Thursday, January 31, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Metaphor Dice



My Teacher

Mornings are rough sometimes.
I fight with my mom,
arrive at school in a shroud of scowl.

Teacher expects me to write a poem.

"Choose an ordinary experience.
Use concrete words and phrases.
Use sensory details.
Convey the experience precisely."

I've got sense enough to know
that the sharp-edged concrete of my experience
is far from ordinary.

I stare out the window,
inventing a precisely-worded fiction
to scrawl onto my paper.

Luckily,
my teacher is a last-minute midwife,
holding out welcoming arms,
gently cradling my newborn lies.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019



My Taylor Mali Metaphor Dice came. The words the teacher speaks in this poem are my own, quoting the bit of the standard we are working on in writing workshop.

"W.5.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • d. Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely."
Doesn't that seem like a fairly good working definition of poetry? Hopefully by next week I'll have some student poems to share.

Tabatha has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at The Opposite of Indifference.


29 comments:

  1. Wow. I love this, ML. Everything about it. xxxx

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  2. What a fantastic exercise and poem. Pretty nifty. On my way to add metaphor dice to my ever growing wish list!

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  3. Oh, this is wonderful, Mary Lee! " A shroud of scowl", "sharp-edged concrete of my experience" and that final stanza. Wow. Just wow.

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  4. So much truth in that poem, Mary Lee. We don't know what kids have dealt with, before they even get to school each day.

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  5. We have struggled trying to use the word midwife and there, you did it, with such amazing grace, ending your poem with "newborn lies." Love it!

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  6. Oh, that was amazing! A stroke of poetic genius using "midwife" this way!

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  7. Mary Lee, I love your poem! And I want the die too!

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  8. Oh my, Mary Lee! What a surprise to see that we both featured Metaphor Dice for our posts today! As a fledgling poet who is still learning how to use metaphor in her writing, I was thrilled to discover these!

    Not sure I would have been nearly as creative as you with "midwife" ... beautifully done!

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  9. Sometimes teachers know, and often they do not know the 'truth' of it. Wishing you a wonderful group of poems, Mary Lee. This is wonderful.

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  10. I really, really like this. Kudos!

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  11. Just went to Amazon and purchased the dice. Love the mid-wife line. It’s so true.

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  12. Love your poem, ML. You had me at "shroud of scowl." The midwife analogy is brilliant!

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  13. Great poem, Mary Lee. The analogy, my teacher is a last-minute midwife, in the last stanza really was the right word choice and arrive at school in a shroud of scowl describes the middle school aged mind.

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  14. Oof. This feels a lot like our last project -- we all struggled so much between reality and trying to put a poetic spin on it -- and our assignment was meant to be rooted in lived experience! I think none of us wrote lies, but... definitely curated versions of the truth. I like this.

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  15. Terrific poem Mary Lee! Loved your middle stanza,
    "the sharp-edged concrete of my experience
    is far from ordinary." And closing stanza with the "midwife!"

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  16. Great ending, Mary Lee. Everybody needs "poetic license" sometimes.

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  17. This is stunning, Mary Lee. I've reread it several times, trying to choose a favorite line and, although I love them all, the image of the teacher "gently cradling my newborn lies" will stay with me. Thank you.

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  18. Wonderful student perspective in your poem! And I love your explanation of what we are shooting for in writing a poem. I am sure your student's poem will be amazing!

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  19. As always, I am awed by your dexterity with words and meaning, Mary Lee - just wonderful!

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  20. Oh, hooray for the student who's "got sense enough to know" and the gentle, welcoming teacher. This is wonderful!

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  21. You had me at "shroud of scowl" too... Wow. (And the "scrawl" echo later.) My third-grade teacher-daughter had a trying week with a student who has a few layers of shrouds; some young ones have seen/dealt with so much. I'm thankful for teachers who care and nurture and guide.

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  22. Kaboom. So much going on here, which is the richness midwifed by metaphor. As so many, that last line weighs a lot more than your average newborn. I had a midwife metaphor from the dice too, which I think you missed...
    http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2018/07/metaphor-dice-iv.html#comment-form

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  23. As FOR so many, I find that last line...

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  24. Love those Metaphor dice, but while checking them out through your link, I tossed the Haikubes into my shopping cart! Poetry Friday posts can be dangerous to the wallet! Your poem really got me thinking about the burdensome baggage many of our students carry on their backs as they enter school each and every day. Even my Kindergarteners at times struggle with what life hands them. What outlets do we give them for processing their oftentimes difficult lives? Thanks, Mary Lee! -- Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

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  25. Love this, especially how you re-use the words and flip them on their heads.

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  26. Oh, those newborn lies! So beautiful and also painful. This poem aches....

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  27. Wow, this poem is beautiful and painful. I love the metaphor dice -- they're going on my wish list.

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  28. Ha! I just now saw Liz's comment just above mine. "Beautiful and painful" x2, Mary Lee! :)

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