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First Poems
Posted by: Talia (
Date: June 23, 2005 09:52AM

A doting mother who wants to think her child is "exceptional" wants to know what poem(s) you think would be nice for a very young child...say 3 or so? Specifically for memorization. Do you recall memorizing any poems at an early age? What poems? Did you have an influence such as a parent, that encourageed your love of poetry?

Re: First Poems
Posted by: Melissa (
Date: June 23, 2005 10:02AM

Tell her to teach him nursery rhymes and then, more nursery rhymes! This comes from someone who has spent thirty years in primary and gifted education and often sees parents neglecting to teach these gems. There is more to a nursery rhyme than meets the eye in terms of preparing children for reading readiness.

Re: First Poems
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: June 23, 2005 10:09AM

The Owl and the Pussycat

Re: First Poems
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 23, 2005 11:15AM

Because I was rather sick of the twee recitations of other people's small children, I taught my son 'If you should meet a crocodile'(sorry I forgot the author long ago - it may be good old prolific anon - and it went down a storm,as he recited it very primly and then went all loud and fierce on the last line. I also frequently use it to distract/ amuse bored little ones while their mums chat at social events. The Akond of Swat by Lear is another, much longer one childen love to hear read and tend to memorize bits of to join in.

If you should meet a crocodile
Don't take a stick and poke him
Ignore the welcome in his smile
Be careful not to stroke him
For as he sits upon the Nile
He thinner grows and thinner
And whene'er you meet a crocodile
He's ready for his dinner!!

At junior school (7-11 years) we were always given Walter De La Mare poems to learn and recite for verse speaking competitions in the local town drama festival. We used to do group verse speaking, conducted like a choir, sometimes with soloists or small groups doing the quiet bits and then going up and down in volume and changing tone etc as directed - I still remember 'The Storm' from that - we had a wonderful time with it, and I won a prize for reciting Martha solo when I was about 11, coached by the same teacher who conducted us. I think that's where I got hooked!

"The Storm"
by Walter de la Mare

First there were two of us, then there were three of us,
Then there was one bird more,
Four of us--wild white sea-birds,
Treading the ocean floor;
And the wind rose, and the sea rose,
To the angry billows? roar--
With one of us--two of us--three of us--four of us
Sea-birds on the shore.

Soon there were five of us, soon there were nine of us,
And lo! in a trice sixteen!
And the yeasty surf curdled over the sands,
The gaunt grey rocks between;
And the tempest raved, and the lightning?s fire
Struck blue on the spindrift hoar--
And on four of us--ay, and on four times four of us
Sea-birds on the shore.

And our sixteen waxed to thirty-two,
And they to past three score--
A wild, white welter of winnowing wings,
And ever more and more;
And the winds lulled, and the sea went down,
And the sun streamed out on high,
Gilding the pools and the spume and the spars
?Neath the vast blue deeps of the sky;

And the isles and the bright green headlands shone,
As they?d never shone before,
Mountains and valleys of silver cloud,
Wherein to swing, sweep, soar--
A host of screeching, scolding, scrabbling
Sea-birds on the shore--
A snowy, silent, sun-washed drift
Of sea-birds on the shore.


"Once...Once upon a time..."
Over and over again,
Martha would tell us her stories,
In the hazel glen.

Hers were those clear gray eyes
You watch, and the story seems
Told by their beautifulness
Tranquil as dreams.

She'd sit with her two slim hands
Clasped round her bended knees;
While we on our elbows lolled,
And stared at ease.

Her voice and her narrow chin,
Her grave small lovely head,
Seemed half the meaning
Of the words she said.

"Once...Once upon a time..."
Like a dream you dream in the night,
Fairies and gnomes stole out
In the leaf-green light.

And her beauty far away
Would fade, as her voice ran on,
Till hazel and summer sun
And all were gone:--

All fordone and forgot;
And like clouds in the height of the sky,
Our hearts stood still in the hush
Of an age gone by.

Walter de la Mare

Re: First Poems
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: June 23, 2005 01:16PM

A Child's Garden of Verses

Many works by Ogden Nash

AA Milne
- especially James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree- kids like subversive poems

Dr. Seuss

Re: First Poems
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: June 23, 2005 04:34PM

There are some good ones here:

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Re: First Poems
Posted by: Marian-NYC (12.166.104.---)
Date: June 23, 2005 07:06PM

I agree -- the classics and all manner of nonsense.

If she wants develope her extraordinary child, the thing is to let the child have opinions and develop his/her own taste in poetry, so variety is the key.

Re: First Poems
Posted by: joet (
Date: June 24, 2005 02:02PM

Anything by Gahan Wilson; you'd be surprised what 3 year-olds comprehend.


Re: First Poems
Posted by: Shadow's Breath (
Date: June 28, 2005 11:47PM

I memorized The Raven at age 4...but I wouldnt recommend it. I would actually suggest writing him/her one.

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