Charles Simic in his poem “Stone” invites us to “go inside a stone.” So I invited my students to explore rocks. I found a collection in the closet. Some child of mine collected them. I thought I remembered them being there.
I tried to write with my kids. I listed 5 steps for finding a poem: 1. describe it, 2. analyze it, 3. compare it, 4. associate it, 5. apply it. Source for this activity is found here in the River of Words teacher’s guide.
But I was stuck. Oh, I wrote some lines like these:
The stepping stone
for my foot
grips and holds
me in wonder.
On this smooth stone,
time stands still.
Some days I can start and stop like this all day, but eventually something emerges. Today, nothing. I was taking myself way too seriously.
Until Jacob said, “Inside a rock is a rock and a rock and another rock, a never ending chain of rocks.”
I wrote his words down in my notebook. Took them straight out of the air and a poem started rolling out right there.
Jacob wasn’t as successful. He was disappointed. No, not disappointed exactly. He was mad. I took his words and made a poem with them. This is my disclaimer. With complete credit of the original lines to Jacob.
Inside a rock
is a rock
and a rock
and another rock.
A never ending chain of rocks.
Inside a shell
is a shell
and another shell
and a crab,
A creepy, crawling crab in a never ending shell.
Inside my heart
is a beat
and a beat
and another beat
Beating hard as a rock for you.
–Margaret Simon (with help from Jacob.)