It’s NaPoWriMo, I explained,
National Poetry Writing Month
The challenge is to write a poem
Each day throughout April
We’re currently accepting poetry
Submissions for our school blog
Then transitioned right to comparing fractions
As the numerator increases…
As the denominator increases…
To a sea of incredulous and apathetic faces
Instantly the mood transitioned, murky to bright,
It gave me pause
That poetry would be met with distaste
By a class un-phased even by fractions
Mid explanation I trailed off
Sliced my gaze ’round the room
What is a poem?
Does it have to rhyme?
A chorus of yes’s echoed back to me
Ah, a teaching moment
Not always. In fact that can feel outdated.
In modern poetry, imagery is considered
more important than rhyme. What else?
Form? volunteered one brave student
Emotion? wondered another
One hard faced teen in the back row
Mumbled, indistinct, I hate that shit
I spun on him, eyes sparking,
honing in on his earbuds
ever present, dangling from one ear,
throughout every lecture,
What do you think you’re listening to?
You stumble in here singing poetry
Another combative voice from the back row
Rose sharp as knives in defense of his boy
You kidding, Miss?
Music’s better than poetry
That shit rhymes.
That shit tells a story!
The pitch of my voice rose, mirror of my fervor
excitement rolled off me in palpable waves,
crashing over my students
as it generally only does
when comparing simplifying to solving,
standard measurement to metric,
applied mathematics to pure,
Say that again! What did you say?
Baffled, he did not reply,
Drop the cussing and say that again, sir…
Eyebrows climbed steeply up his face
and, yes!, he realized,
all cocky defiance suddenly lost,
replaced by wonder
Poetry tells a story?
Photo Credit: last book i’ve read by rana ossama on Flickr; used under Creative Commons License.