Jessica Johnson - Amundsen High School

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					Jessica Johnson
Writing Workshop, period 4
Amundsen High School

                                             My Morning Ritual

      I never really liked poetry. I would roll my eyes whenever a teacher told us that we would be either
writing poetry or reading it. I would scribble any old thing down on paper for poetry writing
assignments. I would stare at the ceiling or pick at my nails whenever we read poetry aloud in class. All
of that changed when I read some poems from the book, BLACKS, by Gwendolyn Brooks. My eight grade
teacher played a recording of the poem read by Mrs. Brooks; the sound of her voice reminded me of my
grandma’s voice, so I paid more attention than usual that day. The poem, “Speech to the Young: Speech
to the Progress Toward”, sent shivers down my spine. I liked it so much that I printed out a copy of it. I
have it taped to the mirror in my bedroom. I read it every day before I leave for school. The words
inspire me every morning to be my bad warrior self. It is my armor against all the negative people at
     The poem is about not giving up and about looking to the future. For example, “Even if you are not
ready for day it cannot always be night” is a line that I think Mrs. Brooks wrote that explains the
situation for a lot of high school kids. We wake up really early in the morning to go off to school, and lots
of us are not ready for the sun when it wakes us up. We would rather it be night again, so we can sleep.
It is so true that it cannot always be night. If it was always night, we would be like vampires or we would
sleep our lives away, as if we were in a coma. I’ve been in classes where kids are always sleeping. I also
have an older brother who never leaves the house until its dark. I am not really a morning person, but I
know that if I stayed in bed all day, I would never accomplish anything. I would hate myself if that
     I believe that Mrs. Brooks wrote some of the poem especially for me. The line, “Live not for the
battles won.” seems like she looked directly into my past and wrote those words to remind me that the
fight is not over. Last year, I had some issues with an ex-friend and I felt like I was battling all these
people who never believed in me. To this day, I still have people who I don’t know talking about me
because of her. I feel like I have to battle this, even though our old fight is over. Another line I think she
wrote for me is, “Live in the along.” I believe that this means to live for the day. I wake up every
morning living for the day. If I were president, I would have everyone get tattoos that said this. They
wouldn’t have to be big tattoos, but they would be a reminder for people that living every day to the
fullest is what matters. You never know if you might die in your sleep or get hit by a bus on the way
home from school.
      If this poem was written badly or if I did not feel like Mrs. Brooks was speaking directly to me, a
fifteen year old student, I would not have cared about it. It would have been another boring poem, but
because she chose short, direct lines, I actually liked a poem. If it were long, or written like a story, I
would not have been inspired to copy it for my mirror. If Gwendolyn Brooks chose to write to adults, I
wouldn’t have taken her words to heart. In conclusion, good writing can inspire even a person like me to
enjoy poetry. I always remember to live in the along.

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