Calling all those poets out there, those F.O.R's (friends of Reb), for a little homework help.
Our third grader must memorize and recite a poem. Simple enough, right? This time the poem needs to be 8 lines. Every few weeks the poems get longer, until he's memorized and can recite The Wasteland (not really, but you get the idea here).
So last week we dig out Dreams, he recites Hughes and all is cool. This week we're a bit stumped.
8 lines is a pretty specific requirement. How many poems are exactly this long, would be easy to memorize and also appeal to an 8 year old boy—excluding any rhymes about that guy from Nantucket.
Of course we'd like to help him out, give him something simple, yet meaningful, like this, but we're not sure his teacher would go for it. Why? Because even though it is eight lines, it's also only 13 words.
Then we get all huffy, seeing our kid make the pained face while looking through "poetry for children" books—lots of smiling cats, dancing animlas and pretty rainbows!—and we know there'll be no joy in mudville tonight.
We're tempted to slip some classic Larkin in there, something subversive and profanity-laced, yet worry that if he's expelled and has to spend time at home then we'll get even less work done than we're doing right now, which would be close to impossible.
So we're on a quest. Something plainspoken and not too "Seussian." If he's going to take the time and energy to actually memorize poetry, then have it be memorable. We worry when we see his eyes glazing over that school is already sucking any enjoyment he has for words on the page right out of him—which we suppose wouldn't be the first time this happened in an English class, but we're surprised to learn that it starts so young.
Did we mention that the last poem, at 24 lines, will be recited in costume with props?