Poetry Friday: Straight Line by Georgia Heard

October 23rd, 2009

This week’s poem, Straight Line, comes from Georgia Heard. Georgia and coauthor Jennifer McDonough are wrapping up a three-blog book tour later today at Carol’s Corner. Earlier in the week, they stopped by A Year of Reading and Miss Rumphius Effect to answer questions about their book, A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades.

Georgia and Jen will be conducting a live webcast on Monday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. EST. If you are interested in participating, e-mail zmcmullin@stenhouse.com

Straight Line
by Georgia Heard

All the kindergarteners
walk to recess and back
in a perfectly straight line
no words between them.
They must stifle their small voices,
their laughter, they must
stop the little skip in their walk,
they must not dance or hop
or run or exclaim.
They must line up
at the water fountain
straight, and in perfect form,
like the brick wall behind them.
One of their own given the job
of informer – guard of quiet,
soldier of stillness.
If they talk
or make a sound
they will lose their stars.
Little soldiers marching to and from
pretend
their hair sweaty
from escaping dinosaurs
their hearts full of loving the world
and all they want to do
is shout it out
at the top of their lungs.
When they walk back to class
they must quietly
fold their pretends into pockets,
must dam the river of words,
ones they’re just learning,
new words that hold the power
to light the skies, and if they don’t
a star is taken away.
One star
by one star
until night grows dark and heavy
while they learn to think carefully
before skipping,
before making a wish.

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Susan Gunelius  |  November 6th, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing it. My triplets are in kindergarten and this poem brought tears to my eyes.

  • 2. Bobbi  |  February 18th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Ouch!! This one really hits home.

  • 3. Mackenzie  |  April 6th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I really like this poem! I love poetry and I think that poetry should always be included in the classroom. I want to teach kindergarten so I like this one especially. I can’t wait to work with younger kids and see how wonderfully they develop as learners.

  • 4. Creating a Digital Poem: &hellip  |  April 6th, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    […] own choosing. I chose to digitize Georgia Heard’s poem “Straight Line” (full text here). In doing so, and in wanting to do the poem and its author justice, I had to reread the poem […]

  • 5. UNSTRAIGHTENED | Eduk8te&&hellip  |  August 28th, 2015 at 8:04 am

    […] Indeed I do. It’s a poem I sent to her when she began teaching kindergarten a few years back. STRAIGHT LINE , by the magical Georgia Heard, breaks my heart every time I read it. And I can’t help feeling […]

  • 6. Robin O. Cochran  |  February 23rd, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    I really like your poem, Georgia. I taught special needs preschoolers and tried to allow freedom while preparing them for the straight paths found in school. I was looking for a post or poem with straight in it. Lovely poem and really enjoyed this. Keeping the stars shining, I hope you are. . .

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