Mimicry as Inspiration

I’ve been leading a creative writing club for high schoolers, which started at the beginning of October. Originally, I wanted to have us start off the year with a bang with NaNoWriMo via the Young Writers Program, but these students are all second language English learners, so that was a bit too overwhelming of a start. (Poor planning on me…)

I proposed we start with something simpler, and they all eagerly agreed. Therefore, I introduced them to Billy Collins’ “Litany.” When I was in college, one of my professors told us to mimic this poem as a means to improving our writing–mimicking can improve sentence structure and syntax–and I decided to borrow from said professor by having these students do the same. All in all, I really enjoyed what they came up with and would love to share their poems, but I am pretty sure that is not a great idea. Instead, with apologies to Billy Collins, mine follows:

You are the cherries and the pie,
the black coffee and the white mug.
You are the frost on the windowpane
and the flame of a candle.
You are the gentle crunch of snow underfoot
and the final glow of sunset.

However, you are not the bite of winter,
the icicles on the gutter,
or the frozen pond.
And you are certainly not a night storm.
There is just no way that you are a night storm.

It is possible that you are the pumpkins on the porch,
maybe even the last leaves of autumn,
but you are not even close
to being the trick-or-treaters at the door.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the witch’s cauldron
nor the ghouls haunting the graveyard.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the copper kettle on the stove.

I also happen to be the afghan on the sofa,
the dough rising on the kitchen counter
and the garlands of onions in the pantry.

I am also the last morning star
and the first hint of sunrise.
But don’t worry, I’m not the cherries and the pie.
You are still the cherries and the pie.
You will always be the cherries and the pie,
not to mention the black coffee and–somehow–the white mug.

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