Posted by: Debby | July 1, 2011

Play With Your Words Poetry Prompt #13: I Hear America Singing

It’s 4th of July weekend, and so I thought it would be fun if our monthly poetry prompt were patriotic.

Read Walt Whitman’s I Hear America Singing:

 I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

One of the beauties of this poem is its celebration of the working people of the United States (regardless of the sexism that is a product of its times).

We are so blessed to live in the United States. My grandfather came as an eleven-year-old immigrant in 1922, and whenever I asked him to tell me what it was like for him as a child in war-torn Russia, he would say, “You don’t want to hear those stories. You live in the best country on this earth.” He would then elaborate on all he appreciated about the United States.

Today’s prompt is to write a list poem that celebrates something you appreciate about our country. It could be our freedom, our economic opportunities, places, or traditions. I love our national parks. I was blessed through my adolescence and early adulthood to make an annual trek to Yosemite National Park for a family reunion. (Just a week ago, I returned from our most recent get-together.) In addition, my husband and I love to take road trips to National Parks. Our visit to Yellowstone simply amazed me.

Do you love the landscapes, traditions, or people of your our country, your state, or your region? Celebrate where God has placed you.

Write a list poem entitled, I Hear _________ Singing. You fill that blank with the subject you want to celebrate about your country, state, or region.

To prepare, make a list of the things you love about your subject. Go over the list a second time and list sensory details that relate to each item then read your list and highlight the things you want to include in your poem.

Write your poem. It can be free verse, like Whitman’s, or rhymed and metered. Be sure to include some of the sensory details you brainstormed on your list.

Revise for fluency and flow, sound effects, and meaningful line breaks and spacing if using free verse. (For more tips see Sound Effects in Poetry.)

When polished to satisfaction, share your poems with your writing partners. Enjoy and appreciate each other’s writing.

Celebrate Independence Day by posting your poems here as comments.

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