Clementine Poems

Clementine Poems

This is an exercise I picked up in college.  I used it for many years as a teaching artist and in my own creative excavations.

You need:

  • Clementines
  • Paper
  • Pens/pencils/markers
  • Strips of paper
  • Paper towels (to stay a bit clean, ha!)

You’re going to explore the clementines with all 5 of your senses and use description, simile, metaphor, and onomatopoeia as you do so.

If you’re working with children … this is a great time to reference the definitions of all of the above … if it’s just you … it’s also a good time to refresh yourself on definitions … it never hurts to remind yourself of things!

What are your 5 Senses?


  • See
  • Hear
  • Touch
  • Smell
  • Taste


So start with the first:

Have everyone hold a clementine (or do this by yourself!) Really look at it.  Look up close, from far away, with a magnifying glass, with one eye closed, skin on and off, inside and outside.  Write down a few different sentences or phrases that describe the clementine.

Each phrase that you write will go on a separate strip of paper.

You can use a simile, metaphor, description, parts of a phrase or full sentences.

Once you have a good amount of strips of paper you can move on to the next sense.

Holding a clementine how can you see what sounds it makes? Bounce it, catch it, scratch it, rub it, peel it … Get creative and then write down the phrases that come to mind to describe what you are hearing.  You can use Onomateopia here, simile, metaphor, description … get down … do you … have fun.

Once you have a good amount of strips of paper you can move on to the next sense.

Holding a clementine what does it feel like?

You get the drift … all the way through the 5 senses 🙂

giphy-tumblrWhen you’ve finished going through all the senses you should have a good handful of strips of paper, all with phrases, parts of phrases and sentences on them.  Mix them up and then set them all down on the floor so you can read them all.

You’ll now create a poem about the Clementine.


The basic process is to collect and place in order the strips of paper to create a poem.  The reason you use strips of paper is so you can easily change the order of lines, add or omit as it feels good.

If you are doing this by yourself go ahead and start putting together the strips of paper that speak to you together, gather the ones you really like or that piss you off or whatever criteria you feel like using.  Once you have the strips you’d like to use … however many there may be (there’s no wrong way to do this!), you’ll start putting them into an order that feels good and sounds good to you … omit, add anytime you’d like until you have your poem.  Once it’s finished, write down the final poem on a full sheet of paper.  You have the be-all-end-all veto power … so change and shift it as you like … the strips of paper become your skeleton and you can dress them up or down as you like.

If you’re doing this with a group or with your kids you do it in a Round Robin style.  I let kids each pick and choose one at a time to create the group poem.  I usually make sure each child has at least one of their lines in the poem as well.  It isn’t always easy with a bigger group, just make sure that every child has a chance to add or omit whatever they would like, one at a time.

giphy-downsizedThis exercise explores the 5 senses and gives an opportunity to talk more about simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia and description.  It also is super fun and begs for you to be creative and silly and healthy (what else to do but to eat the clementines when you’re finished!)  HA!

Have fun!

In another post, I’ll post on how to use this same exercise to get deep into emotions and feelings. This exercise is so versatile and can be used in so many ways!

Here’s an example of 2 clementine poems a second-grade class I worked with years ago wrote together 🙂  just to give you an idea as to how it shakes out …


Mushy on the inside
Like applesauce
Sweet jelly doughnut opening
When you squeeze it, it splashes
Folded veins hurt
Juice squishing like a bowl of tears dripping
Hula hoop circle
Like a queen bee
Held by a stem
Like a cut off tree


Like biting into veins
Sweet bubble gum
It smells like sunshine goodness
It tastes like my life
So good
Like Rice Krispies when you pour milk on them
Yellow pot of gold
Like the inside of a fluffy relaxing pillow
An enormous cotton ball
Tastes like a sweet star burst
Sour drops of water
So wet
So phenomenal
Like bouncing
A juicy
Mars bar

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