This morning, I finally, finally started my poetry unit. A week late. Funny, because poetry is undoubtedly my favorite thing in to world, to write, to teach, to read. I was late in starting because we had to finish writing an essay on Ancient Egypt for the end of our NonFiction Unit, and I REFUSED to move on until i knew the finished products would be at least acceptable. Yet, I still felt the guilt that gnawed at my teacher soul for my tardniess in starting what, in my opinion, is a much more interesting and creative subject.
Soooo....I commenced the poetry unit with my all-time favorite poem: Poe's Annabel Lee. To remind you....
"Neither the angels in heaven above,
nor the demons down under the sea,
can ever dissever my soul from the soul
of the beautiful Annabel Lee....."
Are you KIDDING me? Dissever? He made up a word that is the opposite of ever because NEVER just wouldn't suffice? He managed to create an actual VERB out of the word ever, and utilize it in the most melodious way possible.
Can one be more passionate, more determined, more cosmically attached? Just reading it makes me well up. That's the sappy poet soul in me. Now lets see if any of the darlin' youngstas will feel the same way...
Sooo...based on my lesson plan written for the hogepodge of different reading abilities and cultures (and silly behaviors) within my class, I decided that an epic love poem such as this one MUST be read aloud, each student with their own copy. The point was to introduce and define poetry as a means of expressing deep emotion, and being able to understand this as the poet's purpose. So I read it aloud, and my ears tingled, because they always do when I read a great one aloud to my kids. I instructed them to focus on what the poet must have been feeling during the time the poem was written.
Ronita: Eyes never leave the paper. Places hands on top of eyes and says, "It made me want to cry. He loved Annabel so much, and he lost her. But their love is so powerful, they even loved eachother after she GOT KILLED BY ANGELS!!!!" OK so she's a literal thinker. Gotta work on understanding symbolism.
Jason: Fell asleep.
Sashaya: A TOMB??? Why they lock her a** up in a TOMB?? In the ocean? Whaaat?
Me: Please watch your language.
Christopher: Wan't he a drunk? How does someone write good poems when they are DRUNK? (he obviously had some prior knowledge...)
Jason: Wakes up. Who was drunk?
Sashaya: What the he** are winged (---ed very pronounced) seeee-raps??
Me: Again, please watch your language.
Raven: He** isn't a curse, Miss. It's a place where bad people go when they die.
Please note that all this was belted out before I even had a chance to ask them what they thought the poet was feeling. General concensus: sad.
How anti-climactic, but I gotta love 'em.