Words with Wings
Wordsong/Boyds Mills, 2013
I shared a poem from this book for Poetry Friday.? I love that this poem is all about the power of words. In the very first line, poet Nikki Grimes says “Say the word…” [boldface added]. It’s not the actual snowflake itself that makes the narrator experience snow–it’s the word “snowflake.” [CCRA.R.1] ?I love that!
I also love “greedy palm.” That’s my favorite line in the whole poem. The word snowflake causes a physical reaction. She wants to take a word and make it a physical reality–feel it with her body. I like anthropomorphizing a palm. Hmm…is that the right term? A palm isn’t inanimate, but it can’t literally feel emotion, so I’m going with anthropomorphism. Anyway, giving her palm the feeling of greed is fabulous. [CCRA.R.4] That’s the line that stays with me. What’s your palm greedy for? If you’re buried under snow like much of the country right now, maybe your palm is greedy for the feel of hot sand and sunshine. If you have loved ones far away, maybe your palm is greedy for the touch of their hand in yours.
Grimes doesn’t have the narrator say: I love snow. Instead, the giggle, the ripping off of the mitten, and that greedy palm show us all we need to know about the narrator’s joy in a snowflake.
The last line, “then melts away,” makes me wonder what happened. [CCRA.R.5] It has a kind of sad feel to it to me, and I wonder if that’s what the poet intended. [CCRA.R.6] But it also could be just a comment on how quickly beautiful things like snowflakes come and go. [CCRA.R.2] That’s part of their magic–it’s why we have to embrace them while they visit! I’m going to take the last line that way.
In this blog feature, I externalize my process of reading a poem and then I go back and pop in the CCSS Anchor Standards that I think I happened to address in my thoughts. I’m hoping this will be useful for those of you who are?educators sharing poetry, especially if you might not be too comfortable with it. This might give you ideas of some?elements you could include?in your poetry discussion.