Friday, September 21, 2012

The Last Day of Summer and a Poem or Two:

     I can’t remember a time when fall has been more welcomed.  Only two months ago, we experienced record-breaking heat for days on end, so it is no surprise that we are dancing in circles and cheering for the advent of cooler weather.  At last I can go outdoors and get the plants in shape.

This had a few leaves, but not many!

     I have three teeny- tiny ever-blooming rose bushes that only have about 3 flowers apiece.  Something has eaten the leaves, though, so they look quite spindly.  Sad, really.  I doubt if they have time to recover and bloom again, so I think I will snip the booms and enjoy them up close indoors.  This brings to mind the poem—and song—by Irish poet Thomas Moore, “The Last Rose of Summer.”  I memorized this when I was in sixth grade and find myself repeating it each time I see a lonely rose putting forth a brave face as if to defy winter.  Do you know it?

“Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone,

All her lovely companions are faded and gone.

No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,

To reflect back her blushes, to give sigh for sigh.”


     I usually stop halfway through the next verse and mentally pluck it:


“I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!

To pine on the stem.

Since the lovelies are sleeping,

Go sleep, thou, with them.

Thus kindly I scatter

The leaves o’er thy bed.

Where thy mates of the garden

Lie scentless and dead.”

While I wish this were from my garden, it is a photo from a book.  I suppose I could show it to my few little roses for inspiration!

     I suppose it’s true that the things we learn when we are young stay with us.  I think my teacher who insisted that we all learn poems (and recite them with expression!) must have subscribed to the same idea as this one by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers:


“Keep a poem in your pocket,

And a picture in your head;

And you’ll never be lonely

At night when you’re in bed.”


     The second verse if lovely, too:

“The little poem will sing to you
The little picture bring to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when you're in bed.”


     Isn’t that lovely?  I wonder how many children memorize poems these days.  I know that as a preschooler I was chanting nursery rhymes like “Jack and Jill”, “Little Tommy Tinker”, and “There Was a Crooked Man”.  My mother knew that the cadence of poetry helps to establish language and vocabulary for young children.  Which ones did you learn? 


     Since the things we learn as children stick for years (as in forever!), it may be that learning new things as we get older will help new things stick as well.  What new things are you learning?  Crafts?  A new language? Music lessons?  Flower arrangingMemorization of poems? 

Flowers arranged for a tea in a lovely silver wine bucket.

     As a former teacher, I know the importance of what I call brain exercises.  I have attached a link to a lesson plan which is a fourth grade poetry unit.  Why not be a student again and click on the links and enjoy the tickle in your brain?  

I’d love to read some of your poetry creations!


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