Hmm. I'd be willing to bet you had to think hard on that one, or else a nursery, jump/skip rope, or cliché rhyme came to mind Most adults don't associate poetry composition and adolescence together; but think. When did you first hear a poem? Answer: Infant. When did you learn about poetry? Answer: Elementary school. When did you compose your first poem? Answer: Probably before age ten.
My point? Poetry is not only for adults, nor only by adults.
Fantastic imagery in only twelve words, the number of months in a year. This poem was written by Martha Bregin, a second-grader from Pine Knob Elementary School in Independence Township near Detroit, MI. Yes, you read correctly. Martha was only eight-years-old back in 1999. She was in competition with thousands of other schoolchildren from kindergarten through twelth grade. Miss Bregin won the kindergarten through second-grade category of the River of Words International Poetry and Art Contest that is sponsored by International Rivers Network. IRN (www.irn.org) is a non-profit organization located in California dedicated to preserving the world's rivers. I'll also note that Martha Bregin accepted her award and performed a public reading at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Impressive start for an eight-year-old lass. Her poem and those of the other category winners will be soon available in a book.
Do you have a son? A daughter? Talk with them. I was taken off-guard by my own son when I was discussing this article. Seems I have a "closet" poet in the family. He retrieved his little beat-up binder pad of poetry he has used to compose poems over the years and started reciting. Yes, years! My son was nineteen and amazed me back in 1999 and still does to this day. Perhaps "closet" was a poor choice in words. I discovered during our conversation he usually composes his poetry while in bed in the morning; as he said "with the sunlight coming through the window, it's really neat. It makes you think." So here's a couple of poems my son allowed me to use.
Early in the morning
Before the sun comes
The wind blows lightly
And morning birds sing songs.
If I had to describe Heaven,
This is what it would be.
Some would say angels and clouds
But as for me,
It's when it's still dim
With just a little sound.
That magic moment
Before the sun comes around.
© Rob Nailor, 1996 All Rights Reserved
Time goes by oh so fast
The only thing we can do
Is look back on memories
Shared with family and friends
In hopes that those relationships
Will never end.
So make your life a joyous ride
Cause time goes by
In the blink of an eye.
© Rob Nailor, 1997 All Rights Reserved
So, the next time you see a small child making a face, learning to ride a bike, or playing on the teeter-totter, just remember you may be seeing the makings of a future great poet of the world.