Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Happiness was hiding in the last tear"

When I was preggo with Primo, I picked up this collection of poetry for kids called Poetry Speaks to Children, and then I more or less forgot about it for 3 ½ years. But for the past year or so, the tots and I have been making up for lost time, reading and re-reading the lyrical gems in there. The great part about the collection is that its not “children’s poetry” but grown-up poetry that works for children. There’s Edgar Allan Poe in there, Langston Hughes, Shakespeare, Gwendolyn Brooks . . . and the selections are all well-chosen, dynamic, funny, interesting for little readers. But the best part is that the book comes with a CD which includes readings of the poems by their authors. It is a MUST for a long car ride. Not only does it engage your mind as well as your kids’, you will feel like an uber-parent when your 2 year-old spontaneously recites William Blake.(best party trick ever when Seconda shouts "Tyger Tyger burning BRIGHT in the FOREST of the NIGHT!")

Enough free advertising. Here’s my current favorite by poet laureate of my heart Galway Kinnell. The way he delivers “ha ha!” is worth the price of the book, I think.


By Galway Kinnell

Crying only a little bit
is no use. You must cry
until your pillow is soaked!
Then you can get up and laugh.
Then you can jump in the shower
and splash-splash-splash!
Then you can throw open your window
and, “Ha ha! ha ha!”
And if the people say, “Hey,
what’s going on up there?”
“Ha ha!” sing back, “Happiness
was hiding in the last tear!
I wept it! Ha ha!”