Poetry Friday: Two poems about loss and healing

April 2nd, 2010

This week Randi Allison shares poems from two students who have experienced great loss in their lives. You can read the students’ own account of how their poems came to life and how at such a young age they were able to put their pain on paper.

Where I live in Colorado, everything is coming alive.  The flowers, trees and birds are awakening.  New life is everywhere.  Tulips and daffodils are blooming, calves are in abundance in our pastures, and baby chicks are hatching in our first grade classrooms.  The poems for this Poetry Friday are poems from two sixth grade boys.  The boys have many things in common: age, grade, teacher, and both boys have had a parent die.  Spring is the time for rebirth, foe renewal, for reflection and for this Poetry Friday, spring is the time for healing.  

I’d like to introduce you to Matthew and Nick whose poems have helped them on their journey of healing.

Matthew, age 11

In Matt’s own words:

 “It all started in class when I had to do my Christmas Cookie’s assignment from the book Christmas Cookies.  We had to choose a word and write what we were thinking.  The ‘cookie’ word I chose to write from was lonliness.  I first wrote about my friends from my old school that I left this school year to go to this new school.  I miss my friends so much and while I was writing I became overwhelmed with sadness. When I shared my piece with Mrs. A. and a couple of my classmates, Mrs. A. said, “This feels bigger than missing friends?”  My mom’s face popped in my head, I blurted out, “I always wanted for my whole life to call someone mom.” and I began to cry. Here I am a sixth grader crying like a baby.  My classmates supported me by being silent and listening to my sobs.  Mrs. A. then asked me if I was ready to dip into my writer’s well and do the ‘work’ of a writer.  She asked me to write from the place my tears were coming from.  I took the plunge, dipped into my writer’s well, and here is my first poem…”

I’ve always wanted
for my whole life
to call someone

I got to meet you
you left me so early.

I only remember
seeing Dad
cry and cry and cry
when you left us.

Every night laying in bed
I see
a picture of you
pushing me on a swing,
I cry myself to sleep.

Sometimes when I do something wrong,
I feel like you are here helping me live
through all my hard times.

I love you mom.

Nick, age 12

In Nick’s own words: “We were studying memoir poetry and immediately I knew what I was going to write about; my Dad.  I feel like when I write about him, even though he is gone, he feels like he is right there next to me.  I miss him every day.  My dad taught me everything I know and even though he is gone he is still right here.  Grieving over the last year and a half has grown different.  In the beginning every time I would write about him I would cry, but now almost two years later when I write about him I am brought to laughter and happiness.  It’s a fraction of my healing.  It’s difficult for me to share my writing aloud, but when I do my heart and soul is in less pain.  My written words bring me closer to him.  I am a different boy today than I was a month ago.  I chose to write my poem using no capitals or punctuation.  I like writing poetry because in poetry I can break the rules of writing.”

July 8, 2008
it hits me
i walk into a brick wall
he’s gone
no goodbye
it’s a fairytale
i can’t believe it
will he be home next week
no he’s gone
it’s like a hide-n-go-seek game
i can’t find him
he’s hiding too good
i look back
a great big smile on his face
JULY 8, 2008,


Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Patrick Allen  |  April 2nd, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Beautiful. I quoted Nick in “Conferring: The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop.” Now he’s not only a “book guy,” but a “writing guy” as well.

    Thanks Randi, for sharing the depth and the hope of these young men. Their words are wonderful.

Leave a Comment


Required, hidden

Some HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

New From Stenhouse

Most Recent Posts

Stenhouse Author Sites




Classroom Blogs