Our Favorite Poem For National Poetry Month Came From a First Grader

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 10:11 AM

A poem for National Poetry Month by a New York City first grader (Jason Gardner) A poem for National Poetry Month by a New York City first grader (Jason Gardner)

On the last day of National Poetry Month, our favorite poem we saw all month came from an unnamed first grader:

We did the soft wind.
We danst slowly. We swrld
Aroned. We danst soft.
We lisin to the mozik.
We danst to the mozik. 
We made personal space. 

This poem was spotted in a New York City public school on the Lower East Side by photographer Jason Gardner. The school had received a small grant for Gardner to take portraits of families that might not otherwise have the means to do so. While waiting for one family to set up, this poem, penned by a first grader in the after school program, caught his eye. So, he took a picture and shared it on Facebook, where it caught our eye, too. Especially that last line — in a crowded city like New York, you cannot underestimate the value of personal space.

HT Amy Pearl.


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Comments [15]

Pramod Sharma

IT'S REALLY VERY SUPERB..!!! Jaitra Sharma (4 year old), Youngest world Map memorizer .. Friends PLEASE Watch and share this.. REALLY AMAZING..!!!!! WONDERFUL...!!!!!! AWESOME !!! ! VERY EXTRAORDINARY...!!!!! MUST SEE....!!!!!! SEE THIS TO BELIEVE.....

May. 10 2014 01:36 PM
Lee Fox from Mt. Orab, Ohio

So very touchingly beautifully said.

May. 09 2014 11:28 AM
Jess from Massachusetts

This poem should be the winner!
I hope it really is a first grader's thoughts....age 5/6?

He/she has "a really steady hand" for a first grader.
In any case...this poem IS THE WIINNER! Congrats.
Powerful imagery. Beautiful.

May. 06 2014 10:40 AM
Kim from NYC

I absolutely love this poem...misspelt words and all. It expresses the joy of dance in such a pure and unadulterated way. I have come back to it several times since first seeing it. It is simple and brilliant.

May. 03 2014 09:39 AM
Pamela from Vancouver Canada

A friend of mine mentioned (she's an elementary school teacher) that it was too bad the author of the poem didn't get a byline mention. An adult author would have been mentioned by name. I realize we're often cautious about putting kids identities online but it would have been great to give them credit.

May. 02 2014 02:34 PM

The beauty of poetry is that each reader can interpret it how they want, as we can see in the previous comments. And none of them are wrong, just different. Photography is much the same. Thus the common phrase "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

May. 02 2014 10:52 AM
Monique from Ca

Seriously what is wrong with you people!

May. 02 2014 10:13 AM
Gerald Gray from California

Too much serious adult talk. This is lovely, heartfelt poetry.

May. 02 2014 01:24 AM
melly from nyc

Matt from St Louis- You probably haven't been in a first grade classroom in a long time. This girl's writing is actually very good and one of the ways children are encouraged to write more these days is through phonetic spelling. They spell exactly how it sounds and eventually they begin to spell more and more. I seriously doubt many other 6 year olds would spell and write better than this. (PS I have four smart children and was a teacher)

May. 01 2014 08:36 PM
Matt from Saint Louis, MO

... poetic sensibilities aside, that kid has some serious basic literacy issues for someone in the 1st grade. That, or maybe I've lost touch with reality in face of the constantly expanding standards for elementary school children.

I do remember (starting) to learn to spell and whatnot in Kindergarten, in any case.

May. 01 2014 07:54 PM

Dear Erma,

If you look at the picture the only "wind" is near the girl...

May. 01 2014 04:52 PM

I think the boy she was dancing with farted so she had to dance away for some personal space.

May. 01 2014 03:01 PM
Denise Theatre Teaching Artist from Los Angeles

I believe the student is writing about an experience he or she had with a Dance Teaching Artist. A teaching artist (artist –educator) is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.
The student is describing their dance lesson - moving about the classroom with his fellow students.
The best part of being a Teaching Artist is receiving letters and drawings such as these.

May. 01 2014 02:40 PM
Adam from Rockford, IL

No no, you're getting it all wrong - the poet's not talking about one's personal space. He's discussing instead how the dance makes that space personal!

May. 01 2014 09:28 AM
jim Govoni

It sounds like leonard cohen love it

Apr. 30 2014 04:19 PM

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