|This poem is a good example of
an elegy; it mourns a death. This of course is a sad subject, but it shows
that the poet realizes this is the life cycle and he will be able to visit
his friend long after his death. Remember that poetry can help us remember
, capture, and celebrate what matters to us, and the poem will last to
remind ourselves and others for eternity.
Please listen as I read the poem.
Now take out your pencils, reread the poem to yourself and mark
the following features by underlining and writing in the margin.
- Underline five words in the poem that tells the reader indirectly
that the deceased friend is a dog.
- Notice that the voice is an I speaking to a you.
- The author uses vignettes: little stories that show Ben and Buster
in action and suggest what their relationship was like. Circle one of
- Find two examples of sensory language; appeals to sight, hearing,
taste, touch, feelings. Put a square around them.
- Mark three of your favorite lines
- Notice the evocative things in the final stanza; Tell a partner how
you feel after you read them. (the field, the dog's bed, the piano, the
dandelions, and the grave.
- Which words affected you the deepest?
- What part is the saddest for you?
- What is a Johnny-jump-up?
- What part shows the most love between the two?
- Why is You capitalized?
- What was the man doing in the first stanza? Where is the dog?
- Write your own elegy of a lost pet or even a person that you
remember fondly. Remember to use sensory images and figurative language.
Based on Nancie Atwell's lesson plan.
Remembrance of a Friend
My sight is blurred by tears
as we walk to the field.
I wish you were beside me,
your paws padding the ground,
your pink tongue tasting the air.
Your life was long.
You, who babysat me
when I was nine months old,
watching me bounce
in my johnny-jump-up,
only your eyes moving
as you pretended not to notice
when I landed on your snout.
You, who Dad lifted
and plopped on the sled
so you could slide down
the driveway with me,
my hands burrowed
in black fur,
your ears drawn back
by the icy wind.
You, my dog Buster,
who will be buried in the field
along with your bed that lived
under the piano,
so in the springtime
dandelions will grow
over your grave.