When I turned six, my aunt gave me my first book of poetry, The Big Golden Book of Poetry: 85 Childhood Favorites, edited by Jane Werner, illustrated by Gertrude Elliot. Aside from the extremely intriguing cover, the poems were all good, and my love of poetry was born. Some years later, in 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month. In honor of that much maligned but noble art, I am posting a few of my favorites:
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light!
– Edna St. Vincent Millay
(The first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.)
Now We Are Six
When I was one
I had just begun
When I was two
I was nearly new
When I was three
I was hardly me
When I was four
I was not much more
When I was five
I was just alive
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever;
so I think I’ll be six now
for ever and ever
– A.A. Milne
Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy-squashy between the toes.
I’d rather wade in wiggly mud,
Then smell a yellow rose.
Nobody else but the rosebud knows
How nice mud feels
Between the toes.
– Polly Chase Boyden
March blows off the winter ice,
April makes the morning nice,
May is hopscotch lines.
June is deep blue swimming,
Picnics in July,
August is my birthday,
September whistles by.
October is for roller skates,
November is the fireplace,
December is the best because of sleds, and snow, and Santa Claus.
– Myra Cohn Livingston
The Owl and the Pussycat
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’
Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
– Edward Lear
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
– Mother Goose
A Flea and a Fly in a Flue
A flea and a fly in a flue,
were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, “Let us flee!”
“Let us fly!” said the flea,
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
– Ogden Nash
Temple bells die out.
The fragrant blossoms remain.
A perfect evening!