Friday, February 04, 2011

Things to Do If You Are a Mole: An Original List Poem

I’ve written dozens of “things to do” poems. One of them, Things to Do If You Are a Pencil, was published in the anthology Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems, which was edited by Georgia Heard.

Things to Do If You are a Pencil

Be sharp.
Wear a slick yellow suit
and a pink top hat.
Tap your toes on the tabletop,
listen for the right rhythm,
then dance a poem
across the page.

I enjoy writing "things to do" poems….thinking about what life might be like for inanimate objects, animals, elements of nature, etc. The poems can be thought of as poems of address--apostrophe--in which I speak to pencils and moles and the rain and the sun...or just as someone daydreaming about and personifying the subjects of the poems.
I’ve selected one of my personal favorite “things to do” poems for posting today.

Things to Do If You Are a Mole
By Elaine Magliaro
Make your home
in the damp darkness
unknowing of snow
and stars
and summer breezes.
Live among roots
and rocks
and sleeping cicadas.
Excavate tunnels
in the moist brown earth.
Listen for the soft music
of seeds sprouting,
worms wiggling,
rain pattering on your grassy roof.
Spend your days in a world
of unending night.

Here are three “things to do” poems about space that were written by my elementary students in 1998:
Things to Do If You Are the Sun
by Teddy B.

Explode your fiery volcanoes.
Reach your flaming arches
millions of miles into space.
Show off your sunspots.
Heat up your solar system.
Shine on the planets for
billions of years.
let your light give life to Earth.
Spin all the planets around you.
Don’t let the planets
get lost in space.

by Joey G.
Spin around the Earth.
Come out in the evening.
Put on your silver dress
and dance in the night sky.
Shimmer like a pearl.

What to Do If You Are the Sun
by Lila M.

Shine on the planets
and their moons.
Give Earth dawn and dusk.
Stretch out your arms of light
and wake people up in the morning.
Hug Earth with your warmth
and help living things grow.
Show off your glorious crown
during a solar eclipse.

At Wild Rose Reader, you find my post Shadows on Snow: Revisiting an Old Poem.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Dori Reads.


Brimful Curiosities said...

My kindergarten daughter liked these poems. Here's her contribution

Things to do if you're a cat:

Scratch the table hard.
Run and run until it's time to rest
then purr when people pet you
then time to eat.
When the day is over
rest and sleep.

Elaine Magliaro said...


My second grade students enjoyed writing "things to do" poems. Tell your daughter I like her poem. Do you have a cat? My cat Abby is the loudest purrer I've ever heard.

Brimful Curiosities said...

We do have a cat and he is a loud purrer as well! As you can probably tell from the poem, he is also old and very lazy.