After reading nature poems by Denise Levertov and Wendell Berry, the students wrote their own nature poems. Ten wanted me to post their poems on my blog, As as consequence, I will post two student poems each day. Here is the first set.
Note: This poem came out of an assignment in a class I am taking with the Story Circle Network, an organization that promotes women writing and telling their stories. The instructor, Yesim Cimcoz, lives in Turkey.
As we drove along the Amalfi Coast, the guide told us the mythological story of the Sirens. My daughter took a photo out the window of the Sirens’ islands.
Later I wrote this poem remembering the travails of Odysseus.
The melodious Sirens’ song
begging to be untied from
Even the roaring sea’s
voice whispered in
They sang honeyed
love songs to starving
sailors, longing for a woman’s
touch, a kiss, ecstasy.
With knife claws, they
ripped them asunder,
crunching bones, blood
Satiated, they sang,
eternal, etherial, deceptive.
Several days later at a shop in Sorrento, while my daughter was looking for a medusa cameo, the owner, a cameo artist, brought out Siren cameos. He insisted the Siren’s have been terribly misunderstood. I wanted clarification but unfortunately other customers appeared and I remain mystified.
Sometimes a teacher’s work seems to never end and, honestly, it keeps me from posting here as often as I might like. At the same time, it provides me with endless joy and entertainment. The last couple of days brought lots of laughter.
I teach 8th – junior English and Spanish 1 and 2. This past Friday, Spanish 1 class became the site for lots of laughter. We were practicing translating sentences from English to Spanish. To date they have learned to say what they like, sentences about the weather, write about time, and to use the two “to be” verbs used in Spanish among other things. Somehow in the process of describing a person using a variety of adjectives they have been taught, one of the students blurted out, ” I think old people are ugly.” I said, “So you think I am ugly?” This caused a minor uproar with laughter and indignation. In an attempt to make the situation better, he continued, “No, I mean people over 60.” I repeated, “So you think I am ugly?” By this time everyone was laughing, including me, protesting his attitude. He started to try to wriggle out of that one when I pointed out that it might be better if he kept quiet. He started to say something about wrinkles but that got shut down by the other students.
Just before all this, his younger brother came into the classroom. He is the student who wrote a page-long poem about my hair last year. He said to his brother, “What is wrong with you? She is beautiful.” Then walked out of the room.
By this time everyone was laughing and talking except the student who made the original remark about old people and a few were shouting at him about his awful attitude. By the way, in case you do not know, the word for ugly in Spanish is feo or fea, depending on whether you are describing a male or female.
This weekend I read 50 or so book reports. One of them included this statement in response to the question, “What did you learn from this book?” “I learned it is sometimes fun to be bad.” The student was referring to the book, “Tom Sawyer.”