Friday, November 03, 2006

Poetry Friday

When I was a newbie librarian, I was ambitious about introducting poetry into my storytimes. For the poem "Someone," I turned down the lights and asked children to keep the beat by knocking on the floor. These days, I'd play the guitar and make up a simple melody for the poem. I've found that I can get away with presenting poetry when I set it to music. Now, you know my secret. It's a handy one to have if you ever need to memorize poetry.


Someone came knocking
At my wee, small door;
Someone came knocking,
I'm sure - sure - sure;
I listened, I opened,
I looked to left and right,
But naught 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.

--Walter de la Mare

Other poems I'd like to set to my own simple melodies for storytimes:

  • The Quangle-Wangle's Hat--Edward Lear

  • Ode to Common Things--Pablo Neruda (full-text poem linked via a blog called Pomegranates and Paper... oh yeah, and the "common thing" of a handbag featured is lovely indeed)

  • The Swing--Robert Louis Stevenson

    Anonymous said...

    I used to use music to study and memorize facts for tests, especially history. Unfortunately I didn't discover that trick until I was about 17, and always got yelled at for humming during test time.

    Nonny said...

    You're my poetry "go to gal". I've discovered an appreciation for poetry that I never had before and that's all thanks to you :)

    Alkelda the Gleeful said...

    Lady K: Those philistines! I think I discovered that trick around the same time you did, though to be fair, there were a bunch of us who studied in the history room during lunch all humming. (The studying didn't help-- what was I doing in AP European history? I just about flunked out.)

    Nonny: You flatterer, you! Thank you. When I think about the way poetry is taught in schools, I could just gnash my teeth and raise my fist at the heavens.