The youth organization where I work hosts a poetry contest every summer, and each location is required to submit at least 25 entries by the deadline (this year, July 3). That puts the pressure on the staff to get the kids enthusiastic about something that smacks not of summer fun but of school-year work. Sometimes, we are reduced to small acts of bribery: "Finish your poem today, and you get a free ice cream!"
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon helping young poets start and complete their work. The theme is "What is Beauty?"--difficult enough for adults, more so for kids.
We have the following:
a haiku about the birth of sea turtles;and the one that gets me the most, though when the boy started working on it, it was just a description of flowers that left me flat:
a free verse reminding us that actions and character make us beautiful;
a description of summer, comparing the faint smell of barbecue to an elusive whitetail deer;
a list of beautiful things, such as a puppy's soft fur;
an immersion in the senses that ends "Beauty is in me";
a free-verse poem about the roses and sunflowers in his adoptive mother's garden, with tulips as pink as his birth mother's dress, and how beauty is mixing the soil and the fertilizer to help his new mom's garden grow.Sometimes, I wouldn't trade this job for anything.