The Ache

by Mahogany L. Browne

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Ache

Step 1

Say, “What’s something you want so bad that sometimes it feels as if you almost physically “ache”? Why does it make you feel that way? Explain.” Then give your students time to discuss.

Step 2

Read “The Ache” by Mahogany L. Browne. When you’re done, briefly discuss the “ache” the speaker feels, its source, and how they are able to convey/cope with that feeling.

Step 3

Have your students choose something that, like the speaker in the poem you just read, they “ache” for. Then ask them to write down a list of reasons why they yearn for that person, object, etc. and what they do to help you “cope” or deal with such emotions and feelings. Give them 5-10 minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Ask your students to write a poem similar in sentiment to “The Ache” by Mahogany L. Browne in which they express an “ache” for something that they desperately want and/or need.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are diction, imagery, structure, tone, and selection of detail.

Step 2

Tell your students that they are going to have to write a 1 minute, timed, rapid response to the text that you display on the board. Their responses can be somewhat informal; you just want them to get all of their thoughts about the text on the page as continuously as possible for 1 straight minute.

Step 3

Open the following presentation and go over the instructions (on the 2nd slide) with them.

*Though the instructions are in the presentation, here is a quick rundown of the activity: For this part of the assignment, your students will have to utilize the “Write Surge” website to compose a series of “rapid responses” to different excerpts of the text. As soon as the poem’s text appears on the slide, tell your students to click on the 1-minute timer that they see on their page and begin writing. They will have to write 4 different times for this part of the activity. Make sure to reiterate that the site will erase any progress after 5 seconds of inactivity, so they must write for the full minute uninterrupted.

Step 4

After you’ve gone over the instructions with them, field any questions, make sure they understand the expectations of the assignment, then begin.

Step 5

Once you’ve gone through all four parts of the poem, have your students get in groups and have them briefly discuss their observations with one another. After a few minutes of conversation, have several volunteers share their thoughts with the class.

Step 6

Ask your students to open the following document. For this part of the assignment, your students will have to collaborate in groups and create a more “refined” analysis for each of the four divisions of the text.

Step 7

If time permits at the end of class, share the exemplar essay with your students so they can see if their analyses are somewhat similar in scope.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Aging
  • Children / Youth
  • Death / Grief
  • Family
  • Food / Hunger
  • Love
  • Parenting

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Tone

Content Warning

  • Abuse