Monday, April 08, 2013

Poetry Month - Day 8

There are many things I haven't done well as a mother.  I'm horrible about remembering permission slips.  I can't cook very well.  I have this adorable thing I do where I tolerate mess for weeks, and even feel like it's nice to have a space that's so "lived in," but then one day, completely without warning, I become unable to tolerate the mess and do what my husband fondly calls "rampage" until it's all cleaned up.

But there's one area where I'm a complete success.  I (not on my own, certainly, but let me claim some credit) have taught my children to love reading.  I read to them from their birth, held them in my lap and let them learn that books are pleasure, books are love, books are comfort and cuddling.  Now I don't read aloud to them nearly as much as I used to, but they are always reading, always focused on book or Kindle or computer screen.  (My daughter has views on people who are format snobs; the words are what matter to her.  She is a fan of Project Gutenberg and loves to download out of print books and read them in whatever format they may be.)

Often on a Sunday evening we will have a Poetry Night; it might be any of us (two adults, a teenager, and a ten-year-old) who suggests that it's time for one, and all four of us take turns reading poems that we love.   Last night my son read "April Rain Song," by Langston Hughes, and "To a Mouse," by Robert Burns, and "This is Just to Say," by William Carlos Williams (and then I read this response, which made him giggle), and more, and my daughter read two snippets from "The Four Quartets," by T. S. Eliot (she later sent me this link to the whole thing, when I exclaimed on how beautiful her selections were), and more.  My husband read from Jimmy Carter's book Always a Reckoning and Other Poems.  I read some of what I've been posting here, and one of my own, and from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (on my Kindle), and some from a sonnet anthology.

I can't tell you how happy our Poetry Nights make me, and how glad I am that my children love words, and poems (they both write their own), and that they love to share poetry with us. 


Jessica Stock said...

I absolutely love this.

Matsu said...

What a wonderful family tradition. Thank you for sharing it with your readers. Sounds wonderful. May you and your family enjoy many poetry nights for years to come.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Ruth, this is such a special tradition you have. I imagine your children will not only benefit from the rich reading life you've given, but will pass this on to their own children-a truly great legacy! I enjoyed the specifics, what you did share. I love Eliot's quartet; your daughter must be very sophisticated. And also love the response to 'This Is Just To Say', plus all the rest. We didn't always do things as a family, but my daughter and I read together well into high school-fond memories!

Tabatha said...

A beautiful thing for us to imagine -- thanks! I'll bet your son sounded very charming reading "To a Mouse." Part of the Four Quartets was my favorite as a teen, also. And I have a poem inspired by Jimmy Carter's Always a Reckoning to share next week!