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Poem Response Journal

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Response Journals
A response journal is exactly what it sounds like. You write a page in which you respond to a piece of literature that interested you from the readings for the lesson. There are many things you can write about. You can express your opinion, or compare the literature to something that has happened in your own life. You can write about specific language or imagery that impressed you, or you can mention some of the difficulties you experienced in reading the literature.
Response Journal Options
1. If you had to compare yourself to a tree, which tree would you choose and why? What other object might you compare yourself to? Explain.
2. What are some other rules you would add to Robert Fulghum’s list? Why did you choose these?
3. What would you compare loss of sight to? What about one of the other senses such as hearing or touch? Describe how this would make you feel.
4. Dr. Frankl states that the “size of human suffering is completely relative” (see page 64). What does he mean by this?
5. What experiences have enabled you to develop a greater appreciation and respect for nature? Describe these experiences.
6. Do you agree or disagree that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which a man can aspire. Why?
7. If you were in Dr. Frankl’s position as a camp prisoner, what foods would you dream about? Do you think this was a healthy practice or not?
8. Choose any of the pieces of literature in this lesson and respond in your own way.

Robert Flughum
from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things
Each spring, for many years, I have set myself the task of writing a personal statement of belief: a Credo. When I was younger, the statement ran for many pages, trying to cover every base, with no loose ends. It sounded like a Supreme Court brief, as if words could resolve all conflicts about the meaning of existence.
The Credo has grown shorter in recent years—sometimes cynical, sometimes comical, sometimes bland, but I keep working at it. Recently I set out to get the statement of personal belief down to one page in simple terms, fully understanding the naive idealism that implied.
The inspiration for brevity came to me at a gasoline station. I managed to fill an old car’s tank with super-deluxe high-octane go-juice. My old hoopy couldn’t handle it and got the willies—kept sputtering out at intersections and belching going downhill. I understood. My mind and my spirit get like that from time to time. Too much high-content information, and I get the existential willies—keep sputtering out at intersections where life choices must be made and I either know too much or not enough. The examined life is no picnic.
I realized then that I already know most of what’s necessary to live a meaningful life—that it isn’t all that complicated. I know it. And have known it for a long, long time. Living it—well, that’s another matter, yes? Here’s my Credo:
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School.
These are the things I learned:
* Share everything.
* Play fair.
* Don’t hit people.
* Put things back where you found them.
* Clean up your own mess.
* Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
* Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
* Wash your hands before you eat.
* Flush.
* Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
* Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
* Take a nap every afternoon
* When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
* Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
* Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
* And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are . . . When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things
Each spring, for many years, I have set myself the task of writing a personal statement of belief: a Credo. When I was younger, the statement ran for many pages, trying to cover every base, with no loose ends. It sounded like a Supreme Court brief, as if words could resolve all conflicts about the meaning of existence.
The Credo has grown shorter in recent years—sometimes cynical, sometimes comical, sometimes bland, but I keep working at it. Recently I set out to get the statement of personal belief down to one page in simple terms, fully understanding the naive idealism that implied.
The inspiration for brevity came to me at a gasoline station. I managed to fill an old car’s tank with super-deluxe high-octane go-juice. My old hoopy couldn’t handle it and got the willies—kept sputtering out at intersections and belching going downhill. I understood. My mind and my spirit get like that from time to time. Too much high-content information, and I get the existential willies—keep sputtering out at intersections where life choices must be made and I either know too much or not enough. The examined life is no picnic.
I realized then that I already know most of what’s necessary to live a meaningful life—that it isn’t all that complicated. I know it. And have known it for a long, long time. Living it—well, that’s another matter, yes? Here’s my Credo:
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School.
These are the things I learned:
* Share everything.
* Play fair.
* Don’t hit people.
* Put things back where you found them.
* Clean up your own mess.
* Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
* Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
* Wash your hands before you eat.
* Flush.
* Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
* Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
* Take a nap every afternoon
* When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
* Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
* Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
* And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are . . . When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Uphill
Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
—Christina Rossetti

Gail Smith
Shadowfall
Once earth,
Called to me,
“Be a tree,
Be a tree.”
Acorn—I answered,
With a leaf,
A stem,
And a brief
Root shooting down;
Sending a young trunk
Bending in the wind,
And a
New limb strong
Enough for just a bird
And a song.
Now I
Have heard
A thousand songs,
Stirred
In a thousand winds
And a
Thousand leaves
Weave
Through my
Branches.
My roots
Lie deep
And I keep
Thinking
That when
One is tall
The shadowfall
Is long
Upon
An afternoon.

  

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