Posted in School, Takes a Village

The Poetic Soul of the Tween

dedicated to Ann Gengarelly, Poetry Teacher Extraordinaire

Having two children, five years apart, enables me to witness the wheel of time in motion.  From my 7 year old’s absolute exuberance for life with, “Hey Mom, there’s MY POETRY teacher!” to my 12 year old’s developmentally aligned after-school moans when poetry day comes around again, “I haaaate poetry!”

But this Saturday I find my pre-teen running to the office for scrap paper to write down a haiku that has popped into his mind-

bottom of the ninth
a high fly ball to left field
the players walk off

Feeling uncertain about whether he’s gotten the syllables right, he digs up the book he received for Christmas entitled, “Baseball Haiku,” only to discover that the authors have used all different forms. Frustrated by this freedoom of expression, he turns to “The Mother Dictionary” (so proclaimed by his sixth grade teacher) and settles for its authoritative definition before scribbling another:

a high fly to left
left fielder shields his eyes
the ball disappears

This sudden poetic urge has interrupted his preparations for a friend’s birthday party so my husband suggests “poetry” as a gift.  Skepticism moves in like clouds across my son’s face and then is transformed into lighted purpose as he dashes off for more paper.

Harry Potter haiku is born along with other reflections of shared moments between friends like, “Walking into walls.”  He laughs at this syllabic inside joke, pleased that we don’t understand its meaning.

This is all hush, hush, of course.  If he knew that I was celebrating his poetic spirit, he would immediately extinguish it.  And yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t (covertly) let his poetry teacher know that her work lives on– even in dubious, scoffing pre-adolescent minds.

Kelly Salasin, 2008

To read more about the extraordinary work of Poetry Teacher, Ann Gengarelly, click here.


Lifelong educator, writer, retreat & journey leader, yoga & yogadance instructor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s