Poetry Friday: Couplets

In Writer’s Circle, over four weeks, we have worked on haiku, nonets, clerihews, free verse, and now couplets. Out of all of these types of poems, I found my students stymied at the couplets.

In part, I think this is because I spent less time explaining them. The poor couplets were squeezed in at the end of yesterday’s meeting during which we spent time sharing free verse poems and working on writing our pourquoi stories. Perhaps, I assumed they understood what they were. I gave three examples. One written and two I read, all varying in their subject matter and length. The two I read were from the venerable Jack Prelutsky, one of my favorite children’s poets. I know I am dating myself here. But, that’s okay. I’ve written about Prelutsky before, and he remains a poet I turn to when I need a clear and entertaining example of something relatively simple that students can relate to. All I know is that I did some disservice to the popular couplet style poem and we’ll have to return to them sometime before summer is over.

I also had trouble coming up with my couplet poem on the spot. We all struggled to some extent. Today, I returned to my couplet and came up with the following:

Plants butterflies love. Milkweed, rough blazing star (not open), black eyed susan’s, and spent lupine.Behind my barn. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Butterfly Friendly

Butterflies visit my flowers

They find it gives them the powers,

To grow and change in a summer’s pace

So they can join the migration race.

Travel far, they know they must

Through the Midwest, full of dust.

Stopping in yards like mine along the way

Keeps them going without having to pay.

If we stop having flowers, butterflies die too.

So plant some, plant some, and they will come to you.

© Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Monarch butterfly, female, released into my yard this week. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host for this week’s round up is: Becky at Sloth Reads. Thanks for hosting Becky! To see more great poetry or find out what Poetry Friday is, visit Becky’s page.

10 thoughts

  1. Carol, I like your butterfly poem, and the title is great. I think sometimes we just have to wait for an idea to grab us and send us on our way. Your poem seems like it flowed once you got going! Hopefully the children in your class will have success next time too!

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    1. Thanks, Denise! I hope so too. I think you are right. Sometimes we just have to wait until the creative juices start flowing and not force it. I am anxious to see how my students’ poems turned out once they had some time to work on them.

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  2. I love your couplet poem! We have many monarchs here in Florida and many that stay year round. I am looking forward to when we move into our own house at the end of the year so I can plant some milkweed to attract more of them. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. What a photo–that butterfly! I wonder if the trouble with the couplets is that they are less distinctive than the other forms you’ve been working with. After all, linked rhymed couplets like in so many of Prelutsky’s poems are for many kids the standard default definition of poetry. To write this successfully depends a lot more on your content and your ability to rhyme–which is harder than it looks, right? I love your last line.

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    1. Yes! You are so right, Heidi. Some of the writing that appears so easy, is simply not that way. I think it shocked the students that this would be harder than they thought. They were grappling for words that did not just rhyme but were the “right” word for the verse. Who could find fault with that?! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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  4. Hooray for planting for butterflies! I’ve had three large monarch caterpillars in my milkweed, but we were leaving for vacation, so I had to leave them to their own devices. (fingers crossed!!) I’m hoping to foster a few when we get back home. Maybe I’ll write some couplets!

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    1. MaryLee, I hope that you find some monarch cats to foster when you get home! I released my 9th yesterday – a male. I name them (I know – kind of goofy). His name was Ivan (9th letter in the alphabet). In the meantime, have a great vacation!

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