Now Ear This!

Our final classes of the year began by reading and briefly discussing N. Scott Momaday‘s “The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee.” Students noticed quite a bit of repetition in the poem, and I explained that when this occurs with a word (or words) at the beginning of two or more lines, it’s called anaphora. Some also recognized the poet’s extensive use of personification, as in the opening couplet, “I am a feather in the bright sky / I am the blue horse that runs in the plain.” We talked about that, too, delving a bit into Momaday’s reasons for using such language throughout the whole poem.

Using Momaday’s title as a fulcrum, I explained that I had brought in some instrumental music to inspire this week’s poems. In each class, two students chose numbers that corresponded with tracks on a mix CD; those numbers were noted as the poems’ titles, and later I switched out the numbers for the actual titles of the songs by Cheap Trick, Arvo Pärt, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, The Durutti Column, Ennio Morricone, Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Henry Badowski, The High Llamas, The Mercury Program, and Tortoise.

Students started with eyes closed, and as each “delight song” played, they wrote how the music made them feel, what they heard, or what images came into their minds, using anaphora if they wanted.

Happy holidays and new year, one and all!

Ms. Thiel, 2nd Grade

Belgian Friends
Lucas C.

It is a band playing music
and the people are cheering and
they like it so much.

Belgian Friends
Jane H.

I am in happiness,
with joy and together
as I am in the
starry skies high
over the trees and
clouds with fun.
This is my dream.

Belgian Friends
Aryan N.

Guitar tune, bang on a drum, someone chilling out,
or someone living in a castle, having some joy.

Ondra P.

I am in love
I am dancing like a slow pretty cat
I am running like a cheetah
I am in a kick line
I am swinging on the swing high in the sky
I am sneaking around at night
I am walking down the runway

Belgian Friends
Solomon P.

I feel a cave’s wind push against me.
I feel a church bell ring.
I feel a pull of a gavel against a
mat. I feel a crash of a broken vase.
I feel the crack of the bell of liberty.
I feel a shake of a coffin, tight.

Belgian Friends
Luke R.

I am in a submarine in the
ocean. I am in the ocean on a submarine
and a shark is carrying one.
Then we fly tornadoes at the
shark and we get it.

Andres R.

I feel like I’m being chased by a pack of
animatronics and I’m scared because they will
knock me out and I don’t want that happening.

Michael W.

I made 7 clones of me
I ran for 7 hours
I love my mom 7 times
I made 7
I’ve never watched a movie for
7 times. I said hello 7 times.

Belgian Friends
Sirun Z.

The waves are coming
toward the beach.
I hear drums.
It’s kind of
There’s balloons
coming toward us.
It’s like a
theater song.

Ms. Ward, 2nd Grade

Deshontay B.

I feel happy even excited
I feel this is my party event
I feel American
I feel normal
I feel like I am green

Ahmadalkenani E.

It makes me feel like cowboys are
riding horses. Cars are falling off
a mountain. Ducks are swimming in a
pond. A cheetah is running. A
DJ singing.

Karsten H.

I feel jazzy
but I feel good too.
I have a party in my
man I want to be sad
and roll
cars boring

Kaidan K.

My friends sailing away from me
then I followed them then I could not
go without my friends and remember the
good times with each other.

Jackson M.

I feel like I am
on vacation in
Hawaii and I am
surfing the waves.
I feel like I am
relaxing on a Hawaiian
beach. Now it is making
me feel like I am
in Egypt and I am
finding a mummy.
Now I feel like I
am trick or treating
on Halloween.
This song makes
me feel relaxed and
calm. Now it is making
me feel like I am watching
a mysterious movie.

Lorenzo P.

I am in a clock ticking
mixed up with music now I feel
like I’m hypnotized now I feel
like I’m going up and down.

Olive P.

Slow / kind of
Drum / I hear the drum
Smooth / not so fast smooth not bumpy
Dance / people can dance to it
Nice / I think people will like it
Love / well it’s kind if like a
love song

Reva S.

