Class: English 10
Grade: High School
Subject: English
School/Institution: Sharon Springs Central School Sharon Springs, NY
Each year my tenth graders read For One More Day first, and then I usually end the year with The Five People You Meet in Heaven. This year, I had students read a poem and apply it to Chick and Posey in the book. Then, they took the format of that poem and chose one of the anecdotes, “Times my mother stood up for me” or “Times I did not stand up for my mother” and create a poem from that. They have a done a fantastic job. Here’s one:

“My mother’s saddened face wrinkles even more,
the pasta isn’t right.
and me,
The words stick like daggers in her.
His tongue is a knife and she is butter.
She looks at me,
I look at the ziti,
I wish she could find sympathy.
His eyes clench to me,
A responsibility,
to be my father’s boy,
I crush under the heat.
“It’s not right.”
Mother has been falsely beat.”

“I am six.
We sit and discuss.
My father thinks it’s ridiculous
“Just buy him a costume,” he says.
But we use safety pins
And my mommy
makes me a mummy.
She uses toilet paper and tape.
It takes time to design.
It begins to rain
I can’t run away!
I’m in a parade!
As it begins to droop,
I begin to stoop.
It dissolves without
my mother being involved.
I say, “I blame you!”

A third:
“My mother talks to me
over the phone.
She is so
far away.
I can hear the disappointment
echoing in her voice.
I tell her I must go.
She urges me to stay
I cannot let go
of the game
I love to play.
I know I have to
leave it.
And I’m not ready.”