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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Family - Family Matters

Young teens' poetry surprises teacher
Rating: 3.63 / 5 (54 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Jun 02 - 02:56

Good Sport Poem

By Joey

Test of agility

Running and wits

Let's just hope

The helmet fits

When down to the wire

And a few seconds left

Let it fly and hope

It's caught by your guy.

When Lou Capozzoli told the 7th graders in his reading class they were going to write poetry, no one was very enthusiastic. First of all, they'd had to

write poetry in their language arts class. It seemed like hard work, to

write a boring poem. Now, they had twice the work to do. And although Mr. Capozzoli (fondly known as Mr. Cap by his students) had read them poems written by famous poets like Robert Frost, the middle school students didn't really see what good could come of more writing.

In spite of their dismay, to mark National Poetry Month in April, the 25

"advanced" reading students were assigned to write five poems, submitted in booklet form. Mr. Cap gave his students titles to write from, for three poems and allowed them free reign on the other two.

He asked that there be an underlying message in each poem and for the poems to reveal something 'extra'. They also had to include some form of alliteration, simile, metaphor, personification and onomatopoeia in their poems. After 38 years of teaching, the veteran teacher thought he had seen it all. What the kids turned in was amazing.

With many newspapers filled with a focus on youth gone bad, a class of kids writing poetry might seem mighty lame. But, the kids, half of them boys,

found that there was nothing unmanly or uncool, about writing, or learning about, poetry.

My seventh grade son, one of Mr. Cap's students, never shared with me that he had a poetry writing assignment until it was time to turn them in. Late the night before they were due, I discovered his book of written and edited


Says Jake, "When Mr. Cap told us we were going to write poems and then he gave us the title of the first poem, 'Well-Worn Eraser,' I thought it was kind of dumb, writing a poem about an eraser." The kids came up with poetry that impressed Mr. Cap.

From Jake:

Like a ferocious lion, devouring trembling prey

Then leaves tiny shreds, the animal's carcass

Leaving words' smallest pieces

Making things nothing.

From Joey:

Whipping and whirling till all is gone

An eraser must take everything along

Shows no mercy.

An eraser

Take things that were and make them no longer.

By the time the class was writing poems on subjects they had picked themselves, like Joey's poem about football printed above, their literary skills were well-honed.

Jake and Joey agreed that they found it easier to express themselves in

writing than aloud. "You don't have to fear people laughing at what you say

because it's not right; it's just your opinion and you can say whatever you

want," says Jake.

"As I read the poems", says Mr. Cap,

"I was astonished. The kids wrote about everything from hurricanes and floods, to hunger for love, for acceptance and sometimes even the swollen bellies of malnourished babies.

They wrote about their dreams and aspirations, the hopes that life would be good and fear that it would not be. Some poems dealt with personal tragedy and loss so profound, it put tears in my eyes."

Following are more poems from Mr. Cap's class:

Her World

By Kiersten

She looks at the world as a prison,

Holding her back from someplace greater.

As an extra push towards her extinction,

And as a thief seeking her sanity.

She sees those around her as

Fakers, masked with lies

As another nail in her coffin,

And as the blade grazing her skin.

Her days so filled with thoughts of leaving,

Hopes of someplace better,

Dreams of ending pain,

A desire to let it all go.

The Battle

By Brian

Both sides sleep

It is calm

The storm will break

At dawn in 'morrow.

The men all know

What was going on

Officers in their tents

Planning their deaths.

Some prayed, some wept

But all were scared.

Guns cleaned, boots polished.

All for what the 'morrow brings

Bam went the cannons

Bang went the guns

Men fell on both sides

Dawn had come.


By Jake

Same tired thing we just can't get it right

Timing fleeing from us, taunting us as well

Understanding becomes impossible

Punishment for nothing

It's unfair, teach nothing, expect something?

Don't blame us, for it's not our fault

If something doesn't make sense, show us

Teach us, our minds are willing

You must let us learn- HELP!

Summer's Wonders

By Katie

Summer's breeze blowing away

Waves gently washing ashore

Soft sand between my toes

Light blue sky above my head

There is nothing that you should dread

Except..the winds of change

Winds start blowing very hard

Clouds' quick movements in the sky,

Darkness now above my head

Here comes summer's dread.

Waves are crashing far and wide,

No more singing birds up high.

Everyone should run for cover

This is a wild wonder.

Windows breaking near and far

Winds out of control

Rain is pounding down so hard

Happiness seems so far.

Sounds like monster outside the house,

Neighborhoods blowing away.

Darkness and horror everywhere,

Even during the day.

All at once silence comes,

As eerie as can bee.

Devastation everywhere,

Hard to believe.

Summer's worst has been along

A horrible, dreaded beast.

Danger, darkness, damned and deep

This monster had a feast.

Summer's breeze blowing away,

Everything calm again.

Waves are talking and they say:

"The beast will never sleep."


By Christa

Dark clouds of trouble; stalking

Shakes you while you're walking

No heart, no mercy

Takes souls without even a curtsy.

Comes for old or young

Impossible to fight with a gun

Takes you to a special place

So you can meet the head face.

People cry at your wake

'Twas such a happy day at the lake

Then it was done, you're gone

Nothing left except your song

More will follow, too

One day I'll see you

For it has no heart, no mercy

Takes souls without even a curtsey.

Sue-Ellen Sanders writes about family issues every week in the Hometown News. Contact her at tothemoon@bellsouth.net.

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