The Loudest Pencil in the World

We’ve been working on a short story project for the past few days, and I have been so amazed at the quiet focus of my sixth graders on this project. You can hear a pin drop for 45 minutes at a time as they work on their stories. Then, yesterday, in one of my classes, all you could hear was this one kid’s pencil in the back of the room. It was incredibly noisy. It might have been his grip, or his intensity, or the table surface … who knows.

But as they wrote, I composed this poem:

The Loudest Pencil in the World

I just heard
the loudest pencil in the world;

Some kid in the back of the room
with a Kung Fu grip
and words tumbling out of him like an avalanche —
He’s racing to keep up,
pushing lead to stay ahead of his ideas,
else all might be lost …

And, boy, I know that feeling – all too well —
yet I write quiet,
so as to not cause a riot in my foolish head
as every sliver of sound has the potential
to get me lost
on some byway of my own way of thinking.

His pencil?
It shouts;
It hollers;
It sings;
It’s the loudest pencil in the world.
He’s scratching out a symphony in the back of the room
and the sounds have us all wondering —
I can see the heads of other students popping up
like prairie dogs now and then —
what is he writing,
and will his writing stay in tune

And I wrote it to be read and listened to, paying attention to internal rhymes. So, here is the podcast:

Peace (in the poem),

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