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Picking at a Rose: Love Poem Analysis - ESL Teacher Robin Day Lesson
By:Robin Day B.Sc., M.Sc., B.Ed. <[email protected]>

Picking at a Rose

To the stones
the last petals fall.
The softness,
the smoothness,
the smellness,
memories yes.
Not relived, recalled.

But in the garden waiting
along the shining wall
another bud be bursting,
another petal falls.

2005 (this version)

1. Have the students go over the vocabulary in groups with dictionaries. The words are fairly easy. They won't find smellness as it was created. They know the root word.
2.Read it to them properly, slowly, and then ask them for the rhyme words. See #7 below.
3. Examine the structure, count the number of syllables used to give rhythm. Point out that this is design.
4. Point out that this is an action poem and the performer really needs a rose to perform with touch. The touch and smell of the rose is physical.
5. Ask what the first part of the poem means. It is about remembering finished or lost love and trying to recall it. The rose is symbolic of a past love or lover.
6. Ask students: The second part is about hope or future loves, but this too may not last as noted in the last line. It suggests there may be no end to loves and lovers, as abundant as new rosebuds.
7. Bud be bursting is a nice piece of illiteration, a special form of rhyme.
8. Mention that a rose is a good symbol of love in this poem as it has had long historical connection.
Ask what they think of artificial flowers? Same meanings?
9. If you want, ask the students to draw a rose and label all the flower parts. A wild type rose is best with stamens, pistil, petals, sepals, stem and leaves.
10. You can ask students to try reading this poem with varied emotions or styles. Try an angry lover, a weepy lover,an extravagant romantic lover. Ask them to take on voices of stars or people they know, Bart Simpson or Bugs Bunny.
11. Use what you like from this list and do not overchallenge younger students. I once told a young class of 13 & 14 years olds that they did not really understand love, they only understood "I love my teddy, I love my mommy or I love pizza". That is a good way to tease them.
Copyright 2005 Robin Tim Day





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