April is National Poetry Month. I love poetry. I can forget this for months on end, but something will happen and it will come upon me suddenly that I need it. To read it or write it, just to immerse myself in the flow of words, the quick breath of an emotion, the hint of a moment captured.
To mark it this year, being the fun mom I am, I thought I'd make my kids look at some classics. I'm sure plenty of people don't agree that kids should be made to memorize poetry, and I don't want to spoil their enjoyment of it, but I still made them memorize their favourite parts. I don't think it hurts. And then they can come out with random lines with their future spouses and get the look Andrew gives me when I do that.
I started with Grace. She's not quite 7, she loves the flowers that are just coming up in the garden, and I thought WIlliam Wordsworth's Daffodils was perfect. She has the first verse memorized,
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Me: So what do you like about the poem?
Grace: The daffodils. And the stars. I'm going to be a rocket scientist.
Me: Why do you think the poet likes the daffodils?
Grace: Because they're golden, and because they mean spring is here.
Me: Have you ever seen daffodils dance?
Grace: Mom! Flowers don't really dance, you know.
Me: Why do you think the poet thought they were dancing?
Grace: Because he was a rocket scientist looking down from space and he couldn't see them properly.
Me: How does the poem make you feel? How do the daffodils make you feel?
Me: Would you like to dance with daffodils?
Grace: No. I'd like to cut some and put them in a vase.