Shelter in Poetry Lesson 2, with Phyllis Meshulam, Poet Laureate
Shelter in Poetry Lesson 2
Spirit Animals to Guide You
Poetry Lesson by Phyllis Meshulam
Sonoma County Poet Laureate (2020-2022)
Hello, students! I’m so happy to be able to share one of my favorite things with you – poetry – which I like to call “art with words.”
If you like art, you’re going to like poetry. And I’ll help you write your own poems. So have some paper and a pencil ready.
This lesson is about spirit animals. Many Native American tribes believe that people have a spirit animal that is with you for life, both in the physical and spiritual world.
This Animal Guide offers power and wisdom and protection to the individual.
First here’s a poem by Nakasuk, an Inuit poet:

Magic Words to Feel Better
Sea gull,
who flaps his wings
over my head
in the blue air,
you gull up there
dive down
come here
take me with you
in the air!
Wings flash by
my mind’s eye
and I’m up there sailing
in the cool air,
in the air.

Here are two poems by students from Santa Rosa.

I See You
Erick Dominguez
I see you, cat, by a purple glow of
a clear night sky, by the galaxy,
your glowing blue diamond eyes.
Your mysterious soft meow chills up the night.
Your black and white fur is like the future of the solar system.
Your tail feels like it stops time.
Nothing less than your purr shines with the moonlight,
a blue flame covers your eye like a whisper inside.

I’ll call you shadow. Eyes are closed.
Stars collide. Let’s enjoy this mysterious night.

Rabbit Full of Hope
Stephanie Uraga
There’s ash on the ground.
I can hear a voice, a voice very familiar.

It has the same voice that represents hope.
It’s different, very different. It changes form.

I asked why. It said it was representing an animal.
I knew it was representing a rabbit.

I saw the snow, fur, and the green pine eyes.
It smelled like roses and daisies.

I asked why it’s here. The rabbit said to see
the plants growing. As I looked around,
I saw the plants springing up.
The animals making homes
in trees that will grow. I saw how everything
is getting new chances.
Lesson by Phyllis Meshulam
You are outside somewhere, in a clearing. This could be an open space in the middle of a forest, or on the top of a tree, in a desert, in the ocean in a place where there isn’t too much seaweed around.

Wait for your spirit animal to appear. At first you just see a shape, but little by little, you’ll see its color and more.

Look at it. Smell it. Touch it. (this is safe.) Talk to it; you can speak each other’s language. Ask it questions if you like. Eventually, you’ll need to say goodbye to it. When you’ve seen it clearly with details, open your eyes.
You can use some of these sentence starters to get your poem going.

I see you …. Come to me ….
with your (fur) (feathers) (scales) like ….
You smell of… You sound like…
You are made of… Tell me about…. What is the secret of...?
Will I see you again?

Share your poem!

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