April is National Poetry Month, and time to enjoy the world of words, verse, imagery, and poetry. Children love language and poetry. It is a natural part of their experience of learning and expressing themselves. If you have ever listened to how children play with words and images, and how they delight in music and rhyming and word play, you know young children still have a poet alive and well within them.
My six-year old Granddaughter and I exchange jokes. My sense of humor is permanently frozen at about an 8-year old level, so she’s about to surpass me. Last night I sent her the start of a joke, and said, “Call me and tell me the answer.” She called and roared with laughter when she heard the end of the joke. She then proceeded to explain to me why the joke was funny, taking it apart to explain why the joke worked. This was a new experience for me, and it made me laugh and also appreciate the precious gift we have in our children and grandchildren.
I recall many times reading joke books with my daughter, or standing in a bookstore trying to control our laughter as we read funny jokes together. All word play and language. This month is National Poetry Month, and being a poet, it is a time when I want to share my love with others. People come to me saying things like, “I didn’t think I liked poetry, but this is so easy to read and it’s touching.” What happens when we get turned off to idea, including poetry? We stop exploring. We stop learning. And we limit our experience of life. Let’s take this month to expand our horizons a bit, step out and explore the world of language, verse, and the lives of the people who write poetry. Share your favorite poems and poets with your children and grandchildren.
For years I have been getting my daughter and granddaughter books of poetry. This last year, the poetry was a book of my own, with poems about each of them in it. One of my favorite books is The Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Louis Setevenson. Other books of poetry for children include:
The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, with the beautiful illustrations of Ernest Shepherd.
Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer
Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
Poetry is everywhere. The internet is your highway to wonderful poetry. Some of the best sites include:
PBS Kids http://pbskids.org/
International Children’s Digital Library
Mrs. P’s Magic Library
Today, share these two poems written by Christina Rossetti and
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.
Another favorite, used in the Little Bear series in an episode (chapter) when Little Bear was sick in bed.
The Land of Counterpane
~Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was sick and lay a-bed, I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bedclothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
Enjoy exploring poetry yourself, and with your grandchildren and children.
Each day spend a few minutes with poetry as a way to find inspiration, a place to rest, or in a chair to take a rest. Send poems to your friends, and by all means share the written and spoken world of poetry with those precious children in our lives.