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Sasha's poetry corner
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:05 am    Post subject: Sasha's poetry corner Reply with quote

How many of us use poetry in the classroom? Wordsworth? Haiku? How do we exploit poems for EFL learners? Do students appreciate this, or not? It's an area I'm interested in, so I hope some other tender souls are too, and a discussion can develop.

To start off, here's a poem I like to use with some of my groups:


HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats


Language points here are modals, conditionals etc., but students seem to respond very well to discussions based on the theme - i.e. dreams and hopes for the future, relationships. Only a few words need pre-teaching, 'embroidered'; 'enwrought'. Funnily enough, nobody seems to see the poem's rhyme is very simple, yet effective - 'light' rhymes with... 'light'! Feet with feet etc.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Russian teacher used this poem by Esenin in one of our lessons. Can't remember the aim of the lesson, but do remember enjoying it. : )



БЕРЕЗА

Белая береза
Под моим окном
Принакрылась снегом,
Точно серебром.

На пушистых ветках
Снежною каймой
Распустились кисти
Белой бахромой.

И стоит береза
В сонной тишине,
И горят снежинки
В золотом огне.

А заря, лениво
Обходя кругом,
Обсыпает ветки
Новым серебром.




THE BIRCH-TREE

Just below My window
Stands a birch-tree White,
Under Snow in Winter
gleaming Bright Silver.

On the fluffy branches
in a row Sparkling
Dangle Tassels Pretty
Of the purest Snow.

There the birch in Silence
Slumbers all day Long
And the Snow gleams Brightly
In the Golden sun.

And the dawn demurely
Going on it's Rounds
With a Silver mantle
Decks again the boughs.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This elicits all types of reactions from students in Moscow. Good discussions follow.


kumrads die because they're told)

kumrads die because they're told)
kumrads die before they're old
(kumrads aren't afraid to die
kumrads don't
and kumrads won't
believe in life)and death knows whie

(all good kumrads you can tell
by their altruistic smell
moscow pipes good kumrads dance)
kumrads enjoy
s.freud knows whoy
the hope that you may mess your pance

every kumrad is a bit
of quite unmitigated hate
(travelling in a futile groove
god knows why)
and so do i
(because they are afraid to love
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12473
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sasha,

Don't want you to get too lonely here:

The Other

I saw a flower in the dirt,
lying where it once had grown
and wondered why I should feel hurt
for something I had never known.

I saw a fish upon the land;
it struggled and it fought for breath
then, when its mouth was stopped with sand,
I was diminished by its death

I saw a bird upon the wing
fall suddenly out of the sky
its death seemed such a little thing
until I felt my own self die

I saw another cry in pain,
it made me turn away to run
but then I stopped to look again
and knew I was the other one.


Regards,
John
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Johnslat

Excellent! Thanks very much.

Who's the poet? We'd better attribute them. I always forgot to do so with the e e cummings poem above, tsk tsk.

But perhaps yours was self-penned?

S
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12473
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sasha,


"But perhaps yours was self-penned?" Yup Very Happy

Regards,
John
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Johnslat

Well then we are doubly privileged, and doubly grateful.

Evidence of Russian soul in those lines - you sure you don't have any blood of the Motherland in your veins...?

S
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How many of us use poetry in the classroom? Wordsworth? Haiku? How do we exploit poems for EFL learners? Do students appreciate this, or not? It's an area I'm interested in, so I hope some other tender souls are too, and a discussion can develop.



I've never had an opportunity to use poetry in a classroom, but I wonder whether it would make a neat and interesting gap-fill creative exercise. A sort of skeletal framework could be quite helpful with teaching adjectives or emotive language, for example: what words could you choose to fill in that would create a sad/nostalgic/philosophical/adventurous/humourous mood for the piece? Then, students could go on to find (and perhaps write) their own examples, thereby learning more about how language and expressing mood are linked...
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12473
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear spiral78,

I use poetry in every Transitions (high-level) class, often Robert Frost, or, if I'm feeling mean Twisted Evil Emily Dickinson, and a few others.

Here's one of my favorites; I think I may use it this semester:

The Waking (1953)
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke

Regards,
John
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1825
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used this poem with a student, along with "I wandered lonely as a cloud" by Wordsworth. The student preferred this one! I'll leave you to guess the poet.

‘Twas fate that brought me to this land
Or else, the will of God's great hand
To speak the truth that you hold dear
A precious chance to flourish here
And that will is a beauteous thing
Whose golden rhyme the angels sing
To ease the weary traveler’s load
And set him on a straighter road.

Though troubled times may burden me
And ties that bind won't set me free
Your love is constant, fair and true
My every breath, I owe to you
To keep and hold you, as I vowed
Beneath the cross, in voice aloud
For rich or poor, when ailments strike
For better, worse, two states alike.

When evening falls, the chill will bite
But love’s awake, a potent light
The flame may flicker in the breeze
To bring the lovers to their knees
But that we have will make us tall
And let us see the demons fall
When morning comes, we rise above
The gath'ring rain-clouds, buoyed by love.

And so, when daggers pierce your heart
We, being together, feel apart
Remember dear, the angel’s song
That keeps us close and rights the wrong
A godly gift bestowed by chance
A living dream, a courtly dance
And when the angels go to sleep
Their gift is yours and mine to keep.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12473
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Phil_K


Very nice - you have considerable talent.

http://www.poetfreak.com/text/28642/the-angels-song.html

Regards,
John
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bravo!
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1825
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muchas thanks! I just dabble. But if you're interested, follow johnslat's link above, click on my name and you'll find an archive with 80 more!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post a few more up, with any details of their classroom use. If you are happy to do so, of course.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9353
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recite this one to myself after a hard day at school while opening a bottle of the water of life.

Don't fuss, don't act with worried zest!..
Let madness seek, let folly rage;
Cure daily wounds with sleep and rest,
And let each morrow fill its page.

Live, and be able to outlive
Both grief and joy, and all you've got.
What to desire? For what to grieve?
A day is over - and thank God!

- F. I. Tyutchev

Не рассуждай, не хлопочи!..
Безумство ищет, глупость судит;
Дневные раны сном лечи,
А завтра быть чему, то будет.

Живя, умей все пережить:
Печаль, и радость, и тревогу.
Чего желать? О чем тужить?
День пережит - и слава богу!

- Федор Иванович Тютчев
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