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This is probably going to sound weird, but I actually have a few magical talismans. I found them when I was a kid. Of course I didn’t know it at the time. They aren’t wands or weapons or glowing crystals. They’re just plain, ordinary . . . things. I didn’t choose them, yet each has somehow attached itself and is riding through this life with me.

The best way I can describe it is that these things have a certain energy or vibration that sort of matches my own so that if you could hear them they would harmonize and fit neatly into my own little hum.

Mason Williams Reading MatterOne of the most powerful is a thin, nondescript paperback. Completely white accept for the title, The Mason Williams Reading Matter couldn’t be more plain. About as sexy as an appliance owner’s manual, it’s really just a silly little book of poems, prose and odd pictures of ordinary things. But for me (and this is incredibly hard to explain) each page dripped with magic and mystery.

The blank spaces dancing between the words and lurking in the margins called to me from across the universe. “Come,” they said. “Come follow me.”

And I guess I kind of did.

One of the poems in that book was called, “Acrostic”. As a kid, I didn’t know what Acrostic meant. I just liked the way the poem sounded. Here it is, pulled from memory:

Acrostic is a poem form
Containing a device
Rhyming’s not essential, no
It only makes it nice
Sometimes it is difficult
To write acrostic muse
It took a lot of patience
Composing this for youse

I’m not sure how long it took me to realize the poem form. I wasn’t the brightest bulb on the bush. But eventually I did. . . and was awe stricken.

Anyway . . .that’s not what this post is really about. I just thought I’d mention it. Because what I’m really on about is how every once in awhile my students do some really cool things. Here’s the back-story:

I think I mentioned earlier that every ten days or so we have a vocabulary test, right? Well sometimes I give the kids a little assignment to help them study. Sometimes I have them write stories using the words. Sometimes I have them create metaphorical images that relate to the words. Sometimes it’s haikus.

A couple of days ago it was acrostic poems. Here are a few of the better ones. The last nine, all done by the same student, are particularly amazing:

Keep following your dreams
Remember that life is what you
Make it
And that is what destiny is

I need to tell you
No one knows, but
Oliver is not
Regular name

Defame is a way to take an
Family or person’s name
Away and
Make the
Entire world laugh at them (like the Spears family for instance)

Astute is
Under pressure

Vern, please stay
In a straight
Line cause
I am really
Not in the mood to
End up in a ditch
And get in a car accident and
Really get hurt

Vern, don’t you
Rearrange the directions

Veering helps you non-
Endanger yourself by
Especially turning
Round to a different direction

An astute man
Sees things that others don’t
Undoubtedly because
They are incredibly
Energetically smart

Draconian people
Are quite
Cold and rude,
Or maybe
Neither at all.
I’m really not
At all sure,
Nor do I care.

The River

Uniting lines together
Racing on a spiral path
Vrooms across the valley
Into lands unknown
Like lines entwining into one
Never ending
Ever flowing
A curvilinear path

The Star

Deafening crowds of cheers
Everything’s perfect
Fanatic fans waving
A star
Mesmerizes the crowd then shares her secret
Everyone gasps and she is suddenly defamed

Watch Out

Vulnerable standing out in the open
Eligible for the hit
Ending up without an answer
Ready to move on command


Keep a bright outlook
Always believe in fate
Remember to balance good with bad
Make time to smile
Arrive at a happy state of being

Smart Sherlock

Always quick witted
Sharp as a tack
Thinks like Sherlock Holmes
Underlines the problems then solves them
Takes time to observe
Environmentally sound
(CW notes: This one got extra points because we are studying the mystery genre and reading Sherlock Holmes stories right now.)

Just Kidding Sara

May I show you Sleepy Ville
It’s supposed to be this quiet little village
Sounds like it right
Only Sleepy Vile is a big city that
Makes Minneapolis look small
Ever think you would see a city this big
Really well you haven’t see Sleepy Ville

Rise Above

Rise up again
Evil has worn you down
So its time to be resurgent
Until the next fight
Rise again
Get up
Enjoy your time
Nothing will stop you
Till you fall again


Admire their work
Realize you could never do that
Takes time and patience
Still who could make that such an
Amazing work of art
Now will you ever find out


Dreaming of a way to escape
Realize you can’t because
An evil cruel thing has you hostage taking
Control of your life
Only to use you for bait
Not thinking of the worries
In your families minds
Any way of escape is welcome but
Not when you are hostage