KIDS: Jan Brennan Poetry Samples

{In the Spotlight Page Header} In the Spotlight
Visiting Artist - Jan Brennan
Poetry Samples -  Poems by Jan Brennan
The Toss
Cupped in my hands I cradle some seeds,
varied in color, content and needs.
All have potential, all hold great dreams.
I feel their power, or so it seems.
Saying a prayer, I give them a toss,
and ponder the obstacles they may have to cross.
A bird might be tempted to eat them for lunch.
 A huge gust of wind could take the whole bunch.
They might land on soil, parched and cracked clay.
Or maybe a rock bed is where they will lay.
But maybe, perhaps, land on good soil,
be nourished and nurtured - never to spoil.
With sunshine and moisture they'll grow mighty strong,
and reach the potential they've held all along.
We all have some seeds - the seeds of our dreams.
Just how we treat them is part of the scheme.
Will we confine them locked in our hearts,
and never release them to give them their start?
Or will we have faith and toss them to see
what lies in the future - how great life can be?!
          MOM'S RULES      
    Do not    
 jump upon your bed.
wear underwear on your head.
     Do not    
take an hour-long shower.  
play videogames by the hour.
     Do not   
slouch while at the table. 
burp loudly though you are able.
 Do not
forget all these rules,
hug me when you come home from school!

Fertile Ground
I thought I was tired.
I wanted to sleep,
but each time I tried
and closed both my eyes,
my mind became flooded
in thoughts, oh so deep.
I thought I was tired.
I needed some sleep,
but something about
closed eyes seemed to shout,
"Get up - grab a pen,
they just might not keep."
I thought I was tired.
I fought to get sleep,
but I was laying upon
such rich fertile ground
ideas were sprouting
which I had to reap.
Yes, I was tired,
but I just can't sleep,
when a poem seed has landed
and I'm empty-handed,
from my bed I must leap!

A dash here.
A dart there.
A bolt across the path.

A quick spin.
A dash again.
And then he comes right back.

Such swift moves.
I don't approve.
I want him to slow down.

My eyes scoot.
He looks so cute.
I wish he'd stick around.

I reach out.
I'm just about
to touch my furry goal.

But, no way!
He spins away
and dives right down a hole!

Can't resist.
Constant list
of some
I must own
for me, all alone.

Shelves are stuffed,
but it's never enough.
I cram
I shove
till all fit like a glove.

Forget chocolate.
Pass up wine.
But a good book
I never

Collect them like trophies.
Treasure them like gold.
But will I ever have time
to read all that they hold?

I open my journal
and pour out my muddled thoughts.
They cascade like a brook tumbling over rocks,
stirring up the sediment of my emotions.
Inky words filter down,
leaving sparklingly clear revelations.
I understand.
Writing clarifies my life.

Sugar and Spice
Sugar and spice and everything nice,
that's what girls are made of.

A clique of preteens, the in-crowd; it seems,
stands clustered conspiring their next evil scheme.
Along comes Melissa, a fair-weather friend
who's allowed in their circle when it goes with their plan.

"What's up?" she inquires, as she greets them sincerely.
"We're planning a shopping spree," they answer quite coyly.
"Can I come along? Shopping's such fun!"
"Mom's car is all filled" they snicker back, and then run.

Where is the sugar? Where is the spice?
I thought little girls were supposed to be nice.

Im'ing one night, Melissa's feelings take flight.
The clique's planning "Twin Day" - let's all dress alike.
They invite her to wear pink bows in her hair,
a pink shirt, a jean skirt, and high-heeled footwear.

"Sounds strange," she exclaims, "but I think they have changed,"
"I think I am in!" she proclaims with a grin.
But to her chagrin, she's shamed once again,
when she arrives dressed just so, only to find she's alone.

Where is the sugar? Where is the spice?
I thought little girls were supposed to be nice.
At lunchtime one day, Melissa falls prey
to the clique who pretends to join her that day.
They place their trays down at her table but then
walk away to get snacks, to return once again.

But upon coming back they withdraw all their trays,
then grab all their chairs and pull them away,
leaving Melissa alone like a broken-winged bird
whose spirit is slaughtered by their actions and words.

Where is the sugar? Where is the spice?
I thought little girls were supposed to be nice.

The sugar is saccharin, the spices are bitter.
These girls have turned into insidious harsh hitters.
Girls who play mind games, pretending to like you,
then use words like bullets to maim and to fight you.

What can one do, what can one say
to the Melissas who get hurt by these cliques every day?
Embraced by the in crowd is a lure we all crave,
but if 'friends' act like this, we must stay away.

Girls who connive and plan hurtful plots
think only of themselves; of you they do not.
Find girls who are true, who are kind just like you,
and distance yourself from those who are cruel.

Sugar and spice and everything nice,
 that's what SOME girls are made of.

The Wind
Today was
a double-belt your baby day,
a watch birds soaring backwards day,
a plastic bags playing tag day,
a chase your hat around town day,
a strip the trees of their leaves day,
a feet braced firmly outdoors day.
Today was
                    Winners and Losers                 
     In every competition,
contest or race,
someone has to
    and someone 
 doesn't place.
Both sides work real hard;
both sides give it their all, 
but the winner rises up 
 while the loser takes the fall.
     What separates the two?
Did the winner want it more? 
The winner
might agree 
 but the loser will implore
that he craved to win it, too;
perhaps his time
was just not due.
    At times     
we are the winners 
     and at times    
 sadly, we're not.
     So, let us all
remember something
we just may have forgot.
As great as it feels to win 
 and as bad as it feels to lose,
     respect each other because
someday you'll be trading shoes!
                Two Hats               
    I wear two hats.     
 I'm a student.
 I'm a son/daughter.
It depends on the
time and the day.
Monday through Friday,
from 9 to 3,
September through June
except holidays,
I go to school,
and follow their rules,
doing my best
to pass every test. 
 Weekends and evenings,
vacations and summer,
I am free to be me,
chill out totally.
I play soccer, guitar,
ride my bike pretty far,
doing my best
to take a break, take a rest.
    Although I'll admit     
I like school a tiny bit, 
 it's at home I'd much rather be.
For it's here
that I share
with my family who cares,
and let's me relax and be me.
No poem today
I'm sorry to say
I just don't have the time.
No poem today
I'm sorry to say
I can't think of any rhyme.
I've got books to read
and plans that need
my attention immediately.
So much to do
I guess it's true.
No poem, unfortunately!
I may not be published yet,
or nationally known,
but around here I've planted
and the poetry seed has grown.
Children greet me full-smiled
with poems in their hearts.
Teachers approach beseeching
a lesson I can impart.
Fall leaves drift poetically;
breezes whisper in my ear.
Poetry bleeds through everything
I experience and hear.
Such a constant friend within me
shaping all that I feel,
sharpening my focus
making life intensely real.
Last night I felt crowned
a self-proclaimed Poet Laureate,
when I realized I had dreamed
in full verse ...
a full-time poet!

All of the images, lessons and poems on these pages are used by permission of the author, Jan Brennan, and are protected under United States Copyright Laws. Any use or reproduction of these materials is prohibited without the permission of the author.

Content Last Modified on 8/8/2007 8:35:27 AM