archibald McLeish, students wrote poems describing how they see poetry. Please enjoy this week’s poems.

Ms. Thomas 8th grade

Group 1 



By Jasmine F.

A poem is as boring as watching paint dry
A poem is as lame as writing an essay
A poem is like a sad sad world that nobody would want
A poem is as frustrating as learning a new language
or taking a math test but also timed

A poem is like a library, but instead of interesting books it’s about math
A poem I shall not speak of or give in my best
Might just be the way a person is feeling
Maybe we should just take a rest



Ars Poetica
By Jonathan J.

A poem is like the wind
Gentle or rough
Once you had enough

A poem should have mining
When it’s clear
Entertaining to hear

A poem with tears
And at the end with cheers



By Demetrius M.

Poetry is like an empty piece of paper.

You have infinite ways to express yourself on a sheet of paper, or on a computer screen.

Poetry is like a newborn baby, anything can go in the life of the baby and anything can go in poetry.

Poetry doesn’t have to be perfect, Poetry is just a way to express your feelings or emotions in a different way.

Poetry is a car and your are behind the wheel. You have to control where the car brings you and you have to control how you express yourself in poetry.



By Adolliz S.

A poem….A poem is like a fire burning up more and more

A poem is a fairytale

A poem is like fantasies

A poem is like the excitement I feel





Ms. Thomas 8th grade

Group 2



A poem is a song
By Melanie A.

A poem is a song
In which we hear lullabies being played. A poem is a an adventure,
An adventure where you can find new things
Where new experiences can be made

A poem is a mission,
Because it cannot be accomplished unless you find it

A poem is a lesson for life,
Once you learn your lesson you will never forget it
Because you might not want to go through that experience again

A poem is a movie,
A movie which you can write to remember where you’ve been,
Because a poem is found thorough the moments you’ve been through

A poem is like a shadow waiting to be notice,
And until you notice it you can like or hate it

A poem is as powerful as someone’s words,
A poem can describe what words can’t
And can make people notice what words can’t.

A poem is like a room with no escape where everything

can happen without you knowing,
Because it will never tell you what she’s up to,
Or the purpose of why something is happening

A poem is as mysterious as a cat
but never shows its true self

A poem is like the scar that will always make you remember

that she will always be there whenever she wants to appear,

Because a poem is as mysterious as a cat
You never know what it’s up to
And will never show its true self



By Junior C.

A poem could be full of joy
But also full of sadness
It could be confusing
make your mind go into blackness

Your eyes could blur
And let out a sea or river

A poem could be further than the eye can see
You could examine the poets expertise
And find a deeper meaning
With a new feeling

Use your imagination
To understand the poets creation


Poetry As
By Jasmine G.

A poem is like a story
A poem is as interesting as a complex universe
A poem is as loud like words screaming out
A poem is like a diamond
A poem is like a treasure worth millions
A poem is like a powerful tool
A poem is as strong as a tiger
A poems words are as loud as a lion
A poem is like a tree with different meanings
A poem is like tree roots spreading in different directions




By: Chelsea N.

Fingertips brushing along the pages,
Skimming away through the book,
Hopping from chapter to chapter,
And said “a poem should be deep, thought throughout.”

Sleeping at night,
Deep slumber made me see
Poetry is like my wild imaginings

Raining cats and dogs
Stirred my soul to say
Poetry should be like a rainbow after rain.

In the darkness of the moonlit night
Poetry is like getting to a dark alley,
Making my hair stand on end.

Oh, poetry
It leads you to where you want to be
And stays there because it’s easy and dandy
And full of grace and fancy.




Ms. Thomas 8th grade

Group 3



A poem is…
By Darlin A.

A poem is like a dark place you ever have been
A poem is like the ocean sea; hearing the interesting sounds
A poem is as wild as a lion looking for food
A poem is like my emotions
A poem is as beautiful as a baby dog
A poem is as deep as an ocean with beautiful meanings

A poem is like metal; hard to break
A poem is like your freedom that you been looking for
A poem is as fun as you playing a video game
A poem is as interesting as you, full of surprises
A poem is like a lesson you can learn in life

A poem can be…



Un poema
By Juniors F. 

Un poema siempre debe
ser como de amor felicidad
paz o que le gusta a las personas
también para que todo el mundo
debe amor los poemas, los poemas
pueden ser la puerta hacia el amor.

A poem should always
be like love, happiness,
peace or what do people like
also so that everyone
must love the poems, the poems
they can be the door to love.



By Dyson J.L.

A poem is like a song
It has a strong message

A poem is like a dream
You’ll always have to believe

A poem is like a painting
There will always be people hating

A poem is like a heart
Skip a beat your poem restarts

A poem is like a window
When window closes a door opens

A poem is like candle
When its lights out it’s over

A poem is like a canvas
It’s all up to your imagination

A poem is as long as a ruler
It seems never ending

A poem is like video game
This end is game over

A poem is like a pen
You control it



What poems are
By Angel M. 

A poem is mysterious
What is a poem
What rules apply
What restrictions are they?

A poem ………
A poem can be slow and small
A poem can be fast and gigantic
A poem is like the amazing future that lies ahead
A poem is like a song soft and calming or loud and reckless
A poem is like a shower soft and slow or or fast and rapid
A poem shines above like amazing sun
A poem is fast and rapid big and mysterious
A poem is calming and and slow its harmony to my ears
A poem is as tough as a brick wall







“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.