Ode to a… huh?

Time for Odes! But not just any ode, no… Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market” started us off swimmingly. Let me tell you, Neruda really knows how to sell a dead tuna. His dead fish is glistening weapon of the sea! And so: I presented the students with a challenge–write an ode to an animal that is not proud, nor cute, nor graceful, no! Sell me the blobfish as proud beast. We had a lot of fun coming up with lists of pathetic creatures and then figuring how to convince the world to look again.

Side note, we also took a brief foray into the immense “Ode to the Maggot” by Yusef Komunyakaa, for a little extra inspiration. (And terror!)

Double side note! Today was a very important day: Ms. Foley’s last with the class before maternity leave. It has been a genuine pleasure to work with her, and I’ve seen from day one how much her students treasure her. She will be missed, and we are all so darn lucky to have had her around! And with that in mind, and while Ms. Foley was out of the room, I gave her class a special prompt: they could write the above, or they could write an ode to the wonderful Ms. Foley. The students hid their honorifics all period, and surprised her with a reading of odes at the end of class. The size of this pile of odes to Ms. Foley alone is a testament to her, and so I’ve included a few of those below, too.

Ms. Asvos
7th Grade

Ode to Leeches
Ivan V.

Among the metal trays,
This vampire of the water,
Stolen from its treasure,
Left to die
From the loss of
Your holy water.

Ode to the Jellyfish in the Sea
Kevin W.

among all the fish,
The butterfly
of the ocean

A flexible mushroom,
You are a transparent rock,
A bioluminescent plastic bag,
A pulsing balloon

Ode to Rats
Anahi M.

among the New York City
streets and alleys
New Yorkers
and tourists.

Looking for
any food
crumbs cover
their noses
for any rotten
type of food,
roaming through
filthy garbage.

Ms. Taylor
8th Grade

Ode to Pigs
Joshua C.

You are a

Full of
Vitamin D
with all
the time
sunbathing in
the country grass

When I see
you in
the deli aisle
I plead
that you
come home
with me

Ode to a Blobfish
Sakshi A.

Your body is viscous,
barely substantial.
You face
shows a life of sorrow.
To pick you up it would be
quite a handful.
Like gripping some living beef tallow.

No one understands you,
they think you’re a slob
A sentient mass of mucus.
Don’t worry now, friend, you’re still
my blob.
Their hazing will be fruitless.

An Ode to a Worm
Mya R.

The silent digger
eating our trash
keeping earth clean
and our dirt fertile
The helper
Giving us the source
to grow food to eat

Our decomposers
doing their all
to save the earth
we keep hurting


Ode to a Naked Mole Rat
Paulina M.

In the cage,
which you live in,
with your shiny
tummy, grumbling for food.

You have lived in
many places, the
deserts of Egypt,
and the meadows
of Australia,
making friends with

You survived the
dust storm of
1989, and lived
to see the
generations of
chickens hatching.

And although people
may be disgusted by you,
no one heard
your triumphant
cries, as you fought
off intruders, that
tried to get into
your home.

And no one know
your story, and what
you have been

Ms. Foley
8th Grade

Ode to the Mosquito on my arm
Kristen R.

Here, among the hair follicles of my arm,
lands the mighty mosquito,
equipped with
six hairy legs,
eyes that see all,
and a mouth that pierces the night sky.

Power of diseases:
Malaria, West Nile
flow through the veins
of the plagued mosquito:
an honor
that few bugs achieve.

But beware, mighty insect:
with one, swift, sweaty slap
of the righteous human hand,
all of the honor,
the power,
the glory,

Ode to the Spider in the Corner
Maria M.

among windows and pictures
in the corner of a home
in my bedroom

You built a home
a tiny

You decided not
to take much space
just the spot
that would’ve been

Descended from
the most hot
and most moist

You came here
to keep me company
with your tiny legs,
tiny eyes,
and super powers

You decided to let
me live

A spy
a friend
a neighbor
a protector
a house keeper

But now you’re dead
you just fell to the floor
Your strong silk
is still there

But a memory
you will remain.
Bye, friend.

Ode to a Wasp in the Field
Stefan B.

among the millions of grass blades
a powerful weapon
with flight and stinger

Not tied down
not caring
nor thinking
and the guts to attack me

You leave fire in your wake
so powerful
yet so small
and your name, holding infinite power

And now for a sampling of: Odes to Ms. Foley!

Ode to Ms. Foley
Isabella O.

among the Taft High School students
si the most amazing teacher ever,
the best one I have ever had.
It’s sad to see her go.

Always wearing the coolest clothes
and the most stylish shoes I have ever seen.

She knows what’s right
and she knows what’s wrong
for each and every one of her students.

She helped me to love books again
and she helped me feel confident about everything
I do.

She has a huge heart
and treats all fo her students with care.

A new life she is bringing into this world,
and that is very, very lucky.

A mother like Mrs. Foley is the best mom you could get.

Ode to Ms. Foley
Aleksandra W.

the best English teacher
I’ve ever had,
a great author,
a role model.

Person with a big heart,
a mom to-be,
a caring instructor.

a motivator,
you will be greatly missed,
thank you for everything!



“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.