Contemporary Youth's Companion

Last week in my seventh grade class we read "Rattlesnake Hunt" by Marjorie Rawlings. I introduced her essay by doing "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass". I had written the poem on my white board at the front of the room and had the children guess the subject. Then I told them quite a bit about Emily and then we brought up the poem on the Big Screen via the Dickinson Electronic Archives. I was able to click on the letter and enlarge Emily's writing to giant size--a feature I really appreciate, since there are often over 30 children in my large classroom and it would be difficult for them to see it without that capability. I could just "feel" the chills up and down the spines of the children as they saw Emily's handwriting. They are fascinated.

Later in the week we did "The Big Wave" a drama by Pearl S. Buck. I thought, at the end of the play it would be a perfect time to do "Hope is the Thing with Feathers", since the main character had to "sing the tune without the words" when the tidal wave claimed his family. I always use this poem to teach the concept of metaphor, and it was made especially meaningful in the context of Buck's drama. The students then tried to create a metaphor using Emily's poem as a metaphor. Here is what they came up with--I was impressed with their effort. I gave them each a copy and they loved reading each other's work. We're now working on a second collection. After the writing activity I think the appreciation of Emily grew by leaps and bounds.
--Debbie A. Smith

Love is the thing with the heart of a child
Sometimes melancholy when there is no one to play with
Has its tumbles, obstacles and eternal achievements
Life and soul full of warmth, spirit and faith
The flame that will dim, but never die out.
--Heather Cochran

Love is the thing with nails
It can kill those who fall in it
To some it will only wound
However those who succeed will never be hurt
--Michael Booth

Love is the thing with Wings
That makes you fly into the sky
With happiness and joy
It makes you feel nice and warm
When cuddled by whom you love
--Stephanie T.

Love is the thing with thorns
Beautiful and red for the person who is
Always in your mind and in your thoughts
--Mark Ross

Love is the thing with horns and a pointy tail
Sure it has its good and great times
But there is always always, always
That little devil inside of the special person
That seems to screw everything up
--Eric Madden

Love is the thing with majestic power
It never gives up when you feel to cower,
You say it is strong, you say it is frail,
But when you need it the most it will never fail
--Timothy Gustafson

Love is the thing with Doves
The way they gracefully glide through the air
The way they reflect the sun light off their smooth white wings
And the way their eyes shimmer in the bright, warm light sinking from the sun.
--Bridgette Shuksta

Love is the thing with petals,
It always smells so sweet
When it dies you're disappointed,
And hope it comes back soon.
--Sarah Langley

Love is the thing with a rapid beat,
That tells you who you want to meet,
Tells you who you're thinking of
And makes you feel like an exquisite white dove
--Shelby Champion

Love is the thing with wings
It makes me feel so good
Love will help you through
Love is bright and beautiful
--Brandi Clark

Happiness is the thing with flowers
That move with the light breeze
That stand perfectly still
And get a new life when picked
--Ari Hambarzumian

Happiness is the thing with many colors
That shines through hard problems,
And smiles down with no face
And comes around when needed
--Sara Cady

Happiness is the thing with rainbows
All colorful and bright
Different kinds of colors none of them alike
--Francis Rich

Happiness is the thing with fur
It sits by your feet
And warms your heart and soul
It keeps you happy always
--Chan Laisure Pool

Silence is the thing with ears to hear the world
As a mouse listening for the cat, ready to prance,
The wind, the soft breeze of spring air when you're longing
For a friend, you hear, the epic laughter of someone, a friend,
Possibly waiting, yearning, feeling through a bush, like a mouse,
Just chattering on mysteriously, and rushing on.
-- Ashlee Scott

Anger is the thing with fists
That fights with everything
That burns and bruises
And will hurt until it goes away.
--Mary Alexander

Anger is the thing with screaming
You could do it in a pillow
You could do it out loud
You could do it in your mind
And you could do it in a crowd.
--Sarah Elstro

Anger is the thing with scales
It lashes out with no control
And hurts when its received
No telling when it might strike back
So lay off and let it breathe.
--Barbara Arocho

