What is Poetry?
Daniel Finds a Poem
by Micha Archer
Let’s face it; poetry is a bit intimidating or at the very least, seen as highbrow, and inaccessible to most people.
With April ushering in the freshness of spring, and also bearing the title of National Poetry Month, I try at The Snuggery, to feature books for young readers that may just dissuade parents and kids from that concept of poetry as something far from the everyday, totally musty, and far from modern.
That is so untrue; it is in the everyday; both yours and mine, and it is our observations, feelings and take on that everyday that makes poetry come alive. And it’s in the very uniqueness of each person’s view of the life and lines in a poem, that its true rich and varied humanity emerges for all to enjoy.
Remember the tale of “The Blind Men and the Elephant?”
Each blind man endeavors to find out what the reality of an elephant was.
One felt the trunk, and said an elephant was a tree branch, another felt the tail, and calls an elephant like a rope, still another felt the ear and deemed the elephant, a fan. One more touches only the leg, and calls the elephant a pillar.
Well, poetry to me is much like that story. No one person searching for the truth of the elephant has the market cornered on it, if it is viewed from one singular perspective.
It is only within the collective of the feelings and observations of all individual experiences, that the wholeness of the reality of the elephant begins to take shape.
And so it is with the beauty of a poem.
Meet young Daniel, who is asking pretty much the same question about the definition of poetry, as he sees a sign in an urban park that lists:
Poetry in the
“What is poetry?”, Daniel says.
Nature is such a wonderful teacher for so many things in life, that it’s not so surprising that he starts his questioning about poetry with the park’s wildlife inhabitants.
In sequence, he queries a spider who says:
To me, poetry is when morning
A squirrel has a different perspective on poetry:
Poetry is when crisp leaves
My own favorite is the chipmunk that gives Daniel’s question a thoughtful Hmmm, and then offers his own take:
Poetry is a home with many
windows in an old stone wall.
And so it goes, from frogs to turtles, from crickets to a wise old owl at dusk, who sets young Daniel to thinking poetic thoughts at the close of day, as she hoots:
Oh, Poetry! Poetry is bright stars
in the beaches, moonlight on the grass,
and silent wings to take me wherever I go.
Sunday dawns bright as a button, and Daniel finds that he has a poem to contribute to the announced “Poetry in the Park.”
His recitation is a beautiful one, put together and gleaned from all the perspectives that he has seen and heard through observations shared from his park poets, and those he has taken in with own eyes, and also those seen through theirs.
And, as he stops to see a sunset reflected in a pond, he immediately intuits what he has been seeking, as relates to poetry.
“That looks like poetry to me”
“To me too,” says Dragonfly
Micha Archer, teacher and mother of two, has fashioned here, a special book on poetry that not only makes the subject of poetry accessible to children, but uses the artistic technique of color-filled collage illustrations so wonderfully done as to reflect the innocence and vibrant freshness of childhood discovery and brings it all winningly alive to the reader.
If poetry can be described as a collection of words that express an emotion or an idea, then the picture book called “Daniel Finds a Poem” by Micha Archer is worth the seeking and finding of a poem that is not merely Daniel’s.
Perhaps, more importantly, it’s the finding of a special picture book providing the first steps towards the start of a hunt for your young reader’s own world of poetry, just waiting to be discovered in their own backyard.