Friday, May 12, 2006
On the Poetry Thursday site, we were propmted to explain how we discovered poetry. I have been thinking about that, and realised there was way more than would fit in any one post.
It starts really, from birth. It starts with nursery rhymes, and hymns and metrical psalms sung in church. My relationship to poetry is tied up with my relationship to words and to books. And that started before I could read. It started with my brother and I pulling all the books from the bookcase and using them to build roads around the room. We had few toys, so the cars we pushed round the roads were purely imaginary. But then, the imaginary is important in poetry. And I learned even then that words made highways.
It started also, with being read to while I sat on my mother's knee. It started with one particular book that I still remember. It was called "Look, Mummy". It was not a great work of children's literature, but it was very repetitive. It had photos of children engaged in various activities, and it had captions like "Look Mummy, I can ride my big red trike". So one day when I was three, I started pointing to the words and saying "That's can, that's my, that's I". And that is how I learned to read.
Back then, I knew that rhymes could be songs, or poems, depending on whether they had music to them. But my first real poetry book was a gift from an enlightened parent (I can't remember which one) when I was about six years old. It was "The Golden Book of Poetry". I can remember now, two of the poems in it. One was "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" and the other was "The Tale of Custard the Dragon" by Ogden Nash. You can find the text here. I was delighted recently to purchase "The Norton Anthology of Poetic Form" and discover that it included "Custard the Dragon" in its discussion of the ballad. What better recommendation for a poetry book, than that it include my first favourite poem?
The photo of course, is me as a small child.
Posted by Catherine at 9:24 am