So a few weeks ago I was sitting in chorus rehearsal, and it wasn’t going well. I won’t name names, but a certain section comprised of males with very low voices just. wasn’t. getting it, and this for a song we’ve been singing for two years. Now, I know that the choristers are hobbyists and practically none of them read music and most of them have seen the better part of a century, and I know that we always get it together and do well at concerts…but still, it drives me bonkers.
What’s ironic about this is that, for just about my whole life, singing has been the one little miracle that can turn a bad mood around for me. There’s just no case of the grouchies that a good outburst of show tunes can’t cure.
And yet there I sit twice a week, almost invariably having at least one fit of pique per rehearsal. It’s come to the point that when bad stuff starts going down, the other sopranos start looking at me askance, fanning the air to rid it of the steam coming out of my ears.
On this particular night, however, I decided to channel my temper flare-up into something constructive. Eschewing the usual eye rolling and heavy sighs, I flipped over my sheet music and started furiously scribbling a poem called “The Bitter Snits,” patting myself on the back for such an awesome title. Unfortunately, the poem was beyond awful, which did nothing to improve my mood. So I doodled a man in a sailboat about to get chomped by a shark instead.
Anyway, that title stuck with me, and the poem that goes with it finally showed up a couple days ago. Good thing, too, because I was getting pretty huffy about it! So you better enjoy “The Bitter Snits” now, you hear?
The Bitter Snits
When you hunker in a sulk,
and you slouch and you skulk
like a heaving, huffing hulk
That’s when the Bitter Snits
slither in and steal your wits–
oh, my dear, I will admit it’s
A Bitter Snit’s a wormy thing,
a niggling, wriggling, squirmy thing
that plants a nagging germy thing
deep inside your brain.
And then you start the sniveling,
your surly head goes swiveling,
your common sense starts shriveling —
oh, it’s inhumane.
If you blubber, if you bawl,
beat your hands against the wall,
Bitter Snits will come to call,
So when your temper’s on the fritz
and you sink down in the pits
of your snicky-icky fits
Just remember that a smile
for a Snit is something vile
and if you do it for a while…
Just for Fun: Anger Expressions
Writing this poem made me think of all the fun ways we have to express anger and being angry. Here are my top five favorites and a whole bunch more:
get my knickers in a twist
in a snit
fit of pique
sticks in my craw
get my dander/hackles up
gets me steamed up
makes my blood boil
hot under the collar
go on the warpath
bristle with rage
gets on my nerves
have a bad hair day
fly off the handle
have a cow/conniption fit
bent out of shape
give a piece of my mind
burst a blood vessel
blow a gasket/fuse/my top/my stack
hit the roof
stare daggers at
drives me bonkers/crazy/up the wall
foam at the mouth
go off the deep end/through the roof/ballistic
rant and rave
jump down my throat
had it up to here
be up in arms
have a bone to pick
fit to be tied
gets my goat
And here’s one in Italian:
avere un diavolo per capello = to have a devil in the place of each hair (that’s really mad!)
Is your favorite on here?
Extension Activities for “The Bitter Snits”
- Have students write an “emotion” poem, focusing on active verbs and sound (alliteration/assonance).
- Have students draw, paint, or otherwise create an artistic rendition of what a bitter snit looks like.
- The Internet is full of lesson plans about anger for every grade level. Here are some of the better ones I found:
- Preschool/elementary: “All Kinds of Feelings” lesson plan from ADL.org includes discussion, art, and dance; cross-curricular lesson plan on feelings; “My Feelings Activity Book” from ProjectABC; various color sheets on dealing with anger at PeaceKids, including fighting fair, cooling down, and “getting your angries out”; various activities for handling anger from GoodCharacter.com.
- Middle school: “What to Do When I’m Angry” from The Children’s Health Fund (PDF).
- Art and music: feelings collage, emotions masks, thumbprint emotions, songs/poems/finger plays, feelings book.
- In the kitchen: Make sugar cookies or cupcakes and let kids use icing gel to decorate them with various faces.
Video Location: Bitter Bluster Road, Snitsville, Italy.See more poems in my poetry video library. “The Bitter Snits” copyright © 2012 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.