||poetry, storytelling, possibly more
||science, art, language arts
||2 through 8
|you will need
There are many ways to receive energy.
There are many kinds of energy to receive.
"Energy" is a common metaphor that goes beyond its meaning in physical science.
"We do not live by bread alone," says the old saying.
In Earth’s ecology, packaged sun-energy is transferred from plant to animal to animal. We humans participate enthusiastically in this transfer.
But we want more—we want to feed our spirits as well as our bodies.
This activity asks students to pull a special moment of spirit-feeding out of their memories and cast it into a poem.
Point out that we live in intense moments, that brief intense experiences of beauty or wonder or joy are the moments that nourish our spirits, and that our minds/spirits need nourishing just as our bodies do.
But our minds require a different kind of energy. This different kind of energy is not physical. It is part emotion and part thought.
Point out that most experiences that we regard as important have a central crucial moment—often the moment when time slowed down.
Ask: What sorts of things can make a moment special?
Try to get at and list moments of:
• Discovery or sudden Illumination—”Eureka!”
• Awe or Wonder—”Wow”
• beauty—the heat in the eyes, the catch in the throat
• belonging (to an other or to something larger than yourself)
Point out that one of the main reasons people make art is to share their experiences.
This may be a good time to read aloud some of the student poems from the Student Source Sheet.
Point out also that one big reason we look at art, listen to music and read poetry is to find out that we are not alone—that someone else, somewhere, somewhen, felt what we are feeling.
Optional: Ask several students to share a special moment aloud. Or ask students to pair up and share a special moment aloud with that other person.
(For appropriate ages, be clear that sex is not an allowable subject for this activity.)
Close the Warmup by coming back to energy and moments that nourish your mind or spirit.
Say that everyone has such moments, but that sometimes the memories are hard to find.
• If you can’t recall a special moment, suggest looking into
• memories of sports, or
moments in Nature or
with a pet, or
a moment of shared joy
Assignment: Share a special moment by making it into a poem or a memoir.
Variation: Any art form can be used.
Read aloud Student Examples.
Suggest that some writers may want to share parts of a special day—longer than a moment.
Student Source Sheet Energy Moment
When I give light
I also receive,
When I smile
I give light to others,
they give light to me.
It is with the light
all of us give, all,
that we are free.
Hugh Brown, gr.4
up in the sky
on a rock
over the big blue water
across the deep valley of trees
I stood … tall and full, like a mast-head of
a special ship, one that was alive.
I felt the earth move
around my body as I lay sinking into its love,
satisfied by caresses the wind gave me freely
all day the sun felt warm
and I sat on the edge of the cliff
dangling my feet over the whole world
playing an imaginary flute, the music
around me, sun warm and the river below
twinkled and quivered, showing off
rainbow patterns in its waves and flow,
sparkling like a wet milky way.
—Jenny Prosser, gr 10
An occasional sea spray,
powdery white sand mingled with wind & water,
I became one with the scape,
danced on the line between surf and sand.
Further out I skipped,
glints off the water, a stirring inside me, I lept,
let go of my self.
Up with me rose the silvery creatures,
the harmony of surf & wind joined with my spirit,
two dolphins dancing with me,
all colors and feelings released, effervescence—
A wave rolled,
closed in and washed me over, made my skin glitter.
The dolphins dove.
They took part of me and left parts of themselves.
—Dee Dee Budde, gr 8
No one else is here,
The air fresh and crisp,
I feel great,
The sun just starts to shine
off everything I see.
I move fast, enjoying all I see,
I‘ve seen it all before
but it doesn’t matter,
The world is waking to the sun.
My mom tells me there is a sun god,
So I am going to talk with Him.
— Clark Goebel,gr 8
A PERFECT MOMENT
Floating in the air
going up the chairlift
You look back and see
a painting with
huge mountain peaks
covered with white powdered snow
that no ski has touched—
All of a sudden
you see yourself in the painting!
— Ashley Bush, gr 5
WE STAND ON MORO ROCK
Watching a thunderstorm far off in the California wilderness
While electric flashing snakes race from the sky
The whisper of electricity throughout the air
Laughing aloud at our hair standing high —
Then the rain and lightning roll toward us,
We travel briskly down the trail
Rain beating on our shoulders.
—Nate Ashmead, gr 7
a faded blue day
a soft worn sky
like an old pair of jeans,
light and then lighter
clouds pushed and pulled,
trees trying to touch them,
a day just for lying
on green grassy carpets
with flowers around me,
my arm for a pillow
the colors of summer
are bright but still mellow,
the feel and the sound
are the same but still new
aloneness and oneness
with all things in nature,
and the sky,
and this day.
—Jenny Prosser, gr 10