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Poetry Examples
Published Poetry Examples
Student Poetry Examples
Teacher Poetry Examples
"Introduction to Poetry" - Billy Collins
"Home Burial" - Robert Frost
"Counting"- Doug Goetsch
"Jet"- Tony Hoaglund
"This is Just to Say" - William Carlos Williams
"64 Spruceland Avenue" - SB
"The Life of an Ear" - TP
"Piano with Dad" - AE
"Fear" - KC
"Belated Apology" - Jack Powers
"Family Vacation 1965" - JP
"Tired of Abstraction" - JP
"Sonnet #1"  - Jack Powers

64 Spruceland Avenue

Now beneath a large beech,
smooth, cold old trunk against my back,
puffs of cloudy air shoot from my mouth
and quickly vanish.

In my hand a beech nut
The prickly outer shell
Opens to reveal it's seeds
Reminds me…

of a child, leaping from root to root
around and round the old beech
as familiar as the freckles on my arm.
I miss a step, falling foot first into the lava.
It's okay, I have two lives left.


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The Life of an Ear

Snap, Blap, Ring, Ting.
Cha-Ching, Bling, Ding-a-ling.
Pow, Boom, Bam, Blam.
Crack, Screech, Clang, Slam.
Tic, Toc, Click, Clack,
Smick, Smack, Patty-whack.
Pit, Pat, Snip, Snap,
Zing, Blip, Clip, ZZZap,
Jingle, Dingle, Tingle, Tap.
Gurgle, Glug, Gulp, Plop,
Doink, Sizzle, Zoom, Pop.



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(After Robert Gibb's "Homestead Park")

It's 1987.
My dad is wearing
His 1985 Davis Cup
Sweatsuit and New
Balance sneakers.
My room is 
Painted yellow.
Raggedy Ann
Sits in the corner.
He is playing the piano.
Because I am only five
I notice my dad's fingers
Flying up and 
Down the keys
And I think he is Beethoven.
He is telling me about
The band he played keyboard in
When he had long hair
Like a girl.
I think of when Dad
Goes away. The white
Monstrous planes
That take him away
For weeks on end.
Because I am only 
Five I think he works
At the airport.
Then I sit beside him.
He puts my fingers
On the keys where
His were before
And places his hands
Over mine and
Begins to play. 
Because I am only five
I can play like
Beethoven too.

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 (After Raymond Carver's "Fear")

Fear, of being alone.
Fear, of the future.
Fear, of not pleasing others.
Fear, of my hair not falling right.
Fear, of not being happy.
Fear, of not making others happy.
Fear, of my mother annoying me.
Fear, of not waking up in the morning.
Fear, of voices in my head.
Fear, of dreams
Fear of me.

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Must there always be lover and loved,
spooner and spooned,  hand and glove,
Why not equal parts of held and hold,
tongue and groove, folded and fold,
Must one hand always encircle the other,
Can age be blamed, is it gender,
Does temperment make sendee and sender,
make one absorb, one soak another,
Or is the art of loving something learned,
Accepting love a talent to develop,
Can't we both surround and be enveloped,
change as needed from yearner to yearned,
And why is it when push comes to shove,
I choose to be the lover, not the loved?
Jack Powers

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I'm sorry, Mr. Fiamaro. You tried 
to teach us the order of the world: 
through math, of math, in math; 
discipline, order, correctness. 

I'm sorry I challenged your authority,
all 5'1" of you, the Math General 
with your right hand slipped 
between the buttons of your coat.

I understand sine now, and 
cosine and tangent.  The sine of 3 
is .0523359, not seven like I said. 
(I was just kidding.)

I can still see the problem 
written backwards, 
in chalk, on the back 
of your brown tweed sport coat. 

I see the clarity of mathematics now:
the harmony; the balance; 
even the therapy. 
(But not the tyranny.)

I'm sorry I called you Mr. Mia Farrow, 
and then denied it.  I was out of order.
I violated the properties of your class.
Please forgive me.
Jack Powers

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In Providence, they put Nanny between us 
to stop the punch wars I was losing to Donny 
though I could never admit it until my bruised 
and separated bicep fell off my arm, landed 
in a bloody lump on the car floor.  Even then 
I wouldn't cry, wouldn't give Donny 
the satisfaction of knowing he'd won, 
couldn't let him know he could hurt me, 
wouldn't give my parents an excuse 
to move me between them into the front seat 
where Chrissy sat or in the way-back 
of the Country Squire where Ellen lay 
in a hollowed-out luggage fort.  Now that 
it had happened I felt sorry for Nanny 
on her first vacation to the Cape with us. 
She was trapped between a bored ten-year-old 
and an even more bored thirteen-year-old. 
We could only sit quietly for so long 
staring out the window at the crumbling 
buildings of New Bedford and Fall River, 
at the hints of ocean off to the right, 
at the monotony of exit signs and overstuffed 
station wagons jamming the highway before 
the relentless drudgery of driving drove us 
to team up and start imitating her, watching 
her lips, saying what she said at the same time 
she was saying it, until she begged us, “Please boys, 
stop, it's not funny,” as we begged along in unison 
until my father swung his arm over the seat 
and threatened, “Don't make me pull over 
or you'll be sorry.”   Then I was sorry, 
for being mean to Nanny, for teaming up 
with Donny, for distracting my father, 
for making my mother worry, “Please Don, 
watch the road,” and for giving Chrissy 
an excuse to turn and bobble her head  back 
and forth like some dashboard Virgin Mary, 
smiling like she never does anything wrong 
which isn't true since that's why she was sitting 
in the front seat in the first place.

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I want to do something concrete.
Dig a hole.  Plant a post.
Pack dirt tight around the base. 
Tamp until it's solid, until the dirt 
wedges into my fingernails, darkens 
palm creases, traces fingerprint swirls.

I want to stand slowly, 
stretch out the ache and breathe. 
Pull in air.  Taste soil, wind,
and sweat.  Hum a song.  No words.
Just the rhythm of the earth and work.

Dig and fill and tamp and rise.
Dig and fill and tamp and rise.

Breathe.     Sweat.     Stretch.
Hole after hole.  Post after post.
The smell of wood.  The sharp 
pain of splinters and blisters. 

Until I return, full circle 
to the first hole.  Dirt now pale.
I lie on my back, breathe slowly,
watch the clouds move in from the west,
and sleep without dreams.
Jack Powers

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