by Brett Vogelsinger
poem "Rhapsody" is an early twentieth-century poem in the form that fits nearly everyone's preconception of what a poem ought to be. It is rich in rhythm and rhyme. It also highlights a basic human need that feeds our emotional well-being: gratitude.
Share this poem, twice aloud, with the class.
by William Stanley Braithwaite
I am glad daylong for the gift of song
For time and change and sorrow
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
That hang on the edge of to-morrow
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
Are the entrance-place of wonders
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
Like sheep from the rain and thunders.
What gratitudes here surprise you?
Why is it important to maintain gratitude even in the face of adversity?
Share this quote from a Forbes article, published in 2014:
"Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience."
It appears that contemporary science supports the theme of this classic poem!
Student can respond for a two-minute quick write in their Writer's Notebook: What is something you are grateful for in spite of adversities you may be facing right now.
Brett Vogelsinger is a ninth-grade English teacher at Holicong Middle School in Bucks County, PA. He is the faculty adviser for the school literary magazine, Sevenatenine. Besides his annual blogging adventure on this site, he has published work on Nerdy Book Club, The New York Times Learning Network, and Edutopia. Follow him on Twitter @theVogelman.