I often feel that I don't talk enough about poetry here. And I don't have enough poetry in my life in general. Poetry is, to me, one of the great levelers. It goes beyond education and taste even, and hits something elemental, something that isn't really reachable any other way. A professor once quoted Emily Dickinson on poetry to me: she said (something like) "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." And I think that's right.
We were big on various poetry anthologies when the kids were littler, and this was one of the best:
Sure, there were some clunkers, but there was also "Call alligator longmouth," and various other unexpected poems that did exactly what poems are supposed to do: made you feel like you were on fire in the best possible way.
One of our favorites was "Seal Lullaby," by Rudyard Kipling (yes, yes, colonial and it's a problem but still he was pretty amazing). One of the kids asked why it was called a lulluaby if it wasn't a song, so my excellent husband made up a tune for it.
Seal LullabyOh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, O'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft by the pillow.
Oh, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, no shark shall overtake thee
Asleep in the storm of slow-swinging seas.
Ever since, both girls have made up songs. They probably would have anyway.
So here's the song. Beware: I am NOT a singer. But both kids refused, and I figured, how can I talk about a lullaby when it isn't a song?
But try not to make fun.