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Longfellow Art Project Leads to School-wide Poem

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Longfellow Art Project Leads to School-wide Poem
Posted on 06/17/2021
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After observing “Malaga Girl, Navigation of Hearts,” a painting by renowned Portland artist Daniel Minter, students at Longfellow Elementary School created a school-wide poem in which each class contributed to the verses.

Longfellow art teachers Chloe Horie and Sarah Warshaw provided the following description of the project and the poem is below:

For this project, all students at Longfellow observed Malaga Girl by Daniel Minter before sharing one or two descriptive words. This process of deliberate looking, known as Visual Thinking Strategies, encourages each viewer to make their own personal connection with what they see. The school-wide poem was created so each verse contains every contribution from that class. Words were rearranged to create our own Longfellow free verse poem, and a minimal number of prepositions and conjunctions were added.

Like art, poetry allows for creative expression and the opportunity to share our own understandings and experiences. Even without in-depth knowledge of Malaga Island, students intuitively picked up on visual cues to read layers of the visual narrative.

Please take a moment to look at the painting, come up with your own words, and enjoy reading our collaborative poem



Malaga Girl

Malaga Girl is lifted, a butterfly mama flying

Her beautiful head in the space of the sky

The pretty, old-fashioned dress touches water

Her sadness is different

Where are the nice, brave people?


Discover such beautiful clouds across this awesome sky

See the sweet house boats as they ride the cool waves

Notice the peaceful sand dollars as they rest below

Believe in the wonders of an amazing, happy home


Creative beauty

A family waiting for a lost home

Those baby waves bring forth a lonely sadness

Hands form this circle

Watch the sun set


Warm, stormy distracting waves

Different near an ocean home

Malaga Girl’s powerful calm is an extraordinary talent


Sunset turns to dark

Her gaze gentle, she looks for a doorway

Is there a safe boat to guide her community?

Across ocean waves to another lighthouse

Like the water and the Mahi-Mahi, she too holds power


The soothing dark stuff of night time

Her good dress is wet

She is sad and mad


Caring – a bold act that gives us hope

Building creative ties amidst the waves is love


A dark storm fills the colorful sky with its power

She stands – beautiful, brave, wise

Gaze uplifting, envisioning her own house someday

She dreams of a cool lake, rather than harsh, ocean waves


Sky, sunset, and water

A true and brave woman’s inner light

When combined, they harness great powers in the ocean


The storm brings beautiful, unique patterns

Her thoughtful gaze looks for her reflection

Wonders of peace

How nice it would feel to be free


Dancing bold dress patterns summon happiness

Malaga Girl looks peaceful while searching the waves of water

In hope of being home


Feelings offended, a cold, powerful hurt

replaces the strong, beautiful trust

Angry waves mirror her colorful sorrow.


Forced into moving

Where is the peaceful, worldly strength and empathy?

What can balance the hardship of such loss?


Today, we are building an open, mindful community

Our calm strength and power will change the future

A video version of the poem is HERE.