Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Students Discover Free Verse

Not having been introduced to free verse at the age of ten, and being very much the sentimental poet at heart, I remember struggling to release torrents of deep emotion through the excruciatingly limiting art of rhyme. Nothing, absolutely nothing I wrote on paper would ever measure up to what I was feeling and despite abounding praise from teachers and family alike for what I did produce, I wept tears of frustration for first, having the emotions and second, not being able to express them under the strict vigil of Rhyme and Metre.

So, twenty years later and two weeks ago, when working with a zesty group of fourth and fifth graders who struck me as having at least a partial, but mostly a full blown streak of the sentimental poet in them, I bid a cheerful adieu to Rhyme and Metre and we stepped into the world of Free Verse.

Following instructions, the four wise children chose a word for me. After running through 'vampire', 'werewolf' and such, they decided upon 'human.' I quickly wrote a poem in free verse with the word 'human' in it. I've included it at the very end of this article. Once they understood the concept, they began on their own poems.

Here are the poems they wrote. (All their original work done in class.) I've put them in the alphabetical order of the words they picked from a box. Chocolate, Cleo, Flower and Trees. Please do take the time to read each one. They're short and incredibly beautiful. I will not say more, but leave you to savour these poems, as I did.

by Vikram Chowdhary, age 10

Dark, milk and night,
I love them all.
Sometimes it comes in single squares,
And sometimes in a bar.

It can be used for cookies,
Which I

Or you can eat it plain,
Which is just fine.

I love chocolate!

by Rhea Prasad, age 9

She ran across the garden
and she barked when she saw me
Her tail wagged like anything
when I cooed to her softly

She reminded me of an angel
walking to and fro

I miss her like anything
when a dog walks past me

I love her
and I always will.

by Sana M. Beotra, age 10

I am a child,
I bloom like a flower,
Though only when it's my season to.

Sometimes I might wither,
But with enough care and affection,
Someday I will be strong again.
Strong like the gushing wind.

But for now I must step into the journey of life,

by Anya Ghosh, age 10

Dewdrops fall on the pretty leaves
as the yellow flowers bloom
Dewdrops fall on broken twigs
and another sadness grows
In the place that was made for hope

Trees replace the place that was once made for peace
But as long as some remains
We are
full of desire
for some

(sample poem)

I am but human
There are moments I falter.
Moments when I have to make choices in life.
As I step through the journey of life
it is not always possible to be correct
And right
And perfect

I embrace the humanness of my journey and am easy on myself.
Its okay to be wrong sometimes.
I am, after all, human.


Anonymous said...

Very nice! You have some extremely smart children :-) Super cute yet strangely wistful. Sushma

Urmila said...

Wonderful work Saraswati... please give the children my love and tell them I think they are poets indeed! Urmila

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these. They are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

saraswati, they are all lovely!

They're smart kids and you're a great teacher!

Frances said...

Thank you for opening these windows to our children! It's so much fun to watch them enjoy language and writing.