The Masks We Wear: Persona Poetry

For their sixth virtual poetry lesson, Haugan 8th graders explored personas. The word persona comes from the Greek word for mask. Actors in ancient Greece wore masks on stage to represent different characters. Together students read the poem “Death Of A Snowman,” by Vernon Scannell. Scannell incorporates similes and rhyme to take on the persona of a snowman. As readers look through the eyes of this snowman, we begin to understand his thoughts and feelings. At the beginning of the poem the snowman is confident, seeing himself as big as a polar bear, strong firm and white.  But as the sun begins to stir and the morning sun swells, his nose begins to run, and his fancy black top hat falls off.  There was no funeral bell, by tea-time I was dead. The snowman wants readers to understand his point of view, that despite being just a snowman, his life and death still mattered.

Inspired by Vernon Scannell, students wrote poems taking on the personas of diverse people and objects. For extra credit a few students also took on the personas of characters from the book “The House On Mango Street,” by Sandra Cisneros. Please enjoy these published poems.



Mrs. Thomas’s 8th Grade
Group 1


By Christian A.

You wanna know what
A turtle has what we don’t,
which is time.

Turtles will take their time.

While we rush everything,
to get it done but a turtle is
slow and calm
Take it slow and you will get it done.


By Angela L.

She’s tough like a handcuff
She loves to cook like a look
She washes dishes like wishes

She’s happy like a slappy

She sings like a wing
She saves like a cave
Her hugs are warm as a blanket
Her smile is bright like a sun

My mom is a superhero without wings.


Navy Pier
By Jovany M.

I am waiting for Christmas.
I wonder if anyone is going
to visit me

Like any other museum.

Since COVID-19
is around all year
there is going to be the least
people this year.

Since COVID-19

I’m just waiting
to see the results.


Mrs. Thomas’s 8th Grade
Group 2



By Adan C.

I want to get married to someone that’s perfect like the moon…

Handsome that you can keep looking at forever just like the moon.
Who can be there when I’m sad and happy…
The moon is always following you.

My boyfriend is in Puerto Rico
I was thinking of getting married when I got back…
The moon is alone and always alone but it’s happy and sad.
Beautiful without even trying…

I can meet someone better one of these nights at a dance
Maybe they’ll be perfect like the moon…


By Junior C.

A 6 year old’s smile spreads like a fire
A 6 year old’s touch is what they desired
But when they struggled the fire they spread
He came back and explained the trouble
Till their hands met his head
And this went on til tomorrow’s dawn
So he went back while putting on his mask.


By John Q.

A Road
We have so many meanings
Yet so little dreaming
Dreaming of leading people to good futures
We are all different so choose wisely
Your future may be in the palms of our hands
Some of us might be turning in all directions doing a dance
Some of us may end up leading you in a trance
Some of us be leading you into a lonely ending
Or maybe a sad one
Be in the end
We don’t know which one of us you will choose
So that is in your hands not ours



Mrs. Thomas’s 8th Grade
Group 3


Christmas Tree
By Evelyn P.

I am a Christmas Tree.
I shine at night, lighting up the house.
I try to shine as lighter as the sun.
I give presents to families at Christmas night.
I make my family happy.
I may be made out of plastic, but I have life.
Just like an animal.


By Anjali P.

Cathy…Yes, that’s me
A lover and a Queen of France…
My house is like Heaven of cats…

I own baby cats
Big cats
Skinny cats
Sick cats.
Cats that sleep like donuts
Cats on refrigerators
Cat’s on a dinner table

But there is one problem…The people in my neighborhood
The neighborhood is getting bad day by day…
But don’t worry because…

My father will fly to France one day…
To find my Great-great distant grand cousin…
On my father’s side.


The Unhappy Tea Cup
By Adriana T.

I’m always placed down gently on the table.
I am very frail, one wrong movement and I shatter.
That’s why I have a label.
If I break my pieces scatter.
The lady that owns me is very gentle.
She cares about her teacups.
If she breaks a teacup, she turns very sentimental
Just like a baby that stubbed, it’s a toe on some toy trucks.

Every morning the sun shines like a big pearl.
The tea that gets poured on me feels like hot lava.
The tea just swirls and swirls.
I’m always in the casa.
I can never go outside that’s why I always dream big.
I’m always put away in a cabinet, it’s like a dungeon.
It’s dark so I scream.
The cabinets are no fun.
But its where an object like me belongs.
Old, new or antique.
There is never a person to hear me beyond.
The walls are so weak.
Just me to hear them…




“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.