Monday, July 28, 2008

learning the poem of Flash Cards

Finally we can get access to free Internet. Since Mike mentioned we still had no entries about teaching the Chinese poems to American students, I'd like to talk about it a little bit because since now I haven't found anything exciting here, except for a passionate cowboy teacher.

That lesson on exchanging views on poems really impressed me, maybe because our group worked with two brilliant students, Amy and Esther, who are good teachers at explaining things and also eager to learn about foreign languages and culture. First they chose the Chinese poem An Autumn Night, which is about Chinese Valentines' Day, and we told them about the ancient myth of the heart-broken stars that they really love. Then we transfered to English poem Flash Cards by Rita Dove. The first time I read it, I was totally lost. But they explained it word by word with great patience, and of course with help from Mike, I finally got to know the feeling Rita wanted to express in this little poem, that is a mixed and complicated emotion. On one hand, she wanted to satisfy her father and make him proud of her, not disappoined of her. On the other hand, as a ten-year-old child, she wondered why she had so huge burdens on her and so many stuffs to learn. I have to say many Asian kids have the same experiences and feelings because the environment is full of competition. Actually I did have this strong feeling when I was a kid. So when I read the poem again and again, I kept thinking that there are some familiar things in each culture.

A lot of thanks to Amy and Esther, and also to Mike, to let me know more about America. Here I put this poem, to let all people appreciate it.

Flash Cards

In math I was the whiz kid, keeper

of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand,

master, my father said; the faster

I answered, the faster they came.

I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium,

one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane.

The tulip tree always dragged after heavy rain

so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home.

My father put up his feet after work

and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln.

After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark

before sleep, before a thin voice hissed

numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess.

Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.


Bill Holschuh said...

Thanks for posting Flash Cards, Sarah. It's a wonderful poem. I'm glad you had such a good experience working with Amy and Esther.

Hope you enjoy the Smoky Mountains. And I'm looking forward to hearing about your time in New York and Washington.


Hans said...

There is another poem that is about Math that I think you might enjoy a lot.

My dad gave me one dollar bill
"Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
"Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters
and traded them to Lou
For three dimes--I guess he don't know
That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just 'cause he can't see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head-
Too proud of me to speak!
By: Shel Silverstein