Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History

Posts tagged ‘children’s poetry’

Poetic Reflection at Two

Alexandra, Sky

“The sky sees your face.”
–Alexandra Kerr S.
2/7/15

Yes, 
the sky sees your face
the wind whispers in your ear
the rain hears your splashes
the snow kisses your hand
the grass tickles your toes
the moon sparkles in your eyes
the sun warms your skin.
Yes,
the sky sees your face.

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Alexandra has continued with her memorable quotes, collected by Daddy:

“I call the picture Turtle de Shelly”
–Alex

“can you tell me my grandpa’s name? I can’t find it in my memory.”–Alex

“what does orbit mean daddy?”–Alex

“Making messes isn’t my thing right now.”–Alex

Alex: can you get me some more water daddy?
Me: why don’t you do it?
Alex: because it is soooo boring.

January 11 at 7:56am · Newport News, VA ·

 When my heart beats that means I’m OK annnd you love me.
–Alex

“My aunty Kae is a nice aunty, I flew on a plane to see her and she took me to art class aaaannnddd gave me food to survive. I threw up in her car because my Nanna drove to much.”–Alex

Comments

Dear Alex, we are saving the date for you and Valeta to return to Pennsylvania in June. Can’t wait to see you both! There will be art classes again and dancing wearing our tutus. I promise we will drive slowly so no more worries about car sickness! How about another ride on the merry-go-round? Love, Auntie K

“our TV has blu-ray. I know about Blu-ray on TV’s you know.”–Alex

Yesterday at 12:57pm · Newport News, VA ·

You are a really smart guy, you knew which on was the blueberry waffles. –Alex

Me: Alex, would you like me to read some more John Keats?
Alex: yea.
“I knew that conflict was a bad idea, I knew it!”  –Alex
Alex: can I have some crackers?
Me: I’m folding laundry right now.
Alex (pouting): please
Me: not right now
Alex: why isn’t my pouting working.

Alex: What happens if this chip breaks?
Me: I don’t know, you will have a broken chip.
Alex: Will the whole world break?
Me: I don’t…
Alex breaks the chip
Me: think so.

She took out another and said “does this chip hold reality together?” before breaking it.
I look on the bright side when I give you hugs.
–Alex

A letter for Auntie Kae and Nanna Jean.

It reads: “I love Auntie Kae. I love Nanna Jean”

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

“I miss Auntie Kae, because she is really nice.”
–Alex

Comments:  I miss you and Valeta, too! Here’s a video of feeding the manta rays at the Camden Aquarium.


Portrait by Jean Kerr Strosahl, August 2017

“when I go to Kindergarten I’m going to miss being normal.”

Alex started school today, and that is a big change for her… but it is also a big change for me, a milestone in her life and a threshold over which once crossed there is no going returning. She went out that door, got on that bus, and entered into a whole new world of experiences. It will change her, and in that change she will grow into someone new, someone wonderful. Of no less, and no greater beauty than the amazing person she is today. Yet the person she is today will be lost to me. The girl who holds my hand tomorrow isn’t the same person who held my hand as she toddles across the floor, isn’t the same person as the one who looked up at me with those eyes so blue on her very first day. She is the sum of those people, just as the young lady she will become is going to be the sum of the person she is today (and every person she is between now and then). But then am I not a different man than I was when I first held her hand (an eternity ago to her, an instant to me). That man is still here, part of the sum of experiences that makes up my life… just as the little boy who once held a hand (an eternity ago for me, perhaps a moment ago for others).

Time changes us, it brings us new experiences that shape who we are like the waves on a beach shape the sand. Even if we go back to the same place, be it days or even years later, we can never return to that same beach we once walked on. Nor are we the same people as the ones who once walked on that beach.

Tonight, after the excitement had calmed down she laid her head down on my shoulder and said “I can hear you breathing daddy” then drifted off to sleep. Tonight I laid there for a bit longer than I otherwise would… there being laundry to do and a dishwasher to run, lines on the endless list of things that need to be done. I laid there with the window open and lightning flickering in the distance.

Just for a moment, just one moment more.

Heartfelt Froggy of Ravenwood Pond: A Poem for Children

Heartfelt Frog 

T’was a stormy spring morn at woodland pond
When the Ravens flew from their treetop home,
And found their friend, Froggy, along lily pads
At water’s edge, gazing at the bubbly foam.

“Dear Froggy,” they cawed, “Please hold our magic wand,
As we search far and wide to look for our food.
Our little birdlets are still too young to fly,
We must find something to eat for our growing brood.”

