Thursday, December 8, 2011

The World is Too Much With Us

You may be familiar with William Wordsworth's poem, "The World is Too Much With Us."  It is a poem about the loss of wonder and imagination in a fast-paced, secular world.  In an eighth grade Advanced class, students lifted the first two lines of this classic and then developed it into a poem about the materialism they observe in the world around them.  This linked to their study of the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451.  Collin V., an eighth grader, wrote the following poem, using Wordsworth's first two lines. 

The world is too much with us, late and soon.
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers,
Going to the grocery store to buy meaningless flowers.
Everyday our spending grows, it towers.
We waste our time in buying junk.
It piles up like useless gunk.
We think it's fun,
What we should shun.
Getting and spending we lay waste our power,
Mindlessness grows, and our wallets cower. 

Collin V., eighth grader

P. S.  One student commented during class, "Is Wordsworth his real last name?  It's no wonder he became a poet!"  While we can't reveal Collin's last name, we can tell you it has quite a poetic ring to it too!

drawing by Josephine D.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Illness Personified

This poem, written by a seventh grader at Holicong, demonstrates the power of personification.  It's as if we can see the illness, reach out and touch him.  Creepy, but powerful!

Also notice the economy of words in this poem.  None of the individual words are extraordinary, but each word seems perfect in its place, and together they are marvelous.

A Cranky Poison

I saw Illness clearly. 
He had pale skin, weak arms, and slouched shoulders.
He whipped around fast and snapped his head.
I saw darkness in his treebark-brown eyes; the sadness was stark.
I heard a crackle in his voice, a horrible sigh, and a chop in every word.
I felt my heart in my gut.
I can't do anything to help.
Only hope remained. 

Taylor E., seventh grader

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Poems Inspired by A Master

After reading Fahrenheit 451 by the great Ray Bradbury, eighth grade students drafted stories or poems inspired by the symbols in their reading.  Here are two poems.  Appropriately, one is about books, and the other one is about a river, an image introduced at the end of the novel to aid the protagonist in his escape.

For rough drafts, they are substantive and solid.  Suggest revisions in your comments!

Poem 1, Untitled

perfectly yellowed,
dusted with history,
printed in stiff, official ink,
stone to stone,
clock to clock,
books are timeless
with powerful plots

these pieces of literature
dictatorships in disguise,
bombs on a timer,
counting down,
till knowledge explodes
causing confrontation,
opposing views

books are power
held in your hands,
fed to the fire
when causing pain,
good or evil
left in the eyes
of the beholder

Madeline T., eighth grade

The River

Slow, steady, and graceful,
it takes away the fears,
the pain, the destruction,
of a long lost soul.
It provides a new chance
to those of the broken
like old abandoned towns,
rebuilt into a city of hope.

No longer shall the expressionless faces linger,
no longer shall blank, dull bodies live.
New life is brought with every sway
of each stroke of the river's tides.

Follow the river
dear friends of mine,
stay true and open,
and always kind.
You'll find your way
of hope and peace.
Follow that riverbend,
and don't ever stray.

Emily J., eighth grade

sketch by Julia B., eighth grade

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our Longest Poem So Far

So yes, this piece will take you a little bit of time to read, but it's so worth it.  Let's face it, every poet writes about the seasons at some point, but this particular poem is so rich in word choice and figurative language that it stands in a class all by itself.  It is written by Colin M., eighth grader, and the artwork at the end is by Julia S., also in eighth grade.

The Kingdom of Seasons

An ominous wind rushes by
As Autumn leaves for battle
And a cold front sets in
It chains plants in cells of ice
And forces mammals into hiding
Winter is here.

He rules with an iron fist, frost coating his throne
As he turns rolling landscape to vapid tundra
Like a coat of varnish, ice encases lakes
The ocean turns cold and violent
The hills’ greenness ebbs away as alabaster mounds coat them
And the ground solidifies to permafrost
Winter rules with an iron fist.

Then the allies of Summer and Autumn
Rise up against the inclement oppression
And strike back with warm winds of calefaction
To vanquish the piercing mistrals
The bold leader of the rebellion takes command and frees the wildlife
Spring has retaliated.

The ice recedes, leaving life in its wake
The ground releases its hold on the lush green plants
They spring up, drowning themselves in first glimpses of sunlight
Mammals creep out of hiding places and find themselves in a captivating world of warmth
The sun smiles upon all, golden rays like an angel’s hair dripping from the sky
Bugs add a symphony of chirps at night, adding life to the sticky darkness
The flowers blossom and add splashes of purple and yellow to the green hills
Spring’s rule is fair and great, albeit short.

