We are wandering our way through A Child’s Introduction to Poetry this summer. Actually the full title of the book is quite long, A Child’s Introduction to Poetry: Listen While You Learn About the Magic Words That Have Moved Mountains, Won Battles, and Made Us Laugh and Cry.
We are not strangers to poetry. On our shelf are several children’s poetry anthologies, from which we would read a selection or two at bedtime. The repetition alone caused me to memorize the oft-requested Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field quite by accident, and The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, a personal favorite, quite on purpose.
Our homeschool curriculum includes regular reading of poetry. This year we read through Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems, and Fourteen More. I did not like her poetry at first, but found that I developed an appreciation for their spareness. GraceNotes definitely prefers the humor, story-telling and use of language by Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein.
Despite the reading and enjoyment, we haven’t spent much time working with poetic form, except haiku. So, with this book in hand, after dinner once or twice a week we read about a type of poetry, enjoy the various examples, and then in some cases try our hand at writing. I will confess that we did not try to write an Epic Poem after dinner, although I think it might be fun to work on one throughout this next year!
Actually, we were most prolific after reviewing the section on Limericks. The Limerick form has been accredited to Edward Lear, The Book of Nonsense, which you can read on Project Gutenberg. For those who like to notebook, there are a series of Poetic Form notebooking pages at Notebooking Fairy but we just used notebook paper, a used envelope and the back of my menu planner page.
GraceNotes is not (yet) a dedicated poetess, so we had to encourage her a little to seek the rhythm and strive for strong adjectives and verbs. With just a bit of help, by the end of dessert she had composed three quite credible limericks! Mr. Garner worked quietly, almost subversively. Once satisfied with his effort, he read with great gusto! I had an ax to grind and wrote with intensity, making lists of rhyming words and concepts. My limerick is rather clever and funny in my opinion, but pointed and political in nature, so will not be making an appearance. Number 1 Son was on his Appalachian Service Project mission week so he didn’t participate – which is too bad – because he loves poetry too!
So here, without further ado…
Sharpe by G. Garner
There once was a good man named Sharpe,
Who caught quite a lot of good carp.
His hobbies? Had none,
but he thought it great fun,
to play for the carp on his harp.
Reading by G. Garner
There was a man from County Cook
who walked whilst reading his book.
He fell on his face,
and so lost his place,
’til he found his page marked by some gook.
Diego’s Treat by G. Garner
There once was a man named Diego,
whose fondness was for Asiago.
So he went to the baker,
who had a milk shaker,
and ordered a Smoothie Alfredo.
The Poetess, by Mr. Garner
Once, a poet named Grace
had worry all over her face.
She stayed up all night
for try as she might
she just couldn’t come up with a rhyme.
The Olympian, by Mr. Garner
I knew a fast runner named Ray
who ran dawn to dusk every day.
Last year he ran West,
never saw the sun set.
He’s due back from the East any day.