When to Write

When is the right time to do something? How do you know it’s the right time? These are the questions Twain 6th graders thought about for their first poetry session on Monday. Together we read the poem, “When to Write,” by Sophia Thakur. In her poem Thakur uses repetition, repeating the word When, to emphasize situations where writing seems necessary. When your fists are ready to paint faces/When there is nowhere to confide/When your eyes won’t dry/When the world denies you/Find your power/ and write. Thakur uses writing as a way to motivate, heal, and empower herself.

Inspired by Thakur’s poem, students wrote their own “When” poems, describing the right time to do certain activities that they enjoy, helps them relax, or empowers them. Please read the poems below, then pick up a pen, and think about when the right time is to do something important in your own life.

Mr. Barr’s 6th Grade
Group 1

When to Run
By Felicia B.

When you’re filled with excitement.
When you’re shaking with fear.
When anger wants to escape your body.
When you wake up in the morning,
as soon as your eyes open.
When it’s night and you’re restless.
When the scenery is beautiful.
When it’s perfect weather outside.
When you want to be outdoors.
When you’re stressed out about writing a poem.
and you’re nervous with clammy hands.

When To Listen to Music
By Lia M.

When the room you’re in is too loud
When you’re feeling bored
When your thoughts are too crowded.
Listen to music.
When you don’t want people to approach you,
Put your headphones on and listen to music.
When you’re at a birthday party and
it seems too quiet.
Listen to music.
When you’re in the car and everyone
is arguing.
Listen to music.
When your emotions are too overwhelming
and you can’t talk about it.
Listen to music.

When To Get a Dog
By Lorenzo N.

When you do good in school,
Get a dog.

When you feel like you’re always lonely.
Get a dog.

When you don’t want to get a cat
Or a fish,
Get a dog.

When you feel like you want
something fluffy.
Get a dog

When you want to have a friend.
Get a dog.

When you have no friends,
Get a dog.

When you feel that you don’t
get enough attention.
Get a dog.

Mr. Barr’s 6th Grade
Group 2

When To Listen to Draw
By Jackie L.

When you see something
that gave you an idea.

When you’re listening to music
and you get an image.

When you feel down
When you feel happy.
When you have the time.
When you have the materials.
When you’re bored.

When your asked to
as a gift.

Or simply when you want to.

When to Listen to Music
By Rosemary N.

When you’re alone and sad.
When you’re bursting with rage.
When you’re on the verge of tears.
Listen to music.
When you’re confused with life.
When you don’t understand your place in this world.
Listen to music.
When you’re tired and confused
Listen to music.
When you’re tired of people.
When you want to run wild and free.
When you’re with a family that doesn’t understand.
Before you cry yourself to sleep.
Listen to music.
When your imagination is running wild.
When it seems like your life is going to end.
When you have lost everything, you love.
Listen to music.

When to Play Soccer
By Isabella R.

When to play soccer,
Maybe at night or maybe
at day when eyes can see daylight.
When to play soccer,
not always with friends.
sometimes alone, you can dribble,
while counting to ten.
When to play soccer,
Maybe at school,
at recess.
No need to be cool,
Just do a simple request,
like pass it to friends,
until the bell rings
or do it until the day ends.
When it seems like your life is going to end.
When you have lost everything, you loved.
Listen to music.

When to Sleep
By Adulynn Z.

When you are done with the world.
When you are waiting for someone.
When you just want to relax.
When you can’t stand someone.
When you feel like you are going
to have a meltdown.
When you don’t feel like doing anything.
When you are done having a big meal.
When it is way past your bedtime, just sleep.
When you feel like a ticking time bomb.
Just go to sleep.

Mr. Barr’s 6th Grade
Group 3

When to Sing
By Shareese D.

When you’re all by yourself in your
bedroom listening to music
When you’re on a road trip with your
family in the back of the car
When it’s your friend’s birthday
and the invite you to a sleepover
and they pull out the karaoke machine.
When you have a big performance
and you have time to practice
When you’re in a musical and all
by yourself in your dressing room
When you go out on stage
When you hear that screw fall
When the blinding light gets closer
When you feel that sting
When you lose consciousness
When you hear that ambulance
When you end up in the hospital
When you hear that flatline go off
When you can’t feel your heart
stop singing

When to Talk
By Vincent O.

When you need to speak
When someone talks to you
When you need to answer
and don’t want to write
When you can’t do anything else
Before you get in trouble
When you stand up for yourself
When you have an idea
and you almost forget
When the teacher calls on you
When you are on a stage
When you want to change
When you can’t think
push through the challenge
and talk
When you think something is wrong
When you need someone to talk to
When you’re going through a tough time
When something bad is happening
and you know the solution
When you have trouble
When you don’t understand something
When you need a partner
When you want new friends
When people look like they need help
Before you start to cry
and have very strong feelings
When your on a call
and have a secret to say

When to Cry
By Jade M.

When you have time to yourself
When you are lonely
When you have nothing to do
When you have many emotions
When you can no longer hold it in
When you are tired and can no longer
handle it
When you are upset
When everything doesn’t make sense
When you can’t tell anyone anything so
you just let it bottle up
When you are ready to let it out.



“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.