Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Michael Rosen scores big
Yipee! Michael Rosen, an extraordinary poet for children, has just been appointed UK's fifth Children's laureate. His mission for the next 2 years is to return books to the classroom. It seems reading has become detatched from books. His daughter brings home words from Gruffalo. but no Gruffalo book!
"Poetry, he says, is a great assistance in life." I would second and third that. I often tell children that poetry saved me from a life of chaos (that's the adult version) by lending it a living breathing structure of words I could comfortably and safely live inside and outside of. Here is the poem that got Mr. Rosen to grow those poetry wings:
At evening, sitting on this terrace,
When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara
Departs, and the world is taken by surprise ...
When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing
Brown hills surrounding ...
When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio
A green light enters against stream, flush from the west,
Against the current of obscure Arno ...
Look up, and you see things flying
Between the day and the night;
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.
A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches
Where light pushes through;
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.
A dip to the water.
And you think:
"The swallows are flying so late!"
Dark air-life looping
Yet missing the pure loop ...
A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight
And serrated wings against the sky,
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,
And falling back.
The swallows are gone.
At a wavering instant the swallows gave way to bats
By the Ponte Vecchio ...
Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one's scalp
As the bats swoop overhead!
Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe.
Little lumps that fly in air and have voices indefinite, wildly vindictive;
Wings like bits of umbrella.
Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep;
And disgustingly upside down.
Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags
And grinning in their sleep.
Not for me!