Thursday, June 16, 2011

Revolution for the Tested: Found Poem

I love when I stumble upon words that speak to me.  Months ago, I stumbled on the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Ruth's words spoke loud and clear:  Stop waiting and start a blog!  And look where I am today.  
under my umbrellaphoto © 2007 Gisela Giardino | more info (via: Wylio)

No, I'm not on the beach drawing in the sand.  (I could only wish.)  But today I am in love with writing and blogging!  So through my searching and browsing the many blogs I follow, look what I found!  I happened to stumble upon this on the sidebar of the Catching Readers blog.  True inspiration for both kids and adults!  Thank you Kate!


But don’t write what they tell you to.
Don’t write formulaic paragraphs
Counting sentences as you go
Put your pencil down.

Don’t write to fill in lines.
For a weary scorer earning minimum wage
Handing out points for main ideas
Supported by examples
From the carefully selected text.

Write for yourself.
Write because until you do,
You will never understand
What it is you mean to say
Or who you want to be.
Write because it makes you whole.

And write for the world.
Because your voice is important.
Write because people are hurting
Because animals are dying
Because there is injustice
That will never change if you don’t.
Write because it matters.

And know this.
They’ll tell you it won’t make a difference,
Not to trouble over grownup things,
Just fill in the lines
And leave it at that.
Tell them you know the truth.
That writing is powerful.
Just one voice on the page
Speaks loudly.
And not only can a chorus of those united change the world.
It is the only thing that ever has.


But don’t read what they tell you to.
Don’t read excerpts, half-poems,
Carefully selected for lexile content,
Or articles written for the sole purpose
Of testing your comprehension.

Don’t read for trinkets,
For pencils or fast food coupons.
Don’t even read for M&M’s.
And don’t read for points.

Read for yourself.
Read because it will show you who you are,
Who you want to be some day,
And who you need to understand.
Read because it will open doors
To college and opportunity, yes,
And better places still…
Doors to barns where pigs and spiders speak,
To lands where anything is possible.
To Hogwarts and Teribithia,
To Narnia and to Hope.

Read for the world.
Read to solve its problems.
Read to separate reality from ranting,
Possibility from false promise.
And leaders from snake oil peddlers.
Read so you can tell the difference.
Because an educated person is so much harder
To enslave.

And know this.
They’ll say they want what’s best for you,
That data doesn’t lie.
Tell them you know the truth.
Ideas can’t be trapped in tiny bubbles.
It’s not about points
On a chart or a test or points anywhere.
And it never will be.


  1. OOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! I love this! I am going to put it in my writer's notebook and it is going to hang in my room next fall. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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  3. This is a terrific poem by Kate Messner. It is a great reminder to read and write for our own reasons, about our own topics, in our own way, and in our own time --- but to find time to read and write. Thanks for sharing. Happy blogging.



Thanks for sharing your thoughts.