Poems for Reflection and Discussion
By Josie Whitehead
WHAT IS A POEM?
By Josie Whitehead
What is a poem? Don’t say you don’t know:
It’s capturing words and then making them grow.
It’s chasing a rhyme over hill, over dale
And it’s writing on subjects from the wind to a snail.
What is a poem? It’s - - - well, how shall I say?
It’s working on words and making them play.
It’s trapping some similes, netting those nouns;
Then sprinkling some colours – reds, blues and browns.
The content for poems needs mixing with care
For a poem is something with others you’ll share.
It’s whipping up rhythm – it’s having some fun;
Then reciting your poem when all’s said and done.
Copyright on all my poems
Poetry is a type of literature, or artistic writing, that attempts to stir a reader's imagination or emotions. The poet does this by carefully choosing and arranging language for its meaning, sound, and rhythm. Some poems, such as nursery rhymes, are simple and humorous. What it is NOT, is the writing of a sentence down a page and splitting it into several lines - there being no reason under the sun for splitting the sentence in this way - and with it having no effect at all on the words. It is writing words on a paper that makes it difficult for others to read or comprehend because the punctuation has been omitted completely - and sometimes because the writer's English is so bad that they don't know where to put punctuation or can't even spell correctly. Oh dear - I've probably said the wrong thing but, living in a democratic country, I am allowed an opinion. I've taught English as a main subject all my working life.
The poems and rhymes that we share with children should be varied and powerful. Schools should establish the idea of children learning a poem/rhyme a week, across key stage 1 and the early years. The rhyme or poem is learned orally in class each day, chanted or spoken together. Do go to my 'alternative nursery rhymes' for fun, simple poems. Getting a group of children to perform a poem, one verse each, is a good idea. Do teach them the simple things such as iambic feet and anapaestic metre to help them understand the poems they read. It's no harder than knowing the difference between a march and a waltz in fact. Josie