Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Poetry Stretch - School Supplies

There's nothing better then getting poetry in your inbox on a daily basis. So, given my love for all things school-related, I was particularly thrilled that this week's American Life in Poetry included a poem ostensibly about a school supply every child needs.
by Daniel J. Langton 
I was sent home the first day
with a note: Danny needs a ruler.
My father nodded, nothing seemed so apt.
School is for rules, countries need rulers,
graphs need graphing, the world is straight ahead. 
Read the poem in its entirety.
This got me thinking about the movie You've Got Mail and this note sent by Joe Fox.
"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. "

Yes, I ADORE New York in the fall, but I also LOVE school supplies (not the shopping so much). Honestly, have you met a teacher that isn't enamored of the newest twist on colored pencils? Or crayons? I'm quite intrigued by the poetry of Joe Fox's "bouquet of newly sharpened pencils."

Your challenge this week is come up with some poetic turn of your own for some deserving school supply. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday. 


  1. Crayons I would Like To Have

    Mother Goose Right Wing White.
    Princess Striped Dress Pink.
    Knight’s Old Chain Mail Grey.
    Pirate's Golden Clink.

    Humpty D’s Inner Yellow
    Simple Simon's Apple Pie.
    Cheshire Cat’s Cardomon Grin.
    Easter Egg Red Dye.

    Little Mermaid’s Ocean Green.
    Gabled Anne’s Red Hair.
    Little Boy‘s Bluesy Horn.
    And no—I won’t share.

    © Jane Yolen 2012 All rights reserved

  2. Oh, I'd like to have those crayons, too!

    Miss writing with you, Tricia - super busy doing this stupid move; hope to come back soon!

  3. So good, Jane! And a couple of those are nicely creepy--poor Humpty!

  4. My favorite poem about school supplies is Kristine O’Connell George’s “September” (from The Great Frog Race). Here’s mine:

    First Day

    I have pencils, yellow
    like a school bus.
    I have markers—
    rainbow hasn’t gone dry.
    A TV commercial lunchbox,
    paper creeping in blue lines.
    Pink erasers like baby mice.
    I check everything twice.
    And sigh.
    What I want to know is why
    I can’t buy a girl to sit
    at my desk and smile big.
    Someone the other kids
    will smile back at.
    Instead they say “pig”
    and “oink-oink-oink” softly
    so the teacher won’t hear.
    I feel the fear rise
    up in my chest.
    “Yeah, Mom, I guess
    I have everything.”
    Everything you can see.
    School supplies? Why
    can’t I buy a new me?

    —Kate Coombs, 2012
    all rights reserved

    1. Oooh, good poem, Kate--so sad.

    2. Julie--Just saw your note, thanks! I made myself sad writing it: poor kid!

  5. Here's one I wrote about crayons.. Hope you enjoy!


    I love my box of crayons.
    I use them very much
    I doodle, draft, design and draw.
    I have an artist’s touch.

    I finished up the orange
    the day before today.
    The yellow, brown, and purple ones
    have somewhere gone astray.

    My sister ate the green one.
    I've just run out of red.
    The black was borrowed by the mouse
    that dwells beneath my bed.

    I love my box of crayons,
    though they're in short supply.
    Now all I have is half a blue.
    I guess I'll draw the sky.

  6. SWAG


    Or as I call them
    Paper holders.


    Or as I call them
    Writing utensils.

    A new
    Book bag

    When it comes
    to supplies

    I have
    the coolest swag.

    (c) Charles Waters 2012 all rights reserved.

  7. From the pink Post-its:

    Pen me, peel me,
    post me
    prominently for
    perfection in

  8. A New Pencil Eraser

    Flat-topped, flamingo-pink and flexible,
    Yet to obliterate a single loop or line,
    Of my mistakes.
    Won’t last longg.

  9. SLEW

    Thirteen sharpened pencils,
    lie neatly in a row,
    each point facing forward,
    they look all set to go.

    Check around the classroom,
    see other pencils too,
    no one has as much as me,
    I sure do have a slew.

    Johnny hasn't any,
    no school supplies in sight,
    I hand him one of my thirteen,
    just so he can write.

    © Carol Weis 2012, all rights reserved

  10. If wishes were sailboats…

    If my little desk
    were a seafaring boat,
    I’d scour the world
    for a magical tent—
    on a mist-covered
    moor—where I’d
    play with the monkeys
    and tickle the goats,
    sing to the finches
    on my little boat.

    I’d zigzag to China,
    I’d climb the Great Wall—
    then slip into Yemen
    for summer and fall.
    I’d winter in Turkey,
    explore Istanbul,
    then drift up to
    Deutschland for
    spaetzle and gruel.
    I’d travel by moonlight
    bathe in the sea,
    meander to Lisbon
    for lemons and ghee.

    When it was springtime,
    I’d float back to school,
    tell everyone, everywhere—
    school is so cool!

    (c) juliekrantz, 2012. All rights reserved.