Friday, April 25, 2008

Poetry Friday -- Simile and Metaphor Poems

There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.
- Pablo Picasso

As I was thinking of the smartest ways to use my language arts times in this last week before testing, I decided to postpone limericks in favor of simile and metaphor poems. There is bound to be at least one question on the state tests about similes and/or metaphors. Hopefully my students will be better able to identify them now that they've had to struggle to create them.

Back in February, one of Tricia's poetry stretches was to write a metaphor poem. I copied her example poem (and the revised version by Elaine) to show my students the difference between similes and metaphors.

As they worked on their poems this week, I started to wonder if metaphorical thinking is right at the edge of where 4th graders' brains are developmentally. This was REALLY HARD for some of them. I also think that beginning poets probably must write a full measure of cliches and clunky metaphors before they learn to create elegant ones.

Here are a few of the best of our simile and metaphor poems this week:

A friend is like a mystery
still to be discovered
wanting to be figured out

A friend is like a book
always very clever
waiting to be read

A hand is like an open basket
xxxwaiting for you to put things in
A foot is like a walking racket
xxxstomp, step, skip, jump in.
A nose is like a high up mound
xxxthat you can climb and then slide down
A mouth is like a funny clown
xxxwhich makes us laugh and never frown
Your eyes are like a fire
xxxburning with desire
Your mind is like a climbing wire
xxxwith every reach you go higher

A friend is an open hand
A friend is a happy land
A friend is a pot of gold
A friend is someone I can hold
A friend is a beautiful flower
A friend has a lot of power

My hamster is
as smart as an inventor,
as friendly as a dog,
as fast as a race car,
as smart as a mouse,
and as active as an athlete.

A year is
A 365 day journey
A long event
A book of friends
A roller coaster ride through time
But once a year on 6/29
It's my day of fame --

EDITED TO ADD:  Check out this poem I wrote in 2011 that has a metaphor, a simile and an idiom...all in the same poem!

The round up is at The Miss Rumphius Effect.


  1. Mary Lee,

    This is a coincidence. I just posted two of my original metaphor poems yesterday at Wild Rose Reader.

    I never had my second graders write simile or metaphor poems. I did find that a number of my students were able to incorporate those figures of speech in their poems without consciously trying to do so.

    I've enjoyed reading your Friday posts during April--and your students' poems.

  2. Print, copy, pass out, learn... this is a simile, this is a metaphor! Thank so much for the extra last minute study guide for me kiddos!

  3. Anonymous8:30 AM

    I LOVE the nose -- "a high up mound that you can climb and then slide down"!

    But I have to wonder about "eyes burning with desire" from a 4th grader. What's with that?

    It sounds like you're turning the anxiety of state testing into some really positive energy!

  4. I think you are wise to consider their developmental stage as it relates to the poetry they create. And I agree, poets have to work through the clunky cliches before the fresh stuff emerges. I like the "hand is like an open basket... foot is like a walking racket" poem. Good job!

  5. The last one is my all-time favorite. Everyone should have a day of "fame." These are so cute.

  6. Anonymous10:44 AM

    It always comes back around to one's birthday, doesn't it? :)

  7. "Your mind is like a climbing wire -- with every reach you go higher."

    It's wonderful reading about how you're enabling your students' minds to reach higher with these poetry assignments.

    I agree with writer2b -- what's up with the eyes of burning desire?

  8. Love your site. Great books, thoughtful insights. The student poetry is a treat. Re "desire":
    A Harry Potter fan (which includes many a 4th grader, whether they're old enough or not) might be very familiar with the concept of desire being what you're heart most wants and something reflected in your eyes. The mirror of erised.

    We older ones, perhaps, give it a different meaning.

  9. THANK YOU, Amy. For the blog compliments, but especially for the insight into what "desire" might mean to a 4th grader.

    Indeed, the student in question is a huge HP fan, and also is a very competitive athlete and student. The student would like to clarify that the intent behind the word desire was a strong wishing for something you really want or really want to achieve. It's meant to go along with the image of the climbing wire in the last two lines.

    We've had a lot of fun with poetry this month -- happy Poetry Month to all! And thanks for stopping in to check out my students' poems!

  10. Mary Lee-

    I loved reading these!! I also enjoyed your article this week at Choice Lit. You have been breathing and eating metaphors and similies. (I grew up on summer swim team so your comparisons hit home and the fire drill at the end to top it off was a hoot!)

  11. Oooh, they did a great job!

  12. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Hi Mary Lee,

    Just stopped back in to revisit this post and wanted to thank you for the insight into "desire." Some words have unintended baggage, as most of us come up against more than once as readers and writers.

    I do hope my question didn't cause any embarrassment or discouragement, for you or the student. That's the last thing I'd want. These are amazing.


Comment moderation is turned on.