Monday, September 29, 2014

To Delight in e.e.cummings

This morning, my older children were home from school.

They had a teacher in-service day and their 3-year old baby sister had preschool.

It was rare and wonderful.

We headed to the bookstore and after researching the Golden Sower books that Sam wanted to read, I stumbled upon a book of poetry and shared one of my favorite poems by e.e.cummings.

anyone lived in a pretty how town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
They were a bit confused.  My 7-year old, Kate said, "That doesn't make any sense. But it does rhyme."
And then, we talked about how poetry can rhyme, but it doesn't have to.  It can sound garbled or backwards or nonsensical, sometimes like song lyrics.  But it can also touch your heart, move your soul, and help you to see the world in a new way, especially if you're open to the way it's written.
To that end, they directed me to Shel Silverstein and said, "Try this one on. It's better."
Hug O'War
from the book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" (1974)

I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

 I agreed and said, I adore Shel Silverstein.

And then asked, how about Pablo Neruda?  Take for example,

"Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too..."

To which they said, " about Dr. Seuss?"

The Cat in the Hat

Then our mother came in
And she said to us two,
“Did you have any fun?
Tell me. What did you do?”
And Sally and I did not
know what to say.
Should we tell her
The things that went on
there that day?
Well... what would YOU do
If your mother asked you?

It was a lot of fun and ultimately, all three of us realized that poems have different meanings at different stages, seasons, and times in our lives.  I encouraged the two of them to start writing their own poetry and to watch it change and transform as they change and get older.  To which Sam replied, "I think I have enough on my plate."

Alrighty was worth a try.

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