“But as a ghost, watching over you, giving a sign of presence.”: Table Poems

A common household object became the focus of this lesson while studying Joy Harjo’s poem, Perhaps The World Ends Here.  The poet James Merrill once commented, ‘we understand history from the family around the table.’

Lesson Note: Harjo’s work is often autobiographical, informed by the natural world, and above all, preoccupied with survival and the limitations of language.

Ms. Wright, 7th Grade

The Table I Grew Up With
By William H.

The seven year old table, old but still new.
The young spirit of the table is refreshing.
The chairs have gone through seven years of fights,
but the table still remains.

The table, where I eat all the tasty and fulfilling food.
The table, where I do my tedious and boring homework.
The table, where I play fun and enjoyable games.
The table, where I chill and relax.

The table i grew up with.
With every slam and shake, it withers.
As it survives all the abuse it goes through.
All good things come to an end some day.

By Stacy H.

Around the table is the small events of your life
Just before your childhood is over.

Talking with your family,
Many recipes to try, and
The cutting of a knife,

There you sit on a table,
All there eating your meals
Before you know everyone else is gone.

You start to realize,
You’re distancing yourself from your own loved ones.

Maybe it’s part of growing up
But one day you’ll eat your life completely
After your own regrets kill you,
Just because you left.

The reality of the dinner table –
By Emily W.

As I place myself at the dinner table
I hear the plates “CLING!’ and “CLANG!”

As I rise to get the chopsticks –
I move my phone away from the table.

After 10 minutes of movement and room full of exhaustion
We finally sat down to eat at the dinner table.

Hearing the chopsticks click at every corner of my ear.

My phone suddenly vibrates as I get a text message
I almost leave the table for a temporary response

But only to remember
Family is not always and forever.

Letting go of the sides of the phone
I pick up my chopsticks and bowl

And start connecting with my family
Knowing as each second passes,

My family is slowly losing their years

I gulp down my food,
As I feel the tension grasp my throat

I look up to see their tiredness in their eyes

As I slowly remember
Family may not be physically present,

But always deep in my sorrow heart.

Mrs. Sicora, 8th Grade

By Sadonna C.

At this table, laughter and chatter fill the room.
The gossip and little arguments come alive
Small sneers and comments mixed with remarks and scoffs
The things brought to the table
Brightening our sad stomachs
Like a candle to a dark room.
Its only at this table
Where we get along.

At this table.
By: Jason L.

At this table,
The sound of chatter about school and the news around the world.

I multitask while playing games on my phone.

The smoke of hot,crispy food, eagerly waiting to be eaten by the family.
Plastic water bottles sitting on the table,immobile.

As time goes on, realize that your parents won’t be there with you throughout history.
But as a ghost, watching over you, giving a sign of presence.

As you eat, you realize this is a basic necessity of life.

The sound of mouth’s running,chewing,drinking, everyday life at the kitchen table.



“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.