Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Neither did I, but it is…and while that has practically nothing to do with this post, I thought it was a nice coincidence. But I digress…
My daughter is practicing for her end of the year school program, in which she has one (very important) line, which is “Oh, Woodsworth, lighten up!” So, from the kitchen table or the bathroom sink or the tree she happens to be climbing, I hear “Oh, Woodsworth, lighten up!”…only it sounds a bit more like “Oh, Woodsworth, LIGHTNING up!” Although I do persist in letting her say “calla-pitter” (after all, she only has so much little girl language left), I have tried to help her with this bit of pronunciation…to no avail. So, she’ll probably get more of a laugh than the line was expecting, and hopefully, we’ll have the video camera ready for the precious memory it will produce.
Though we’re clearly still working on her understanding of rhythm and stress, her understanding and love of rhyme is growing daily. The question “Does such and such rhyme?” rings out pretty often around here. One day, she and I were speaking to each other in rhyme while sitting in the car waiting for her dad. Saying things like, “I’m sitting on the chair,” and responding “There’s something crawling in your hair.” (Okay, I made that up…I don’t really remember what exactly we were saying, but you get the idea…we were rhyming.)
When her dad got in the car, we were laughing so he asked what we were up to, and she said:
True that…and very seldom better put. Sometimes we do what I have always called “spontaneous poems,” especially if we’re driving somewhere and getting weary of the road. We just begin creating poems…sometimes they turn out so well, we should probably write them down because we can never remember them later.
Other times, we read poems together.
And sometimes, I write them. Not well, mind you…but that’s not the point.
Poems put our feelings into words; they paint pictures on paper. They mesh ideas into metaphors and turn the mundane into something beautiful, something ordinary into something exotic.
I’ve always loved poems because, though I didn’t realize it, I’ve always loved language. I love to recite poems (thank you, Mrs. Fuller, for the wealth of them stored up in my brain). I love to hear the words just rolling off the tongue sometimes.
So, today, I’d like to share with you my daughter’s favorite poem this week and then one of my own. She learned this from our dear friend Mrs. Ginger (who writes Notes from Nana) and told me she wanted to teach it to all of her friends so I thought she might like if I teach it to you. You must do the hand motions beginning with your hands forming a small ball in front of your belly, then a larger ball in front of your chest and finally a very big ball over your head. Here goes:
Here’s a ball. (Make the small ball.)
And here’s a ball. (Make the bigger ball.)
And a great big ball I see. (Make the giant ball.)
Are you ready? Can you count them?
One. Two. Three. (Make each ball in the same order as you count.)
(Caughman, Teaching with Rhythm & Rhyme, 2000.)
I can’t begin to think of my own favorite poem right now, but I will share one I wrote nearly ten years ago. Maybe it will encourage you today:
You are almighty, Above all I see
You stand on your footstool, Looking out for me.
Your grace I can’t question, My faith rests in thee
The clouds never hide you when I choose to believe.