Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Poetry Stretch - Homework

Graduation was yesterday, so for two blissful weeks I will be without homework. There will be no papers to grade, no lessons to prepare, no reports to write. Come this time of year I am tired of the homework. For my friends in public schools and all their darling students, they feel this weariness as well. Given this, I thought it might be a fine time to write a poem about homework.

So, there's your challenge. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Homework

    My teacher assigned me to write a report
    on the habits of honeybees.

    I wish she had asked about habits of kids—
    I know a lot more about these.

    For example, "Please tell where the animal lives."
    I know just where kids can be found.

    They spend time in classrooms, or on monkey bars,
    dangling their heads upside down.

    What do they eat? Hamburgers with catsup,
    or pizza, taquitos, and chips.

    Plus ten kinds of candy and slurpies and slushees
    that give them strange colors of lips.

    We have to report on communication,
    and kids do a whole lot of that.

    "No, you can't make me go to the dentist!"
    Plus meowing right back at the cat.

    Behavior: kids play on computers and text
    or spend time interacting with balls.

    They can also be seen with markers of green
    writing words on the living room walls.

    Too many people write about bees
    and their boring behavior in the wild.

    But I would be happy to write a report
    on the habits of the human child.

    --Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved

  2. What fun, Kate! Now I am going to be observing the habits of my own children and imagining them as report fodder. It's especially funny because students are always writing reports including these exact headings!

    Homework Spot

    I have a desk up in my room
    with a lamp
    a drawer
    and a chair.
    It's quiet.
    No one interrupts
    but I can't do homework there.

    I work at a table in our kitchen
    with everyone around --
    Mom making dinner
    dog on my feet.
    I ask
    "How does this sound?"

    Everyone listens
    as I read my poem
    or my problems
    from math
    that day.
    You might work at a desk
    in your room
    but I like to be in the way.

    © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

    By Steven Withrow

    No ravenous dog.
    No Martian invasion.
    No thirty-mile slog
    To a family occasion.
    No sudden swine flu.
    No CIA visit.
    I’d homework to do.
    You wonder, “Where is it?”

    No grandmother died.
    No nibbled by mouses.
    No night trapped inside
    The most haunted of houses.
    No transformer crashed
    Blacking out my whole block.
    No asteroid smashed
    Shelling me such a shock
    That the part of my head
    Where I store my assignments
    Was tattered to shreds
    And knocked out of alignment.
    No bully’s reprisal.
    No baby bro’s vomit.
    No search of the skies
    For a hundred-year comet.
    No freak springtime snow.
    No lottery winnings.
    No open bus window.
    No game past nine innings.
    You say, “Give it here.
    No lies. No excuses.”
    Is this the cold fear
    That NO HOMEWORK induces?

  4. Home Work

    Reading Log: Friday 6:35 am
    The Great Brain, Chapter One
    Read "The Magic Water Closet"
    out loud in the bathroom
    while first-grader
    with mercenary tendencies soaks
    filthy fingernails in the tub.

    Upper Elementary Media Studies: Saturday 8:30 pm
    In 90 minutes, conceive, cast, script, make up and costume four amateur actors for a short film entitled "Small Talk: the YouTube talk show about everything too insignificant to matter!" Extra credit for including a theme song to the tune of "Heart and Soul."

    Advanced Logistics: Saturday, 10 am
    If travel time from home to
    Camp Open House Destination A
    is 30 minutes and travel time from there to
    Camp Open House Destination B
    is an additional 20 minutes,
    and if Soccer Game A begins at 1:30
    and Soccer Game B begins at 12:50,
    1)how many cars are needed,
    2)which Camp Open House Destination should be visited first, and
    3)at what time should each Parent-Child pair depart for soccer?

    Math Basic Facts: Sunday 12:20 pm
    Mother's Day Smoked Salmon Spread
    12 ounces smoked salmon =
    16 ounces cream cheese.
    Our smoked salmon says "NET WT 4 OZ".
    How much cream cheese should we use,
    which of the half-dozen plants
    in the herb garden is the dill,
    and where does the Wizard of Oz
    come in?

  5. Ha! Wonderful poems so far! On school visits, I always share with kids the writing homework my editor gave me that I wasn't too thrilled about. So that's the homework I wrote a poem about:

    Homework: Become a Snake

    My editor said,
    “Write a poem
    about this picture”

    Slithery snake
    wearing a sly smile…
    two tiny pink mouse feet
    and one whip-slip tail
    disappearing down
    the snake’s throat

    Couldn’t I just conjugate
    “to swallow” in Latin?

    Or write a 500-word report
    on the habits and habitats of corn snakes?

    Or diagram snake anatomy,
    including spine and stomach, heart and fang?

    But I am a writer, a poet, a magician.

    I must be the snake,
    undulate my muscles across fields,
    soak August sun into my scales,
    and feel the crunch of fragile mouse inside my mouth

    and like it

    --Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

    ©By Mary Nida Smith

    Ah, Mom
    Not again tonight.
    I know,
    You told me before
    If I do all my homework
    I’ll be smarter tomorrow.

    Ah, Mom
    I am already smart.
    I don’t have time,
    There is much
    To do outside
    Like exploring
    And learning
    About nature.

    Ah, Mom
    Can’t I have any fun?
    Yes, Mom, I’ll hurry
    I’ll do my homework
    So, I’ll be smarter

    Ah, Mom
    When I grow up
    I’ll never do homework.
    I’ll play and explore
    While I tell
    My kids that story,
    Do your homework
    You’ll be smarter tomorrow.

    Ah, Mom
    Not again!

  7. A tanka:

    his pencil breaks...
    he slips out of his seat
    to hug the dog
    and to be reassured that
    he's still a good boy

  8. Very funny stuff! It's amazing how central homework is to our lives--even now. (Lesson planning definitely feels like homework, for example.) And Amy, parent as anthropologist sounds most entertaining!

  9. Coming Soon (I Hope)
    By Liz Korba

    Someway, somewhere, someday
    I know
    They’ll make a homework pen.
    Someway, somewhere, someday
    For sure -
    (Can hardly wait ‘til then.)
    And YES
    I will be buying one
    Somehow, right there, that day.
    This pen will do my homework –
    Oh, at last, free time to play!