On the March

Nearing the midpoint (!) of our residency, this week we discussed a poem that makes potent use of personification: Emily Dickinson‘s “Dear March—Come in—.” Before hearing it read aloud, I asked students if they noticed anything unusual about the text itself. Two things stood out: the poet’s eccentric use of both dashes and capitalization. To begin with, I differentiated between hyphens and em dashes; the former is more readily recognized, and we went over the ways in which each punctuation mark is utilized. Even so, we agreed that Dickinson’s heavy usage of dashes is for more than just the obvious reasons. This became especially apparent when we listened to the poem, which student volunteers recited with natural speech cadences, minus undue pauses. As for her multiple capitalizations, we decided that it was done for emphasis on certain words. Poets have a lot of leeway with language, and Dickinson takes full advantage of how her poems look on the page as well as sound (exemplified by the poem’s intermittent rhyme).

“Dear March—Come in—” has a speaker addressing the month (and its neighbor, April) as if they are people. Dickinson also personifies trees in the poem, fitting with its theme of seasonal change, though “how Red their Faces grew” creates an image more in line with autumn leaves than spring; we decided that the many reasons why a person’s face might turn red makes more sense than using the color green, which aligns with new leaves, flora, and fauna. While the poem’s central conceit may be easy to grasp, we thought of other ideas the poet may be exploring ‘between the lines,’ such as resistance to change.

Here are some examples of the students’ own personification poems.

Ms. Kawa, 4th Grade

How Tornadoes Think
Myra B.

Don’t hate me I
can’t control myself and
what you think I destroy.

I might hit trees that
are waving in the wind from me.

When spring goes away
I’ll go away too.
Why don’t you wave goodbye?
I am just as important as you!

When I try to play
with things I just
destroy them.

Help me!

At the Beach
Hugo H.

The ocean was waving at me
As if to say hi
It was cold and dark
It must’ve been sad

The sky was lonely today
It was a dark and murky gray
I tried to cheer it up
It seemed to get happier

The air started to get cheerier
It warmed up the ocean
And the sky grew happier

The sky cleared up
Turned a nice, warm blue
It made the ocean more colorful

Everything cheered up
Including me.

How the Table Feels
Chloe M.

I always get drawn on in class
I get sat at
And I get textbooks stored in me

I have to get moved around
And I feel used
I have to be a desk

I also get slept on too.

The Spider
Aaron S.

Spider, O Godly Spider,
Come in, make yourself at home.
The house, is your palace,
The yard, is your throne.

Although people abhor you—
You are thrice better they might think.
You eat pests, but do not nest,
But that doesn’t change anything.

Rylee S.

I don’t like being a flower
People stomp on me and pick me up
I am beautiful but I deserve a break
The bees understand me.

I hate being a bee
When people see boom dead!
And then when we sting them boom dead!

Being a tree is hard
I get chopped into firewood 24/7
I’m the reason those humans are alive!!

Ms. Ball, 4th Grade

Murad A.

The markers
The balls
The water bottle
The clock
The pencils
The paper
The world
The board

Basia B.

Dear Chair,
Are you mad at me?
I sit on you all day
And never think about you
I jump on you when I’m bored
And put my feet on you
Can you tell me if I’m hurting you?
When I put you upside down does it hurt?
Please tell me.

Matthew B.

I find a spider I’m scared and he says
give him Pop Tarts. And I’m like OK so I
give him a Pop Tart and talk all the time.
I told my mom about the spider she was
scared. Then it was friendly with my family.
He was never hungry and he traveled with me.
Whenever he was hungry we found a fly and
gave it to him.

Donald D.

Dear clouds come in.
Block the sun.
But keep it warm—
Bring water and snow down—

Light shines—
What is it.
Sun or Moon—
Whomever it is keep it out.

Don’t leave clouds.
Keep sun and moon light out—

Pencils Personification
Justin D.

Pencil are you mad
at me because
I use
your eraser?

Pencil are you
mad because
I chew
on you?

Pencil I
am sorry that
I always
use your lead.

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

When Happiness Comes
Haley K.

When happiness comes
everything is bright
flowers dance
the ocean swims
there are rainbows.
Happiness is like a—
breeze just perfect—
enough to make you ready
for spring.

Enough to make a flower bloom.
Enough to make the clouds

The State Meeting
Izzy L.

Welcome states yes come on in
is Hawaii late
Okay now let’s talk how far was
the run?

Alright that was fun
Maine can you tell Rhode Island hi
and Idaho you look nice.

Okay now we’re done.
I hope you liked our meeting now

can you bring in the seasons also please?
Invite the years in.

mr robot
Benjamin L.

dear mr robot i hope
you have a great day
i think that we
can make a deal
together if tha-
ts ok i hope you
accept i think
we can make
a good
business mr robot: ok that
can be arranged what kind
of business? person: a
chocolate milk business mr robot:
of course i love chocolate
milk person: let’s start

narrator: and so they made
a multimillion business

thanks for reading have
a great day

My Book
Sydney S.

As I read my book—
Pages fly by.
The pictures talk to me
Saying what is happening.

Bold words are yelling at me!
They are telling me what to read.

In the library books are skipping
on the shelves.

A book falls off singing me a

Another falls teaching me to sing.

Then it happens. A book falls off
Screaming my name.

This is my book.

Kinsley W.

Bright skies—
light clouds—
you let me rest—
Spring makes me stuff—
I look out—
See ya—

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

Sydney D.

Spring comes and walks away then
Summer comes and walks away

then Fall comes and walks away
the same with Winter.

This is how the year goes
on . . .

it comes then walks away
then does the same ’til end
of time.

The same with me and
you we can come and walk
away as we please ’til end
of time . . .

this is what time does
with you and me let’s
come and walk away forever

Blake E.

Ow ow great that
Leozo is gone he
keeps on punching me
I wish I could
move but I can’t!
Yes it’s winter
people leave!
They stepped on my
cousin! I will punch those
humans but I can’t
but we have our
way biting! If they
step on our hill step
on a cousin we bite.
It’s so annoying getting
punched oh no he’s back
tell mama I loved her.
Baam and he’s angry!

Trashcan: Bad Life or Good Life?
Alina L.

I’m Trashcan. I’m sure everyone says to enjoy
Not me. Everyone takes me for granted.
Everyone feeds me dirty trash. Don’t people
know that I can get sick?!
Same with Wind. People don’t think that
Wind or I or others are alive, so why does Wind
knock me down?
Maybe he thinks that people respect me.
Well, Wind, here it is:
People Do Not Respect Me!
I Am Just The Same As You!
I want to continue my rant, but someone
drops trashy food in me.
I am so hungry—the man in the
squeaky shoes clears me of food every
night—that I eat the trashy food.
It tastes horrid, but I am grateful.

As I eat, I think, Maybe My Life
Isn’t So Bad.

Micah L.

Poem don’t know—
what to do
my arms are thinking
what to do
sitting here what to do
my legs what to do
do I move around
and think
I’m staring
what to do
my head
thinking what to do
my classroom

everyone staring
I’m in a coma
even the coma staring
I feel the
whole world
I wrote nothing

Tiger to Me
Keshaun W.

dear tiger
how am I

you are

in your
own words

you’re fierce
I bet you could get a

you’re tough
US steel

and will
be till the

end of time
I won’t change
my mind



“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.