Slice of Life 3 of 31

Poetry is my favorite genre of literature and I could write about it all day long, which is why I wanted to participate in the judging of my school district’s poetry contest. I’m thinking about poetry a lot this weekend, and all the times I ask my students to write poetically, makes me want to share a poem I wrote alongside my grade 10 students last year.

In our Springboard textbook we were looking at the repetitive literary device: anaphora (pronounced ~ ann-aff-ra) in the poem Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon, and relating the subject to our own lives. Students love to share stories about themselves, and the expression of where they are from in terms of their societal and familial culture poetically is an interesting activity for students to explore these concepts.

I too found it interesting and had just watched Paths of Glory and Oh! What a Lovely War when I wrote this around Armistice in 2011 🙂

Where I’m From

I am from the silver birches
and the white willows,
the beet beeches in towering
majesty – their leaves raked in
mounds for years.

I’m from meat and potato
pasties and lamb chops.
From Imelda and Stanley.
I’m from the Children Should
Be Seen and Not Heard,
from quiet restraint and
the belief in happiness.
I’m from all day Sunday walks
and the Dawn Chorus.

I am from old Roman roads
and red pillar boxes.
I am from the grim
and the grime of a dead empire
(the losses piled high,
slowly forgotten.)

I’m from men who fought
in trenches and men who
built ships of war.
From those that survived
on rations and triumphed
the barrage of the blitz.

I am from the millions of
war dead and from fragments
of civilization not left behind
in the foreign fields.

Granddad's WWI medals

Granddad’s WWI medals

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8 thoughts on “Slice of Life 3 of 31

  1. Some of our teachers use this mentor with their students. I am always impressed by the results. I am impressed with yours. I didn’t know the term anaphora. Thanks for teaching me.

  2. “a poem I wrote alongside my grade 10 students” and an modelling exercise that gives students something to work with, so the task of writing is less daunting — two signs of great teaching! 🙂

    I like your poem as a great balance of concrete and abstract elements. This makes it a good model for kids — express ideas, but also give your reader things to see (hear/feel/smell/taste/touch). Everything here either evokes the senses, creates historical context (even “Imelda and Stanley” subtly evokes a previous generation), or both. Sweet poem! 🙂

  3. Rebecca, I really loved how you double-timed it here, teaching a lesson while also writing a poem. Really looking forward to reading your posts in the coming month:) anaphora for the win!

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