Liz’s Weekend Poetry Series: Kids

by lizard

Kids are resources to be mined for their role in directing capital, and tweens are an especially lucrative demographic to target. My kids are much younger than that, but my oldest (3 yrs) is already iPhone savvy (I’ve seen him use his finger on the computer screen like it should respond to his touch). Though weary of the cultural deluge my kids will be inundated with, realistically what kind of barriers can I build to keep them from swimming into the deep end?

That’s a sort of terrible way to lead in to this week’s LWPS, but it comes from ruminating over parts of the conversation from my previous post about The Lorax, low-level eco-terrorists (who won) and the girl who silenced the world (for 6 minutes).

Specifically from that conversation, I’ve been thinking about the question I asked Dave in the comment thread, and his answer, which seems worth repeating here:

Liz: at what point does a young person become a thinking, responsible and contributing member of society?

Dave: When I hear something that has actual insight.

*

I’ve watched Severn’s clip a few times today with that exchange in mind, and while there is a sort of generic emotional appeal in the first few minutes, she really hits it home with her conclusion:

at school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world
you teach us not to fight with others
to work things out
to respect others
to clean up our mess
not to hurt other creatures
to share, not be greedy

then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?

do not forget why you are attending these conferences
who you are doing this for
we are your own children
you are deciding what kind of world we are growing up in

parents should be able to comfort their children by saying
everything is going to be alright
it’s not the end of the world
and we’re doing the best we can

but I don’t think you can say that to us anymore

are we even on your list of priorities?

my dad always says you are what you do, not what you say
well, what you do makes me cry at night

you grown ups say you love us
but I challenge you, please, make your actions reflect your words

thank you

And here’s another statement worthy of repeating:

IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT, PLEASE, STOP BREAKING IT

*

For this weekend’s poetry selection, I’m returning to an anthology I’m almost certain I’ve cited before: The Poetry Connection: An Anthology of Contemporary Poems with Ideas to Stimulate Children’s Writing.

The first poem is by an adult, and the second poem is by an 8th grade girl. They are both phenomenal poems.

*

AND WITH THE SORROWS OF THIS JOYOUSNESS

O apple into ant and beard
Into barn, clock into cake and dust
Into dog, egg into elephant and fingers
Into fields, geese into gramophones, and hills
Into houses, ice into isotopes and jugs
Into jaguars, kings into kindness and lanes
Into lattices, moons into meanwhiles and nears
Into nevers, orphans into otherwises and pegs
Into pillows, quarrels into quiets and races
Into rainbows, serpents into shores and thorns
Into thimbles, O unders into utmosts and vines
Into villages, webs into wholenesses and years
Into yieldings..O zeals of these unspeaking
And forever unsayable zones!

—Kenneth Patchen

*

MUD

My father was never allowed to get dirty.
Underneath he wasn’t ever a little boy
Dad, when will you be born?

—Aimee Rosen, 8th grade

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