Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Wish #1: Don't Defer Your Dreams.

My gift to you this Christmas season is one I do every year. I'm going to share with you poems created by kids who have never really written poems before. They come from a pretty small town. They seem, most of the time, pretty apathetic about life in general. This is why I love the poetry unit more than any other. It gives them a place to voice things they won't usually a safe way--because it's poetry. It has a right to be emotional and loud when they are usually stalwart and quiet.

I usually have my poetry assignments mirror great poets that I teach them about. Then, they learn to write their own. For "A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes, they had to keep the first line and last line the same as his poem. Then they had to detail what they will feel if their dreams do not come true.

Original Poem

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Student Poem #1

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it disappear,
like a love one long past?
Or make you impatient,
like a fishing pole cast?
Does it hurt and make you want to shout?
Or burn inside you, like a fire you can’t put out?
Maybe it smells good
like a lawn, freshly mowed...
Or does it explode?


Kittie Howard said...

Wow, very impressive! Not too many kids can handle Langston Hughes this well. You've got some great kids (and they've got a great teacher.

Thank you for such a beautiful gift!

jomama said...

awesome! when i was in high school, langston hughes was the first poet that i really fell completely head over heels in love with. it was his "theme for english b" that did it for me. and then i started writing poetry.
your kids are so lucky to have you.

Lori said...

Wow! What a gift you are to your students and what a gift their words are to read. Blessings dear sweet friend. XX

jorg wobblington lopez said...

I heard this poem for a NIKE ad during the olympics, and thought it was great. I didn't know it was by Langston Hughes