After a long holiday break, Hale’s middle school poetry crew is back at it this week with some boundary-pushing poems. This week’s theme was “poems you can see,” and we tested the waters by playing with imagery in a collaborative poem. Our poem was actually inspired by a fellow Chicago Poetry Center’s student’s poem “Seven Ways of Looking At Taft.” Each student contributed one or more stanzas about their personal experiences in the Hale building. After writing, we spent some time tweaking words, flipping lines, and moving stanzas to help the poem flow better. Once we hit our desired stride, we decided the poem was ready for the world to see.
7 Ways of Looking At Hale
As old and dusty as a grandma,
As hideous as the monsters below,
As horrible as a cruel nightmare,
A bell more like a siren,
It calls us all in everyday.
Walking past seas of gross garbage,
Children gather like groups of fish,
A smile radiant like a celebrity’s,
Faker than my printed out projects,
Wishing time was faster than cheetahs.
I’ve lost many, many, things here,
I’ve lost pens, bracelets, books, pencils,
But most importantly, I’ve lost friends.
I’ve lost friends on good terms,
But I’ve also lost friends badly.
My coat, my spoon, my pencil. my hat, friends,
I lost all of those things. Lunch room, outside,
classroom, outside again, and finally, well actually,
it can be anywhere. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes
it doesn’t. Sometimes they just leave.
Learning something new almost everyday,
In class or during lunch time,
These kids know way too much,
Sometimes I’m doing functions in algebra,
Others, I’m taught the human anatomy.
This place is my second home,
The memories I’ve made here stain
Like blood on my white dress
The laughs we have at lunch,
As well as some minor arguments.
But I become myself here,
I develop friends, real ones,
But I also have learned to be myself,
Not someone else. I grew to be me,
And no one can take that away.
On Wednesday, we took our imagery a step further and crafted our own individual concrete, or shape poems. These are poems that rely on visual elements (like line breaks or spaces) to provide deeper meaning for the reader. Our poets each chose shapes to base their poems on and were challenged to rely on descriptive language relating to their chosen shapes. Students wrote with an imaginative range of shapes including withered roses and mushrooms. This week’s two featured poets took creative turns with two traditional shapes.
Until next week!