Daily Archives: April 4, 2008

all the small poems and fourteen more


Sometimes, if I’ve been reading like a fiend for weeks, devouring book after fantastic book, I can get a little tired of words. I’ll enter this stage in which I can’t seem to find anything to read that grabs hold of me, no matter how innovative it might be, or how fine the writing is. It’s like I’ve stuffed myself full of stories and there’s no space left for more. Nothing impresses me, which depresses me. This is exactly the moment for a gorgeous, simple, perfect, palate-cleansing little book of poems by Valerie Worth (brilliant woman): all the small poems and fourteen more. These are indeed small poems, about ordinary things like asparagus and porches and marbles and Christmas lights. Oh how I love these poems. They wake up my exhausted brain. They make me want to appreciate the ordinary objects and creatures and experiences around me. They make me want to rip the playstations out of my students’ hands and cry, “Here! Read this! Here’s the world right here in this little book!” These are poems about slowing down and seeing, just what’s needed when you’ve been swept up too long in imaginary worlds.


When the high
Snows lie worn
To rags along
The muddy furrows,

And the frozen
Sky frays, drooping
Gray and sodden
To the ground,

The sleek crows
Appear, flying
Low across the
Threadbare meadow

To jeer at
Winter’s ruin
With their jubilant
Thaw, thaw, thaw!

There’s so much more to sigh over in this small book. It’s a bit like Pablo Neruda’s Odes to Common Things, but for kids. It belongs in all small hands.