Spring’s sister now takes the crown, and rules over the landscape of luminescence
The sun grows powerful and strong, blazing like fire in a furnace
Animals sit in the shade of massive candy-colored trees
The air becomes swollen and heavy, resting like a weight on the shoulders of the living
Summer has come.

The animals celebrate in the glory of Summer, enjoying their freedom
The shade grows more and more visible till it becomes solid and cool
Animals cool down in the abundant water and catch silvery fish
Zephyrs float by like gifts to the overheated
And the cold that once held them back seems a distant memory.
Then a victory cry is sounded, and in ride men on horses in the distance
The general leads in a crowd of triumphant warriors
And he kneels to Summer in his golden armor, with stains of blood upon it
As he is coroneted and sits in the throne
Autumn has returned.

Autumn, though wise in his own way, cannot stop the illness brought back by his soldiers
The trees bend and lose their leaves, sickened by this newfound virus
Animals make hiding places in fear of what is soon to come
And the air seems to hold its breath in wait
Autumn is sent off to battle, unable to control his kingdom

Then there is a crack of a whip
And from nowhere comes the familiar cold of Winter
He comes to reclaim his throne in the dark times of the kingdom
And the trees and plants and animals can do nothing
As he locks them down with his icy tactics
And tempts Spring to try again.

by Colin M., eighth grader

artwork by Julia S., eighth grader

P. S. Sevenatenine apologizes for recent errors on the post dated 11/14.  The post was published prematurely when we thought it was saved as a draft.  All has been corrected, and the responsible party has since been fired from Sevenatenine :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Varied Views

Varied views of . . . what? That's for you to explore. What is each poem about? Investigate. Love everything around you. Open your eyes to the world. Can you figure it out?

Imperfect Perfection

Unique, imperfect
Red, orange and yellow, you are a fall sunset.
A flame in a late autumn fire, you warm the hearts of many.
Smooth air with a light breeze,
You spiral and float all about.
Calm and cool, yet fiery at times,
You are the beauty and spark of life.
What is it like to blow around everywhere?
You're imperfect, yet perfect all the same.
Imperfect, unique, perfection.

~ Amanda H., eighth grader

In the Blueberry Fields
A painting by Van Gogh,
A forest green crayon.
The mountains and the rock,
In the blueberry fields.

A delicious, warm cookie,
A very beautiful flower.
The mountains and the rock,
In the blueberry fields.

Mountains against a blue sky,
Catching the eye instantly.
The rocks go on for miles,
Gray spots in the green.

The mountains and the rock
In the blueberry fields.
Dots of blue,
A snake slithers in the grass.

The mountains and the rock,
In the blueberry fields.

~ Hannah M., eighth grader

A Full Life

A life lived to its fullest, only, what is it? Is it a ghost? A prune? Just a gust of character, to run along the path? Or perhaps a leaf, floating slowly to the ground, telling its tale? You decide, but both these poems are the same thing.

A Life Well Lived

You are an abandoned boat,
Cut, bruised, and rigid,
But still afloat.
The image you portray is troublesome and depressing.
How old you are, no one will be guessing.
Though you are kind and helpful,You are no longer in your prime.
Your looks withered away at the mercy of time.
Though you are half what you used to be,
You still flutter through the water, graceful as ever.
Unsteady, but light as a feather.
You are rigid as the mountains,
As awe-inspiring as the sun,
Bystanders stare, their mouths falling agape in unsion.
Everyone wants to know your story,
And you are not shy to tell.
You will tell of the pain and misfortune,
But you will speak of riches and beauty as well.
~  Diana I.

You are past your time
More shriveled than a pruned finger
You dive-bomb your motionless siblings below
How did you die?
~Marcos P.

Did you figure it out?  Both poems are about a leaf. Good job!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Sometimes inspiration for writing and for art comes from someone very close to us -- a pet.  This sketch by Claire G. captures this perfectly.  Submit a short piece about your pet via the "Comments" link at the bottom of this post. And, if you have a minute to amble through a great poem, see the poem "Dogs" by published poet Aaron Kramer.  It's available for free from The Writer's Almanac, a great website that lets you subscribe to a daily poetry email. This one was published on Tuesday.  

Monday, November 7, 2011


English teachers are often fond of saying "show don't tell" and "take me there" when they speak to their students about the power of description and imagery in creative writing.  Notice how Emily L., though she is only a seventh grade, does an excellent job taking us along on her adventure.


