I hate that poem, not because it’s boring
And not because the words are dulled with age,
I don’t hate it because it doesn’t resonate,
I don’t hate it just because it’s poetry.
And yet I hate it with a passion,
I wrestle with those jarring words
That pierce through skin and prick the eyes
With acid tears, the pain I hold back
Every day comes spilling out in tidal waves.
I am doing a team teach on Monday with the Deputy Head at our school. She is an English teacher and I look up to her as a role model and mentor.
So I went to her office today and we planned the lesson together. I told her that we were doing the poem ‘Poppies’ by Jane Wier, and her first reaction was ‘oh, I hate that poem’. I was so surprised because I had read through the poem and loved it.
She then went on to say that she disliked it so much because she has a young son and she finds the themes in the poem too painful. I was glad that she cleared that up and her reason made me like her all the more.
I try to get my students to see that poetry has that kind of power but it’s so hard to do this with young people. I guess a lot of it is down to the fact that they haven’t had the life experiences that us grown ups have had. But it breaks my heart that some students just don’t like it because they ‘don’t get it’.
I feel a little bit sorry for them.
9 thoughts on “i hate that poem”
I feel the same way, Rachel! Poetry has so much power in it, and when it touches a person, that makes it even more potent. I think sometimes that it takes an experience bonding with a poem before you really understand that connection.
As a former student for whom English was my least favorite subject who has grown up quite a bit since I was in school, I would say that I didn’t get, or appreciate, most of what I had to read in school, because I hadn’t had the experiences that adults had…
That is the biggest barrier- their lack of life experience.
Poetry is powerful. Students need to see that songs are poetry to music, and that may help them connect. After all, the art and challenge and satisfaction (for me) of teaching is building those connections with kids (and adults) who lack understanding..
So many of them claim to have no feelings and it makes it incredibly hard to build up that excitement. I find it so sad for them.
Yes, it’s sad when readers of any age (though especially young readers) give up on poetry because, as they say, they don’t get it. There’s apathy there, of course, and fear beneath the apathy and hope beneath the fear, because poetry is what we turn to in dramatic times, good or bad. So we want to get it and to read it and to use it. We need it for our lives.
I love the idea of all those layers…
I love this poem