Well we’ve made it though the month with daily poetry exercises that I hope will take some of the intimidation factor out of playing with poetry. For this last day, I’d like to share another poem modeling exercise that never fails to surprise me when I use it with a class. Take a moment to go read this poem IF by Rudyard Kipling. In the classroom we dissect this poem line by line and we don’t go on to the next line until we’ve talked through the one before. I have the kids tell me what they think Kipling meant and then I have them talk about it as it compares to their lives.
Then I ask them to write their own poem modeled on this one.
Here’s my try at one.
If you can learn that your value comes from being yourself,
not who the rest of the world thinks you should be
If you can recognize that no one person
sits in judgement of you
If you can lean into the understanding that difficult people too,
carry their burdens
If you can not cause pain to yourself, to others
If you can freely share your knowledge
knowing it will just increase your wealth
and manage your wealth so that the
seeking of it doesn’t manage you
If you can let go of hate and anger and fear
and all the useless emotions that hold you back
while at the same time filling yourself
and the world with love and laughter and compassion
If you can encourage dream following in everyone you meet
while nurturing dreams of your own
If you can let yourself believe
There is nothing you cannot do.
–Susan Taylor Brown
That’s beautiful, Susan. And it does the best of what an “inspired by” poem does–it carries just enough echo of the original to be a clear allusion, but it has its own message, heft, and value.
Thank you, Jenn. I appreciate the kind words. I like playing with this as a model. Depending on my mood, I can really give myself a pep talk.
I’ll be back to read all 30 at my leisure. (That’ll be about…JULY, I think…)
Thanks for a great series.
Thanks, Mary Lee. I know trying to keep up with everything is just killer. I was barely able to maintain my own writing, let alone going around to read and respond. I hope to get around to visit more next month.
If you walk with your head held high
Fill yourself with confidence
Worry not about what others think
For they have not walked in your shoes
Speak from your heart with love
There will be no greater words
If you are never be afraid to dream
For sometimes dreams are all we have
Hold on to what you believe in
Never let no one tell you otherwise
People can only see you outside
They cannot feel what is within
If you never give up keep going to the end
If one path is too rocky choose another
Happiness is the key so strive to find it
It may be just around the corner or the next
Fear is the only thing that would stop you
Replace fear with determination always
If you are all you have no more
Do not depend on anyone to save you
Your life can only be lived by you
You do not have to make the journey alone
Fill it with positive thoughts and people
For then your have life’s true protection
– Anne McKenna
This is so very lovely, Anne. I’m proud of you for making it through the series. You should be proud of you too!
I think you should take the last stanza and print it up and put it all over your house to remind you for those down days.