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Poetry is the voice of dissension
so They say
the voice of a nation
a reaction to They
have no fear of exams
(for a fee)
we’ll help you to pass
just don’t share yours here, see?
or we’ll delete your ass
Now Sleep O’Poets!
After a lovely hour of trawling through poetry books looking for the perfect poem to learn and read aloud to her classmates, Katie, seduced by the darling buds and promise of summer, settled on Shakespeare’s Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?
Perfect! Everything about the poem is a gift. The enduring message beautifully wrapped. We read it aloud together to get a feel for the sound of it. And then the magic happened. Katie recited it perfectly. She couldn’t necessarily “read” every word. She simply recited the whole poem – beautifully.
Poetry is magic. Meaning is secondary and sound is everything. Kids love sound – it’s what they hear and how they learn language – imitation, intonation, rhythm and pace. And that’s why kids and babies love poetry – motherese (babytalk) IS poetry! Poetry, with all its exaggerated intonation and rhythm, rhymes and assonance. Unlike the muffled, mundane, monotonous, everyday mumblings of most adults, poetry actually speaks to children.
Shakespeare knew this. He knew that we need to “breathe” poetry and “see” poetry. He knew Katie would see the poem one day and he knew that whatever the rough winds do shake in Katie’s world she’ll always have the poem – it’s hers to keep now!
Incidentally, she wasn’t allowed to use the poem in the end. Her sometimes-too-hot teacher felt that it was “too difficult” for a class of seven year old children.
Not to worry – she set an excellent homework task and Katie learned two poems – one about the wonder and permanence of art, the other about the wonder and permanence of pet germs!!
I have a half a billion germs I keep as tiny pets. They're cute and clean and never mean and give me no regrets. They spend all day engaged in play upon my skin and hair. They're on my clothes, between my toes and in my underwear. They dance and shout and bounce about. They run and jump and slide. My epidermis teems with germs who party on my hide. I never fret about the pets inside my shirt and socks. I love them there but wonder where they keep their litter box? --Kenn Nesbitt You can read more poetry by Nesbitt and others here: http://www.poetry4kids.com/poem-562.html
Pan continues to sing in the hope that Neverland will continue to live in the hearts and minds of those who cherish it. He feels the cold chill of skepticism and fear pierce his soul, but Pan continues to hold on to his dreams.
Through his songs his soul he bares,
For all who hope and hear his prayers.
The dreams are there for he who dares
To rise above those ghoulish mares
Who silently haunt Foreverland.
Pan feels the shadows of death draw near
Scornful of that which most they fear
He clings on to dreams so dear
Of beautiful, beautiful Neverland
Learning to read was never a great deal. It’s not something I remember my parents particularly laboring over. It just happened!
Books simply were! Large piles of them waiting to be taken somewhere – the library, a charity shop, or upstairs to the makeshift study to be placed carelessly on mismatched shelves – eventually! Nobody seemed to mind and it’s a habit you pass on to your own children. When I ask my own daughter to tidy her room it usually involves creating piles of books – kids books just don’t sit prettily on shelves.
At 5 years old, I was as likely to pick up a study-guide to Jane Eyre if only to marvel at the cover design or my dad’s beautifully penned annotations as I was to catch up with my school copy of Roger Red Hat. Books weren’t lovingly organized as I discovered when I picked up a copy of The Joy of Sex whilst looking for a thesaurus. Needless to say my quest to find the right word for an English essay was delayed for a few hours!
Books were not sacred. You were allowed to write all over them, fold down the corners to mark pages, and leave them unfinished, open and face down, on any free surface around the house. There were scores of books on-the-go. Books used as bookmarks for other books. Books inside books piled on top of more books. Sneaky library books, running up huge fines, lay dormant, hidden inside the piano stool.
There were even books reserved for reading during ablutions. We were pretty good, on the whole, about leaving those books in the bathroom – and washing our hands after we had perused!
The dirty joy of books!
Pan is a dreamer and his vivid imagination helps to lift him out of his despair. Sometimes, he is startled by his own reflection and reminded of his loneliness and isolation.
Sometimes he dreams of having wings
Of romance, love and other things
Sometimes his spirit soars and brings
Him closer to some truth and he sings
Joyously to his Foreverland
And sometimes in his mirror clear
Pan starts at one who seems too near
He sees himself stare back in fear
The King of Neverland.
Pan, still perched in a tree, sees visions of a world appear before him. It is a world far beyond his Neverland – of which his recollections are dim. He cries as he sees landscapes of devastation and a sea of people who, like him, are lonely or who have forgotten how to care for each other. This wasn’t what he had expected to see and through his songs he begins to imagine a world without boundaries or walls. A world where Neverland is more than a dream in somebody’s imagination.
Pan looks at himself in a mirror there
But sees reflections of the world stripped bare
He wonders why so few really care
And through his songs he longs to share
His dream of a Foreverland
Speechless in his heavenly place
He dares imagine a world without hate
Where love and hope and faith and grace
Crash through the walls of Neverland.
As I child I enjoyed listening to spoken-word records on my own portable record player. How I wish I still had that record player and all those great records – My own kids would love them! I can’t remember the names of them, but I can still hear John Inman’s voice in my head – as clear as a bell.
Oh! And not forgetting Puff the Magic Dragon!
Later, I pilfered some of my parents’ singles and remember listening to Randy Crawford’s One Day I’ll Fly Away – endlessly!!!
I bet my parents were wishing I would!