Invigorated by the cotton-white ocean spray and the ice-cold wind at 10 a.m.
attempting to hang on to the sky-blue grips for my life
flying through the air near the speed of light
bouncing around the sharp turns
no tube under me
Gasping for air,
soaked in the jellyfish water,
traffic-cone orange life vest pulls me up
back on the tube, laughing and screaming again,
flying and flopping around like the bubble gum-pink salmon out of water.

What Is Courage?


Standing up for what is right,
Who bullies,
Who laughs,
You do not.
Instead of watching,
You stand up.
Your courage shines bright,
Stopping wrong,
Defending right.

You are one of the few.
If only there were more,
But you are courageous,
For many reasons.
You are courageous,
Because others cannot do what you do.
So do not stop doing what should be done,
Even if there are very few.
You are courageous.

Let all others see you,
Adore you and act as you do,
In order for others to be saved.

by Matt W., ninth grader
sketch by Elijah S., ninth grader 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Name this poem!

Seventh grader, Claire A., wrote the following poem in reading class. It is currently unnamed. Any ideas? Read the poem and send us your best ideas for a name. The winner will get his or her name published in our blog post. Please, if you would like to have your name in our blog, add your first name and last initial to the comment. If you do not wish for your name to be published, you may have it published anonymously. We can't wait to see what you think!

I sit there throughout the night,
Wondering when it will become light.
The moon starts to set; the sun starts to rise,
Soon the rays shine before my eyes.
Enjoying the warmth upon my skin,
The world around me then begins to spin,
Soon I'm flying,
One last look,
And I close the book.

Twilight Insights

Below is an interesting perspective of what occurs while we are all sleeping, written by a seventh grade student.

Nighttime by Julian L.

What happens at night
Do the buttersticks slide in the sink like skateboarders
Do the baseballs throw themselves around like leaves in the wind
Do cars honk their horns like bass in a song
Do books jump from their shelves like sky divers from a plane
Do clocks spin their hands like a merry-go-round
Do faucets shoot out water like a broken dam
Or do household items just stay silent and still like we think they do?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hunting for Adventure

This sketch is by Marshall W., an eighth grader.

Creative writers, here is your challenge:  Imagine you are a mouse.  You see cat.  Cat sees you.  What strategic places do you run to in order to avoid being eaten?  Why do you have the best chances of surviving there?  Submit your writing by adding a comment to this post. There is a six-sentence maximum length.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Power of One

Sometimes the simple repetition of just one word is all it takes to create a high-impact rhythm.  In this case, the word is "one." 

One month,
One day,
One minute,
The time it takes to love him.

One second,
One hour,
One eternity,
That’s how long I’ll stay.

One lie,
One shove,
One tear,
That’s all it takes to push me away.

by Emilie M.
Grade 9

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fascinating Rhythm

Listen to the way the ideas and rhythm in this poem skip over memories just like a jet skii skipping over the waves. 

Champagne Island

On the jet ski raft pound pound
Waves like ramps all around round
Water spews in my face, so crisp
Are you OK, Joanne asks,
Yes, I holler back with a lisp.
Dolphins near and far flipping in the air
That smirky smile they always wear
Swimming in the potion grean H20
What hides down there?
We really don't know
Except the minnows that swim by
In just one second I barely miss, sigh
From swimming, to horseshoe crabs,
To dolphins that'll blow your mind
Some things I couldn't take,
But memories don't get left behind.

Carly W.
seventh grade

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our First Post: Poems

This is our very first post! Welcome to sevenatenine. Here is your first helping of poetry. We hope that these poems will satisfy your hunger for verse. If you have any more good poetry "recipes" or completed "dishes," email them to our head chef, Mr. Vogelsinger at These poems are short, "snacks" so to speak. They are written by some of Mr. Vogelsinger's students about the book, The Outsiders. They are also inspired by Simon and Garfunkel's classic song, "I Am A Rock."
The blog "servers" selected the ones they feel are the best. Please, add comments to let these writers know what you think of them. Enjoy these "snacks" and stay tuned for the first "meal!"

I am a hammer,
Tough, durable
I break in,
then build up and slip away
until I am need again.

I am a pencil,
small and useful,
yet easily broken.
I can have
a sharp point.

I am a stray dog,
When I shouldn't be,
But still friendly on the inside.

I am a baby bird,
Lost in a big world,
Left without parents to guide me,
Learning to fly on my own.