‘If the bird is being blue or singing,’ Shakespearean Sonnets at Taft

A long time ago , in a galaxy, NOT so far away…Shakespeare! This was our week to wrestle with The Bard, and it was a bold crew of pre-Spring Break and exhausted- from- testing 8th Graders that did it. We took a look at ‘Sonnet 127’.  There is so much packed into this  little 14 line gem, one of my favorites, but issues that came up in this class were: the beauty standard, #oscarssowhite, the beauty myth, and modern concepts of beauty. I  also compared the Shakespearean  Sonnet to a hip-hop themed poem, in the same form. Again, this week, we listened for the beats, and even guessed if some lines distributed around the class were, hip-hop, Shakespeare or 7th Grade student Sonnets from Taft. It wasn’t as easily discernable as one might think. Of course, we looked at iambic pentameter and Elizabethan England, and even made it to a Shakespearean version of Star Wars in one of the sessions. In the end, I hope that they HEAR this beat and pattern around them, from modern song lyrics, Now the tables turned, but I remember they used to clown me (Mack 10 w/ Gerald Levert) to topical headlines; The DA Came Back With No Indictment, (a Shakespearean Foot in 10 beats) and how it continues to infuse our world.

Here are some of Ms. Taylor’s student’s experimentations with quatrain, couplet, and rhyme.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
1st Period

Grant U.

In this time everything is better
But, can also be seen as everything being worse
The world on a balance uneven in every aspect
Those optimistic, are the ones on the top

If the glass is half empty, you shall fail
If half full, you will always overcome and succeed

Molly O.

Writing sonnets is very, very hard
Some kids can do it easily-not me.
I throw all my failed sonnets in the yard
A poet I don’t think I could be.

Jackie L.

Happiness can be found all around
Though darkness may surround it will be found
And when you expect it least to come
It will always make its way to you.

Adam P.

I really, really, really hate this seat
It’s probably the worst one in the class
I would prefer to sit in a backseat
The seat is the worst. No seat can surpass.

There really isn’t anything else to say
I hope we switch these seats by May.

Jacob B.

Soccer is like writing a sonnet
Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes it’s hard
But you shouldn’t be attacking to comment
Because it might be really hard

That is why writing isn’t easy
And this poem is really cheesy

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
3rd Period

Emily L.

I don’t know how to do this at all
I’d rather be at home than here
If I was on a cliff I might fall
I think the end could possibly be near

And even though this is very hard
I think (this poem) I might disregard

Paul D.

If the bird is being blue or singing.
To the country fair that is the end
Of visitations in the nation that are brewing
To the points on a line that slowly bend

As to know today, I hate the country fair
Too much work, too much boredom, too much to bare.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
6th Period

Trang N.

My mom and I have talked the other day
Don’t quite know how we got there to my dad
Just live with it like its nothing I may
And stay serene while I should have gone mad.

These were funny thoughts that made her his wife
Come the unfortunate part of my life.

Emilija K.

Not long ago the ball went in the goal
My teammates cheered me on in the cold air
The next time the ball fell into a hole
All I thought about was my glowing heir

My cleats are shining against the mud ground
All around me there’s not another sound.


Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
7th Period

Anthony M.

The boy was left alone in the darkness
The was not a soul left just sitting there
To comfort him just him and loneliness
It was all fine until he saved the bean

Nobody left to protect the young one
And nobody knew until he was done

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
8th Period

Karol P.

Writing sonnets is very, very, hard
Shakespeare could write it well, but I cannot
I cannot wait til I get home today
So I could watch Netflix and sleep all day

Connor G.

Going to school makes me tired
I have not time and sacrifice
So in the future I get hired
But life with no fun, won’t suffice

I don’t learn much I care about
But I live here, I cannot pout




“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.