Just Two Drops of Water From East L.A.

STOP!!! Don’t touch that mouse (thumb that back button…)! I think (hope) you’ll be glad you waited. The assignment was to imagine you were a water drop going through the water cycle. The students were two of my East L.A. extremely-low-performing school (average test scores 21%) fifth-grade students, during those five years I taught, after those umpty-ump years I systems-analyzed. First, an excerpt of the first student’s piece:


Just Two Drops of Water–How Special Can They Be?

Being a Drop of Water Isn’t As Easy As It Looks
by M.M.
Genre: Narrative Fiction

Do you ever wish to be a drop of water? Well, don’t wish that any more! Being a drop of water isn’t as easy as you think it is…
When I was coming down from the sky with my family, I heard my cousin scream. That was the end of him, I thought. Soon, I started to hear most of my family scream. Then, I found myself screaming, too. Our bodies were just splattered to the ground.
After a while, we were all disappearing into the air. I got so scared, I asked my parents, “Mom, Dad, what’s happening?”
“We’re evaporating, my sparkling drop.”

* * *

A ten-year-old East L.A. “nobody” thinks to plant that sophisticated (and touching) my sparkling drop touch in the middle of her piece. Nice.

But it’s this second piece that really blew me away:

by R.A.
Genre: Poem

Watch me. I am Water.

I am home for the fish.
I am rain for the earth.
I am drink for the people.
I am bathwater for babies.

I am all that and more.

I am water for cooking.
I am ice for cooling.
I am snow for sledding.
I am pools for splashing.

I am all that and more.

I am puddles for boots.
I am rivers for boats.
I am lakes for swimming.
I am waves for watching and surfing.

I am all that and more.



* * *

I felt the power of her poem years ago, and I feel it now. Do you?
How did something this powerful and fully-mature show at such a young age? What happens to gifts like these in the anti-academic culture of our country and our time, and, especially, in her culture and locale, where the majority of the girls are pregnant by 8th grade?

We don’t even value poetry any more–who still reads it, really? What a loss.

Water Lilies At Mendocino

I Am a Table for Flowers

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