Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Charles Ghigna - The 'If-You-Were' Poem

If You Were My Book
Charles Ghigna

If you were the pages of my book
And I were reading you,
I’d read as slow as I could go
So I never would get through.

I've been looking forward to putting up this post for more than a month now, ever since Charles Ghigna sent it to me. It's got some of his original poetry, which makes me very happy, and just like when his A Poem Is... appeared in 30 Poets/30 Days, there was more poetry than I could fit in a post! Sorry about that (though you have my word on it all being faboo). Plus, this post is a writing prompt, something I am often not clever enough to come up with myself.

These are fun, fun poems to write, and I hope you'll all give it a try (or give it to students to try). And please... feel free to leave your poems in the comments here at GottaBook.

And with that from me, I say "take it away, Father Goose!"

The If-You-Were Poem
by Charles Ghigna (Father Goose)

The If-You-Were poem consists of 4 lines (quatrain) and 2 rhymes (lines 2 & 4). It contains 2 comparisons (metaphors), one for the “I” of the poem and one for the “you.”

Instructions: Think of a person you like. Compare that person to some thing (inanimate object). Now compare yourself to some thing associated with the first object.


If you were a shining star
And I were your midnight,
I’d let you shine above me,
You’d be my only light.

If you were a scoop of ice cream
And I were an ice cream cone,
I’d put you on my shoulders
And hold you for my own.

If you were a grand piano
And I were a sweet love song,
I’d let your keys tickle and tease
My melody all day long.

Just for the fun of it, you might want to reverse the process and write an If-I-Were poem!

If I were a bumblebee
And you were a buttercup,
I’d buzz around until I found
Your bright face looking up.

If I were the autumn wind
And you were a maple tree,
I’d lift your leaves with a gentle breeze
And hold them close to me.

If I were a lonely lighthouse
And you were a ship at sea,
I'd shine my light all through the night
Till you returned to me.

These poems also make great Valentines. Try writing one for each of your friends and family members. The titles of your poems can be your friends' and family members’ names. You might want to make a little book of them and decorate it with your drawings.

Have fun writing, drawing and sharing!

For more examples of the If-You-Were poems, please see the book If You Were My Valentine by Charles Ghigna (Simon & Schuster, 2005)

For a list of other poem formats, please visit the Classroom Fun section of Charles Ghigna's website!


Mary Lee said...

PERFECT new poetry form to try with my fourth graders! Thanks to you and Charles Ghigna!

Stephen Aitken said...

I love this format. Thanks for the posting.


If you were a May full moon,
And I were a star in the sky,
I'd twinkle and sparkle beside you,
So your beauty was magnified.

If you were a deep black hole,
And I were the milky way,
I'd twirl and swirl towards you,
Until you'd invite me to stay.

If you were a flaming comet,
And I were the deep blue sky,
I'd wrap my night around you,
And sing you a lullaby.

If you were a Gregory K. poem,
And I were a word in a rhyme,
I'd squirm and worm to be noticed,
Until you used me all of the time.

Anonymous said...

Love that. I'll be giving it a whirl!

Charles Ghigna said...


If you were a poet called Pincus
And I were your friend, Father Goose,
I'd write a new prompt full of rollick and romp
In the spirit of dear Dr. Seuss.

Thanks, Greg, for putting the magic touches to our If-You-Were poetry prompt. I hope your teacher/poet/parent/librarian friends enjoy sharing this one with their kids.

Metaphors be with you!

Greg Pincus said...

Thanks Stephen AND Charles for immortalizing me in verse in my blog's comments! This is a good day, indeed. :-)

I should note I got a few emails today as well from people who will be trying the form out, but clearly the two of you are naturals!

Sherrie Petersen said...

What a fun poetry format! I'm going to do this for my kids. Thanks!

rachel said...

You should listen to Red Staggerwing on Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler's album Real Live Roadrunning!

Anonymous said...

If you were a hot dog,
And I were a bun,
I'd be all around you,
Warming you like the sun.

Fasai C said...

If you were a picture,
And i were you frame,
I'll hold and protect you,
'cuz were one and the same!