“Look for a lovely thing and you will find it”

November 22, 2017 @ 8:51 am | Filed under: Books, Family, Fun Learning Stuff, Homeschooling, Poetry

As often as not, this is what our Poetry Teatime looks like: circus animal cookies on a Dominoes napkin. Yesterday we didn’t even remember to bother with something to drink. Although it doesn’t take much to elevate the event (plates would be a good start) 😉 — there are days when you know you’ll miss your moment if you don’t jump right in. This was one of those days. We had just enough time left in our morning for a no-frills poetry teatime and a short nature walk, or a frillier tea and no walk at all. The vote was to squeeze in both.

Huck certainly doesn’t care, as long as poetry teatime contains the two essentials: cookies + Shel Silverstein. He had us all howling with “The Nap Taker” (“I did not take a nap— / The nap took me”). Beanie picked the Lewis Carroll collection (more howls) and Rilla chose a family favorite: Jack Prelutsky’s Imagine That! Poems of Never-Was. (When she read “The Multikertwigo” I had such déja vu. I will always hear that poem in wee Jane’s four-year-old voice.)

I, of course, read selections from Favorite Poems Old and New. There would be a mutiny if I reached for anything else.

(I sneak more contemporary poems into other parts of our day. These children mustn’t grow up without some Billy Collins in their lives.)


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  1. What a lovely poetry practice you have established! I love that you all are embroiled in the old, because I find that I can hardly locate really old poetry without having tons of books. Even poetry that my teachers read to me even in high school is fading from the public consciousness, and isn’t to be found (there is SO much, though). I remembered one called To Youth that began, This I say to you: be arrogant! Be true! True to April’s blood that sings/ Through your veins/ These sharp Springs matter most/… and then I forgot the rest. It took WAY too long for my Google-chops to make the internet return this:

    To Youth

    This I say to you:
    Be arrogant! Be true!
    True to April’s lust that sings
    Through your veins. These sharp Springs
    Matter most…After years
    Will be time enough to sleep…
    Carefulness…and tears…

    Now while life is raw and new,
    Drink it clear, drink it deep!
    Let the moonlight’s lunacy
    Tear away your cautions.
    Be proud, and mad, and young, and free!
    Grasp a comet! kick at stars
    Laughingly! Fight! Dare!

    Never fear, Age will catch you.
    Slow you down, ere it dispatch you
    To your long and solemn quiet…
    What will matter-then-the riot
    Of the lilacs in the wind?
    What will mean-then the crush
    Of lips at hours when birds hush?
    Purple, green and flame will end
    In a calm, grey blend

    Only graven in your soul
    After all the rest is gone
    There will be ecstasies…
    These alone…

    -John Weaver

    It also amuses me that my English teacher read this to us, but it was part of him teaching us to read with feeling. He also read George Herbert’s Virtue that day, and I remember the beginning of that, too — because we all had to take turns reading sections of both with feeling and FERVOR. Oh, those were the days, 9th grade…

    Anyway, happy poetry!

  2. What a lovely snapshot of a lovely part of your day. Speaking of finding lovely things….

  3. Ah, walks and tea and poetry … the joys of mothering and homeschooling and life!

    Happy Thanksgiving my dear! xoxo

  4. Favorite Poems Old and New is my go-to poetry book, too. It’s out right now as I’m currently teaching Playing with Poetry at Brave Writer.

    I met Billy Collins in 2013 when he came to San Diego for the Writer’s Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University. He did a poetry reading and a talk with Dean Nelson (my former creative writing prof and later office-mate as he kindly shared his office with me when I was a mere adjunct). UCSD TV has all of the Writer’s Symposium interviews and readings right here in reverse chronological order: https://www.uctv.tv/writers/ including a jazz evening with poet Robert Pinsky last year, a reading and talk with poet Nikki Giovanni in 2016, Joyce Carol Oates in 2015, etc. If you go waaay back, there’s Amy Tan and Ray Bradbury interviews that are amazing.

    I love Lewis Carroll; “Jabberwocky” is our family favorite. 🙂

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I’ll be plundering the wisdom of Penning the Past this weekend! 😀

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

Go ahead, make my day