‘it’s a living thing you can’: Turning Tables

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 that ‘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.

“I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings. In a strange kind of sense [writing] frees me to believe in myself, to be able to speak, to have a voice, because I have to; it is my survival.” –Joy Harjo.

Ms. Hooper, 6th Grade

The Table by Jett E.

The Elephant in the room.
The table.
The Big Black table.
Chairs Around it like fences at a castle
The food
The Steaming hot items on a round surface

The Plates rounder than a circle
All around the faces at this table
The Food
Gone in a flash
Mouths moving round and round munching on the delicious food

At My Table
Violette T.-S.

At my table we argue about unimportant things
At my table my cousins gossip about there
Coworkers but only they think it’s funny.
At my table my nana gets off topic when she’s trying to share about our family
At my table the food is really good
At my table people belong.

Ms. Walsh, 6th Grade

Addison O.

At this table
Everyone is dancing
At this table
Its very trashed and messed up
At this table
Everyone is talking
At this table
The cat is meowing

At this table
When everyone is dancing
It gets way to loud
And fun

At this table
The trash is blasting out
Everyone hates it
Especially my mom

At this table
When everyone is talking
Its cool
And fun

At this table
When the cat is on the table
Everyones annoyed
And the cat is meowing loudly

Henry F.

Everything happens at a kitchen table. We need it to live.

You eat Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between at this table.

Homework, even though it is loud, happens at this table.

Games happen at this table, even though there is lots of fighting, arguing, and laughing.

Talking, with many interruptions, happens at this table. It is hard to finish a sentence at this table.

Samuel D.

At my Table
Before we Eat
We Pray
After we pray
We Eat
And While we Eat
We Laugh
And we talk about
Times that we spent
With Each Other
And with other people
We recall memories
And think of new things
That the future may hold for us.

Ms. Collins, 6th Grade

At This Table
By: Grant B.

At this table, we join our family. At this table, we all make an experience. We talk about our day. At this table, we tell a story. Real or not, we tell. At this table, we play a game. An activity of any kind. At this table, we eat our food and drink our drinks. At this table, talk about terrific tales of talk. At this table, we make the best of our time together.

Ping pong On the table..
-Colette R.

We pull the net across the table
Grab the rackets and set them on the table
Get a ping pong ball and set it next to the racket on the table
We pick up our rackets off the table
I grab the ping pong ball off of the table
Hit the ball with a racket on the table
Bounces off the table too my dad
He hits it back on the table
And hit the ping pong ball back and forth with it bouncing on the table.
I hit it too far and it bounces off the table
I grab it off the floor and set it back on the table
We continue hitting it back and forth on the table until we get tired.
We set our paddles back on the table
I put the ping pong ball on the side of my racket on the table.
My dad and I walk away from the table.
The ping pong ball and the paddles sit there on the table
Until we play again…



“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.