Out of the Pastoral

David Baker’s poem “Pastoral” evoked some interesting conversations this week. First of all, with its use of blank space, it created opportunities for various interpretative readings by student volunteers—some with pauses, others who chose to read it straight through, and also those who questioned if it should be read normally (across) or perhaps up and down? I endorsed the idea that none of these readings was more ‘correct’ than another, and from there we discussed what effects the spaces made on whatever meaning(s) we pondered. I explained what pastoral poems typically are, and we searched the text for ways in which Baker’s might fit the form (or not). Nature is definitely a focus, but also someone “holding hands with / her” and a reference to grief. It was maybe our most challenging (as well as rewarding) poem so far.

The prompt was to write about grief. As usual, responses were varied and all of them worthwhile.

Ms. Kawa
4th Grade

David H.

Here in the field where the grass grows
where wheat grows where sorrows gain on me
the sun light out the wind blowing
here I stand I this field

Grief by Some Old Dude
Sean J.

Grief is a practice to help
with sadness but in worse
cases it leads to madness
when dealing with someone
that you have lost grief will
help you get over their loss.

Liam T.

I'm mad
I'm sad
I don't feel that well

I'm angry
I'm stressed
I'm trying to do my best

I feel weird
not normal
I need some help

I'm stressed out
I feel grief

deep inside me
I need alone time
and no, I'm not fine!

Can someone please help
and read my mind
if you could help

that'd be great
I just need some time
I feel grief
it's just deep inside of me.

Kylie W.









Grief by Some Old Dude
Ivan Y.

A gloomy day
when my fish passed away
floating on top of
the water and the day was getting hotter.
So I went outside and buried my fish in the yard.

Ms. Makris
4th Grade

John B.

When I was little I was
heartbroken when my mom was
going to work.

When I Was Grief
Ally C.

One day, on a Tuesday
I had the worst day!
Heartbroken! I cried
for hours and hours and
hours I was
griefed at
that time.

The Homework
Chase E.

It was a		My mom said it's	to do
Monday night		fine do little by	I wanted
I was very		little I cried		to complete
tired and		and cried I had		it that night
stressed out!		So much work		and be done.

Jackson L.

One time I felt grief when
my fish died. His name was
Bob and he died because he got
stuck behind the filter
aka the water filter.

Another time I felt grief
was my uncle's dog died
I was sad very sad. 

Cayden M.

No I haven't felt grief
before. Well probably I did but
I think no so no.

Mr. O’Brien
4th Grade

Grief of Piggy
Lincoln A.

Losing doggy and bunny was
sad but soon I found zizzy and pony
but after what happened
today losing zizzy to pony
and tsp I don't know if I can
make any more friends without
losing them. Today we got
attacked by tsp at the
safe place willow and
her team took us to

You're Sad
Dylan D.

When you feel sad sometimes
you might want to just sit in
your room. And feel sad. You're sad.

Niko H.

My mom didn't let me get
my iPad so I said it's my iPad

Unknown Grief
Emory M.

Me and my team had worked
hard all year in basketball
to go to the championship. But at
the end of the game we lost and
almost cried.

Aniya R.

One time I felt
was when I heard
my grandfather died.
I felt grief because

I was heartbroken.
I really loved him.

Maximo T.

Grief a hard thing to
understand. Its
rival is sadness, but if
you see they are
both different feelings
and both are unique...

Grief Poem
Lucas Z.

Heartbreaking. That's what grief is.
When I feel sad
I feel grief. It's a sad feeling.

When something bad happens
I sometimes feel it
sometimes don't.

Sad feelings, like old friends moving away
and new schools, but sometimes
I feel grief for a brief second.

Ms. Nelson
4th Grade

Sadness in the Darkness
Aleksa D.

Grief, cold, sadness in cold weather
put alone...

Darkness in the depths of the
Nothing but sadness, emptiness, and

Left alone, by yourself, nobody to
talk to...

Let down, given up, darkness in the
Lurking down in the depths of a happy

Chained down but lifted up
by one...

Matea K.

Here is grief
grief goes
on and on
but I am
always grief
after grief
I eat my
beef, watching
the rain telling
myself why am
I go grief but 
whatever, grief
is just a feeling
but it will
never go away—

The Feeling
Itati L.

Sadness is a feeling that
won't go away.

I try and try but it just won't go.
I told him “Can you please make it

I don't want this horrible
feeling to stay.

The One I Didn't Remember 
Eliza V.

When I was little, two I think, someone
passed, my family sad, me not knowing.
What happened as I got older I asked my
dad what happened to him.

He started to tell me. I only
remembered a little and all I knew
was that I was really close to him
but my dad told me that he
got into a car crash. As I
went I tried to remember what
else I knew. As I remember more
I remembered how sad his
mom was, how sad his dad was,
how sad his brothers were,
and how sad the funeral was.

As I think about it more
I remember how much I
loved him
and also remember that
sad year 2015.



“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.