Hands up who loves poetry. Anyone? Just me? Ok, I’m pretty sure it isn’t just me but I am aware being a (currently non practicing) high school English teacher, that poetry is often ranked alongside being poked with pins or watching paint dry in the fun stakes. It came as a genuine surprise to me when I began teaching that so many students loathe poetry. Being someone who loves it I somehow failed to notice others around me nodding off or drooling on their books. I find poetry exciting, enlivening, beautiful, funny, clever, refreshing and tons of other adjectives that are all rather positive.
Not surprisingly I want my children to enjoy poetry and literature in general, it is something that has remained a passion for me since childhood (I told one of my parents friends that I wanted to go to University when I was around 8, in the 1980’s this was quite a startling thing to say) and will remain so throughout my life. So I want to begin laying the foundations for a happy relationship early on. Over Christmas I bought the Writer’s Jungle which is a curriculum of sorts for writing. Though I’ve only just begun delving into it, one of the elements I am already enjoying is the way Julie recommends incorporating literature into life in a way that isn’t forced but makes it special.
One of the ideas she recommends is a weekly Poetry Teatime, something that has two of my favourite things in the title so is bound to be a winner. We haven’t managed every week but I’ve managed to co-ordinate a couple of afternoon snacks (and even bath times) with some guerilla poetry reading. This afternoon was beautifully bright but with a bitter wind making it too cold for a walk so, instead of a regular snack, I laid the table and filled the teapot for a special teatime.
My lovely thrifted cups and some extra special yumminess left over from yesterday’s play date combined to make a most English table. The sunlight streamed through the windows warming us as we sipped tea and sampled treats. Huwyl laughed at the sweet little poems from a simple book I bought at a book sale last year, just as he had delighted in the wonderful Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne, our previous outing into poetry. He has no preconceptions, he simply reacts to what is in front of him. Each moment and experience is new and unique.
Lest I leave you with the impression of a life filled with the serene appreciation of iambic pentameter and teatime treats, I should just share a few glimpses of what was happening at the other end of the table.
In keeping with my theme I will entitle this little scene Poetry In Motion.