Writing Mini-Lessons: Vanquishing the Monster, Poetry of Empowerment

In life, each of us will face adversity. Many people see adversity as a major problem, something to be avoided at all cost. However, how you choose to respond to it defines whether adversity is a debilitating problem or whether it is an opportunity for you to unleash your potential, discovering your creativity, strength, and spirit. Sometimes, the first step to recognizing that adversity doesn’t have to keep you immobilized in its steely grip is to look that affliction firmly in the eyes. Poetry is one way to force adversity out from under your bed and into the dazzling light of day.

Your goal is to write a monster poem. What is the monster/adversity about which you would warn? Decide on a problem and then create a monster that represents that problem.

Make sure you include the following:

This is a free verse poem, so it doesn’t need to follow any specific format. If you are dissatisfied with the organization of your monster poem, you may try a format some students have found useful in the past:

Stanza 1: Identify the monster.

Stanza 2: Chronicle where the monster lives.

Stanza 3: Describe the monster’s appearance.

Stanza 4: Delineate the monster’s actions.

Stanza 5: Specify how you know the monster is around/has been there.

Stanza 6: Offer warnings about your monster.

Stanza 7: Explain how to survive your monster.

Samples:

Loneliness



loneliness is a monster

that hides and lives

in your shadow



she was born

from fear and sadness

her eyes are a murky grey,

filled with sorrow and longing

she is scrawny and thin, but she is

as mighty and powerful as fear

her skin is like burnt paper,

and her body is long and tall



she reaches out

with crippled, frail hands

and holds on

with a strong grip,

clinging to you



she draws you in,

looking pitiful but she

is cruel and hateful;

she has neither

love nor friends

to feed off of

she isolates

you in a world

of terror and misery

she grows bigger,

keeping you captive

alone in darkness; you



can’t get away from her;

she just keeps

crawling towards you,

always clinging tightly

to every part of you



you’ll know she’s been

there when you

see your friend

sitting alone on the bench,

in the middle

of a swarm of kids;



you’ll know when

you see someone

staring off into space;

you’ll know when

you have that chilly feeling

inside yourself

and all you see

is darkness;



you’ll know when

you feel her skeletal

fingers digging

into your skin



don’t ignore her;

she’ll hold on tighter

you won’t be able to dice

her with a knife;

you can’t bruise

her with a bat;



don’t give in to her;

don’t pity her;

don’t give up;

find love in your family

and with your friends



then loneliness

will turn wispy

and vanish

like smoke

curling and dancing

upward,

disappearing forever

~ Anna

monster poem

there is a monster

who lurks in the doorway

of my memory

it collects eyes and digs under your skin

its mouth is filled with needles

you will know it’s been in your home

if your brother’s eyes are more glass

and stone than flesh

if your room has nothing left that he could sell

you will know it

by the smell of blank stares and stale rooms

by the arms of the woman who took you in and held you before

you knew better

than to think it wouldn’t come for her too

by the bruises she no longer cares to cover

by the way she will still say you’re like a daughter

long after you’ve left each other for dead

do not try to hunt it down

it will not melt when you pour water over its head

will not die from a silver bullet or wooden stake

but if it comes for you

do not open your veins

or taste its promises

do not look at its eyes

each pair was traded for glass

and if you look too long

you will find your own

in its skin



-chrissy