No Pane, No Gain

Last week at Skinner West, we read James Dickey‘s lengthy poem, “The Hospital Window.” I began our conversation by noting that there are multiple ways of interpreting this work, and that my own views regarding the poem have changed over time. There’s no ‘right’ place to start the discussion, so I began by asking—as I usually do—for any comments or questions, which ranged widely, showing the students were engaged with the text, even if they weren’t sure why (which, perhaps, is the essence of poetry—its malleability). I then concentrated on a few key sections of the poem, such as the beginning, when the speaker says they “drop through six white floors / And then step out onto pavement,” and their description, “traffic increases all around me / Like a madness called down on my head. / The horns blast at me like shotguns.” What is the setting here, I asked, and what is happening? What is the speaker’s mood? Which two lines repeat, and what two colors repeat? Why? Dickey’s language is sometimes tricky, and as we further examined the poem more ideas began to emerge regarding the speaker’s father.

We could have easily continued the conversation, but we had to allow time to write! The prompt this time was to describe what you see through a window, real or imagined. Here are some responses.

Ms. Rupp, 2nd Grade

Looking Through a Window
Xavier B.

Looking through
a window, this is what
I see, darkness at night.
At morning light
I see the beautiful
sun in the

Looking Window
Jessica G.

Looking Window,
Looking in that glass,
Outside a window,
I see some grass,
And I see some trees.

The window is glass,
It is Sparkling, shining.
It is a rainbow,
different and cool colors.

A different art,
and some carts,
Looking Window.

Aamira H.

Outside I see cars a truck
a building a no parking sign.

Through the Window
Darian K.

Through the window, of my 2nd house,
and I see lights, in the sky
right where I see the stars.

I see a sky full of stars
except I locate a different star,
one that I usually don’t see.

I wonder what it is and I think,
then my brother jumps and I
see its secret.

The secret that gives me safety.
But a secret is a secret. I jump

What I Had Done
Lindsay P.

I saw him, through the window. I waved and said
good-bye. He waved back to me and my Father told me
to leave. After I had said that I missed him very much.

One Rainy Day
Maura S.

I look out the window,
and all I see is
rain rain and something else…
more rain!

The rain finally clears
up and I see cars
in a small road and 2
houses. Some cars went
down an alley.

I’d rather do my homework
than this!

Never mind
there’s a rainbow!

Ayden S.

I love

Ms. Beaudry, 2nd Grade

My Window
Livvy A.

As I look out my window I
see ice and snow and trees. I see
cars. As I sit on my chair by
the window, I draw and design.
I look at things going by.

Blindfolded Curtains & Windows
Jonathan C.

It’s too dark inside.
I open the shades.
It’s too warm inside,
I open the window.

I feel a breeze.
A gently breeze.
The window shines so

Like crystal diamond
from outerspace.

I close the windows.
I close the shades.
They’re blindfolded,
it’s hot inside, too
dark inside.

But I take it.

The Open Window
Maddy D.

The Open Window
hot or cold I go up
either way up or down.

Opened up I go in
pushing open the door
Easter is today, YAY!
Not like sad but happy.

Wet or Dry I will meet him
I can. I can yes I will
needing me in your life
doing something special for you
or whatever you want.
Whatever you want makes you happy!

I Saw
Taylor H.

I saw a dog looking
happy with his owner. I
saw a gang looking as mad
as could be. I saw my
grandma looking at me
from the sky she is an
angel I see her wave I
wave back and leave.

The End
Ila L.

As I look through the glass window pane,
I feel as if I might faint.
I feel a tingle through my spine.
As I look out think I can find
The End. I see it it is the end.
It does not bend. I also
see outer space and the reflection
of my face. It is really dark
pitch black. I’m not sure if
I should turn back. Yes. Bye
end. Bye the end.

What I See
Madeline M.

“The eyes are the windows
to the soul,” I thought
to myself. I looked
out the taxi window.
I was almost at
school. I close my
eyes. I see myself.
So the eyes really
are the windows to
the soul.

A Look Through a Plane
Umar S.

I was on a plane and
looked through the window
and saw ants walking and
spiders speeding

and when I landed
the ants were just like
me a dog and speeding
spiders were

horses a dog’s transportation
and then I saw chocolate a
chocolate shaped like


Ms. Schwartz, 2nd Grade

Curtis B.

I look out a window I see
the Willis Tower then a truck
passes by the final thing I
see is smoke

Esteban G.

If I had a loose tooth I will take it out and
I will throw it out the window

Krislyn G.

