Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And Like a Thunderbolt He Falls

I found this article oddly fascinating, and the incident it refers to would make a great poem. Some extracts for the time-constrained:

Of all the moments that might leave an impression on the minds of budding young poets at the Springs School, the day that a hawk killed a blue jay and ate it in the courtyard at the school seems to resonate above all others ...

The subject matter of the poems runs the gamut ... but nothing inspired fifth grade students more than the bitter cruelty of nature outside their window on the day the hawk killed the blue jay.

“These poems all come from classes that had a perfect view on the courtyard,” said Ms. O’Conner.

"A bird of prey/silently snacking/on a blue bird/savoring every bite/its talons/engraved/ in its mid afternoon/snack,” wrote fifth-grader Katherine Espinoza.

“The hawk rips the feathers off/the bird/the tail of the blue jay/goes up/stomped by the hawk/it’s a cat and mouse rampage,” wrote fifth-grader Chris Tapia.

A moment in childhood when, for one reason or another, the attention of many children is directed at one particular event. That so many of them chose to write about it is really interesting. Is it the early development of the classic dictum, "If it bleeds, it leads"? A lack of other source material that feels suitably "dramatic" to kids tasked with writing poems? An instinctive understanding that death is interesting?
Whatever, "its talons/engraved/in its mid afternoon/snack" is a great line. Watch out for that kid.