Friday, September 30, 2011
the trenches of seventh grade
Suicide in the Trenches
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
~ Siegfried Sassoon, 1917
Simplicity itself--even nursery-rhymish--but effective, yes?
Daisy had a tough time getting going with her essay, and I guess I'm not surprised. We thank our lucky stars that she has never lived first-hand through a war (a curiously true statement), and that being so full of despair you'd put a bullet through your own brain is foreign to her. (However, when I wondered whether her choice of "frustrated" to describe the soldier boy's feelings was quite strong enough to warrant suicide, she quipped, "This frustration would be enough for me!")
But it's hard, as a parent, to know that my big little girl is spending time down in the trenches with the demands of a well-constructed five-paragraph essay on a topic she has to stretch hard to reach: the grim reality of war. I take solace in the fact that immersing yourself in a masterful poem is always worthwhile.
Find more poetic war and peace--and above all, connection--at Read Write Believe with Sara today...BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
p*tag is here!!! October 1 is the official launch date of the new p*tag digital poetry anthology for teens, conceived and edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. For only $2.99 (early-bird price $1.99 through today) you can download this anthology in a wink and become a proud part of the publicity machine for new work by the "best poets for young people, including YA poets and verse novelists Naomi Shihab Nye, Margarita Engle, Allan Wolf, Betsy Franco, Paul Janeczko, Helen Frost, Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman, current Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, and poetry legend Lee Bennett Hopkins,".... and li'l ol' me.
Please take time to support this project and share it wherever you go, in body and in spirit. Sylvia's intriguing photos were wonderfully inspiring and Janet's concluding piece is beyond powerful; there are poems for readers of all stripes ages 12 and up, and this approach to publishing is aimed at bringing more poetry to more young people using the media they can most easily access. Go, p*tag!