Poetry for You: A Book for Boys and Girls on the Enjoyment of Poetry

Poetry for You: A Book for Boys and Girls on the Enjoyment of Poetry

Poetry for You: A Book for Boys and Girls on the Enjoyment of Poetry

Poetry for You: A Book for Boys and Girls on the Enjoyment of Poetry

Excerpt

I remember, over thirty years ago, when I was a boy of eight, sitting in a classroom in my London school, trying to learn by heart the first two stanzas of the poem that begins:

It was a summer's evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done . . .

How I envied Old Kaspar--whoever he was! For me, it was a very hot summer afternoon, and my work wasn't nearly done: in fact, it was hardly started. I couldn't learn that tiresome poem. I couldn't see the point of learning it, or the point of the poem at all. The page grew blacker and blacker with my sweaty finger marks. Flies buzzed on the window pane. A honeyed smell of lime trees came through the window. Once, a street musician came along and played 'Pop goes the weasel' on his fiddle, leaping into the air every time he came to the 'Pop!' But, even without those distractions, I don't expect I should have learned the poem; and I'm sure I should never have learned to like it. I know I started writing verse, at the age of nine or ten, long before I enjoyed reading it: and I know I missed a great deal of fun as a result.

Nowadays poetry is taught much more sensibly in schools. You're not generally given great chunks of dull . . .

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