A Poetry Lesson
“
I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more—
that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my
face looks green?
My leg is cut—my eyes are blue—
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke—
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is—what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”
“Sick” by Shel Silverstein, from
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Ode
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Old form of poetry
Invented by Pindar
Greece, 500 BC
Celebrated Athletic
victories (like Olympics)
Pablo Neruda
(1904-1976)
Chilean Poet
Ode
Praised ordinary things:
onions, apples, ironing, laziness, a spoon
Oda a los calcetines
Ode to My Socks
by Pablo Neruda, Margaret Sayers Peden translation
Me trajo Maru Mori
un par
de calcetines
que tejió con sus manos
de pastora,
dos calcetines suaves
como liebres.
En ellos
metí los pies
como en dos estuches
tejidos
con hebras del
crepúsculo
y pellejo de ovejas.
Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
knitted with her own
shepherd’s hands,
two socks soft
as rabbits.
I slipped
my feet into them
as if
into
jewel cases
woven
with threads of
dusk
and sheep’s wool.
Violentos calcetines,
mis pies fueron
dos pescados
de lana,
dos largos tiburones
de azul ultramarine
atravesados
por una trenza de oro,
dos gigantescos mirios,
dos cañones:
mis pies
fueron honorados
de este modo
por
estos
celestials
calcetines.
Audacious socks,
my feet became
two woolen
fish,
two long sharks
of lapis blue
shot
with a golden thread,
two mammoth blackbirds,
two cannons:
thus honored
were
my
feet
by these
celestial
socks.
Eran
tan hermosos
que por primera vez
mis pies me parecieron
inaceptables
como dos decrépitos
bomberos, bomberos,
indignos
de aquel fuego
bordado,
de aquellos luminosos
calcetines.
Sin embargo
resistí
la tentación aguda
de guardarios
como los colegiales
preservan
las luciérnagas,
como los eruditos
coleccionan
documentos sagrados,
They were
so beautiful
that for the first time
my feet seemed
unacceptable to me,
two tired old
fire fighters,
not worthy
of the woven
fire,
of those luminous
socks.
Nonetheless,
I resisted
the strong temptation
to save them
the way schoolboys
bottle
fireflies,
the way scholars
hoard
sacred documents,
resistí
el impulse furioso
de ponerlos
en una jaula
de oro
y darles cada día
alpiste
y pulpa de melon Rosado.
Como descubridores
que en la selva
entregan el rarísimo
venado verde
al asador
y se lo comen
con remordimiento,
estiré
los pies
y me enfundé
los
bellos
calcetines
y
luego los zapatos.
I resisted
the wild impulse
to place them
in a cage
of gold
and daily feed them them
birdseed
and rosy melon flesh.
Like explorers
who in the forest
surrender a rare
and tender deer
to the spit
and eat it
with remorse,
I stuck out
my feet
and pulled on
the
handsome
socks,
and
then my shoes.
Y es ésta
la moral de mi oda:
dos veces es belleza
la belleza
y lo que es bueno es
doblemente
bueno
cuado se trata de dos
calcetines
de lana
en el invierno.
So this is
the moral of my ode:
twice beautiful
is beauty
and what is good is doubly
good
when it is a case of two
woolen socks
in wintertime.
What makes Neruda’s poem work?
What were some of your favorite words in
the poem?
What were the images in the poem?
What are some examples of sensory details?
Writing your own Ode
• Make a list of ordinary objects that you
might praise in an ode.
• Choose one that you feel strongly about.
• What does your object look like? Smell
like? Sound like? Remind you of?
More suggestions
• Describe the subject inside and out.
• Exaggerate its admirable qualities until it seems
to become central to human existence.
• Tap all five senses.
• Use metaphors and similes.
• Keep the lines short.
• Use strong language that packs a punch.
Oregon 8th Grade LA Benchmarks
• Identify significant literary devices, such as simile,
metaphor, personification, symbolism, dialect, and irony
which define a writer’s style.
• Evaluated how well literary elements contribute to the
overall effectiveness of a selection.
• Create compositions that engage the reader…
• Use descriptive language that clarifies and enhances
ideas by establishing tone and mood through figurative
language, sensory images and comparisons.
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