Note: Header image art by my sister, Beth Gibson Saxena.
Poets love words. Poets play with words. Poets want you to love language as much as they do.
In my classroom, we read poems together, searching for sounds, images, and meaning. Jane Yolen is a master. I’ve admired her poetry for years. But only a year ago, maybe less, I signed up for her daily poem email. She believes in writing a poem a day. She practices what she preaches and sends out her daily drafts trusting that we receivers will honor and respect her words.
I shared one of these gems with my students, “Seven Ways of Kneeling on the Ground.” My first intent in sharing this poem was to show students how to use a pattern of 7 stanzas with 3 lines each, but in further examination, the poem offered so much more. We found imagery bouncing off the page. Her poem exemplified the magical sounds of words without using end rhyme: “Kneeling in the high bracken/ the brown crackle of it.”
There is JOY in reading a poem together, marking it up in colorful markers, and discovering how language (the sounds of words, double meanings, metaphor) leads us to a deeper understanding of our world.