Odes: NPM #16

Today my students were introduced to odes. We began with the picture book, Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and His Muse by Alexandria Giardino. The book shows Neruda finding inspiration in an ordinary onion from his garden.

After reading and discussing the book and thinking about the ways ordinary things are often overlooked and under appreciated, my students and I headed out to the school garden in search of the ordinary, knowing we would return to the classroom to write after snapping a few photos.

While Neruda’s original Ode to an Onion was a bit intimidating–it is a LONG poem for 8 and 9 year olds–they were excited to elevate the ordinary subjects they identified. We had poems about a roly poly, a stump, ice plant, a bucket, pea pods, a pine cone, and so much more. My own featured dandelions.

Ode to a Dandelion

Dandelion

ferocious queen of the urban forest

you stand strong and tall

in the face of all who

see you as nuisance

shape shifter

changing from brilliant yellow sun

to bleak crater of the moon

long witch fingers draw me in

after all my wishes

have blown to the wind

Dandelion

your medicinal qualities

have been lost to history

your nutritional benefits

discounted

with the label: weed

But when you polka-dot my yard

I smile

and see hope

in strength and resilience

When you are a giant puff-ball

children can’t resist you

they pluck you

inhale, then exhale

sending you out

planting seeds

of dreams for the future

Dandelion

like stars in the sky

you are too many to count

you thrive where you land

in sidewalk cracks

alongside abandoned buildings

Ferocious queen of the urban forest

grow tall, shine bright

let survival tell your tale

®Douillard

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