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Celebrating Poetry with the Faculty of Education

March 21, 2024

In honour of World Poetry Day, observed on March 21, Faculty of Education students and faculty share their poems. View their submissions and access poetry books and classroom resources, selectively curated for the Faculty by Adena Brons from Fraser Library (SFU Surrey)! 

Check out poetry submissions from last year!

In Case You Forgot

By Alexandra Dufour, student

In case you forgot,
This land's ancient, not new.
It's been stolen, resold
Yet that’s hush and taboo.

In case you forgot,
I bear a name too.
They call me Quibble,
Where drug traces accrue.

In case you forgot,
Children play here.
Animals are hiding,
Trees vanish and disappear.

In case you forgot,
I'm part of Mother Earth.
One, not apart, yet treated
As if I'm mere dirt.

Merely a trail etched on the ground,
But I have feelings, too,
Though I make no sound.

There's a war going on

By Ariana Ilham Mojadidi, student

First, the weather changed
then the tone of your voice
the subtle shift
like an October breeze to a December storm
we dance along a long empty corridor
swaying to an eerie hymn (him)
you whisper honey-dipped words
the words turn into a blur

There's a war going on
loud violent explosions only I can hear
cries that splash and sway deep in the waters of my belly,
a crippling chaos that dances like smoke in my vacant mind
I can hear its roaring thunder
sweaty palms that tremble
every time you call, I hold my breath with flimsy hands
count to three before I dare to answer
but I know what you will say
the same painful arrangement of letters I rearrange
into something I would rather hear

on my phone, I have a list of questions
I set aside for when I get brave enough to ask
but it gets tucked away for another day
and squeeze you into my dry and aching throat
inject you into my veins
and smoke your words laced with poison
and all you do is watch as I choke in utter happiness  

Essential Kindness

By Arlene Agpoon, student

People may believe in God or Allah or something bigger than themselves.
May argue on the validity of town faith and cast doubt among elves.
Some would claim to be so righteous that they forget to turn left.
Others are like bystanders, unable to figure out the heft.

Men and women might have argued about everything.
Roles, physical and mental strength, and even parenting.
Spectators misunderstand sequential gender issues.
However, the contention continues to be about better or worse.

They are seeking quick solutions on how to live comfortably.
Satisfying mouths to feed with wants and needs superficially.
Drowning with tablets, phones, iPads, and Wi-Fi electronically.
Obliterating manners to raise children with effrontery.

As life gets rough and tough, it is easy to blame the divine tread.
Impatient for His intervention, asking the web instead.
But not all questions can be answered by Google now.
Since it cannot answer the question, "What don't you know?"

It is being in the land to reciprocate with a sense of respect.
Unable to hold responsibility despite historical fact.
It is but fitting to be dumb and wise at each climb.
It was a clever disguise but muffled howling time after time.

Self-serving cause, unbearable pain, worthless violence, gnawing greed.
Hatred amongst men shaded by power play and misguided creed.
Is it too hard to seek humanity in everyone's ritual?
Is it too difficult for essential kindness to be habitual?

On the difficulty of committing oneself to symbolic meaning-making as a vocation

By Dr. Joel Heng Hartse, faculty 

Rite: write.
Write right!
Right? Right?

"How Life Dances with Time"

By Poonam Sharma, student 

Life is a journey for miles and miles,
Dances its way through seamless styles,
Like a river that flows never twice the same, Life reflects its moments through joys and pains.

With every sunrise comes a ray of hope,
In every sunset, an experience unfolds, Days turn to nights, and seasons change, Life sings its saga through all these frames.

Leaves fall, flowers bloom with time's embrace, Life echoes this rhythm for nature's grace,
This dance continues from old to new,
As change whispers through the morning hues.

Moments float like waves on the sand, Carry memories softly in their hands, Life carves its story with each heartbeat, Creating a new melody for every reach.

Laughter and tears blend the colours of life, The beauty lies in the joy of this ride,
Vast and wide, the journey is full of goodbyes But in every end the new beginnings are nearby.

