In my last post, I wrote that my students and I had begun to compose a poem together, our own version of Starry Night based on the painting by Vincent van Gogh. I had changed my lesson plan that day after picking up a computer cover version of van Gogh’s often reproduced masterpiece off the classroom floor.
During the poetry workshop, I had also referred to Anne Sexton’s poem, The Starry Night, but fortunately was not able to recite it nor did I have it with me.
I write fortunately because the themes of Anne Sexton’s poem are stunning and haunting, but also deal with subjects I’m not going to explore with teenagers in great detail. I leave that to their parents, counselors, or experts in particular fields. I am just a full-time administrator who also teaches two subjects I have loved my entire life: German language and poetry. I can strive to convey how loving anything, including friends, music and sports, and staying faithful to that love is worthwhile, but that is what I want my role to be with teenagers right now.
I can, though, also take students through writing a poem from scratch to almost finished. Most often, I believe a poem is never truly finished even when it is published.
Isn’t that like anything in life? I’ve now completed 22 marathons, and will be aiming to finish three more next month, but given the chance, I would do parts of them differently. Poetry gives you that chance!
But enough of my philosophical thoughts at 5:30 a.m.! My family is still asleep, and I have miles to go before they begin their day, so I will post a picture of our unfinished poem and write next week about how the students and I wrote it together, line by line.