The Magic of Poetry

Do you like poetry?

Our mother read poetry many times to us when we were little. She read out-loud beautifully, with great skill and inflection. Reading out-loud is an art, and she owned it.

I have spent many hours in practice of it over the years. Reading hundreds of poems and books to our children when young, I feel I have gained, perhaps, a bit of Moms’ amazing talent.

The way she could transport us into the magical world of childhood poems was thrilling and at times downright scary. I just knew if I got sassy with company or “ole folks” visiting, “They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by my side…ready to “snatch me through the ceilin’ ‘fore I’d knowed what I’s about!” Mom had read ‘Little Orphant Annie‘, by James Whitcomb Riley plenty enough for me to know I had better behave myself when “ole folks was there”. I can still hear her laughter at the way she had all we little twins mesmerized by the poems she read.

How we laughed when she would read ‘The Raggedy Man‘, also by James Whitcomb Riley:

O The Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;

An’ he’s the goodest man ever you saw!

He comes to our house every day,

An’ waters the horses, an’ feeds ’em hay;

An’ he opens the shed–an’ we all ist laugh

When he drives out our little, old, wobble-ly calf….

And on goes this delightfully, happy, imaginative poem.

None of us can even look at the moon without hearing the rhymes of ‘The Man in the Moon’, yet another delightful poem of James Whitcomb Riley—

‘Said the Raggedy Man on a hot afternoon, “My! Sakes! What a lot o’mistakes some little folks makes on The Man in the Moon!

But people that’s b’en up to see him, like me, and calls on him frequent and intimutly,

Might drop a few facts that would interest you, Clean! Through!—if you wanted ’em to—….’

Eugene Field is another poet Mom enjoyed reading to we children. To this day I refer to ‘The Duel’, by Eugene Field, as it so aptly describes interactions between people at times…

‘The gingham dog and the calico cat

Side by side on the table sat…’

I have read all these poems and many, many more to our children, and now grandchildren. The sing-song words create fantastic pictures in our heads, whether young or old. Indeed, poetry in meant to be read aloud to get the full joy and magic out of it.

There are many wonderful poetry books to choose from. Take turns having members of your family read aloud. It only takes more practice to get good at it, and it is great fun!

Do you have a favorite poem? Please share!

P.S. I would be remiss if I failed to mention this all-time family favorite. It is for all the twins in the world—‘The Twins’, by Henry S. Leigh:

In form and feature, face and limb,

I grew so like my brother,

That folks got taking me for him,

And each for one another…

This poem is a MUST for every twin. Guaranteed to make you laugh! Enjoy!

“Pop-pop, is this de hole ‘at the Wunks is got?” This line from James Whitcomb Riley’s poem ‘The Raggedy Man’ is what popped in my mind the moment I took this photo.

4 thoughts on “The Magic of Poetry

  1. One of my favorite poems is “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes! It always grabbed my girlish brain with it’s tragic romance and mysteriousness! I love it to this day, and read it occasionally too! Beautiful poems!

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