A poem a day keeps the doctor away! All triteness aside, it may well be true that this variation on the old adage instructs well concerning our need for daily literary consumption of poetic language.
Our 3rd grade class currently engages in this practice, immersed in a unit featuring Knock at a Star, an anthology of poems for children. The eager squeak of opening desks gives proof of their delight for the daily readings!
As our Petra mission states,
“Recognizing our need for God’s grace, Petra Academy strives to awaken love and wonder in our students by teaching them to observe with humility, think with reason, and articulate with charity for the flourishing of humanity and the renown of Jesus the Christ.
We realize that this articulation includes not just the more-often valued prose writings, but poetic expression as well.
How does this happen? Since children learn so well through imitation, from the earliest years at Petra, we read poetry. Beginning with nursery rhymes, fingerplays, chants, and songs in the pres-school and kindergarten years, progressing to classic poems for reading or memorizing in the 1st through 6th grades, then delving into the epic classics in the upper grades, we seek to provide children with a rich diet of poetic language that they may delight their ears and strengthen their hearts for meanings given symbolically, metaphorically, and rhythmically through words.
Ultimately, by training children to enjoy and write poetry – thus developing the capacity for poetic language – we go far to awaken love and wonder for God’s creation, our fellow man, and yes, for God’s word, the Bible. One of my favorites, Psalm 19, states:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech/ night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
This psalm proclaims God’s creation, the “work of his hands” as being rooted in speech and words, and it is written, not surprisingly, as a poem.
So, there is a place for adding to this great symphony of poetic expression. Why not share a poem a day? You can start and return often to Psalms, and go on to many lovely anthologies and classics available at our public library or school library. Read with expression, read with delight, and read for the sake of truth and beauty. It just may be the start of a wonderful new state of spirit and health for you and your family.
Here are some poems to delight the poetic palate written by members of our third grade class. Bon appetit!
“Seasons” by Maggie Koenen
When it is winter foxes dive for food in the snow,
When it is winter bears go into caves and sleep,
When it is winter snowmen appear and snow blows.
When it is spring apple blossoms glow in the morning light,
When it is spring green grass grows,
When it is spring baby animals are born.
When it is summer animals like to take a dive,
When it is summer you don’t need to wear shoes on soft green grass,
When it is summer birds gather at the feeder.
When it is summer it is the perfect season for climbing trees.
When it is fall leaves drift to the ground,
When it is fall everything turns red, brown, orange, pink, and yellow,
When it is fall the earth is beautiful.
“A Playdate” by Isabella Evans
I’m excited when it’s the day
And nervous at the same time,
But when he or she comes we
Do what we do.
“Poem to Make you Smile” by Elijah Glover
I like teddy bears
Ones from the gift shop
There are fuzzy black or brown
Big or small
Simple ones and complex ones
Happy dappy teddy bears.
“First Day” by Kendall Cote
Sometimes on the first day of school
I am really shy
Maybe too much–
I don’t even want to say “Hi”
I feel so lost
I don’t know what to say
But then I say at least “Hey”.
“My Mom” by Ezra Penland
My mom is one who work and helps
At night she cleans dishes and gets laundry
At morning she get the clothes for school
She drives, she cooks,
She’s how our family hooks.
“Keeva and Deer” by Aiden O’Dwyer
Deer come to our yard every night.
They eat grass, until Keeva comes.
“Bark!” she says,
And the deer run away, saying,
“Panic and run! Panic and run!”