Friday, May 9, 2008

Poetry Friday

It's been a while since I've posted a poem for Poetry Friday. In a word: hectic. I could say that I've been too deeply absorbed in the garden, as well as the Greeks and an upcoming Science Fair for the kids, but that's just window-dressing, isn't it? Often the reason I don't post is because I've left it too late to write a thoughtful PF post. So I leave it, thinking "Next week I'll start thinking about it earlier." Yes, I AM very Scarlet-like; the only thing I never put off until tomorrow is the garden work.

Anyhow, I should preface this by saying that in our homeschool we do a lot of poetry memorization. I'd dropped it with my eldest for half this year, but it turns out that he really likes it, and has been memorizing all the twins' poetry selections simply by listening to them each week. So out came the Longer Poetry book. I think Jabberwocky was his first choice, then a Robert Frost. Now he's working on Cockpit in the Clouds, by Dick Dorrance. And he's still memorizing all the twins' poems.

The first poem all three of my kids learned was Christina Rossetti's Caterpillar, which goes something like this:

Caterpillar
by Christina Rossetti

Brown and furry,
Caterpillar in a hurry.
Take your walk,
To the shady leaf or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you,
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

Simple, yes, but it has charmed all of us. I've got recordings of all three kids reciting it, we're so charmed with it. Periodically we taken them out, dust them off, and watch them. It's funny to see them sitting solemnly in front of the camera, and they all have such vastly different recitation styles. Max used to gallop along like there was no tomorrow, breathless and giddy with nerves. There was no mistaking the meter in anything he recited. We have one very funny recording of him (then age 7) doing Robert Louis Stevenson's Windy Nights, and let me just say (in the interests of not humiliating anyone in particular) that Max was galloping right along with ole RLS. Katie is more pain-staking, getting very annoyed if she flubs a word or some of the rhythm, but more often than not nailing it in one swift blow. She sits quietly, hands in her lap, and looks calmly into the camera. It's rather daunting, to be honest, watching her. I sometimes feel like the fly to her spider. Dominic is different. He likes doing his poems, but initially he found the camera slightly terrifying, yet he insisted on being recorded right along with his siblings. He also struggled at first. Memorizing long lines of words was not something he found easy, so it was all the more gladdening to see him perk up this winter and take far more delight in listening and memorizing the poetry we studied. And yesterday, Dominic (aka The Quiet Child), rewrote the Rossetti poem a bit, after observing our cat Toffee leaping wildly around in the springtime weather. I'm including here for my PF offering. Thanks, Dominic.

Toffee
by Dominic (age 6)

Blurry furry,
Toffee in a hurry.
Take your walk,
To eat a crunchy stalk.
May no hawk spy you,
May the little birds fly by you,
Twirl and fly,
To live again,
A Toffeefly.

This last line refers to watching Toffee fall out of the willow tree. We all hoped he would land rather more gracefully, but alas, our Toffee is no butterfly in the making.

Poetry Friday is at writer2b today. Thanks for hosting, writer2b, and enjoy the day, everyone!

5 comments:

writer2b said...

Fun! Let me guess: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind? My kids memorized this too!

Thanks for participating.

sheila said...

Second time round, yes! (oooh, you're sharp) First time round I think we pre-dated FLL. (ugh, that makes me feel old) I used one of those free Dover email links. It even came with a rather lurid drawing of a caterpillar. I'm glad though, because it really is such a lovely little poem.

Kelly Fineman said...

I hope that you will tell Dominic that he completely knocked my socks clean off my feet with his Toffee poem. Well done!!

HipWriterMama said...

Your son is a awesome poet!

I never thought about poetry memorization--my kids will enjoy this. If not, the chance to have a starring role on our home videos might be just the incentive they need.

this is my patch said...

Great poetry. Dominic has definitely got a flair for writing, such a good poem for someone of his young age. x