Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Poets in the House

Yesterday, JJ(6) surprised me.

"I know what I want to do when I grow up," he said, big, shy smile on his face.


"I want to be a poem-maker."

"Oh, I like that! They're called poets," said I.

"I know. JJ, Poet," he said, as though dictating a sign for his door. "It's because I keep having ideas for poems in my mind."

I immediately offered to help him write his poems whenever he has an idea. He didn't take me up on it right away, but today he came to me.

"I have an idea for a poem!"

"Go get me a pencil and paper, then, and come tell me your poem."

I folded the paper in half, and sat poised for dictation. He dictated it to me word by word, slowly.

"When I was riding my bicycle,
I saw a snowflake float to the ground.
And when it hit the ground,
It kind of exploded into little pieces."

I read it back to him. "Is there anything you would like to change? I think maybe you could take out the "kind of" in the last line." I read it to him without the "kind of," and he agreed with me. So I rewrote it. His first poem:


When I was riding my bicycle,
I saw a snowflake float to the ground.
And when it hit the ground,
It exploded into little pieces.

He was inordinately proud of it. He made a little book by adding another paper for a cover and stapling the pages together. Then he put the book on the shelf with our poetry books for poetry teatime. Later I saw him take it out to read to MM(4). 

Then he went outside to play with his brothers. When they came in, JJ and MM both had ideas for poems. I had to write two poems down into JJ's book. MM took some time to make a book like JJ's, and then he dictated his poem to me. It bears some resemblance to his brother's first poem.

When I was outside on my scooter,
I saw the branch of a spruce tree.

He took his booklet to bed with him. At some point I noticed JJ was out of bed, had read MM's poem, and was suggesting changes. "You should write 'green' instead of 'yellow,'" I heard him whisper.

"Put your poems away," I said. "You can work on them again tomorrow."

Poets still have to sleep, right?