Life like a mosaic of moments so bright, Illuminates our paths with every changing light!

The Echoes of Academic Pressure

By Saanya Toor, student 

In the quiet halls of education,
where hopes and knowledge connect.
A story unlocks an unspoken desire
behind the crushing beat of neglect.

As textbooks and deadlines mingle together,
Where souls are examined, minds are shaped.
Cheers to rapid jingles, young hearts beat
In the cauldron of grades, where dreams escape

Ah, the strain of school, the quiet storm,
That forms an earthquake in student's thoughts.
A burden weighing down on my shoulders,
A symphony of stress, in the classroom, it is taught.

Like passing weather, the chapters change,
But there is no escape.
Each exam is a hill to conquer.
In the quiet corridors of knowledge, minds strained.

In classrooms bathed in a grey haze,
Where nights are restless, and caffeine sways.
Students labour, minds ablaze,
In the silent struggle of the academic maze.

Among the quiet conflict,
Where textbooks close, and pens are to rest,
Hope whispers softly, "You have given your best."
In the hush of night, dreams deserve to find their nest.

The blurry notes, the worn-out sighs,
Speak volumes of sleepless nights.
In the countless notes, memories lie,
A silent struggle in dim study lights.

Oh, mentors, keepers of the dark,
Support not just the educational spark,
Develop compassion, open hearts,
Guide students through knowledge and its art.

When grades turn to dust, in the final hour,
And exams’ are to rust, losing their power.
It is the strength built from academic strain,
That describes every student’s enduring gain.

Search for Tomorrow

By Victoria Minty, student

What am I looking for?
Is it simple and sure, or complex beyond my understanding?
Can I touch it?
See it?

Is it tangible beyond the fleeting notions
Of comfort and warmth?
Of overwhelming bliss?
Of soft contentment?

See, I push and pull my desires
towards one side of the scale and back
Yet Icannot tell which side they belong to
or if the scale has two sides
or simply one

Must I measure? Must I compare?
I only know I yearn for something I don't have
Something more tangible than my thoughts
Something with more depth than the page
Something sweeter than success
to slowly melt on the tongue
to grace my ears
to wrap around slowly and caress
My mind

I sit
hoping to find yesterday's dream within tomorrow. 

remind me who i am again, anisa અનીસા أنیسة (prose)

By Anisa Maya Dhanji, student

અનીસા, remind me of who i am again. y a-t-il de l’espace pour me fleurir ici ou, am i too in and out of touch? je rêve trop loin, je sais. but i’m back again. les îles violettes sous mes yeux vous rappelleront que les couleurs de leur peau, la toxicomanie, l'amour abusif, le printemps et un nom arabe أنیسة all met to make me, la fille aînée. “this is resilience”, elle me dit. mais le moment n’était ni rose ni chaud. “this is surviving”, elle me dit alors que que je me tiens au bord de mon lit pendant qu'il met le feu à ses vêtements. so, i learned to grow beyond tolerance and this is what i give to myself.

j'avais 5 ans et je regardais les tours jumelles tomber sur la vieille télévision de la cuisine et c'est ici que j'ai laissé le musulman en mon nom à table en mangeant un bol de céréales. forgive me for leaving her there all those years. ils avaient peur de moi. j'avais peur de moi. ne vous inquiétez pas, i wish i could tell the kids at school. ne t'inquiète pas, ma mère est blanche et l'homme qui m'a donné mon nom musulman n'est plus là.

le chagrin c’est kneeling on the blood red carpets of jamatkhaha and not understanding prayer because my mixed mouth is a demeure with that houses l’absence. mais je sais que c'est sacré car on a enlevé nos chaussures à l'entrée et on ne s'assoit pas les jambes croisées. le chagrin is being homesick for the kin standing autour de moi, car i speak the oppressor’s tongues. and they are the oppressed.


