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.
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
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Now here’s the girls’ poem:
This is Just to Say
I hate you
that I sent you
to say sorry
P.S. I lied
about the plums I ate
I think you should know
It’s days like today that make teaching fabulous.
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).
Spring is like a perhaps hand
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window,into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully…
(Read the rest here. Photo by stockxchng).
One of my students wrote an incredible haiku the other day. Sometimes kids just have such a naturally poetic perspective.
as each butterfly
beats its wings
the earth is shaken
Isn’t that perfect?
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…)
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)