Roses are Red Violets are Blue - Poetry

Many children and people learning English as a second language often don’t think of using poetry as a learning tool.

Most cultures are rich in cultural history, which includes poetry. According to Wikipedia, The earliest poetry is believed to have been recited or sung, employed as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy, and law. Poetry is often closely related to musical traditions, and the earliest poetry exists in the form of hymns (such as the work of Sumerian priestess Enheduanna) and other types of songs such as chants.

Learning English can be tricky, especially learning the grammar and pronunciation rules. Poetry looks quite different from a regular story or text.

There are some benefits for using poetry:

  1. improves students’ writing, reading, speaking and listening skills in many different ways
  2. widens students’ vocabulary and word choices
  3. rhyming words help students remember new words
  4. helps students practice intonation and stress of words and sentences
  5. teaches students how punctuation can affect the poem

There are actually 15 different kinds of Poetic Forms:

  • Blank Verse
  • Rhymed Poetry
  • Free Verse
  • Epics
  • Narative Poetry
  • Haiku
  • Patoral Poetry
  • Sonnet
  • Elegies
  • Ode
  • Limerick
  • Lyric Poetry
  • Ballad
  • Soliliquy
  • Villanelle

Many people know about William Shakespeare. Besides being a famous playwright, he also wrote 154 sonnets. His sonnets were usually in a specific style: four stanzas, arranged in a rhyming scheme known as ABAB (the last word of the first line rhymes with the last word in the third line. The last word in the second line rhymes with the last word in the fourth line).

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

This is Sonnet 18

Modern poetry can look pretty different to poetry from the sonnets of the 17th Century.


I stop to watch a star shine in the boghole –

A star no longer, but a silver ribbon Thinking of my friend:

she lives in a foggy afternoon

in half of a white house.

One cat is slender black lightning

with bright citrus eyes,

the otehr is a vast baggy monster

and licks photographs

to savor the emulsion.

Counting the silver that weaves

in her crown, counting the teaboxes

in her kitchen, and one room

that houses nothing but a flat mat

and a bicycle.of light.

I look at it, and pass on.

(first stanza)

Cathy, 2000

It may seem daunting to read poetry at first, but if you give it a chance, you will love it!

Here are two examples of ACROSTIC poems written by my ESL Students:

They use the letters in the word PHONE to start each line.

If you are looking for an ESL Tutor, please contact me to arrange a FREE 10-minute Meet and Greet.


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