Anisa Maya Dhanji is a racially-mixed and neurodivergent settler-Canadian residing on stolen Qayqayt lands. She is currently working on her Masters of Education in French at Simon Fraser University. She is particularly interested in learning how to create and participate in plurilingual classrooms and communities through anti-oppressive practices. She uses diverse mediums to create art about the landscapes of identity and memory, and the heartwork of love and relationships. You can find Anisa drifting in and out of the present tense, but when she isn’t teaching, floristing or daydreaming, she enjoys the company of these coasts’s airs, trees and waters that rightfully belong to, and are cared for by the Coast Salish Peoples.

Chapter 24

By Ariana Ilham Mojadidi, student

under a birch tree
I pour my homemade batch of miso soup 

if you're still enough
you can hear something other than your heart 

a lousy rhythm
against the humming forest 

I wonder if you
realized how many recipes I had learned

since you've been gone I
watched every horror movie you wouldn't 

drifted into sleep
in every nook and cranny you couldn't 

and spoke a language
a purely innocent female shouldn't 

Today was different
breathing the wet air into my lungs 

I remove my brain
and place it in the ice-cold river current

washing away memories gone sour
washing away salty tears


By Arlene Agpoon, student

Our name was not given then and now.
Names can be confusing to say how.
But names should be distinctly mine for who I am.

We couldn’t stop our eyes from crying when they took our children away.
We missed their smells,
That we can’t forget the farewell.

We would’ve loved to hear their stomps on the grass,
Or the breeze as it brushed through their clothes,
Or speak in their own tongue because they can.

Now they measure us with one parent or two.
What fraction or percentage are you?
Married to who and what have you.

Harder to start a free dialogue without our real story.
When they want to win in every category
Let’s face it, this is our reality.

A Moment that’s Gone

By Saba Madarwala, student

In the hustle of running the race;
A moment is Gone.

In the bustle of passing the class;
A moment is Gone.

In the push to winning the medal;
A moment is Gone.

In the moment to be someone;
A life is Gone.

Just Like Mine

By Saba Madarwala, student

Hopes are scrapped;
Just like mine.

Dreams are shattered;
Just like mine.

Thoughts are disposed;
Just like mine.

Courage is lost;
Just like mine.

Passion is removed;
Just like mine. 


By Shaghayegh Bahrami, student

As much as the borders are strange
The land was a perfect stranger
Before I called her by her names–
Her bushes, her flowers,
Her deciduous and her evergreens.
I’ll remain a stranger
Until they call me by my name.
“Did I say it correctly?”
“It was close.”
Irritated, they say,
When it was not even close.

I will remain a stranger.

On the land
Among the trees
There is a sound, though
From within the wind
When it blows high in the Douglas Fir
That calls me by my name.
Listening, I hear,
“Any closer?”

Will I


By Victoria Minty, student

I love the inspiration that rushes into the soul. It leaves your heart beating for once unconsciously and urges your hands to work tirelessly. Focus is charged and bridled against the steady stream of distraction. Unfortunately, this non-Newtonian liquid slips through the cracks once the lightning-fast energy zaps its last bolt of motivation. Creativity is never a constant companion, yet it is the sweetest. Afterwards, you are once more conscious of your heart beating, and each constricted ventricle slows down time between each unpredictable flash of inspiration.

Human is TITLE, Creek is our Deoxyribonucleic acid

By Wiktoria Karpinska, student 

May 2018
“A picture says a thousand words”


That should do it
What a beautiful sight
Suddenly, wind whistling
       through the trees,
            through my eyes
       fill my mind

The stream in the creek
becomes my blood

Back on the bridge
 (in reality)

therefore this picture...
represents... because... finished      

"I will start a journey" 
Where does the creek start and go? 

"There is
to GO!" 
I am the hostage to the creek

Back here again
this time is different
By my side a dog and my love

I stare deep into the water
The water stares back at my soul

My mind - wind fills
the cranium, echoes through
the empty space

My sight deceives me
as I become one

My blood - water runs 
through                     [metal ringing]

Each breath turns more green
Just like the tree of alveoli 

Human is what I was
now my soul haunts the creek,
my body is the creek

Just a nook between
the city and the neighbourhood

The place that time stops
where birds' songs echoes
through the shadows

Current is what
rushing water is called
Though the question
is where does it 
come from?

