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Song of Bravery

Students read a beautiful poem, then analyze the poem’s title.

By Joyce Sidman
Other Key Skills: symbolism

This one’s not a sure thing.

I’m not bound to win.

I don’t think I’ll ace it this time.

I won’t break a leg,

make my own luck,

or reach the stars.


The sun is not shining on me today.

The force is not strong.

Before the day is out,

I’ll taste the grit of dust.


Maybe I didn’t do all I could.

Or maybe I did

but there were others who did more.

Maybe I’ll never know.


But here I go—

bones clicking quietly together,

blood flowing dutifully

from heart to hands and back again—

here I go, stepping out

through the door

of my own shadow:

into the glare of the arena

to face the lions.

This poem was originally published in the December 2019 / January 2020 issue.

From WHAT THE HEART KNOWS by Joyce Sidman. Copyright ©2013 by Joyce Sidman. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

Audio ()
Activities (2)
Answer Key (1)
Audio ()
Activities (2)
Answer Key (1)
Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

Close Reading, Critical Thinking, Skill Building

1. READING THE POEM

2. ANALYZING THE POEM