I will see an old man
reading and the next hospital
window I will see a little girl
get a shot on her arm and the
next window I will see a
lady have surgery and I will
see a man getting sick and the

Pharrell J.

I see trees. I
see homes. I see people.
I see the town. I see down

Frank K.

I can see buildings in the window.

Jakayla L.

I see outside a zoo
I see outside a park

Nolan M.

I’m at home and I can see trees
that are big and green.

Niziya S.

When I look at the window I see a brick house
a BFF and a school called Skinner West!

Ms. Ward, 2nd Grade

The Window
Kennedy B.

The window is happy, cool
and fantastic.

There is a PARTY!

Everybody said this is more
fun than going to a water park!

I said let’s dive in and
jump into an indoor pool.

Plane Window
Isabella G.

The window lots of clouds. Weird
looks like looking up in the sky.
But I see homes on the plane,
can’t see them from looking up
in the sky. Sun in my eyes
same for both. Both see blue.

Jackson O.

I see a camel out of a window walking so
graceful through the sand then he comes to a pond
and drinks so talented. We see him eat a bush, like
he’s a prince at a dinner table. We see him fight off
two hyaenas then skips on.

Alana O.

I see something I
am in a car and
I see a bird
it is brown and red…
it flies away.

Ari P.

I saw a Dragon through a
window. It was as big as a
plane. Through its nostrils
it breathed fire. Then it woke up!
I was scared, but then I
realized something it wasn’t
a harming beast. It was an
innocent non harming, very cool
beast. It wanted to come out, and
be my pet and then I care-
fully opened it then we rode
home and at night it slept with
me. And it Drifted into a very
long sleep. And I Drifted into a long
sleep too.

Isaac T.

When I look out a
window I see gifts, people,
houses, sidewalks and my
best, best, best, best friend.

Window Sight
Rohan T.

I do not
like to
sit around
so let’s
look out
a window.
You and
me see
tons of
cars and
planes, but
me and you
can mostly
see awesome-
ness. But
how? We
spy on
lots of
funny and
terrible and
crazy little
people that
do not
like to
look out
a window.

What I Seek
Maxxim W.

I seek
in a
window a
round cloud
in the sky

like an airless
cotton ball
looks like a marshmallow

Ms. Carlson, 4th Grade

Usuan A.

I see cars and skyscrapers and
strange people all around
as I look out one
side window of the car.
I also see fast cars.

The Window of Cool
Michael H.

I see dark in the shade
the determined owls everywhere
I see the light shining bright
I see the dark out in the park.

The window shade is full of light
it shined on me like I was on
the moon. It shined on me like
a star in the sky.

The window of death is finally
coming to me.
I didn’t want it to happen but
I really did truly.
The window stands up like
Martin Luther King.
But I said it’s too much to see.

I hate death I love life
but you only get one chance.
I am scared but I shouldn’t
show any fear but when I
go all I know is The Window
of Cool.

Anna K.

Through the window I see
birds, butterflies, a lot of houses and buildings.
I see squirrels, forest, animals and people.
Is a lot of things in the world.

Looking Out the Window
Willie S.

All I see sunshine and
all the little birds flying in
the air. But the half of
the town is dark grey
and everything is mad. But you
may see all the sunshine in
the world with flowers blooming
and bursting with smell and
the baby deer sprinting in the
grass and that is what I
see even if it’s good or bad
just try to see the best in
everything and that is what
I see when I look out the
window and that is the
end of my poem.

My Window
Max T.

Looking out my window. Seeing some fun. Looking
at kids jumping up and down. Seeing some airplanes
flying by fast. Hearing some engines roaring like the
wind. Trying to find some tourists. Walking by.
And just remember looking out my window

Amy Y.

I see the sun coming in, where
I can go singing, playing ball, doing what
I want so I like seeing the window
every day

Mr. Chau, 4th Grade

Patrick C.

I look out out a window
and see my world in peace
and out of the shadows. It was
like Derpy, not anything educational.

Autumn D.

I see the window from heaven
dead, sad I see the people that I
lost. I see the window of the hospital
I see my aunt in the hospital bed.
Sad, stressed.
The Window the Heaven.

Arnav G.

Looking outside the window,
seeing a place full of mountains and valleys,
a wonderful rugged landscape.
a plain,
everybody bored to death.
People going camping,
having a birthday party,
doing canoeing,
and many more wonderful things,
which is what’s happening out the window,

Outside the Window
Tyler G.

