I have a love hate relationship with poetry. I usually love poems and I think reading poetry is good for your brain, but I struggle to make time to actually do it. When I have time to read for pleasure, I usually choose a novel, a memoir, or nonfiction. My favorite poets include Emily Dickinson, ee cummings, and Robert Frost. We have a holiday tradition that I love: Since we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, on Hanukkah we don’t give gifts. Instead we eat latkes with homemade applesauce and yogurt and we exchange poems. We gather our poetry books and read our favorite poems out loud.
My kids, especially my daughters, have memorized many poems over the years.
This poem, though we don’t usually recite it on Hanukkah, has generated furrowed brows and interesting conversations in our house.
See what your children make of it:
On a dark, dark day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman, who heard the noise, ran and shot the two dead boys.
If you don’t believe my story’s true, ask the blind man. He saw it too.
Our family’s favorite books of poems include:
Talking Like the Rain: the illustrations by Jane Dyer are as wonderful and beautiful as the poems themselves.
Everything On It by Shel Silverstein: these poems are so much fun, and lend themselves to being read and recited over and over again.
The Poetry of Robert Frost: I got this as a gift for my high school graduation from my soccer coach, who has remained a lifelong friend. This is a book I cherish and go back to again and again. (Note to parents with children of all ages: a beautiful, hardcover poetry book makes an excellent graduation gift.)
First published: May 9, 2011
Updated: December 26, 2019