I love poetry. Even as a child I loved it. Many of the old-timey poems, nursery rhymes and songs were read or taught to me by my mother, father or aunt. I think our mother read poems to us and I know she sang to us too. The first poem I remember was taught to me by my aunt.
The Purple Cow.
I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one,
but I can tell you anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
Memorization as early as a child shows signs of wanting to repeat poems or songs is good preparation for school later. The rhyming schemes, rhythms and fun of quoting poems often help little minds learn their numbers, colors and other education basics. Adding hand or body movements augments the learning process by making it more fun and challenging and helps body and brain coordination.
Surprisingly I just found out I was taught a poem that had been published first in 1805! Oh, well, I learned to count. Here is the first part of it. (Probably could change buckle to “velcro!”
One Two, Buckle My Shoe
One two, buckle my shoe,
Three, four, shut the door.
Five, six, pick up sticks.
Seven, eight, lay them straight.
Nine, ten, a big fat hen.
Of course each grade’s English teacher would be remiss if she didn’t at least read to her students some poem(s) by some of the greats like Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven, Annabel Lee), Robert Louis Stevenson, (The Land of Nod, The Swing), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Paul Revere’s Ride, The Song of Hiawatha) and so many others. If you have never heard of any of these, please find them and enjoy.
Later in junior high school I had a speech teacher who assigned a poem for us to memorize each week. Now 50 years later I still can quote one poem by Emily Dickinson: “A Bird Came Down the Walk.” “A bird came down the walk, he did not know I saw. He bit an angle worm in half and ate the fellow raw.”
When my first son was born and developing his vocabulary, I loved reading books by Dr. Seuss to him. The rhyming and imaginary words and the illustrations made learning so much more fun!
One Fish, Two Fish
One fish, two fish
Red fish, blue fish
Black fish, blue fish
Old fish, new fish.
And so on describing different fish with delightful descriptions and illustrations.
Another favorite author whose poetry I loved to read to my son and still enjoy reading to myself is, Shel Silverstein. So many hilarious pictures and ideas presented to ready minds that brought laughter and shared humor.
The poems he wrote varied from simple to long; funny to thought-provoking; unique to a peculiarity which was characteristic of him. His drawings added so much to the fun too.
One such poem is better heard than read. Click here to listen to the poem: Sick .
Then there was a short poem;
My beard grows to my toes,
I never wears no clothes.
I wraps my hair around my bare
And down the road I goes!
The variety and wacky sense of humor he had made me enjoy reading his poetry as much as I enjoyed Dr. Seuss.
Later I was inspired to try my hand at poetry. (I wrote this poem for my oldest son when he was about seven or eight. He is now a 6’6″ man.)
Shrinking Pants vs. Growing Son
by Melodie Elaine Estes
Shopping for pants for my son
Is considered by him not fun.
But he’s smart and let’s me know
The pants, not like him, do not grow.
Before his pants have time to fade,
Before he’s gone through one whole grade,
It’s: ”Mom, my jeans are just too tight!”
I look at him and know he’s right.
The jeans we buy fit fine at first,
But then begins the growing spurts.
Each leg extends below its cuff.
His tummy hasn’t room enough.
The pants prevent a good full meal,
They are so tight, his legs can’t feel.
No more room for him to grow.
So he, like me, knows where we go.
Off we go to the clothing store.
To replace the pants he just wore.
They all carry Wranglers, Levis, Lee,
Rustlers or Bugle boy for him to see.
First we look for a proper fit
So when he squats they will not split.
One pair is long enough but is too tight.
The next pair’s color is not right.
Finally he decides on two pair.
The black ones he can’t wait to wear.
They match his coat and jackets too.
As well as the shirts: red, green and blue.
He wears his new black jeans to school,
Knowing that he looks quite cool.
The blue ones look sharp and he can not wait
To wear the jacket that looks so great.
But I know about his growing rate,
And soon again I hear him state:
“I need new pants. These are too tight.”
I look at him and know he’s right.