I see many windows
I see clouds
I see the playground
I see trees
I see buildings
I see benches
I see grass
I see fences
I see the class
I see little kids
playing in the park
I see dirt
I see sand
I see squirts
I see hands
I see cars
I see bars
I see a building that says AT&T

Through a Window
Lauren L.

Through the window I see a map
with little raises and bumps
that float so high

Ariel M.

As I crept to my house,
I felt my heart thump…
I look through the window
and see my mother.


Next thing I know…
I’m falling on my living room


Colin M.

I see many windows
Clear and clean
Suddenly, magical things appear
In the sky from the windows
I see a magical pony
flying through the sky
On a magical journey

Then I see a cloud
Above a little bird
But it looks like pie
So I just eat it
I can see all these things
from these windows

The Window
Wendy W.

I see through a glass window in
my house in Minecraft
I see endless jungle trees
I see a jungle temple
I see ocelots
I see a creeper named Bob next
to me
I look out my window in real
My window in Minecraft exploded
Suddenly my real life window too

Fantasies All Over the Place
Isabella Y.

Looking out the window,
I find a ton of things.
Mermaids in Lamprey Lagoon,
little sparks of light.
Firework sparkle everywhere,
and multiple flowers blossom everywhere.
Pixies fly around.
I ask, “Can I go?”

Mr. Cox, 4th Grade

Dylan A.

When I look out a window
I see everything but anything

I am everywhere but


Where am I?

At McDonald’s!

Outside the Window
Jenny C.

I’m supposed to be busy with
all this homework piling up on
my desk
But instead, I gaze out the
window nearby
I see the pretty sights
Even though it’s freezing
Those growing plants
Neighbors using up all the
leftover snow with sleds
All the others having fun
But that window is so
The clear blue sky
And all those places I could be
I’m supposed to be busy with
all this homework piling up on
my desk

Annie H.

When I look out the window,
I see me. But when you look out
the window, all you see is trees.
Maybe it’s because I expect more
of myself, sometimes I feel like something
sitting on a dusty, old shelf.

Through a Window
Ella J.

I am in bed.
I look out the window.
I don’t see the street,
or the cars passing
by. I see animals. All
over the place. I walk
through the window.
The animals surround
me. I am away from
all worry and problems.
I am

Um…I Don’t Know a Title
Emmett M.

I looked out the window and
saw something. I think it
was an alien! Wait no—it was a piece of
cheese. I also saw a UFO. It’s coming!
Ahhhhh! Oh. It was just a bird.

Sneaky Party
Bella P.

I’m supposed to be at the park with my dog.
But I’m looking through the living room window.

My parents are planning a surprise party.
I see balloons, streamers, gift bags galore!

My Grandma Annale is baking a cake.
My Grandpa is wrapping a present.

I know who this party is for.
It’s forrrr….My Auntie Gia!!!

Markayla W.

I’m looking out the
hospital window I see
my cousin I’m crying
crying, crying I looked
up at heaven and asked,
“WHY HIM?!!”

In a Shed
Carter W.

A tiny window in a shed, I rarely ever use it.
But when I do I take a real good look and
look at what I could see. I see people doing awesome
stuff while I’m lonely in the shed.

Ms. Travis, 4th Grade

Looking Out
Tamia C.

I’m looking out the window
seeing kids play
then I’m here in trouble
waiting to play.

This isn’t helping. What
should I do time
flying I guess it’s time
to shoe

little boys come
I say scatter
but then I’m still
here looking out the window

Shamarrie D.

I see nature in the window.
I see my life fly by
in the window.

I see my outdoors men outside
my window.

I see all life, and nature
fly by my window.

The Window
Jamary H.

One time my house was under the moon.
I could see out of window earth.
All I see is sky, cloud,
whoa…hold on I see houses,
wow I rule. I see everything.

The Window
Gabby R.

Once I looked through
a window for a pet
shop. When I looked
inside I saw puppies
and kittens playing with
others. Lizards and turtles
happily tanning in their house.
But in the corner I saw a
magnificent thing—
a dragon sitting
up there. Its rainbow-colored
and golden scales flickered in
the sunlight. She was
so beautiful—I wish I
could have her,
but somehow my mom is
allergic to dragons.

Braden S.

I see cars, a garage, trees, people.
Some other stuff. It’s just normal
things. Nothing really big. You
could see. It is not something you
should be afraid of. It is a good
view. That’s what it looks

Sean S.

Window of Dubai
on the top floor
of Burj Khalifa

I can see for miles.
Feeling like a god,
as tall as all.

The city is
Very plentiful.

People, cars, creatures
I see them as
far as I can see.

The window of



“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.