Monday, June 15, 2015

A Minute for Poetry

When my children were small, a sure-fire way to drive their daddy crazy was to chant, especially on long car trips. If you sit quietly at any playground and listen, you will not be able to miss some rhythmic, sing-song childish chorus, because children's love of the cadence of language is as natural to them as breathing, which all advertisers take full advantage of with their unforgettable ditties.

In our tech savvy and productivity oriented culture, there is little time given for real poetry. Childhood is the ideal time to instill this pleasure, when attraction to language is strong and minds are fresh, uncluttered, and relish any new sound or idea. One of my own favorite childhood poets was Walter De La Mare. His short poems sprinkled the pages of our school readers and found their way into many anthologies for children. Indeed, he compiled a few collections of poetry for children himself.

The best way to begin to enjoy poetry is simply to read it aloud, however you like, and let the words fill your ears and teach you themselves how to love them. Here are three little poems to share with your children:


THE cat she walks on padded claws,
The wolf on the hills lays stealthy paws,
Feathered birds in the rain-sweet sky
At their ease in the air, flit low, flit high.

The oak's blind, tender roots pierce deep,
His green crest towers, dimmed in sleep,
Under the stars whose thrones are set
Where never prince hath journeyed yet.


SOME one came knocking

At my wee, small door ;
Some one came knocking,

I 'm sure sure sure ;
I listened, I opened,

I looked to left and right,
But nought there was a-stirring

In the still dark night ;
Only the busy beetle

Tap-tapping in the wall,
Only from the forest

The screech-owl's call,
Only the cricket whistling

While the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking,

At all, at all, at all


ONE night as Dick lay half asleep,

Into his drowsy eyes
A great still light began to creep

From out the silent skies.
It was the lovely moon's, for when

He raised his dreamy head,
Her surge of silver filled the pane

And streamed across his bed.
So, for awhile, each gazed at each -

Dick and the solemn moon
Till, climbing slowly on her way,

She vanished, and was gone.

For the joy of reading,


You may also enjoy "What's in a Poem"


  1. I myself have come to enjoy poetry so much more after reading Christina Rossetti, A.A. Milne, and especially, Robert Louis Stevenson with my children. We've been sharing Emily Dickinson this last few months with each other and I've been surprised how we have enjoyed it, even though she is a bit more difficult. We've just begun reading one poem out of Helen Ferris' book together each morning. Lovely! :) I will have to look more into Walter de la Mare...I've been looking at William Blake as our next poet, but not firm on that yet. One of our favorite poetry books has been , The Year Around: Poems for Children by Alice I. Hazeltine. :)

    1. Thank you for your extra poetry titles as I am sure many will be looking for further poetry options. A day without poetry is not really worth living, in my opinion.

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  3. What a lovely post!
    Thanks to Charlotte Mason's influence, we've been sip reading poetry books since the children were tiny, and are still including it in our morning family time reading during the teen years with the children doing ALL the reading.
    Walter De La Mare remains a favourite.

    1. Chelle,

      Thanks for sharing. It makes me smile to know there are other families enjoying the music of words.


  4. Liz, These are all new poems to me. Are they de la Mare's? (I've not read much of his poetry, but if these are his, I'm a new fan!)

    1. Hi Kimberlee,

      Yes, they are De La Mare's poems, just a little sample from his rich supply.