Poetry Friday

National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month I thought I’d celebrate by sharing some of the poems John (and I) have memorized these past two years. I’m no expert in poetry and poetry isn’t John’s favorite thing but I think the reading (and memorizing of) poetry is an important part of his education.

The first poet I have to share is Christina Rossetti. I’ve posted here and here about poems by her that we memorized for Advent. Rossetti was born in 1830 into a family of poets and artists. She began writing at age 7 and had her first poem published at age 18. She is  best known for her poem Goblin Market published in a collection by the same name and for her poem In the Bleak Midwinter, which was later set to music and became a popular Christmas hymn. She was a Victorian poet and also is known for her religious devotion; she rejected two marriage proposals due to differences in religious ideals.

She also is well-known for her poetry collection for children entitled Sing-Song. The poems in Sing-Song are quite simple and a good way to introduce very young children to poetry. Even though the poems in Sing-Song are simple, some deal with complex subjects like the imminent death of a baby born prematurely. They can be quite beautiful in their simplicity.

The first poem that John memorized last year for first grade was her poem Caterpillar, which is included on many lists of Classic Poems for Children.

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

4 thoughts on “Poetry Friday

  1. Thanks for the reminder. Completely by chance, we had already started celebrating by reading Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and Arnold Lobel’s “The Book of Pigericks” this week. Not high poetry, but it’s a start!

  2. I love Silverstein and Lobel. We’ve done two Silverstein poems as memorization: Snowball and Squishy Touch. Both were fun to do and my son enjoyed them a lot.

  3. Oh, yes–“The Caterpillar” by Christina G. Rosetti. I can hear my dd reciting this now. 🙂 I need to add more fun poetry to my girls’ repertoire; right now, they only memorize it (or even listen to it!) because I make them.

  4. I’ve thought in the past that I just didn’t “get” poetry. Now, I realize that I’ve just been too impatient. I’ve preferred prose, and in college writing classes, temperamentally I was drawn to non-fiction essays. But, in almost every other art form, I’ve preferred the oblique, the complexity of the non-obvious – where there is greater depth to discern. But, somehow, when it comes to that which is verbal, I tend to want to be a straight-shooter. Maybe, maybe, if I slowed down, the subtleties of not just a turn of phrase, but the composition of a notion played out in beautiful words would become more appreciated. Thank you for your reminder. And, by the way, I love how our son is learning from you more than what I would have thought to even offer. I love you for that (and many other things).

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