The frog agreed he would guard the wand
And promised to keep it from all danger.
Froggy placed the wand on the lily pad
And vowed to protect it from all strangers.

As lightning bugs danced in the misty air
Froggie gazed on their fleeting reflections,
Dark clouds brought a burst of stormy showers
The wand slipped away, without detection.

Froggy surveyed the nearby lily pad,
But the shiny wand was now gone.
As rain drops slipped off the leaves, He cried,
Oh, no! it’s lost at the bottom of the pond!

He sat on the shore for a very long time
But he knew that he mustn’t stay fraught.
Froggie had let down his Raven friends.
He grasped his heart, “I’m so sorry,” he thought.

Froggie peered through the muddied water
And held his breath and swam down deep.
He searched through the muddy goo
Finding only twigs, he piled them in a heap.

In the distance Froggie heard the Raven’s call
But he knew that he must not stop.
With one more deep breath, dove down again
Found the wand! and swam to the waters’ top.

The Ravens flew to their friend, Froggy,
Now tightly holding their magic wand.
The Ravens could see what the Froggie had done
Then called to frog, “Please come out of the pond.”

Froggie was sad, as he had lost their wand
But the Ravens comforted him and said,
“You worked so hard to find what was lost.
Come and join us now and share our bread.”

The end of the story can now be told.
As friends they remained in their woodland haven.
For a heartfelt response means more than gold
For this we’ll remember–the Froggie and the Ravens.

The Bumper Book: Enchanting Stories from Childhood

Bumper BookWhen I was a child, the book I treasured most was The Bumper Book: A Harvest of Stories and Verse. The condition of my book would not command the $350 that this vintage edition is selling for on eBay: the binding is gone, pages are torn and the cover is well-worn. Published in 1946, and given to me for my fourth birthday, these stories, fables and poems were my bedtime companions. “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” by Eugene Field, “Animal Crackers” by Christopher Morley and “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson were some of my favorites. The colorful illustrations, printed on heavy glossy paper, fascinated me, drawing me into the stories because of the sweet depictions of the children in their vintage clothing.

 W, B, and Nod2

Thoughts on Anachronisms

One particular poem featured vignettes of the days of the week, illustrated with a little girl doing chores for each day. Around the turn of the 20th century, women’s chores were assigned a day of the week, as described on the blog, A Hundred Years Ago. When I was a child, I loved play houses, and the settings in these illustrations seemed to take place in child-sized surroundings. I marveled that somewhere children played in these finely crafted miniature homes.

The Week’s Calendar

Monday, Watch the bubbles fly –

Monday

Tuesday, See the wash get dry –
Wednesday, Mend with all our might  –

Wednesday

Thursday, Make things clean and bright –
Friday, Bad for dust and flies  –

Saturday

Saturday, Good for cakes and pies.
Sunday, From all tasks we’re free
After church we have our tea.
–Frances Heilprin

Because the little girl was cleaning and cooking in these picture frames, I wonder about the message that gave me about preparing for the eventual role of running a house. And then I wondered again, was that such an unfortunate model? Regardless of our path in life, we do have to take care of a home, either as a single person or with a partner and children. Of course, the drawings would have been more socially progressive if she had a boy to help out.

In our hierarchy of important jobs, our culture views work inside the home as a lower value. Yet today, with so many demands on our time, managing a home is a difficult responsibility. Cleanliness, orderliness, household finances and meal preparation offer considerable challenges. Work inside the home is the glue that keeps any society held together. This is honorable and necessary work that is best shared by all in the household.

PICT0017 - Version 2

My  laundry circa 1949.

Question: Artistic Greatness

Eulalie Banks, a British/American illustrator, born in 1895 and who lived to be 102 years old, did all the artwork in the book.  In her obituary, Nicholas Tucker wrote,

Eulalie Banks illustrated over 50 children’s books during her long lifetime. Never a great artist, she was always a popular one.

Interesting how the terms never a great artist, fill the second line. Really? I’ve seen many testimonials on the Internet to the Bumper Book, as adults reflect on how the stories and artwork became part of their childhood. Many, like myself, read the stories to their own children. The delightful illustrations offered a window into a rich fantasy world, enhancing the writing of the authors and poets. Conventional interpretations of greatness rarely include the breadth of experiences of children, which would lead to wider interpretations of artistic influence and “greatness”.

More on Antique Books

Children’s Books Online: The Rosetta Project: Largest Collection of illustrated antique books on-line . . . we think.

Literature with Girls as Strong Characters

Strong Girl Character: Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels

 

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