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Reb Livingston

How about this by Gwendolyn Brooks:


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.



Complete Destruction
William Carlos Williams

It was an icy day.
We buried the cat,
then took her box
and set fire to it
in the back yard.
Those fleas that escaped
earth and fire
died by the cold.



From third grade through twelfth I recited "The Road Not Taken" almost every year. We moved schools so much that it was new every time. Twenty lines, though, too many. I say go for the Gwendolyn Brooks. :)


How about Bishop's "Casabianca"?:

Love's the boy stood on the burning deck
trying to recite "The boy stood on
the burning deck". Love's the son
stood stammering elocution
while the poor ship in flames went down.

Love's the obstinate boy, the ship,
even the swimming sailors, who
would like a schoolroom platform, too
or an excuse to stay
on deck. And love's the burning boy.

Reciting a poem about reciting a poem would make the whole thing have a weird, nice meta-cognitive feel to it.

I grabbed the poem from here:

David Harris-Gershon

First, egg the teacher's house. Then, go with Reb's choice. Brilliant.


how about Roethke?

Meditation in Hydrotherapy

Six hours a day I lay me down
Within this tub but cannot drown.

The ice cap at my rigid neck
Has served to keep me with the quick.

This water, heated like my blood
Refits me for the true and good

Within this primal element
The flesh is willing to repent

I do not laugh; I do not cry;
I'm sweating out the will to die.

My past is sliding down the drain;
I soon will be myself again.

well, maybe that just might go over the heads of third graders. and it's 12 lines. but it's got a nice beat. i guess i just like the guy's work to much to be objective. gwendolyn brooks would be great.

Maureen Box

This is one of my favourite poems and easy to remember:

"Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Maureen Box

I found some excellent poems for children at this site:

This one has eight lines:
My Teensy Weensy Headache
by Paul Orshoski

or how about this poem by Ogden Nash:

Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.


Heather Cook

What about Shel Silverstein?


He's such a wonderful poet.

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