Stop Saying Beautiful (pt. 1)

I had to put a moratorium on the word “beautiful” after this workshop. It’s based off of Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Valentine for Ernest Mann” – a poem where Nye talks about poems hiding in unexpected places, like the eyes of a skunk. The workshop is to present other so-called ugly things and find the poetry, or beauty, in them. So from now on, we’re not allowed to use the word “beautiful” anymore. (Also in this first batch I picked lots of poems that had to do with gardening because I’m biased and love plants and stuff.)

Mrs. Asvos
7th Grade, 3rd Period

Angela G.

Poems are ugly
The take long
to write.
But many people
don’t like poems
just like they
don’t like cats.

But cats are
beautiful. With
their fluffy fur,
beautiful colored
eyes, and their
personality. Cats
are sweet. Cats
are caring. Cats
can also be
like dogs but
are not as

But just as
you learn to
love and care
for cats, you
can learn to
love and write

Maggie C.

Insects, they’re everywhere.
They are hated everywhere.
Killed, poisoned, and smashed.
But how do flowers get their nectar,*
bees are the answer.
How about what happens to corpses, flies eat
They do need some credit.
But it’s okay, they hate you too.

*(I believe the poet meant “how are flowers pollinated” but I still support her pro-bug stance.)

Karol P.

They are slimy,
and slither all around.
Gross and disgusting
but they enrich the soil,
and let plants grow.
So you could have veggies,
and eat all of your life.

“Dandelion Weeds”
Sunny E.

We’re plants too!
Look at our soft, yellow petals.
When did dandelions become
We fulfill your wishes and
dance in the wind.
We dot green fields with
bursts of color,
tiny suns,
lions’ manes,
streaks of beauty.

Keara K.

Some ugly things can never be made
Most ugly things can be given a
makeover – wash it, clean it, pamper it,
or change it.
Racism is one thing that will never
be beautiful.
Judging and hating people just
because of the color of their skin?
No matter how many times you
clean it, change it, or wash it,
it cannot be made pretty.



“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.