Anger is the thing with horns
That urges you to yell and sin
It's the thing that burns inside you
And it can overpower your screaming conscience.
--Chris Rukel

Anger is the thing with words
It speaks so loud so everyone hears
It expresses so many feelings with just one word
It also expresses so much without words.
--Nicole Cossaboon

Anger is the thing with darkness
Like the shadows-swallowing you whole
Like the wind-passing through your mind and passing through your soul
But with the power of your love-the shadow will fail
The light will come to you once again.
--Elias Popa

Anger is the thing with spikes
Piercing your heart
Burning you up
Red into deep blackness
--Jeff Axton

Anger is the thing with darkness
On a stormy, windy, scary night
With shades of black, gray, and silver
When its dark as night
--Amanda Baker

Anger is the thing with teeth
That bites you so hard
You can't breathe
It's a harmful piece of me
--Nicole Payne

Anger is the thing with Horns
That waits to stab your Heart
And wants to dart
Right toward you
--Karna Huehns

Sadness is the thing with water
That splashes when it hits the ground
And can feel a heart with sorrow
And Hopefully it can stop someday
--Michael Fitzpatrick

Horror is the thing with arms
That snatches our joy right up
And casts dark, evil, shadows along the walls
Until the sun comes up
--Lauren Baez

Death is the thing with you in your eyes
Which always comes out to be a surprise
Because you never want to lose your friends
You find out the fun always ends
--Joe Wimberly

Delight is the thing with bright rays
It shines in all smiles,
And it brings joy to other people,
And will last in you for a while
--Cameron Magness

Delight is the thing with waterfalls
To see the clear blue water, trickling down the smooth gray rock
Gives me lots of delight
That I remember forever
--Jimmy Rosequist

Delight is the thing with big ears
When visitors come, he is in delight
The sadness when I leave home-When I'm back, happiness
Across his face-my little friend-
Friend, yes and my dog!
--Britnee Penson

Success is the thing with heartache
For every good time you must suffer
One bad, Because without that knowledge,
You cannot experience full happiness or obtain success.
--Dexter Davis

Honor is the thing with stone shoes
That holds you down to make others free.
It's discipline and loyalty
But most of all it helps me be me.
--Tyler Williams

Anger is the thing with masks-
You never see its true face.
It will act as if your friend,
But for the one who looks deep-
They will see a foe.
--Brian Salerno

Fear is the thing with long teeth
That stands tall, forced into your mind,
And hides in dark corners and waits your arrival,
But lays low when you are joyful.
--Erin Gunn

Love is the thing with petals
That so swiftly moves into your life,
And helps you through the bad times,
And gives you hope for all that's best.

Love is the pink rose bud
Just standing in the field
Wafting for the perfect day
To start its life, and bloom.
--Felicia Lynn Tompkins

Curiosity is the thing with fur
That tickles your nerves
And yells for all of your attention
Only stopping when you find it.
--Katy Bailey

Happiness is the thing with leaves
That sway in the breeze so kind,
That protects us in shaded glory
And grows in the light of the mind.
--Neil Nguyen

Anger is the thing with claws
It scratches the happiness out of me.
--Cory Law

Happiness is the thing with Light
That shines everyday in your eyes,
And brightens every moment
For happiness is the sun which never dies.
--Megan Bunch

Homework is the thing with a pitchfork and horns
The time for fun invaded by the demons.
It binds poor children after they've escaped school.
Homework crumbles the dreams of the bored.
--Doug Reithmann

Love is the thing with family-
It can come in many shapes and sizes.
It can take bits and pieces of your insides
Or it can grasp your soul on the outside.
--Gatoya Jones

Jealousy is a thing with scales
That slithers across the ground,
Who envies all around him
And prefers not to make a sound.

Jealousy slithers around the town
And watches everyone that is near-
He sticks out his tongue and mocks others
To anyone who can hear.
--Erin Kozak

Contemporary Youth's Companion
Copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <>
Last updated on March 10, 2008
Dickinson Electronic Archives