Maybe, if I 
went off the bridge
I would see?
As closer I got,
the more the creek


The creek
starts large and infinite
before it
whines, winds and twists
through the trees

The ground has forge
Layers of hierarchy
among the water flow

Boulder/ fallen 
tree branches
formatted a link

The glass is infinite
surface breaks 
to ripples

Creek was more
than the forest
surrounding it

The longer I stood
the more 
I lost myself
My memories, were gone
HE wasn't there
nor the dog 

I saw her eyes vanish

(the flare of her fire gone)

I saw her humanity leave

(a shell of a being)

I need to call her back

(I can't lose her again)

(Once a human now the creek)

We invite you to check out recommended list of curated resources featuring lesson plans, teaching guides and poetry books for children & teens, specially curated for the Faculty of Education in collaboration with Adena Brons, Education Librarian, Fraser Library, SFU Surrey.

*Limited to current SFU students, staff and faculty. 

Open Resources (for everyone) 

Lesson Plans or Teaching Guides for Poetry* (eBooks)

Discorfano, S. (2017). Teaching poetry, embracing perspectives : a guide for middle school teachers / Sharon Discorfano. Rowman & Littlefield.

"This is a practical guide for teachers of middle-school students that provides clear and fully-developed lesson plans and activities that use the teaching of poetry reading and writing as a vehicle for developing students' own creativity and appreciation for diversity."

Savren, S. (2016). The forms of things unknown : teaching poetry writing to teens and adults / Shelley Savren. Rowman & Littlefield.

"Designed for use in a classroom or community setting, this book features forty-one lesson plans and nineteen more poetry-writing workshop ideas and provides guidance and inspiration for teaching poetry writing to teens and adults."

Savren, S. (2016). Welcome to poetryland : teaching poetry writing to young children / Shelley Savren. Rowman & Littlefield.

"Welcome to Poetryland: Teaching Poetry Writing to Young Children draws from Shelley Savren's forty years of teaching poetry  writing in grades pre-K-6 and to focus populations, including gifted  and special education students, students in after school programs, and  homeless, abused, or neglected students."

Gear, A. (2021). Powerful Poetry : Read, write, rejoice, recite poetry all year. Pembroke Publishers.

"Combining writing, reading, and oral language skills, this book will provide teachers with a wealth of engaging lessons to bring the power of poetry into their classrooms."



Poetry Books for Children/Teens* (eBooks)

Coelho, J., & Judd, K. L.. (2019).  A year of nature poems / Joseph Coelho; illustrations, Kelly Louise Judd. Wide Eyed Editions.

Fitch, S., & Smith, S. (2012). Toes in my nose and other poems. Nimbus Pub.

McCullough, J. (2019). Reckless paper birds / John McCullough. Penned in the Margins. 

Poetry Books for Children/Teens* (Print Books)

Brand, D., & Fernandes, E. (2006). Earth magic / poems by Dionne Brand; with illustrations by Eugenie Fernandes. KCP Poetry. 

Fogliano, J., & Morstad, J. (2016). When green becomes tomatoes / poems for all seasons by Julie Fogliano; pictures by Julie Morstad. (First edition.). Roaring Brook Press.

Heard, G., & Roxas, I. (2021). My thoughts are clouds : poems for mindfulness / Georgia Heard; illustrated by Isabel Roxas. (First edition.). Roaring Brook Press.

Browne, M. L., & Snow, J. X. (2018). Black girl magic : a poem / by Mahogany L. Browne; art by Jess X. Snow. (First Roaring Brook Press edition.). Roaring Brook Press.

Lovelace, A. (2017). The princess saves herself in this one / Amanda Lovelace. Andrews McMeel Publishing.