Poetry for Life A Photo Essay By Grace Larson

Poetry for life is a club that meets after school for students who love to read and recite poetry. We travel to a retirement home where we recite and share poetry with residents who are interested in poetry or have memory issues. These photos were taken from our third trip to New Cassel.

Ansalem talks to Gary

Gary, one of the participants in the Poetry for Life program, asked for a book called Not Every Haystack has a Needle. The students found it on a website and ordered it for him. When we got it to him, he was so grateful and emotional about it. It was incredibly sweet and we all loved to see him so happy.

Above you can see Sophia Mace giving Gary the book.

Gary shared a beautiful poem with us from the book. All the other participants were so supportive and kind to him while he read the poem.

Mrs. Kessler talks to two New Cassel residents

Going on these one-hour trips was truly life-changing for me. I was a little apprehensive and scared at first, but meeting all of the smiling faces and talking with everyone made me relax. I could tell they were just happy to have us there to talk to, and I love to listen!

Theresa finishes reading her poem.

Theresa is my “partner” that I read poems with. She is a wonderful person. She is so positive, and also the mother of two girls. She grew up on a farm where she would take warm showers with collected rain water put out in the sun. Her favorite past time when she was little was to lay on the grass and watch the clouds roll by. I learned this by only spending three hours with her over three weeks. I am so glad I got this opportunity.

This is Jerry. He’s kind of the life of the party.

Jerry makes everyone laugh. He makes funny comments every now and then. On our first time here he also tried to recite Annabel Lee. He would say, “It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea. That a maiden there lived whom you may know by the name of Annabel Lee. And that’s all I know.” Then we would all laugh and clap because, let’s be honest, even memorizing that much is a feat in itself.

Sophia Mace giving some cookies.

We had a party our third time with lots of delicious food! We had cookies, lemonade, fresh fruit, mini angel food cakes, ice cream, and chips with hummus. Everyone deserves a little treat for reading all those poems!

Reciting a beautiful handwritten poem.

Along with all of the pre-printed poems that we brought along with us, some of the ladies brought their own handwritten work, that was not only beautiful, but also very meaningful and well-thought out.

Friends and fellowship.

One of my favorite memories was when we were going through a nursery rhyme book and we had to choose a nursery rhyme. Theresa wanted us to do “I’m a Little Teapot” so we recited it together. Then, Mrs. Kessler had me do the actions with the poem in front of everyone because her group was going to do that poem. You snooze, you lose, Mrs. Kessler! ;)

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