I am in a fashion contest
I am getting chased by a butterfly
I am sitting on my bed drawing
I am making jewelry quickly

Ashlyne W.

I was walking down the street eating
I was about to do a split

I was so sorry mom
I was driving

a motorcycle!

I was so big!

I was a blueberry

Ms. O’Connor, 2nd Grade

Prepare Your Coffin
Chloe B.

beat rhythm heart and soul hip hop
rock and roll yea ready
to rock fast rapid beauty
good music a band people
dancing with the music jumping
cheering laughing fans chewing gum
with the beat thumping my
hand with my fist

Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Karynn C.

Flying through the clouds
can’t see a thing don’t know where
I am going headed straight into the
sky so lonely I am so curious to
know don’t know the next thing
with my brain so empty.

Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Sebastian E.

I am lost I don’t know where to
go I feel sick I check the sign oh no
W. Eastwood Ave. I am home after 100
miles I found a bus.

Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Adrian F.

I feel sad because it’s
really sad music like at
a funeral and six people
died but six more survived
at a funeral they get
wait a minute put
do it I said PUT
Jeez Louise fine I’ll
do it.

Prepare Your Coffin
Madison N.

Rock, beating hard wow what a big
shake! Great I fell in the lake!


Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Darius N.

The ocean wind is the air we
breathe. The scent of flowers
makes spirits bright. I am the
god of wind who controls the
air and ocean. I with a
spirits joy and happiness
to all. Like the roots of
an ancient tree, like the
life + joys all and to
all farewell. We all with
earth to stay.

Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Paige R.

I am the bow to a soft
violin. I am the booming
noise of thunder. I play the
happy song at the funeral
people are happy.

Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
John S.

The music in the sky.
When children sleep and play,
the dirty music so dramatic.

Ms. Rupp, 2nd Grade

Oh Boy
Aidan C.

My mom takes
her guitar, rock ‘n’ roll!
Hip hoppy-dee-doo!
Three the magic number!
I am the light
I am the tiger
I am the Zeus
I am the living border
of it is warm
of it is bright
of it is the chill
of this very snowy night.
Year round, year round,
it goes to infinity.

Oh Boy
R C.

I see people
hovering on hook rockets

Erik I.

Frosty the * snowman
a cool frosty guy * kids can see
awesome dude you see him at x-mas

Oh Boy
Roy L.

people dancing and flying
dropping weights
and crunching on

Cameron M.

I hear the drums.
I hear a band.
I hear something like bells.
I hear a trumpet.

Oh Boy
Keenan V.

I see cows boxing another in a
dungeon. The cows are dressed
up like maniacs. The cows are
standing on platforms below
them is a pool of lava.
There are like 1 million cows.
One has shurikens and another
one is a cyborg. Fire bursted
out of the lava.

Ms. Schwartz, 2nd Grade

Hoops Hooley
Sydney A.

I feel like it is a band.
I feel like it is a clock.
I feel it is a drum.
I feel it is a guitar.

Hoops Hooley
Skyla H.

I see: thunder, clouds going by

I feel: peaceful glad

It sounds quiet

Memory I had running on
the beach in the summer North
with my aunt.

Going to the store buying Shopkins
running slow.

Going to church praising the
lord and singing every Sunday.

Going to my cousin’s house
playing games.

Swinging my baby brother and
sister around having fun.

Jumping in my bed and on the
couch in my room.

Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri
Preston L.

Funny and good

Hoops Hooley
Ella P.

I feel like music is soft sounds.
And it feels like quiet and peace.
Like a dream in a land!
Like a kind and nice song.
Like you know a sound.
It feels like a nice town.

The way I feel


Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri
Zia Rey R.

Joy is in my heart like roses.
Roses are peaceful.

Hoops Hooley
Raagvi S.

A snowman is alive.
His nose is a carrot.
He is going to the sky.
And playing with a star.

Hoops Hooley
Madeleine S.

Relaxed, awesome, cold, scared, sad,
happy. I’m waking up.

Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri
Derrion S.

it is a storm
it is really bad
you can’t go



“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.