Learning About My Daughter Through Poetry

Last week, parents were invited to a poetry reading by 7th graders at my daughter’s school. Before the presentation, Annika asked me to check over her work for spelling errors.
I was mesmerized. Who knew Annika could express herself in this way? (Well, I guess her language arts teacher did.) We didn’t do much poetry when homeschooling. I never even thought about it as a way of expression for my kids.
One poem stood out to me first because of the feeling it evoked, but then because of the humor. I shared it with my Facebook friends and I think they liked it as much as I did. If you haven’t read it yet, you decide:
We may need to review the “words instead of fists” rule.
The day of the reading, I sat in the back of the classroom and listened to twenty-five 12 year-olds share their hearts. Some poems were funny. Some meaningful Haikus. A few read were touched with pain – more hurt than any pre-teen should experience. All of them stood at the front of the room and experienced true vulnerability for 60 seconds. 
I’ve never appreciated poetry. My experience consists of only what was required in high school and college Lit. But after listening to how these kids poured emotion on the page, I wish I would have taken it more seriously a long time ago. 
Theater kid.
I’ve learned a lot about Annika just by reading through her short assignment. I hope fellow parents are able to glean a bit more into their own children’s psyche by peeking into the words streaming from their souls.
These are a few more of my daughter’s poems which helped me learn a tad more about her:
life is a puzzle
you’re a piece in mine
i’m a piece in yours
the puzzle is always changing
always growing
when you don’t need something anymore
the puzzle changes
when you grow up and change
the puzzle grows
this puzzle is impossible
because it is still growing
still changing
and life is impossible
because the puzzle is
i stand there 
time is frozen
that’s all it is
me and the light
the old wood creaks
under my feet
the light is shining 
in my eyes
sweat trickling 
down my face
time to go where
few have ever gone
it feels weird in my hands
how if you push your fingertip onto
the surface slowly
it will crunch like snow
then surround your in a cloud like softness
you can rip it into little pieces so when the birds drop by
they will choke on those
weird little pieces
and the fibers that collect in your lap
you throw them up in the air and you tilt your head up and close your eyes and it just covers your face and you just want more and more
and then you spend a hour
trying to collect the pieces 
and fibers
and the choked bird corpses
and you wish you never took that styrofoam out in the first place
How are you with poetry? Do you appreciate other’s words or do you have a knack for it, yourself? 

I think I’ll pay a little more attention to poetry and its meanings. My experience reading Shel Silverstein can only get me so far in higher educated conversation.


  1. Mary says

    I love reading the poetry of young adults. You can learn so much about them that maybe they don't even know about themselves. Your daughter has a beautiful way of expressing herself.

  2. says

    Thank you for this, Mary. I know Annika is just starting, but how she expressed herself (she wrote 15 of them) showed me a lot. I hope as she grows, she continues so I can see what is going on inside that head. 🙂

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