Poet's Day | JOY for Today

Whether you consider yourself a poet or not, poetry is and will always be a part of your life. It is in the music we listen to, the books we read, and the history we study. Poets enable us to feel deeply, see sensationally, and dream impossibly. A poem can embed its way into your heart and mind and reproduce the same emotions, vision, and inspiration each time you remember it. What a positive tool, then, to carry a JOY-invoking poem with us wherever we go.

A sunset over a valley is the background with a foreground that quotes Psalm 19:1-4
Poet's Day | August 21st Annually

JOY for Today Offerings:


Did You Know:

  1. Poetry predates written language? It was created to help people remember laws, genealogy, and oral history by singing or reciting lyrical verses. (Fact Retriever)
  2. Modern day Iraq is home to the oldest surviving written poem? The Epic of Gilgamesh was written between 2750 and 2500 BC in what was then Sumeria. Originally written on twelve clay tablets, it details the adventures of the King of Uruk.  (Fact Retriever Ancient Texts)
  3. India is home to the world's longest poem? The Mahabharata, written between 400 and 200 BC, serves both as an account of Hinduism's birth and as a code of ethics. The Mahabharata is about ten times longer than The Illiad with over 1.8 million words. (Fact Retriever, Learn Religions & Britannica)
  4. The shortest poem is one letter? Written by Aram Saroyan, the poem is a four-legged letter "m." While the meaning of the poem is uncertain, some interpret it as glimpse at a letter being born while others posit it hints at the formation of consciousness: I am.  (Fact Retriever)
  5. Shakespeare is the best-selling poet of all time? Over four billion books have been sold globally, containing various combinations of his plays, sonnets, long-story poems, and eulogies. (Fact Retriever)

We'd Love to Know:   

Which of these facts was new to you?

Wolfe Stew Connects

"[God] can waken dull hearts to the reality of his beauty anyway he desires. And one of the ways he pleases to do it is by inspiring his spokesmen to write poetry," reflects John Piper in an article on God and poetry. Piper notes that poetry, which comprises at least one-third of the bible, is slow communication. It is not appreciated on a first reading.

Poetry requires involvement. Not only does poetry demand the reader's effort to slow down and interpret, but it asks that we open ourselves to experiencing the emotions conveyed. Emotions stick with you. Teaching is far more effective when strong emotions are invoked through the material. We think about what we care about (Psycnet.org).

In addition to layered meaning and complex emotions, repetition, rhythm, and imagery all contribute to poetry's singularly exceptional memorability among all types of literature. Add music and poetry is transcendent.

In Deuteronomy 32, we witness God, the creator of human minds, utilize music's transcendent power. He has Moses transcribe and teach the Israelites a song that will lead them back to Him after they cheat on Him with other gods. God knows the song will endure from generation to generation and will guide His beloved back.

God longs for us to remember Him. Using poetry as an aid, He chisels His pain, His desire, and His redemptive love into our hearts. Search the Bible with this in mind. Find passage after passage that awakens your dull heart to the reality of His beauty.

In response:

  1. Choose a poetic passage from the Bible steeped in emotion and imagery that moves you. (Try starting with the poetic books: Job, Psalms, or Song of Solomon. Also, many Isaiah passages are extremely emotive.) Write it out, display it, and read it regularly. Move to memorizing it.
  2. Study the concluding poem in Proverbs with us as we grow to demonstrate exemplary behavior described in Proverbs 31:18 and 31. Last week, we considered various meanings of keeping candles lit in the darkness. Next week, we are talking about fair compensation and well-earned praise.  

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses 

  • "I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal." I Corinthians 13:1 NOG
  • "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and medicine to the bones." Proverbs 16:24 JUB
  • "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV
  • "Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants." Deuteronomy 32:2 NLT
  • "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11 KJV


  • "If you are a dreamer come in / If you are a dreamer / a wisher / a liar / A hoper / a pray-er / a magic-bean-buyer / If you're a pretender / come sit by my fire / For we have some flax golden tales to spin / Come in! / Come in!" - Shel Silverstein
  • "Every single soul is a poem." - Michael Franti
  • "You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you." - Joseph Joubert
  • "Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder." - Rumi
  • "Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance." - Carl Sandburg

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote resonates most with you?

Activity Suggestions

Explore Poetry

Here are several poetry exploration sites in order of personal preference:
  • DiscoverPoetry.com offers poetry from diverse poets and includes Christian poetry. Features of the site include poems organized by themes, famous poems, teaching guidelines (including suggested poetry per grade level), and a poem of the day.
  • Poetry4Kids.com, featuring humorous poetry by Kenn Nebsitt, offers poem exploration, lessons, games, a podcast, rhyming dictionary, and links to related sites. Sadly, there is now a paywall. However, there are still plenty of free resources available. 
  • Poets.org has a kid's page that sorts poems by theme (the first being poems kids like), offers teacher materials and learner participation opportunities. 
  • PoetrybyHeart.org.uk organizes poems chronologically and by recommended reading level. This site encourages poetry performance.
  • Children'sPoetryArchive.org offers auditory versions of many poems with a search filter for recommended age groups.
Write Poetry

Poetry writing is a favorite activity for teachers because learners are often less resistant to short projects. However, we all know poetry writing develops word choice, voice, and figurative language use. Invite your learners to the diverse world of poetry writing with one of these resources:
  • Poetry 4 Kids guides learners step-by-step in funny poetry writing techniques including motivation, rhyming, idea generation, inserting humor, diversifying, and setting the rhythm. The site also instructs on many poetic forms (such as book spine, clerihew, and tanka) and styles (such as alliteration, list, and tongue twister).
  • We Are Teachers compiled classic examples of many traditional and nontraditional poetry types to serve as models for poetry writing such as: acrostic, blackout, and elegy.
  • Literacy Ideas presents types of poetry with examples and tasks ranging from the visually artistic calligram to the linguistically complex sonnet.

Discuss "Would You Rather..." Questions

  • Read funny or descriptive poetry?
  • Write everything in rhyme or in a specific syllabic pattern?
  • Write poetry or recipes?
If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every August day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint. 

Take on the Family Challenge

Start a poem of the day routine. Use one of the sites above to preselect your poems or designate each family member with a day to choose.

We'd Love to Know:

Your favorite poetry activity.

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. 

Your Partners in JOY Finding,
Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

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Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


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