On Year 3: December’s Poems
Sometimes an amazing thing happens. You are plugging away, sharing the news article of the week, as chosen by the librarian, with your classes: it happens to be about a fire in a Bangladeshi garment factory, and a boy says, “That reminds me of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory!”…So you dig out your age-old copy of Fragments from the Fire, and read the kids a poem about that. Suddenly a kid says, “Hey, that’s cool that somebody can write in a dead girl’s voice about something a hundred years old that’s history that really happened and that’s still happening today!” Then you, a struggling and sometimes disillusioned teacher, start seeing dots connect…and it’s okay. It is cool. That’s what reading poems every day brings to me when I pay attention. I hope it brings the same thing to the kids. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
Here’s the list for this month.
December 3, Monday: “In the Fog” by Giovanni Pascoli (because it sure was foggy this morning!)
December 4, Tuesday: “I Am Appalled” by Chris Llewellyn (from Fragments from the Fire, because we fell into a discussion of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire yesterday)
December 5, Wednesday: “The Writer” by Richard Wilbur
December 6, Thursday: “In the Reading Room” by David Ferry
December 7, Friday: “One Perfect Rose” by Dorothoy Parker (because you know what? I’m feeling a bit snarky today myself!)
December 10, Monday: Snow day–no school. Well, more accurately, ice day.
December 11, Tuesday: “Snow Flakes” by Emily Dickinson (the poem I had intended for yesterday, her birthday, which was somewhat ironically snowed out)
December 12, Wednesday: “Winter Happiness” by Jack Gilbert
December 13, Thursday: “Afternoon Nap” by David Shumate
December 14, Friday: “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost (though a girl in 7th period thought we ought to have saved this for the Mayan apocalypse on the 21st)
December 17, Monday: “Noel” by Linda Pastan
December 18, Tuesday: “Winter Trees” by William Carlos Williams
December 19, Wednesday: “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens
December 20, Thursday: “Snow” by Frederick Seidel
December 21, Friday: “Snow Day” by Billy Collins
I am a mother; I am a teacher. The December 14th school shooting in Sandy Hook brought me to the edge of despair. It angered my students, and on a much deeper level, terrified them; it did the same to my own children. All I could say to them was that we need to take care of each other, and that I had to have faith that we could.
Be well. Be safe. Be kind to one another. We owe this to the world.
Happy New Year.