I received the following email several months ago from my oldest niece. In it she expresses herself in a way that never in a million, billion, zillion years would occur to me: poetry. As a point of reference, I am The Math Fairy (the back story will have to wait for another day) and share the following with her permission.

The subject line read: Math Fairy I Need You

Dear Math Fairy,

I am in desperate need of your help! I wrote a poem about math to help you understand my feelings towards it. Hope you enjoy it :-(.

What Math is to Me
By Emily

Math is evil,
Math is hard to understand.
Math is way worse than a first-grade band.
Math is hated,
Math is hard for me.

Wow.  I have never written a poem to express my feelings about anything without it being assigned. Clearly, she has strong feeling about Math and TMF (The Math Fairy) wrote the following response:

Dear Emily,

(This is Math speaking, by the way, I’m borrowing Aunt Amy’s computer),

I thought I’d start off with a poem about what you are to me.

What Emily is to Me
by Math

Emily is kind,
Her smile warms me.
She helps people
and her laugh is like listening to a cool summer brook
She is loved.
I want her to be my friend

Hey, what was Math doing on here? This is now Aunt Amy …. looks like Math wrote something. Let me see what she said. (I’m back now, I scrolled up) I agree with Math’s poem about you! It seems that Math knows you well and that it’s a little hard for you to know math. Is that another way of seeing it? (She’s not really evil, you know. Not like a wicked step-mother in Cinderella!)

I have a new MFIT here in Beijing (Math Fairy in training). Want to know how you become one? All you have to do is notice someday that math is a little bit more fun than you thought! If that ever happens, let me know! There is a real certificate for being a MFIT and everything (and everything means that Isabel and I will put on our fancy dresses and skype you).

I am seriously sorry that math is so FRUSTRATING for you. But know that Math WANTS you to “get” her. She’s not playing hide and seek or being mean. She likes you. Not as much as I do!!!!!! But she DOES like you.

And I LOVE you :)!

Love, AA


Through this exchange (and the subsequent emails) I discovered that Emily has a poetry notebook and often writes poems to process and express her life. That’s right. Poetry. Take that all those who fuss about “the youth of today.”

She has graciously agreed to let you peek into her world through these poems.

Wind, oh glorious wind
By Emily Smith

Wind, oh glorious wind
You swirl my hair about my face
The trees have rhythm with your grace
Stirring up hibernating leaves,
You are alive with freshness and ease
My favorite type of weather: wind!
Wind, oh glorious wind

by Emily Smith

The rumble of distant thunder
interrupts my thoughts.
A lightning finger
streaks across the sky to snag something
The pitter patter of rain
pounds at my head…
Like a constant drumbeat.
Outside is a wall of black clouds,
leering and laughing at me.
A torrent of water
falls from the sky;
The beginning of an all-night downpour.

Piano Playing
by Emily Smith

My eyes dart across the page,
My fingers dart across the keys.
I love it when I get to play:
I’m having lots of fun today.
Suddenly a salsa, waltz, tango,
Ballet too.
Peddles pumping,
Keys a’thumping,
Eyes are darting too.
Hands are clapping,
Feet are tapping;
Piano playing’s great!
I love it when I get to play for her and
him and you!

Emily, thanks for sharing. You are now a published author and I look forward to the ways your poetry will bless you and others over the years. Love, AAA



Leave A Comment

  1. JoDee July 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    I feel her pain about math…and have taught many students who feel the same way! She expresses herself so beautifully–such fun with the language for a young girl!–and I would have LOVED to have taught a poetry unit with her in my class! :) I’m glad she has an aunt/math fairy to help her see that math isn’t all bad!

    • Amy July 20, 2012 at 3:52 am - Reply

      She even makes me appreciate poetry more!

  2. Kristi Magi July 20, 2012 at 12:29 am - Reply

    I like to think of poetry as painting with words. The pallet is the colors that come from the individual’s soul. Your niece, Emily, expresses her soul quite well. I especially like “Piano Playing.” I could picture a child playing the piano with exuberant joy! I was taken into her joy even though I can’t play the piano to save my life. I’ve taught writing poetry to my fourth graders as well as in China during the summers of 2008 & 2009. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your niece’s poems, and thank Emily too. :) This made my day!

  3. Shelly July 20, 2012 at 4:17 am - Reply

    Amy, it was so much fun to meet your nieces in person, to hear Emily’s poem, “Wind.” I agree with Kristi–“Piano Playing” is vivid. Reminds me of when I used to play.

    • Amy July 20, 2012 at 5:38 am - Reply

      I’m so glad you can hear her voice as you read it! And that you got to meet them in person!

  4. Sharon July 20, 2012 at 5:55 am - Reply

    I love Emily’s wind poem and the others, too. Thank you, Emily!

    • Amy July 20, 2012 at 5:59 am - Reply

      Me too! I think that is one of my favorites!

  5. Laura July 20, 2012 at 6:33 am - Reply

    She’s pretty amazing. I love getting to hear her read her poetry aloud, what a treat. I have her What Math Is To Me poem on my fridge because it resonates so well with how I used to feel about math too.

    • Amy July 20, 2012 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Math likes you, too :)

  6. Cousin Nancy Begg July 21, 2012 at 1:20 am - Reply

    How lucky you and your nieces are to have one another in all of your lives. Emily may not care for math but she loves to write poetry and she definitely has a way with words. And how fortunate she is to have you to appreciate her gifts and encourage her math learning, gently.

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