Category Archives: Poetry

Poetry Friday: Parents & their Children

Though I’m not a parent, my job lets me see parents and their children on a daily basis. A day doesn’t pass that I don’t consider the mysterious and complicated and sometimes troubled relationship between parent and child.

This week at the hot docs film festival, I saw a lovely documentary about a parent letting his daughter go off into the world away from him for the first time. It’s called The Kids Grow Up. It was funny and touching and it made me think about how fast time goes, particularly when it comes to childhood. Here’s the trailer:

You must see it if you get the chance. Now here’s a poem about the holding-close of parenting, from a mother to her child:

To a Child
– by Sophie Jewett

The leaves talked in the twilight, dear;
Hearken the tale they told:
How in some far-off place and year,
Before the world grew old,

I was a dreaming forest tree,
You were a wild, sweet bird
Who sheltered at the heart of me
Because the north wind stirred;

How, when the chiding gale was still,
When peace fell soft on fear,
You stayed one golden hour to fill
My dream with singing, dear…

Read the rest here.

Poetry Friday: This is Just to Say

This is just to say…

kids are awesome.

My Grade 4 lovelies are going to be writing apology poems, inspired by Joyce Sidman’s genius collection, This is Just to Say.

So today, we read and played around with William Carlos Williams’ famous poem, and at recess, two of my girls performed “their own version,” which they had just composed together two seconds before.

Here’s the original:

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Now here’s the girls’ poem:

This is Just to Say

I hate you

the plums
that I sent you
to say sorry
were bad

P.S. I lied
about the plums I ate
being cold
and sweet

From:
I think you should know
by now

It’s days like today that make teaching fabulous.

Poetry Friday: April Rain Song

It really hasn’t rained much around here this April, but I have been enjoying the bright song of the cardinals on my walk to school. Isn’t this little sopping red fellow adorable?  Here’s a classic spring rain poem:

April Rain Song – by Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

And I love the rain.

(From Poetry Foundation. Photo from stockxchng).

Poetry Friday: A Blessing for Wedding

I just love the way every line of this poem is a picture. Something hopeful for an early March morning.

A Blessing for Wedding – by Jane Hirshfield

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you…

(read the rest here…)

Poetry Friday: Bright Star

Last weekend I watched Jane Campion’s newly released film, Bright Star, about John Keats’ love affair with Fanny Brawne. It’s a good Valentine’s film, tragic of course, but if you can convince your fella to watch it I think you’ll be impressed by the onscreen chemistry and you may learn a little more about Keats. So, educational and sexy and doomed. That works. And it is very beautifully filmed, with lots of lingering shots and scenes of the fair and moody English countryside.

The title of the film is after Keats’ poem, Bright Star, and the movie suggests that he was inspired by his love for Fanny Brawne to write the sonnet. This has not been proven, but it’s a sentiment worthy of almost-Valentine’s Day.

Here’s that sonnet:

Bright Star – by John Keats

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Take a look at the teaser for the film:

Ah romance. Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

(Poem at poetry.org)