‘Where did the time go?’: Question Poems

Students explored and discussed Tracy K. Smith’s question poem, The United States Welcomes You. Who is the speaker? Where is the speaker? What is at stake? What is the result of the telling? All good questions to ask. Students crafted their own question poems.

Lesson Note: ‘It’s very likely that the universe is really a kind of question, rather than the answer to anything,” says philosopher technologist Kevin Kelley. He says our role as good askers of questions will remain the most important contribution of our species.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 1

Henry M.

Who’s playing tuba?
Who’s playing trumpet?
Who’s got my sandwhich?
Who’s got my puppet?

Where could they be?
Nowhere in sight?
Nowhere to see?
Could they have taken flght?

Why did you take it?
Why did you dare?
Did you take it?
Don’t you have a spare?

Question Poem
Burak A.

Where are we dropping boys? What’s your weapoons loadout?
Do you have minis or 50 pots? How much time until the storm closes?
Where do we go next? How many people are left?
Do you guys wnt to camp or make skybridge?
We got a dub! You guys wanna go for another one?

Avery D.

That woman, with her child-is she a threat?
Steel, wood-weill these keep the rest of the world out?
Are you afraid to walk outside?
Afraid to speak? To breathe?
Who are you trying to protect?
Who are you try to be protected from?

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 2

How Do You Know?
Casey Z.

How do you know? What is your resoning?
Is this a cooking class or geometry class?
Who do this work?
How do you know>
What’s your name?
What’s my name?
How do you know that I am?
Why are you here?
Where’s your homework?
Why is it not here?
What’s your proof?
Why is that sufficent evidence?
How do you know?

I’m not insane
Am I?
How do you know?

Thomas S.

Why does he sit on the dock, his
leg cicling restlessly over the black
water? Does he recognize the snow,
or the cold? Doe he know of the sadness
of the world, or is he blinded by
ignorant bliss? Does he hear the water
eroding the shore? or the wind that
contests it? Or does he watch form his
post. Drawing constellations in his mind
the insanity of it alll to much to bear?
Does he know of the smog that settles
overhead. Drifing in dark black clouds,
throwing shadows over his light.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 3

Miles C.

Are you
OK? Do you get
me? How can
you understand? Will
I survive?

Nicole C.

Where did the time go? Did
we waste our last moments
together? Should I have done/said
something more? How did we
not see this coming? Was there
anything i should have done
differently. I don’t know.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 5

Leonardo S.

Why are you here?
Why are you not back
at your country? What
do you seek here? Freedom?
What do you plan on
taking? What do you plan
on leaving? Will it be bad?
Will it be good? If not,
then why care? Are we
better? Did something happen?
What will we give you?
What will we take
away? WIll you give us
a reason? WIll we take
a reason, not blame
you for it? What will
we do? How far will
we go? How far will
you go? What will
you do? What do
you worship? What
will you do? Why?
Why do you belong
here? Why don’t you
belong? Will you save
us? Will you harm
us? Are you caring, helpful,
or a savior? Are you
scary, maybe even
eveil? How? Where? Why?
Why are you here?

Natalia D.

Who do you tell your secrets to?
Who do you trust the most?
Why do you trust them?
Is trust one of the msot important
What do you do when that trust,
one fo the most important things, is

Do you confront them?
Do you ignore it?
Pretend liek it never happened?
Move on?
Do you talk to them about it?

Who do you trust?
Who do you tell your secrets to?

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 7

Coming Fly In
Ali M.

Are you about to crash?
Don’t worry, jump right before you crash, right? That’s
what my teacher told me, I think it was last year?
Well, anyway, where’s your passport?
You want another plane?
For what reason?
I don’t know, explain?
Why would you come on something that can kill you?
Trust who?
How do you know that?
You’re burning?
Water, there’s such a thing?
Tell me?
Aren’t afraid?
To die?

Sydney L.

Who do I feel like this?
Stop complaining you’re fine!
Why do I feel sad?
You just want attention!
What if it’s bad?
Everyone else makes it seem so much worse!
But what if I’m just stronger?!
Then what’s the problem?

Who am I?
An attention seeker!
But I feel differesnt!
No, you don’t! Why are we even
You’re right! Right?
Shut up you’re just a bully!
Stop trying to be special!
Just live. LIVE!

Ino S.

Borders are good.
They help keep things in
and out.
They separate things
Which is not good.



“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.