Poem of the Day, April 5: My Family Tree, Alicia

From Here, There & Everywhere: Poems of Origin & Hope by Clarendon Elementary 2007-2008 5th Grade Students is a compilation of poems by children directly affected by the June 2007 ICE raid at the Fresh Del Monte food processing facility in Portland, Oregon and their classmates.

The collection is edited by Wendy Thompson, who has taught for nearly three decades in arts education. She is an award-winning poet and has served as Education Coordinator with Saturday Academy. She has taught writing for close to 20 years, most notably at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Washington State. Her poems have appeared in several northwest publications and she has written for Teaching Tolerance and Science & Children magazines.

I (Kay) was privileged to support Wendy in the facilitation planning of this writing program as part of Wendy’s pursuit of the certified applied poetry facilitator (CAPF) credential. The group of poems in the “family tree” lesson were based on George Ella Lyon’s well-known poem “Where I’m From,” often used in schools as a springboard for student poetry.


My Family Tree

I am from stories
on a cold Monday morning
and strong hot coffee
soaking my grandfather’s mustache.

I am from a messy room
a kid’s jungle
from Tuna Helper
and homemade salt-water taffy.

I am from “shh” and “come on,”
from Christmas stockings,
and an empty tank
where fish once roamed.

I am from my mom,
who I do not live with.
That makes me sad
like a wolf separated from its pack.

I am from a memory,
old pictures from Kansas
oh so far away.
This is my family tree.

-Alicia, 5th grade

(c) in the name of the poet or assigns. Used for educational purposes and for the promotion of the poet and personal growth of the reader.

Journal Prompt:

  • Read George Ella Lyon’s poem (see link above) and then, loosely following her template and that provided by Alicia, write your own “family tree” poem.
  • Write anything that bubbles up in you from reading this poem. If it’s emotionally difficult, set the timer for 10 minutes. Take a break, read what you’ve written, and decide if you want to continue. If so, set the timer for another 10 minutes. Repeat.

One Response to Poem of the Day, April 5: My Family Tree, Alicia

  1. irit freiman April 5, 2018 at 3:30 am #

    i love it. my head spining with ideas for my group. and it’s only the 5th day

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