This year I have vowed to highlight some of my favorite writers to my students. This past week with the 8th grade it was Sherman Alexie. His poem “Powwow at the End of the World” was in the textbook. We had a good discussion about the background, heard from Alexie regarding his viewpoint on many things, and studied two of his odes: “Ode to Pay Phones” and “Ode to Mix Tapes.” I then challenged the students to write their own odes.
Some of them did a great job: Ode to Eminem. Ode to Pac-Man (written in the shape of a Pac Man!) Starbucks, chickens, pizza, and Netflix. But my favorite was “Ode to Classical Music.” This is a publishable poem, by the best writer in my class.
Ode to Classical Music
What happened to the days back when
The art of sound was a classical trend?
No buttons, no speakers, no screens or switches;
Just strings and keys matching pitches.
Music filled with emotion and meaning;
Not just someone complaining or grieving.
Technology has taken over the world.
People care more about what’s new than old.
Music should come from the heart and mind,
Not from what happened “that one time.”
No words were needed, no words were said.
Just melody you found while lying in bed.
White is happiness,
Black is sorrow.
Put them together,
They bring hope for tomorrow.
I’ll play the keys that represent both.
And bring them to a world that I wrote.