There is a feeling flitting about the internet right now. I see it in my Instagram feed as friends share photos of back to school, of knitting projects or warm cider and shared plates of pumpkin whoopie pies…as they describe the cooler temperatures outside, or the cozy feeling that has taken hold at home. Its difficult to give form to the feeling of Fall, but its all around us and we’re a part of it together.
The language of Poetry captures the reality and movement of our hearts that would otherwise often go unspoken. It slows us and allows us to think deeply, to aspire to put words to feeling, to really understand. Whenever I read poetry to my children I am always surprised by their hunger for more- as if it nourishes the reality of their souls and feeds a hunger I didn’t know they had. To be the mother of these children, cultivating their safest place, crafting home, means that I want to thoughtfully point them to beauty here, beauty that is felt and will whisper of home for the rest of their lives.
When you enjoy a poem with your children, there are a few ways to dig in and learn together. Listen to the lyrical rhythm of the words and savor them. Have your children try to memorize a line or two, or use it as their handwriting practice. Talk about what the poem means, words that you don’t understand. Look them up together, see how they work in the line you are reading and consider why those words were chosen. Do they have simpler counterparts that would have done the job just as well? Why did the writer use *this* word. Have your children draw pictures that depict the poems you read, or take turns sharing how it made them feel, what they see as its being read if they close their eyes. Let imaginations flourish. Later, practice reciting the poem and focus on rhythm and meter with the spoken word Or have a “show” after dinner when each child can perform their piece. Invite beauty in, mamas.
Here are a few of our favorites to usher in that Fall feeling around your home.
Autumn, by Emily Dickinson 1830-1886
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a grayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
Fly Away, fly away over the sea, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
Fly away, fly away over the sea,
Sun-loving swallow, for summer is done;
Come again, come again, come back to me,
Bringing the summer and bringing the sun.