Feed the Meter

Quiet different from last week’s poem was this week’s selection, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, called “Afternoon on a Hill.” While straightforward, with relatively ‘simple’ language, it’s nonetheless rather multilayered and deep. We discussed the speaker, and whether we should automatically assume it’s the poet (we shouldn’t), then talked about their attitude, mood, and focus. For the latter, the students said nature, because of such words as sun, flowers, cliffs, clouds, wind, and grass; but then that focus shifts, in the last stanza, and we thought about why (and where) that shift occurs. I also inquired as to why the speaker makes certain claims—such as touching, but not picking, “a hundred flowers”—and “mark[ing]” which light “must be” theirs. I was also curious what the students made of particular word choices by Millay, such as the phrase “quiet eyes,” or the wind “bow[ing] down the grass” only to have it then “rise.”

We acknowledged the poem’s rhyme scheme, and then I asked the students to watch me while I read the poem out loud again, counting its meter (4/2 per couplet) with my fingers. We finished with a brief discussion about beats to a line, and how that steady rhythm can create a kind of hypnotic effect in a poem.

The prompt this week was to write about a typical afternoon, or even better—a perfect afternoon.

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Monica E.

If I can’t write this poem I
can’t have a good afternoon.
I can’t think of anything so
I will not do anything. Really.
No kidding. I’m too lazy. Wait.
That’s it! For my oh so perfect
fun super nice afternoon, I
will sleep all day, eat, sleep, and
laze around! There. That’s my

Keyondra G.

I will go to my cousin’s house
I will go out to eat
I will go have fun
I will have a perfect
Smooth afternoon
What will you do this

Love M.

In the
afternoon I
would eat
all the
candy I
want. Put
my teeth
under the
pillow and
get more
candy. I
love candy
don’t you?

The Afternoon
Ketan N.

The afternoon is cool
in summer afternoon I
get to swim in the pool

The afternoon is amazing
I like going outside it is
sometimes drizzling

I like the afternoon!

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

Perfect Afternoons with Nia
Nia A.

TV. Easy homework wait. What
just came out of my
mouth: HOMEWORK??!
no no no no no!
TV. Play. TV. Play. TV. Play. TV. Play.
TV. Play. TV. Play. TV. Play. TV. Play.

Afternoon Routine
Sam A.

1. Pack lunch.
2. Homework.
3. Homework.
4. Homework.
5. Dinner.
6. Free time.
7. Bed.

Simply Scattered
Quinn D.

Go home to do my homework
Then read a chapter or two
Practice some Irish dancing
Play some music in my room
I’m kind of sort of scattered
Never knowing what to do
so I do as I’m feeling
What I’m feeling the time
Because I’m simply scattered

My Perfect Afternoon
Saiadithyaa S.

Play games and
Do something else that I don’y know

Keenan V.

I eat
I write
I wait
I read
I go
I wait
I play
I play
I play
I play
I play
I eat
I eat
I play
I play
I play
I sleep
I sleep
I repeat.

Ms. Travis, 4th Grade

Nico F.

On a perfect
afternoon I
would watch
the movie Goon
pr play with my
balloon soon
and then eat
with a spoon

I would be
a boss but
I would have
to toss

Then I’d go
to hockey and
then box like

Then a movie
then get a

One of a Kind Afternoon
Ana J.

On afternoons I am mainly at

But today is my lucky day I
chill with myself in my


and I am with comics and art
and much more let’s just say my

is in my room I have many things
on this glorious


Max M.

I would blow my
face against the
breeze of
the wind.

The sky shines
blue, and
so do my

When I lay down
on the
grass carpet,
the grass blows
against my

I would blow my
breath on
the dandelion
and make a wish.

But I realize I’m already
in one.

Afternoon at the Party
Rhiannon S.

At the party I will see
lots of people
looking at me.

A crazy crowd at
the bar
drinking drinks that will
leave them a scare

Having the best time of my
with all my friends that
are sharp like a knife

We all dress crazy
and have a blast
but, it’s now time to go
so, it must be
the last.

The Afternoon Routine
Jamen W.

In the afternoon I do a lot
I sleep in play video games
I watch TV I go to grandpa’s
I go to the beach I play with
cousin Paul and then I repeat.

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

Avery C.

I play video games and play basketball.

My Perfect Afternoon
Regina R.

In my perfect afternoon I go to the tree in
the garden with a snack, a blanket, and a book.
I stay there until I no longer see the words
in my book.

Mikhail S.

the navy war it was the afternoon
a lot of navy were there see

on the

ok ok


then a lot of other ships
came! Oh no but all the cannons
were ready!

the cannons



Too violent



Afternoon Games
Lamar T.

Waking up in the morning.
Looking from the bed.
Falling off the bed.
Really hurt my head.

Sometimes later I’m on my game.
5 hours later game is off all day.

Clair X.

I will eat my lunch in the lunch room.
I will drink some juice and sleep.
I will draw on the paper.
I will do something fun.
I will see some birds fly across the

Mrs. Oluewu, 4th Grade

R C.

I would
play video games
on a 5 star cruise for 14 days
to Madagascar
then watch TV and swim.

Cameron M.

On the afternoon I play
on my phone and gaming console.
Also go to the gym and practice
with Jordan.

Shirley R.

This afternoon
I will play a
Game on the nice
Large computer

I would prefer
A better one
I mean the old
Keyboard that has

Thick keys with click-
Clacks when you tap
I would replace
It with my dad

A new laptop
That is perfect
For me to play
On. Then it’s game-

Time. And make a
Snack to go with
Ramen, it would
Be. And sit for

Long. But that would
Only be in
My fantasies
If it were so

Possible! That
Would be perfect
So nice and good
A perfect day

That perfect afternoon
Playing MiceForce
But only if my WiFi
Would work!

Bennett S.

If an afternoon could be perfect
I would be able to have a walk
I could play all I wanted it
would feel like 25 hours but
it’s really 3 if that could
happen anything could.


I wish I would win the lottery
that afternoon and get
$1,000,000,000,000. That would
be awesome.

If that
every afternoon
I would be
happy forever



“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.