I Am Clark

An article by on April 14, 2018

I Am: Mindful Poetry

My youngest son, Clark, who is 12 years old at the time of this recording, was given the task of writing a poem for his 7th grade language arts class. Each of three stanzas repeat the opening line that begins, “I am . . .” each student to follow with what state of mind or sense of how they are currently feeling. In between, the lines in each verse begin with a prompt that explores the nuances and factors that describe the initial “I am” statement.

Clark’s final product was quite insightful, so I asked him to read it for us today.

I am. By, Clark Snyder

I am stressed out

I wonder if there will ever be someone to help me up when the

world keeps pushing me down

I hear my friends laughing at my jokes

And I see my friends growing up around me

I want all of my worries to vanish

I am stressed out

I pretend i’m laid back so my friends don’t worry

I feel like people care too much about me

I touch the door to my house and know that i’m home

I worry about my friends a lot

I cry when someone dies

I am stressed out

I understand that nothing can just stop randomly

I say that it’s all gonna stop

I know that it ain’t though

I dream that everything is perfect and peaceful

I try to be funny because I know it makes other people happy

I hope the other people like me can get to live a good life

I am stressed out

My first response is to be saddened, and maybe a bit alarmed by my son’s stress and admission to pretense in the guise of humor. Clark is exceptionally gifted with intelligent wit, and he does, indeed, make us happy by making us laugh. At the same time, he also admits that he feels better, too, when people laugh and that the poem is a creative work, not entirely as grim as it might seem.

But I thought it is a very good mindfulness exercise to use the poetic prompts to consider either your own state of mind, body and soul – or observe someone else’s (your child, spouse, friend, co-worker).

Listen and consider as I provide some of the prompts. If you are able to write them down, please feel free to do so. If not, just listen to your own spirit and allow creativity (God’s very character impulse within) to shape and transform you in these moments.


I am . . .

I wonder . . .

I hear . . .

I want . . .

I am . . .


I pretend . . .

I feel . . .

I touch . . .

I worry . . .

I cry . . .

I am . . .


I understand . . .

I say . . .

I know . . .

I dream . . .

I try . . .

I hope . . .

I am . . .


You can find Clark’s poem and a transcript of this podcast on my website, eirenicole.com.

And today, may you walk at the pace of grace.

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About Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

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