“Small Thing” Poems from School

The dog and his manCreative Commons License Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu via Compfight

We’ve begun to write “small thing” poems in class using Valerie Worth’s poems as mentors.

Thought I’d post some of the ones I wrote as mentors for the kids along with the short free-writes (I call those DISCOVERY WRITING) that I used to generate ideas for them.

Here is a link to the Google Doc that I used to help explore “small thing” poetry.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

DISCOVERY WRITING: blank paper. There is nothing quite like that feeling of a blank piece of paper, or a blank computer screen just before writing. I am scared of that, but, if the paper is like a farm field in the winter, then maybe I can plant something in that “field” when I start “ploughing” away?

blank paper

This piece of blank paper
sits on the table
like a snow covered field
waiting to be planted.

First letters grow into words,
words grow to sentences,
and sentences become stories
that give food for the heart.


*swift, cunning, smart, intent, focussed
DISCOVERY WRITING: Fox…I think of a video that I once saw of a fox hunting.

I want to catch that intensity in the poem. I wonder how I can create this intensity? I read a poem once that used very short sentences to help create a feeling of anticipation. I might try that to help me.


Fox cocks his ears
blinks his eyes
and hears
beneath the snow
a vole scurrying.

Stop. Crouch.
Lean. Leap.
Jump. Thump.

He buries his nose
and snaps.


Dog collar
DISCOVERY WRITING. Dog collar – old and stained, but I remember when I first got it. Now has been on the necks of two different dogs. Was worn by the first one when he died. The second one is very old now and I am thinking of the good times we’ve had together.

dog collar

A dog collar
woven tight,
bright blue
smelling new,

around the
dog’s neck
grows old,
picks up
the stains
of life.


telephone pole
DISCOVERY WRITING. telephone pole. Simile: a telephone pole can look so tied down like a person filled with worries and fear. Sometimes, though, the telephone pole can seem to sprint on by like someone who is on a quest. Maybe I’ll play with that idea of being stuck and then free? Personification might be the way to go…I could have the telephone pole “be” a person who is stuck and then finds freedom…?

telephone pole

you stand,
feet buried
deep in clay,
your arms
tied by thick
heavy wires.

But sometimes,
when I glance up
from my own
down the road,
I see
you sprint
past me –
and free.