Poetry in Slow Motion
Charles Edward Thompson has a terrible time writing poetry in middle school, but he refuses to ask anyone for help.
It’s poetry time in Charles and Courtney’s English class, much to Charles’s dismay. Charles absolutely hates poetry. Not only that, but he just doesn’t get it. The symbolism goes right past him, and he wouldn’t know rhythm and meter from a parking meter. But despite this, he will not admit that he needs help. He refuses all offers of assistance from his teacher, Courtney, and even Rusty, who somewhat understands poetry.
What makes matters worse is that Charles and the others in his class must write a poem for their final assignment. The best Charles can come up with is a mini epic called “I Like Pants.” He reads it to Jack Allen, who tries to put on a good face about it, but Charles sees right through Jack and tears up his opus.
Charles still needs a poem, though. The day the assignment is due, he buys a poem from Rusty. Big mistake! The poem was copied from a Mother’s Day card that Charles’s teacher received from her son the previous Mother’s Day! Charles gets a failing grade on the assignment, but his teacher does manage to get the reason for his actions. She explains that occasionally everyone needs help with something. For example, she’s terrible at working with anything mechanical. Charles understands. He agrees that from now on, when he needs help, he’ll simply ask for it, and he does ask Courtney at lunchtime.
- Why did Charles say he understood the poems in the assignment when it was obvious he didn’t?
- Have you ever felt like Charles, unwilling or afraid to ask for help when you needed it?
- How did you correct the situation?
- Why do we study poetry in school?
Heard in episode
|Charles Thompson||Mark Shillinger|
|Courtney Vincent||Sara Buskirk|
|Mrs. Hogan||Mary Kay Bergman|
|Jack Allen||Alan Young|
|Rusty Gordon (Malone)||Shawn Svoboda|
- Robert Moss, named as a poet in this episode, is an Australian historian, journalist and author, as well as the creator of Active Dreaming.
Charles Thompson: I put on pants every day. To go to school or to play. I like pants. Sometimes I wear pants of blue, or brown to go with my shoe. I like pants. Sometimes I feel sorry for ants. Because they can't wear pants. I like pants. Pants cover my legs so that I can go. Without them I would be cold I know. I like pants. I like them so.
Mrs. Hogan: You have to have something called humility.
Charles Thompson: Oh yeah, I know all about that. I'm humiliated just about every day.
Mrs. Hogan: <laughs> No, not humiliated, Charles. Humility. It's admitting that you're not perfect, that sometimes you need other people's help.