Sunday, April 07, 2019

Blessings and Curses

Last Friday, I put out the poetry tools I've been using for this year's NPM challenge and let my students test drive them.

Magnetic Poetry

Paint Chip Poetry

What a blessing I received! Leave it to 10- and 11-year-olds to remind me how to really PLAY with these "tools!"

They didn't have time to draft full poems...all except this guy, who asked for permission not to switch stations so he could finish a poem, which turned out to be a heart-wrenching tribute to his mother on the theme of "appreciate what you've got while you've got it."

Other blessings I received as I played alongside them were snippets of poetry they gave me permission to borrow. Yesterday's metaphor was created by our class' member of the school dodgeball team. The competition was last night (they wound up holding onto their championship for the third year in a row) and he was thinking more literally about curveballs than I was! I have a line of magnetic poetry to work from for tomorrow's poem, and today's poem started at the paint chip table. A quiet sweetie showed her spunky side by pairing these:

That got me going on curses. I made a few of my own while we played, and then this morning, I took a page from my students' PLAYbook and dumped out all the paint chip cards on the kitchen table to find more.

I jotted them in my notebook, then went to my Merriam-Webster app and jotted down all the synonyms for CURSE.

Malediction Incantation

I curse you
with cheese puffs in your eyes!

May there be a muddy puddle pox
on your blue suede shoes!

I bestow a hex of sticky nectar
in your genie lamp!

A plague on your bright ideas --
may they slip away like quicksilver!

May your bull's-eye be blighted by

and your starship be scourged by

Your happy ending? May it be jinxed
by an unforeseen

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019


  1. When students took a class preparing for doing a Shakespeare play, the director (teacher) taught them about Shakespeare's curses. I love that you're collaborating with your students in this playing with words, and somehow adore that "may your starship be scourged by rust", a terrible thing, right?

  2. Ha! So much to love in this post! It's so great to see the kids playing with your poetic tools for the month, and I'm picturing the blotches of mud on those blue suede shoes.

  3. This post is brimming with positive energy and poetry fun! I love your imaginative curses, especially, "A plague on your bright ideas --
    may they slip away like quicksilver!"

  4. You amaze me on a pretty much daily basis! How you got from paint chips to cheese puff in your eye to malediction incantation is absolutely beyond me, but it really works! So much fun!

  5. Mary Lee, first off, thank you for introducing me to paint chip poetry. Tomorrow I am heading off to the hardware store to collect some to use in the library I am working in for the next two weeks.
    Second, thanks for making me laugh and become aware of how many words there are for curse!

  6. This is so much fun, Mary Lee! I love "a muddy puddle pox
    on your blue suede shoes!"

  7. This cracks me up - curses, hexes, and ...cheese puffs. Which are, in themselves, a kind of curse, if you don't want that orange powder everywhere...

  8. Fabulous! i bet the students loved all the weird old world incantations in this poem.

  9. I'm unable to keep up with all the fun, but this "Malediction Incantation" is such a delight. I can't help but think those blue suede shoes were inspired by this month's progressive poem's emphasis on song lyrics.


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