Chain Poems

Yesterday, I taught my students how to write a chain poem. It is poem of association, playfulness, and whimsy. It starts with one word and builds from there. Chain poems are great for hesitant writers as they encourage nonsense and surprise. All of my students had fun writing them. Here is the link to the lesson.

We used the word mirror to start our chain. Here is my chain poem.

a mirror is a fragile

image of the past,

an old photograph

or forgotten memory

hidden in the depths

of your abandoned thoughts,

a silent and secret

long ago identity


Here is a student example:

A mirror

reflects your personality

a pond

with ducks flapping their wings

a yellow leaf on the surface

baby chicks hatching

“tweet” “tweet” they say

turning into a graceful flying V.


Here is another student example:

A mirror has a

clear reflection

water rippling

fish swimming

shiny scales moving

lizards sunbathing in the

hot sun

desert sand storms

a cactus stabbing a fly


One more student example:

A mirror is like

a reflection

in a puddle

with a splash

in rubber boots

frogs leaping

bright green

the color of grass

cows grazing

Sunday Bath

My apologies, son

that we bathe you in this cold water.

I assure you, we tried warming it,

but boiling kettles of water

could not seduce its frigid infancy.

So we wildly scrub your fingers and toes,

dismantle the dirt behind your ears,

all while you breathlessly wail

a simple request to play with bath toys;

which, believe, hurts us not to honor.

My apologies, son

that we bathe you in this cold water,

but our school week emerges,

and like a hungry hawk, it is

bound to swallow us whole.