Friday, April 4, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

The details of my Poetry Month project can be found here.

We All Wait

What's a forgotten catacomb to do?

My tunnels sprawled,
my columns endured,
my stairways persevered.

What's a forgotten catacomb to do?

I cradled the bones of the dead
in silence.
My statues stood guard
in secrecy.
And I waited.

We all wait.
we even know why,
or what for.

in all my centuries
would I have imagined
what would break the monotony 
and end my waiting.

What's a forgotten catacomb to do?

A thousand years I waited.
Then a donkey fell through my roof
and the silence, the secrecy, and the waiting were over.

Who would have guessed?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

This is the first wonder I knew absolutely nothing about. Based on my experience yesterday, I knew we would need to do a bit of research before we started writing. I showed my students the image above and we brainstormed the questions we hoped to have answered by our research:
What are catacombs?
Are there traps?
Can tourists go there?
Are there kings, or treasure?
Where are they?
How old are they?
How big are they?
What are they used for?
My reading minilesson plans called for us to think about how we can determine the speaker in a poem (or a text), and in writing, we would try to write from an interesting point of view.

Turns out this was the perfect wonder for personification. You could write from the point of view of the catacombs themselves (as I did) or from the point of view of the donkey that fell through the roof in 1900, leading to the rediscovery of the catacombs. You could be a serpent guarding the doorway, a statue, a dead person buried there, or one of the shards for which the catacombs are named: "Mound of Shards." You could be the desert around it, the sky above it, or the water that's flooded the lowest level.

Carol has a Colosseum poem from yesterday at her blog, Carol's Corner.

Kevin's poem today is multimedia.

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