I Found a Penny on the Ground
I found a penny on the ground
and thought it might bring luck.
And so I tried to pick it up
but found that it was stuck.
I pulled a little harder but
it wasn’t any use.
I went and got a crowbar.
Still, I couldn’t pry it loose.
I whacked it with a hammer
till, at last, I got it free,
but accidentally struck my thumb,
and tripped and skinned my knee.
A dog then chased me down the street
as it began to rain.
I almost got run over by
a taxi and a train.
I slammed into a garbage can
which covered me in crud.
And, just before I made it home,
I slipped and fell in mud.
At last, I climbed in bed,
then felt a headache coming on.
I couldn’t sleep at all that night.
I tossed and turned till dawn.
That penny brought me luck alright,
but all the luck was bad.
It left me bruised and beaten and
extremely sore and sad.
I knew I had to dump that penny
one way or another.
I’m feeling so much better since
I gave it to my brother.
— Kenn Nesbitt
Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Reading Level: Grade 3
Topics: Cautionary Tale, Poems about Friends and Family, Superstitions
Poetic Techniques: Alliteration, Assonance, Imagery, Irony, Narrative Poems
About This Poem
There is a poetic expression you might have heard, “Find a penny. Pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.” This is what I say every time I find a penny on the ground.
I would love it if this expression were true. I mean, what if you could have good luck all day just by finding a coin on the ground? Wouldn’t that be awesome? But, at the same time, I know it probably isn’t actually true. Your luck is probably the same whether you find a penny or you don’t.
But, what if–even worse–finding a penny and picking it up caused you to have bad luck all day? That’s what this poem is about. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I liked writing it.
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