Label: Poetry

May 22, 2013


We seem to be having an early "Shark Week" here on the Seymour Science blog! And since it is Writing Wednesday, we thought that we would share this poem, called SHARK TEETH, and ask you to write about what you think is happening in the poem.




About the Teeth of Sharks

By John Ciardi

The thing about a shark is - teeth,

One row above, one row beneath.


Now take a close look. Do you find

It has another row behind?


Still closer - here, I’ll hold your hat:

Has it a third row behind that?


Now look in and…Look out! Oh my,

I’ll never know now! Well, goodbye.


Read this poem several times. After you have read it silently to yourself, try reading it aloud. Then, listen as a friend reads it aloud.

When you have read or heard it several times, think about what happens at the end of this poem. Is it funny? Sad? Surprising? Think about looking into the mouth of a shark. What would you see? How would it feel?

Notice that the poet uses the word "I." Who is talking in the poem? What is he or she doing? Is there one person talking? Or two?

Once you have thought about all these things, click on the yellow "Comments" button at the bottom of this blog post and write your own story of what happened in the scene described by this poem.

Happy (gulp) writing! 


John Ciardi, "About the Teeth of Sharks" from You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1962). Copyright © 1962 by John Ciardi. 


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Sharks, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 2, 2013

We had a lot of fun yesterday as Mrs. Alaniz’s Class from Texas and Mrs. Ellefson’s class from Wisconsin tried to figure out a "Mystery Poem." We asked students to read a poem and guess what kind of animal the poet was writing about. By clicking on "Comments" down at the bottom of the blog, both classes told us that they liked the poem, and Mrs. Alaniz’s class figured it out! The poet’s "alarm clock that’s covered with furr" is a cat!
Thanks for your contributions to Writing Wednesday, everybody. That was fun! 
CAT KISSES By Bobbi Katz

Sandpaper kisses

On a cheek or a chin -

That is the way

For a day to begin!


Sandpaper kisses -

A cuddle, a purr

I have an alarm clock

That’s covered with fur.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Cats, Kids Write, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 1, 2013

Today we’d like you to read this poem by Bobbi Katz and tell us what she is writing about. What are sandpaper kisses? How does the person in the poem wake up every morning? Is it a pleasant wake up, or an annoying one?

Click on the yellow "Comments" button below and tell us what you think Ms. Katz had in mind when she wrote this poem, and how you figured it out.


Sandpaper kisses

On a cheek or a chin -

That is the way

For a day to begin!


Sandpaper kisses -

A cuddle, a purr

I have an alarm clock

That’s covered with fur.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(7) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 18, 2013

Poem in My Pocket

When I was a kid, the poem that meant the most to me was called "When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer," by Walt Whitman. It really captured the feeling I had when I looked at the night sky and wondered about my place in the universe. Where did I fit in? And what else is out there?

Today is "Poem in my Pocket" day, so this is the poem I am carrying in with me in my pocket today. For kids like me, who love to look at the stars and wonder, here is how it goes:



When I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.


Photo: The Milky Way viewed from the Kofa Mountains in Arizona (credit Richard Payne)

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Astronomy, Earth Day 2013, Stars, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 3, 2013

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday. Today we are going to write a review of a wonderful nature poem by Joyce Sidman called Welcome to the Night. It is from her book DARK EMPEROR AND OTHER POEMS OF THE NIGHT (Houghton Mifflin, 2010). First read the poem below. Read it more than once, try some of the most delicious phrases aloud, use your imagination to see, hear and feel the words that call out to your senses.


Now that we have read this poem, let’s write a poem review. You can use the form below to get you started. Click here to download your own copy of the form, print it out, and write on it. Tomorrow, I will post my own review of Welcome to the Night. We’d love to read yours, too!



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Earth Day 2013, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 15, 2012


Today, I am visiting Carl Sandburg Elementary School, in Springfield, Illinois. The most famous native of Springfield is President Abraham Lincoln, but this school is named after another Illinois native, the great poet Carl Sandburg.

Although it’s a sunny day today in Springfield, heading into Sandburg Elementary I am thinking about my favorite Carl Sandburg poem, called FOG. 



The fog comes

on little cat feet.


It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then, moves on.


Can you guess why this is my favorite Sandburg poem? Hint: What does he compare the fog to?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 31, 2012

Welcome to Writing Wednesday! Every Wednesday you can publish your own creative writing on the Seymour Science blog.

Writing Wednesday has two simple rules:

1.   Give us the best you’ve got in 5 minutes. That’s right - five minutes of creative writing. Think of it as a word extravaganza to warm up your brain for the rest of the day!

2.   Tell us your first name, the name of your school, and how old you are.

Ready? Let’s go!


The poet Mary Oliver wrote this in one of her poems:


It is the nature of stone

to be satisfied.

It is the nature of water

to want to be somewhere else.*



What do you think she is saying about the difference between stone and water? How would you describe the ways that stone and water are different? What do you like or dislike about each of them?

Click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing.

Happy Writing Wednesday!



*Excerpted from THE LEAF AND THE CLOUD, by Mary Oliver. Da Capo Press, 2001.

Photo: Russel Wills

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(10) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, Writing Wednesday, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 29, 2011

A 12-year-old sixth grader named Meeps, from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, sent me this original poem after I Skyped with a class there. Hasn’t Meeps done a good job of capturing the feelings of numbness and loss that we have seen in the faces of people in photographs of the recent earthquakes in Japan and Christchurch, New Zealand? This is a very good piece of writing.













Photograph: Aftermath of 1989 earthquake in Loma Prieta, California courtesy of U.S. Geological Service/C.E. Meyer

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Earthquakes, Kids Write, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 9, 2011


We are snowed in today and the world is blanketed with heavy pillows of pristine snow. It makes me think of a poem by Elinor Wylie, called VELVET SHOES. It begins like this:











Why do you think she called the poem Velvet Shoes?

In the stanza above, she describes the snow as “veils of white lace.” What other images or metaphors can you come up with to describe the snow? If you want to write to me with your description of snow, or upload a photograph that you have taken of snow, you might be published in this blog for all the world to see!

You can read Elinor Wylie’s complete poem, Velvet Shoes, by clicking here, or you can find it in your library. Usually the name of the poem you’re looking for is not the name of the book that it is in, so ask your librarian if you’re not sure where to find it.



 If you’re lucky enough to be

snowed in today, settle in with

a good book and enjoy the

“soundless space” around you.

- Seymour 





Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Seymour Photographs, Writing, Winter, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)