Thursday, April 28, 2011


Here we are almost at the end of National Poetry Month.  I had to hustle to post this blog in its honor before April slips away—and in honor of Emily.

My sister, who is a kindergarten teacher at James Lewis Elementary School in Blue Springs, Missouri, recently introduced her class to Emily Dickinson. She told them that Emily wrote poetry, therefore she was . . . a student chimed in, “A POET!”

She told the students that Emily lived a long time ago, therefore her clothes were different from the ones they wore. The poet had long hair because women didn’t cut their hair often. (For some reason this especially fascinated the boys in the class.) She told the children that Emily owned a dog that she loved very much.

She explained to the class that poets write with strong feelings.  As she read Emily's poems, she asked the kindergartners to close their eyes and make mental pictures with the poet's words.  The children were instructed to use their metacognitive thinking—those kindergartners certainly know bigger words than I did at their age.
My sister read each poem three times.  Then she showed the children Emily’s picture and asked them to draw a portrait of her.  Here are some of the rather lovely results.  I think Emily would be charmed.

The bee is not afraid of me.
I know the butterfly -
The pretty people in the Woods
Receive me cordially -

The Brooks laugh louder
When I come -
The Breezes madder play;
Wherefore mine eye thy silver mists,
Wherefore, Oh Summer’s Day?
The beautiful people are like Tinkerbell.
The bees smell the perfume you are wearing and think you are a flower.  They are not mad.
Butterflies look like fairies with fancy dresses
I’m Nobody!  Who are you?
Are you -  Nobody - too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary -  to be -  Somebody!
How public - like a Frog -
To tell one’s name - the livelong June
To an admiring Bog!
It would be hard to go to Walmart if you are real famous.  I can go to Walmart because I’m not famous!
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 sh’d be old-fashioned
I’ll put a trinket on.
 I would like to see scarves on trees.
 The trees get dressed up in different colors in autumn.
 I think Emily likes autumn best.

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