Friday, April 8, 2011

Flashback Friday - Are You a Poet?

Today, I'm joining Flashback Friday over at Mocha With Linda.

In honor of National Poetry Month, the prompt for this week is:
What poems do you remember from your childhood? Did you have to memorize many poems for school when you were growing up? Did you learn any just for fun? Do you remember which ones they were--and can you still recite them? Did you have a poetry book that you liked to read? Do you enjoy poetry today? Do you prefer rhyming poetry or free verse? Whimsical poetry or epic poems that tell a story? Do you have a favorite poem or poet? Have you ever written any poems?
I remember my mom reading, actually reciting, the poems of James Whitcomb Riley, "The Hoosier Poet."  He was born right up the road in Greenfield, Indiana.

My favorites, and hers, were Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man. There's a great audio clip of a reading of Little Orphant Annie here. My mom can still recite Little Orphant Annie today, and I can come pretty close.

As for memorizing poems, my mother taught me one called The Toy Town Pony back when I was about this size ~

I couldn't have been much past the age of 4, and I still remember the poem:

The toy town pony tossed his mane
As he ran in front of a railroad train.
"I'll beat it across the track," was his boast,
And he did, almost.
Now his bones are mending in a plaster cast,
But they aren't mending so very fast.
And after he'd nursed a bursted head,
He wished he'd stopped
When the light was red.

I have never known the origin of the poem, nor have I ever found it in print. I even did a Google search and found nothing. I wonder if there are others that have heard this poem before. I do remember, as part of my recitation, I included the "Anonymous" at the end, emphasized to sound like "Uhh - nonymous!"

My mom is a teacher, and knows all kinds of songs and rhymes for children. I was a good listener and a quick learner, and have a good memory for such things. I still like to memorize today, and I still enjoy poetry. Our family likes to write poems and songs for special occasions, and I have been known to occasionally humiliate feature my children by requiring asking them to help with these presentations.

It must not have been too bad for them though, since our son, David, wrote a poem for us to celebrate our 25th Anniversary a few years ago. They planned a wonderful surprise party for us and David read the poem at the party.

It was funny, and sweet, and yes, I was crying. It hangs on our wall where I can look at it every day.

And count my blessings.

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