Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Inspiration of Shel Silverstein

I was cleaning out my son's room the other day and came across a book that had slipped behind others: Caroline Kennedy's A Family of Poems. My daughter, ever the questioner, said, "Mommy, what is that book? We have never read that one before." And thus started what has turned into three days of poetry. We have read the book at home, at the doctor's office, in the backyard ... We moved then into Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends, my all-time favorite book of poetry because of the hours I spent with it when I was younger. My kids seem interested, as interested as they are in reading any other book. They tend to love to be read to, so this is just another fun thing for them.

But for me it has been quite a few days. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read and write poetry. This eventually became a love for teaching poetry too. But along the way of early years of lesson planning followed by years of small babies, I left poetry behind. What a wonder then for me to rediscover it now. When was the last time you sat down and read a poem just to read it? If you can say, "Oh yesterday," then lucky, lucky you. But if it has been even half as long for you as it was for me, then I wish you a moment with your Shel Silverstein, your kid-inspiring poet.

"It's Dark in Here" by Shel Silverstein

I am writing these poems
From inside a lion,
And it's rather dark in here.
So please excuse the handwriting
Which may not be too clear.
But this afternoon by the lion's cage
I'm afraid I got too near.
And I'm writing these lines
From inside a lion,
And it's rather dark in here.

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