A Lesson on Aubade with "Aubade"



In this lesson students will:

  • Consider multiple possible readings of a poem
  • Describe the effects of sentence length in a poem
  • Write an aubade



The aubade is the slightly less familiar cousin of the serenade. The latter is a love song for evening and the former is a love song for morning. Students will likely recall the famous aubade of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: "Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day. / It was the nightingale, and not the lark, / That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear."


Encountering the Poem

  1. Have a student read "Aubade" aloud.
  2. There are many variations on the theme of the aubade: the reluctant parting of lovers at dawn, an admirer singing to the object of his affection, a song welcoming the arrival of morning, a song bemoaning the arrival of morning. Ask students what sort of aubade this poem seems to be. What feelings does the speaker have about the morning? What is the speaker's relationship to the body at the center of the poem? Invite students to consider multiple readings and ask them to support each reading with specific phrases from the poem.
  3. In what ways does the unfolding of this poem evoke a sunrise?
  4. What effect does the length of the sentences in this poem create? Have students propose ways that the sentences could have been shortened and discuss how it would change the feeling of the poem.


Writing Prompt

Can you remember a time you received a particularly rude or particularly sweet awakening? Can you remember a time you stayed up all night or woke up early and watched the sunrise? Can you remember a morning you wished had lasted longer or ended sooner? Try to put yourself back in the space of one of these mornings and write a poem that captures the scene and mood you remember. If nothing comes to mind, why not make a new memory? Pick a scenic place to watch the day break and go experience the morning with all your senses open.


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