Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SOLSC Day 8 -- Pencils and Poetry (Take 2)

Slice of Life Story Challenge -- Day 8  #SOL17
Pencils and Poetry (Take 2)

     A 5th grade Language Arts class, where I was 'pushing in' two days ago, had just begun a lesson on poetry. The teacher had assigned the students, as a sort of pretest, to write a poem. She gave the students specific instructions as to how many lines the poem should have, but left the topic of the poem open for each of the students to decide.

     One of the students was having trouble choosing a topic. I tried to encourage her. "What do you feel like writing about?" I asked her. "You can write a poem about anything." She looked at me rather doubtfully. "You can!" I continued. "You can write a poem about anything at all. You can write a poem about a pencil if you want to!"

     Fast forward to the next day. I was recalling that conversation, and it occurred to me that I need to practice what I preach. Can a poem be written about a pencil? I decided that if I were going to tell a student that it can be done, I for sure had better be able to do it. So, here I am today, putting my money where my mouth is:

Oh, lowly pencil,
Simple writing tool.
We take you for granted.
We tap you on tables,
or even nibble on you.
We use you, we lose you,
we discard you when you're old and worn.
You deserve better treatment
than what you get.
is taking away your importance;
The demand for you is down.
But fear not, humble pencil....
You will always be needed somewhere.
ALWAYS, my trusty old friend.

JudyK  March 8, 2017


  1. I had to come to your post today because I read your teaser at Two Writing Teachers. ;-) Yes, technology can be frustrating! However, a pencil has just as much power, if not more! I love practicing what I preach to my young writers. This challenge makes me do that, and I see that it does you, too. I love your ode! I like how your structure with just one adjective per line at the top mimics the length of a pencil.

  2. The poem is so fun and I really enjoyed the story that leads me to your pencil poem. My favorite part - Simple writing tool.
    Smooth. It just rolls off the tongue.....

  3. You are in good company. Carl Sandburg wrote a poem about pencils:

    Pencils by Carl Sandburg

    telling where the wind comes from
    open a story.

    telling where the wind goes
    end a story.

    These eager pencils
    come to a stop
    .. only .. when the stars high over
    come to a stop.

    Out of cabalistic to-morrows
    come cryptic babies calling life
    a strong and a lovely thing.
    I have seen neither these
    nor the stars high over
    come to a stop.
    Neither these nor the sea horses
    running with the clocks of the moon.
    Nor even a shooting star
    snatching a pencil of fire
    writing a curve of gold and white.
    Like you .. I counted the shooting stars of a winter
    night and my head was dizzy with all
    of them calling one by one:

    Look for us again.

  4. Wow, that's cool, Adrienne! Carl Sandburg's poem is so much more eloquent than mine....just an observation haha. ;-)

  5. Wow, Judy, what a great ode to a pencil. I loved the lines: "We use you, we lose you,
    we discard you when you're old and worn."

    That's for sure.

    Great model, and I hope you got a chance to share it with the student you were inspiring.

    Here's to writing,


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