Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poems are Orange Juice Concentrate

A good poem is like orange concentrate before adding the water.  A poem that shows rather than tells is at once thick, rich, tart and sweet.  It is memorable.  Here are short poems in which my former writing students succeeded in giving the reader the concentrated juice.

Banana Man

gentle winds brush
green lingering leaves.
Banana Man's rough mitt
soft grasps the yellow cluster
and places it with brothers
in a basket to be sold
golden new or speckled brown.
Banana Man knows the way
from womb to cradle of death,
from green to empty husk.

--Ansil Williams (Grade 12)
Ansil comes from Trinidad and Tobago. This poem reflects memories of island life.

View of the Sea

The sea eats ships
beneath an endless darkness.
Salt burns eyes and dries flesh.
Slippery greens tickle fish at play
and moored boats
rise and
as waves crash.

--Justin Clements (Grade 10)

Winter's Alliteration

Frail relationships are made firm
when flurries fly.
Families form
when frost falls.
Neighborhoods forget
distances, fences and yards
watching children frolic
in winter's frigid fantasy.

--Justin Clements
Justin lived most of his life in California. He wrote this poem after living for a year in Kentucky where he experienced his first snow storm.

Morning Birdsong

Still sleepy eyed,
the birds taunt me
to join in song and so I do.
Together, in perfect harmony
we praise the sunrise.
For one glad moment
I feel all the happiness promised
of a new day
and fly teary eyed
in the first lavender glow
that softens the edges of the world.

--Sam Whitaker (Grade 11)


poetreader said...

What a teacher! You certainly do know how to bring out the best in your students, and these students certainly have it in them. I just had to comment on these four gems.

Justin obviously feels the sound of words. His first piece rolls with the sea. I can almost smell the salt in it – and the second – well, I’ve lived in New England all my seventy years, and that alliteration says better than I’ve ever said it how the harsh winter weather so often brings people closer. Thank you for that, Justin, I’m richer for it.

And Sam singing with the birds at sunrise - what wonderful imagery! This piece may spark one of my fantasy short stories, I feel something stirring after reading it.

And Ansil’s piece. I’ve known people from the Islands and have always wanted to visit there. I can’t help hearing echoes of the soft, warm speech of an Island story teller. The rhythm of the words blends so well with the Tropical images.

And the economy of words with which these poets have said so much, so well. I am richer for having read this page.

ed pacht

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks so much for those encouraging words! I'm very proud of what they have done and hope that they will continue to write poetry.