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Poetry Break #20: International Poetry


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International poetry: Poetry written by a poet who is not an American citizen and does not live in the United States.

Mrs. Mann's Poetry Corner


Introduction: This poem is from Mexico. It was originally written in Spanish but has been translated into English as well. "Lemon Tree" would be a great poem to go along with a unit on fruit(lemons), trees or senses. I have included both the Spanish and English versions, wouldn't it be fun to read the same poem in both languages to your class?

Arbol de limon
(Spanish version)

Si te subes a un arbol de limon
siente la corteza
con tus rodillas y pies,
huele sus flores blancas,
talla las hojas
entre tus manos.
el arbol es mayor que tu
y tal vez encuentres cuentos
entre sus ramas.

Jennifer Clement

Lemon Tree
(English version)

If you climb a lemon tree
feel the bark
under your knees and feet,
smell the white flowers,
rub the leaves
in your hands.
the tree is older than you are
and you might find stories
in its branches

Jennifer Clement
(Translated by Consuelo de Aerenlund)

from "The Tree is Older Than You Are"
A bilingual gathering of poems & stories from Mexico with paintings by Mexican artists
selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
(Simon & Schuster, 1995)

Extension: After reading this poem to your class you could ask what senses were described in the poem. Maybe encourage your students to use their senses when adding detail to their own writing. Another fun extension would be to let your students see a lemon tree (if available) and then have lemons available for them to see, feel, smell and taste.