Poetic license

Today Fenner presented me with a belated mother’s day gift. It was a collection of poems she had written at school entitled, “My Thoughts as Free as Horses.” I unwrapped it and read the title out loud and then started to turn the pages without saying anything. I didn’t say anything because all I could think of was praise! After a minute or so, Fenner started asking, “Do you like it? … Mom, do you like it?”

First, let me say that over the past couple of days, I’ve realized how often I say, “I like ____.” I’m trying to stop cold-turkey and at that moment it was really hard to think of something else to say! I finally started making some simple observations about her illustrations: “That looks just like your pet rat! / You made the O’s into apples. / Is that a picture of daddy? / Oh, it’s you doing a handstand!” After that, it started to flow a little better — that language of encouragement:

– “I can see that this took a lot of work.” “Yeah, it took a long time!”
– “Was it hard to think of all these things?” “Yeah.”
– “Which is your favorite poem?” “I like this one, it’s funny!”
– “Are you happy with the way it turned out?” Smile and nodding.
– “Did you write them directly onto the computer?” “Yeah, we used the computer.”
– “Did you have to write and erase, write and erase, or did they just come out all at once?” “I had to write and erase a lot.”
– “Which one was the hardest to write, and which one was the easiest?” “I don’t know, I’d have to think…”

Her answers were short and sweet, but I still learned much more about her experience than I would have just by telling her how much I liked it. And the amazing thing is that by showing my interest through noticing details and asking questions, she gets the message that I like it in a much more meaningful and believable way.

And then there are the poems themselves. What a treasure trove of information! Below is a sampling. Enjoy…

I am Fenner

I am blue-eyed and crazy
I wonder if my sister will ever grow up
I hear a horse neighing
I see my friends and me having a good time
I want my dream horse
I am blue-eyed and crazy

I pretend that I am a horse winning a show jumping contest
I feel alive and free
I touch my favorite horse’s leather saddle
I worry that I will hurt myself in gymnastics
I cry when my rat is suffering
I am blue-eyed and crazy

I understand that my room is a turmoil
I say I want a horse
I dream of being an olympic horseback rider
I try to get ready for school faster, but I’m lazy
I hope that Obama will stop the NECAP test
I am blue eyed and crazy

I Will Be

I will be a thoughtful, caring person just like you
I want to be a funny, likable person
I used to be a little girl who loved dinosaurs
I let go of many stuffed animals
I’ve forgotten where my dad went on a business trip
I remember what my rat felt like before he died


You are awesome and my pal
You wonder how school was when I get home
You hear me call your name when I need you
You see me in a sea of clothing as you walk into my room
You want to play with me but you’re working
You are awesome and my pal

You pretend you don’t care when I hurt my sister
You feel I can take care of myself all the time
You touch the keys of your laptop when working
You worry about the prices on the electric bill
You cried when our dog Tonya died
You are awesome and my pal

You understand when I have a problem
You say you’ll be there for me
You dream that I’d get along better with my sister
I try to but she’s too annoying
We both hope the parenting class is over soon
You are awesome and my pal

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 7: The Art of Encouragement

2 Comments on “Poetic license”

  1. Vicki Says:

    Okay, I tried not to comment, but I have read the post 3 times. From one mother to another – OMG, you must be so proud, these are amazing, these are fabulous, she is so talented, I loved the…..did she say something about a parenting class?????

    Sincerely, thank you for sharing.

    Don’t we just LOVE these babies of ours. Okay, off to the NEXT post, because after all, I am a horsewoman my own self.


    • flockmother Says:

      Yeah, you got a mention! That just shows the level of impact your class is having on our family. It’s the final concluding remark to that entire poem. (By the way, she completely changes her tune when we talk about her getting a bigger allowance starting next week!)

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