One of the things a teacher noticed while reading a number of poems on the OPV website was how many of the poets have rain in their poems. In Oregon, it's not surprising that rain finds its way into poets' imaginations, and it became something of a motif for this reader and then an idea for a poetry writing lesson for students of any age.
The OPV home page features the following quotation:
We each carry lines of poetry with us
Words that others have written float back to us and stay with us, indelibly.
We clutch these "life lines" like totems, repeat them as mantras, and summon
them for comfort and laughter.
--Academy of American Poets
The power of language and imagery in poetry is something that can help us define what is important in life for ourselves. Poetry can play an inspirational role, can be a totem, can be a litany in our lives. Ultimately this lesson idea leads to students using concrete imagery in order to write a poem that captures what is most important for them to hold on to and to remember. Students begin by reading widely from poems in the OPV archive and sharing them in groups. A teacher might model reading the following few poems and lead discussion about the power in these poems to inspire comfort and laughter and hope and pathos.