Monday, March 17, 2008

A Poem is a Good Guest

The bookshelf in my bedroom holds some amazing treasures. One of my favorites is The Golden Treasury of Poetry, Selected and with a commentary by Louis Untermeyer, illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund. Inside there is an inscription: To Holly, our granddaughter, from Grandma and Grandpa.

Both grandparents could – and often did, to our delight – recite poetry they had learned as schoolchildren. Grandma especially enjoyed sitting with us right beside her as she read to us. She favored story poems like those James Whitcomb Riley wrote, and often added dramatic flair as she read.

Those poems were, as Ted Kooser says, Grandma's invited guests, desired for their ability to entertain, to educate, to delight. She shared them with us as if they were great treasures – which they have proven, over time, to be.

The rhythm and cadence, the rhyme and sound of poetry add important elements to a child's language development, not to mention fun. As a child gets older there is a sense of play, a sense of story, a sense of a widening world in poems like “Little Orphan Annie,” “The Highwaymen,” “The Tyger,” and others.

As moms and grandmas we can introduce our children and grandchildren to different kinds of poetry, different authors, different word pictures. As we do that, we share a treasure with them, a guest to enrich their lives.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

What an excellent idea. I have a large book of poetry I love to read. I think I will start marking some "must read to Holly" poems. Thanks for the inspiration!