About Hands on Stanzas

Hands on Stanzas, the educational outreach program of the Poetry Center of Chicago places professional, teaching Poets in residence at Chicago Public Schools across the city. Poets teach the reading, discussion, and writing of poetry to 3 classes over the course of 20 classroom visits, typically from October through April. Students improve their reading, writing, and public speaking skills, and participating teachers report improved motivation and academic confidence. You can contact Cassie Sparkman, Director of the Hands on Stanzas program, by phone: 312.629.1665 or by email: csparkman(at)poetrycenter.org for more information.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Poems about strange behavior: Les Etiquettes Jaunes by Frank O'Hara

Things in nature often have behavior that is strange or upsetting to humans. Bees make sweet honey, then turn and sting us! The students chose something that seemed like odd behavior and wondered in their poetry why it behaved the way it does.

Aileen J
Grade 3

Oh! Kitty
Why do you pee on my carpet
You are so cute
You are so small
And you run
So slow
Why don’t you
Have a family?
Live with me please!

Grade 3

Black widow spider
Why do you kill your husband
When you can live with your husband?
What is the deal with your web?
What happens with your prey
When you kill them?

Daniela M
Grade 3

Oh snow
Why did you
Have to melt?

What the heck
Who needs you
I want you

To turn like
Ice because
Everyone needs ice

Cashmere G
Grade 3

I look at a goldfish
And I ask it
How can you stay
There all day
You look weird
When you smack
Your lips together
Some people
Get sick of you
But I don’t
And how can you
Stay underwater
If I stayed
For a long time
I think I would
Probably die
Just being
Under that water
All day everyday

What humans could do with things!
By Andrea Z
Grade 3

I picked up a bird
Yesterday in the grass
It was blue
Bird! Why did you fall on the grass
How can your mom not care?
Hey! Where’s your family?
If your dad comes
What did you do?
That’s such a thing!
Are you crazy?
I said
I’m not.
I’m just happy

Veronica M
Grade 3

Cloud Cloud
Why do sometimes
You cry?
Maybe I know
It’s because you have
To water the plants
And everything else
When you’re done
Of crying
A pretty rainbow
Starts to appear
In the big blue sky
And when I go outside
The flowers start to grow
The grass is wet
And everything else
It starts to rain
I go inside
And I watch you cry
But I never guess
Why you cry
Just don’t cry
Be happy evertime

Ruth C
Grade 6

Today the snow is ice
An the little snow coming
Down are in the floor
Oh! How you melt from the floor
So fast?
From the day through the night
Little snow
Why are you white
Instead of blue
Or red?
You act so crazy!
But thank you
For making my sister happy

Garbage Eater
By Tony V
Grade 6

I see you at night
You eat my garbage
Does it taste good?
You have a family
But they’re really hairy
People describe you
As sly, sneaky
You are the
Raccoon thief

Michael R
Grade 6

Bee biting me
Why do you bite me
If you are going to die?
I don’t get it
The be wants to take care
Of bee honey
That’s why they do that
They don’t know
They are going to die
If they bite someone
Why bite when it
Doesn’t hurt a lot
You are going to get killed
If you bite us
They buzz a lot
I hate bees
It’s probably the honey
That affects them
Because they are hyper
Too much sugar

Alondra F
Grade 6

Why do seasons change?
They are so neurotic
From winter to spring
From spring to summer
To autumn
So on
Like every day
Every season
Like a gloomy day
To a sunny day
Like a rainy day
To a autumn day
Why are days
And seasons
I wish a day
Was the same
As another day
No more gloomy days
Or autumn days
Even winter days
Just summer days
To repeat a birth
Or a B-day
Just one season
For each year

Andrea B
Grade 6

Piggy, why do you have
A tickey tail
That goes round
And round
Til it stops
Why are you pink
Why do I eat you
Why do you taste so good
Why do you smell
Why, when you have
Like, 7 babies
Some are not even pink
Why, why piggy, why?

Carlos A
Grade 7

Why do dogs
Seem so cute
But when they bite
They are not
Dogs seem so harmless
But why do dogs fight
Why do dogs
Lick themselves
In front of people
Don’t they feel embarrassed?
Why don’t dogs laugh?

Kimberly T
Grade 7

Oh my god
Dear dog
You seem so nice
And sweet
But when you are mean
You change
Your eyes turn wider
You mouth starts opening
Your teeth show
Why dog?
Just because you
See a cat
It won’t do no harm
It’s just an innocent cat
Don’t harm it
Dog, please, dog
Don’t harm it
Thank you for hearing me

Angelica R
Grade 8

Why are humans against
Mother Nature?
They are against nature and they
Use their products
Why do people pollute?
Because they don’t care about
Mother Nature
Why do people start wildfires?
Because they don’t care what happens
To the animals habitat
Why do we live in a horribly polluted place
Where people through their garbage
In the ground and the oceans?
Because people just think it’s one
Piece of trash
But later it turns out
To be global warming
Why are humans against
Mother Nature?

Marcelino P
Grade 8

How do butterflies fly?
Little butterfly
How do you fly?
I sat down
In the green grass
For a while
And it came back
I asked it
How do you elevate?
She said
My wings help me elevate
Are you scared of birds?
Yes! They might eat me!

Jasmine W
Grade 8

I walked outside and
Layed in the snow
This is crazy, but
I have to know

Why are you
When the sun come out
Where do you go?
Why do you come
Back after the summer
Why do you turn
Into ice and make
Me tumble?

Then the snow answered back

I don’t try to
Make you cold
On purpose
That’s why
You have the summer
The soil is my home
I go when it’s time to go
I melt but the air
Freezes me to ice
I don’t want to hurt anybody

I have the answers
That I need, so please
Come back every season

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