‘Steal alone with tears’: Poetry & Images

Students explored the world of images, community, and protest, as they wrote both individual and group poems after reading, Paul Robeson, by Gwendolyn Brooks. and my poem, 9 Minutes (for George Floyd) . Students were then invited to work with odes,  messaging, song, images, institutions and their instincts to address themes including community, action, and kindness.  Please enjoy some of the images the students chose and (of course) their poetry.

Lesson Note:  “Well, I’m a poet, but I’ve also worked in libraries and in institutions like the Schomburg Center that seeks to understand and convey the power of Black culture. Poets are often making connections between things, and that’s also what a museum does. It connects us to conversations, it confronts us with artifacts and history in ways that poetry does. And it also reminds us of our roles in the world and with each other. In other words, it asks us to think about our humanity. Great museums and great poetry do that in different, but complementary ways.”-Poet, Kevin Young, editor of ‘African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song’  to Oprah Daily, April 30th, 2021.


Ms. Ruan, 7th and 8th Grades

(Student-chosen images)

“Ode to Joy” Lyrics
Yiyu C.

Even if he only summons one soul
The whole world is himself
but those who fail in this
Steal alone with tears.

She gave us love and wine
And a man who is loyal to death
She makes life full of disappointments for the humblest
The little angel stands before God.

Ode to the kindness
Jinkun C.

kids are getting home from school
At the time they get home they saw a homeless man
They donate some cash to the homeless
The homeless man was thankful for the kids
The next day the homeless man give the kid a candy
To show an act of kindness

Ms. Wright, 8th Grade


One Community
By Sukmin Q., Karen X., Christine L., Wendi S, Devin BST cx

Our community
Ode to the future’
Ode to our ancestors’

Among us all
We are diverse
We fight for wrongs with
Blood, Sweat, Tears
We thrive for the better
Our loyalty
Our commitment
Our love as
One community
Together, we are one

Group Poem (Simile Form)
Community as Family
By Kimora G., Yuying M., Meiqi H., MeiTing L., Calvin L.

People in a community are like a cluster of fish in the Atlantic ocean.
Everyone is like a fauna
As caring as they should be
And as loving as a big family
And we are as happy as possible to know and have each other.
We are an inseparable family always there for each other when we need each other.
Our bond as an entire family is always stronger than anything else.
We wouldnt trade it for the world !!

Ms. Wright, 8th Grade


“Welcome to Chinatown”
by Cecilia C. Halene L., Baiyan C. Samantha L., Qiuyu R., Jayson W.

Welcome to Chinatown
where a culture thrives
where I go to school
where I hang out with friends
where I’ve lived for 8 years.
You can find
varieties of shops
around town.
It is our home
from the very beginning,
with many tall buildings.





“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.